After having worked with the Edmonton Federation of Community Leagues’ (EFCL) records for the past seven months, I have had the chance to see the organization fulfill its mandate of fostering community involvement and growth. The City of Edmonton Archives has accepted donations of archival material from the EFCL since 1996 which constitute a wide range of subjects and uses. The records donated represent many of the EFCL’s projects and programs with the majority of records consisting of materials as they relate to the individual community leagues. After these records, in terms of quantity, the records pertaining to the EFCL’s administrative functions and sports programming follow. The sheer quantity of the records, coming in at just under 25 metres of material, made working with the collection difficult, but not impossible.
My experience of working with the records was, admittedly, difficult at first but soon became easier as I grew more familiar with them. Although the material was initially found in multiple donations and did not present much of a pattern when viewed individually, a filing system soon became apparent after I had the chance to go through the documents on a file level across all the donations. It was not until after I had gone through the last box that I found the file list hidden away at the bottom of a box underneath a cardboard flap. While it certainly would have saved me a few organizational headaches if I had found the file list at the beginning, the arrangement was definitely the most rewarding part of this project. Even though I was missing a few categories and had given some alternate names, I was happy to be close to the original system in my arrangement. The arrangement of the documents did not present my only obstacle however.
Another issue I ran into frequently was one of my own fashioning. I found keeping the scope of my attention to detail difficult because, with every document I found remotely interesting, my attention was immediately arrested. One particular document which caught my attention was a report kept by the EFCL as a research file into the relatively new hobby of ‘hot-rodding.’ Dated around 1957, the report points to an article, included in the file, which weighs the pros and cons of allowing youth to participate in the hobby in a safe, organized fashion. While the content of the report certainly drew my eye, and distracted me longer than prudent when working with thousands of files in similar aspect, it reminded me of the EFCL’s mandate to investigate activities which could potentially benefit the community leagues and the City of Edmonton as a whole. This single file, however small, was representative of the EFCL’s interest in doing their best to promote community involvement, safety, and growth.
The Edmonton Federation of Community Leagues fonds will be available to researchers at the City of Edmonton Archives soon. Until then, please feel free to browse the City Archives’ collection online by visiting http://cityarchives.edmonton.ca/ .