Courtesy South Vancouver Island District Board
Adelaide Hoodless was born and raised in Ontario, married a Hamilton businessman and bore him four children. She had a son who died at the age of 14 months. Mrs. Hoodless set out to produce something positive from this terrible loss. She learned that had she boiled the milk she gave her son, he would not have sickened and died. She vowed to make a difference so others would not experience the same loss.
In 1891, Mrs. Hoodless became interested in the Young Women's Christian Association, as a route to further efforts to teach girls better household work. In 1893 a National Conference was held in Toronto, at which Mrs. Hoodless was elected first Vice President, and in 1895 she became National President.
Lady Aberdeen and Adelaide Hoodless founded the Victorian Order of Nurses to commemorate the Golden Jubilee of Queen Victoriathrough this group some of the basic facts of hygiene and nutrition were brought into Canadian Homes.
She was instrumental in organizing the first Household Science School, which opened in September of 1895. From 1893 to 1901 Mrs. Hoodless served as treasurer for the National Council of Women. In 1901 she was made the Convener of the Standing Committee on Domestic Science for the National Council of Women. Between 1894 and 1895 Mrs. Hoodless gave over 60 addresses to School Board and Teachers' Conventions. She was asked by the Ontario Minister of Education to prepare a test book on Domestic Science, which was published in 1898. This "little red book" contained calorie charts, chemical analysis and the importance of meat, fruit and fresh vegetables in the diet.
The Ontario Normal School of Domestic Sciences and Art was financed largely through her efforts. But it was soon too small to accommodate all who wanted to study there. This led to the donation of $200,000 by Sir William Macdonald. These funds were used to build Macdonald Institute in 1903 and Macdonald Hall in 1904, both of which are in Guelph, Ontario.
She was the Honorary President of the first Women's Institute in the world, which was established at Stoney Creek, Ont. in 1897. Many people consider the Women's Institutes to be the forerunners or founders of the concept of adult education. The first Women's Institutes were not just to provide the members with contacts within their own communities but also to help them learn together.
This is quite a list of accomplishments for a woman who was born in small town Ontario, which at that time was a frontier area of the world. Her influence has spread like the ripples on a pond. Women around the world know her name, and through her, most of Canada's reputation for concern for others has developed and expanded. It takes a visionary to leave behind a goal to which others will subscribe. May we hope that many more women will come to help spread her message, and do their part to bring about her vision of ideal homes worldwide.
We salute Mrs. Adelaide Hoodless.
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