Fonds - Soldiers' Aid Commission, Hamilton Branch fonds

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Soldiers' Aid Commission, Hamilton Branch fonds

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  • 1916-1928 (Creation)
    Soldiers' Aid Commission, Hamilton Branch

Physical description area

Physical description

4 volumes of textual material.

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Administrative history

During and after the First World War, many soldiers returning from the front wounded in mind and body needed assistance to provide for themselves and their families. Social assistance programs were non-existent during this period, so returning veterans who struggled to reintegrate into civilian life faced extreme hardships and destitution, along with their families. The province of Ontario established the Soldiers’ Aid Commission on November 10, 1915 to address this emerging issue and to support the needs of veterans, who had given so much for their country during the war. The early mandate of the Commission was to provide emergency financial assistance to returning soldiers, with a focus on the sick and wounded. As soldiers began to return home it became apparent that their needs included more than just emergency assistance. What started as emergency financial assistance, evolved into various avenues of support that also included retraining, education, rehabilitation, employment assistance, childcare arrangements, and pension advocacy. Due to the large number of returning veterans, the SAC set up various branches across the province to provide local assistance.

The Hamilton branch of the SAC was established on January 15, 1917. The aim of the branch was to support veterans through various initiatives such as hospital visits, providing comfort to dying veterans, visiting soldiers and their dependents in their homes, providing for dependent or orphaned children of the servicemen, providing loans and other financial assistance, retraining and re-educating for new employment, helping veterans secure their former employment, and advocating for fair wages and for pensions. Overall, the SAC and all its branches championed the rights of returning veterans with various needs, and worked to ensure that the general public understood that the help received by the returning soldiers was not charity, but entitlement. The veterans had earned this assistance for their service and sacrifices. Although the various branches of the SAC are no longer in existence, the Soldiers’ Aid Commission continued to provide support throughout the Second World War and the Korean War, and continues to help Ontario veterans to the present day.

Custodial history

The material was presented to the Hamilton Public Library by Albert W. Kaye, Secretary of the Hamilton Branch of the Soldiers' Aid Commission, in July of 1940.

Scope and content

The material in the fonds consists of four volumes of administrative records pertaining to the Hamilton Branch of the Soldiers' Aid Commission. Two of the volumes are attendance books, including an undated book listing all the soldiers who attended dinners hosted by the Soldiers Aid Commission upon returning from overseas, as well as a meeting attendance book. There are also two volumes of meeting minutes for the Ontario Minutes Soldiers' Aid Commission, Hamilton Branch, dated December 1916 to October 1921, and November 1921 to November 1928.

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Physical condition

Two of the volumes are in fair condition. The meeting minute books are in poor condition. All volumes have been wrapped for preservation purposes.

Immediate source of acquisition

Albert W. Kaye


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Availability of other formats

Yes. Historical Documents on Microfilm Collection: Reel numbers 126 and 127.

Restrictions on access

The material is open to researchers. There are no restrictions on access however, researchers should use the microfilm to preserve the original materials.

Terms governing use, reproduction, and publication

Records are in the public domain. There are no restrictions on reproduction for research and private study.
Preferred citation: Soldiers’ Aid Commission, Hamilton Branch fonds, 00026, Hamilton Public Library, Hamilton, Ontario.

Finding aids

File list is not applicable.

Associated materials

The following related material can be found in the Local History & Archives (LH&A) department at the Hamilton Public Library pertaining to Soldiers’ Aid Commission, Hamilton Branch fonds:

CF – Hamilton – Organizations and Societies – Soldiers’ Aid Commission

Herald Scrapbook, Vol. O2 pt. 1 – Organizations and Societies, p.110, December 16, 1922.

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Further accruals are not expected.

General note

Title is based on the contents of Soldiers’ Aid Commission, Hamilton Branch fonds.

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The fonds was processed in 2023 by Archives Technician Kelly Bucci.

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