Call number: RE1 UOG A1340028
Ms. Bray obtained an Ontario College of Education (OCE) diploma at the University of Toronto in 1932 and taught in high school for six years in St. Catharines. Her OCE did not permit her to teach household science, so she returned to U. of T. for further accreditation. She then taught in Simcoe for four years.
Ms. Bray then obtained a teaching job at Macdonald Institute one year after the end of World War II, in August 1946. Academic studies at the Institute had been suspended during the war, and its facilities were used by the Royal Canadian Air Force for a wireless school and a cooking school. The furnishings and much of the equipment of Macdonald Institute were removed by the RCAF as the war was ending.
Housing was near impossible to find in Guelph at the time Edyth Bray moved there because veterans and agricultural students had spoken for all apartments and houses. The president of the college suggested that Ms. Bray and two other faculty members, Jessie Lambton and Louisa Brill, could live in Macdonald Institute. They were given the task of re-furnishing and re-designing the building to accommodate themselves and the new students in the fall of 1946. Edyth was among the planners of the new wing of the Institute. She taught housing. Jessie Lambton and Louisa Brill both taught foods.
Macdonald Institute, at that time, gave diploma courses. Edyth Bray’s course in housing included interior work and design. She also taught a sewing course. Edyth continued to teach courses in housing and design until retirement in July of 1971.
AudioEdyth Bray interview
Florence Partridge (00:08):
This interview with Edyth Bray is being recorded by Florence Partridge on January the 14th, 1990 for the University of Guelph Alumni Association Alumni in Action group. From 1946 to 1971, Ms. Bray was a member of the faculty of Macdonald Institute, which in 1970, became the College of Family and Consumer Studies. Edyth, will you tell us something about your life before your association with Macdonald Institute? Where you were born, where you received your early education, and so on?
Edyth Bray (00:47):
Well, I was born in St. Catharines and received public and high school education there and then went to University of Toronto and went to the College of Education.
Florence Partridge (01:03):
Did you have any instruction in household science in the, uh, high school in St. Catharines?
Edyth Bray (01:11):
Grade nine, also grade eight in public school.
Florence Partridge (01:17):
And did you think then that you wanted to be a teacher?
Edyth Bray (01:21):
Uh, yes, I think perhaps I did.
Florence Partridge (01:25):
Why did you choose to go to university? You- you might have gone to normal school to teach in public school. Why did you choose to go to university?
Edyth Bray (01:37):
Partly because my friends were going, I guess (laughs).
Florence Partridge (01:42):
(laughs) And what influenced your choice of university?
Edyth Bray (01:47):
Toronto was the closest. My sister-in-law had gone there and, uh, was probably an influence.
Florence Partridge (01:56):
And why did you choose home economics?
Edyth Bray (01:59):
Likewise. She had graduated in home economics and, uh, it seemed like a good course.
Florence Partridge (02:07):
So then after graduation, you went on to OCE with the- still with the idea of becoming a high school teacher.
Edyth Bray (02:15):
Florence Partridge (02:17):
Uh, after your graduation, or after OCE, at what point did you have some practical experience?
Edyth Bray (02:28):
After OCE, where I took public school option, because it seemed to be a good thing to do at that period because teaching jobs were very, very scarce, I got a position teaching in St. Catharines Public School where I taught for six years. And then I went back to the University of Toronto for a year. Then I did, um, trade work in Simpsons in Toronto for most of another year. And, uh, during the summer between those two periods, I took a course in Hamilton in clothing. And that course, uh, was in two parts, but the second part was never given. So-
Florence Partridge (03:24):
Was that at the normal school in Hamilton?
Edyth Bray (03:28):
No, it was at the, uh, Central Tech, I think, if there was a Central Tech. It was a technical school somewhere in the east end of Hamilton.
Florence Partridge (03:38):
Edyth Bray (03:39):
I know it was one where we worked very late hours.
Florence Partridge (03:44):
Then did you go on to further teaching employment?
Edyth Bray (03:49):
Yes, I thought I was going to get a job teaching home economics in Niagara Falls, but, uh, my OCE certificate did not give me any teaching credit in household science. And so the inspectors of that day wouldn't let me have the job even though it was offered to me. So I had to take another course in Toronto to get a teaching certificate in home economics. And then I went to Simcoe and taught for four years. After that, I went to London for one year. And then I found out about the position, a possible position, in Guelph.
Florence Partridge (04:38):
The academic activity at Macdonald Institute had been suspended during World War II when its facilities were use by the RCAF for its number four wireless school and its school of cookery. In the closing months of the war, the RCAF vacated the buildings and they became available again to Macdonald Institute for the teaching of household science. It was at this time, I believe that you- your association with Macdonald Institute began. Can you tell us how this came about? Were the positions advertised?
Edyth Bray (05:16):
No, they were not advertised. My brother happened to be in Dr. Christie's office and he said to him, "Uh, you don't happen to know where I can get a clothing teacher, do you?" And he replied, "Well, my sister's a clothing teacher." And so he said, "Well, tell her to come and see me." And I did that in the September of 1945, even though I- I had just accepted a position to teach in London. Uh, I think it was Thanksgiving when I came to work at Guelph and decided that, uh, it might be preferable to teaching in five schools which was what I was doing in London. And so he wanted me to promise to come by Christmas or even right away, but I said that was impossible because I just signed a contract with the London board, but I would see what I could do about Christmas. But in that interval, he became very ill. And- and he-
Florence Partridge (06:18):
This was Dr. Christie?
Edyth Bray (06:20):
Yeah. Uh, any idea of opening the, uh, college in that fall or in fact the following winter semester, uh, was really forgotten. But, uh, got- I got a letter from a Dr. Reek who asked me to come and see him at Easter time.
Florence Partridge (06:46):
Dr. Reek followed Dr. Christie as president?
Edyth Bray (06:54):
Yes. And that's when I decided to come is when I went to see Dr. Reek in the spring.
Florence Partridge (06:58):
Well, the faculty of Macdonald Institute, including the principal, Miss Olive Cruikshank, had been dispersed during the war. Did she and any others return to their former positions?
Edyth Bray (07:11):
The only people that were there when they hired me, uh, were Jessie Lambden, who is, uh, a foods teacher, and Louisa Brill who also taught foods. These two ladies had taught the Air Force when there were at Mac during the war. And they were kept on to prepare the rooms for using when they reopened as a school.
Florence Partridge (07:42):
Uh, Jessie Lambden I think had taught at the institute before the war also, had she not?
Edyth Bray (07:49):
Uh, had she (laughs)? I'm not sure.
Florence Partridge (07:55):
(laughs) I think for a very short time. Uh, before World War II, Mac Institute had offered two-year diploma courses for teacher and institutional managers, and one and two-year diploma courses in household science. Were all of these courses resumed?
Edyth Bray (08:18):
No, just a diploma course.
Florence Partridge (08:23):
The furnishings and much of the equipment of Macdonald Institute had been removed from the building. What lead time did you have to recover these and to acquire any necessary new equipment?
Edyth Bray (08:37):
Jessie and Louisa had worked hard for some time trying to restore at least two food labs and two clothing laboratories to use. But there really was no furniture in the clothing laboratories. So I recall going shopping, it must have been in August of, uh, the year we opened because, uh, I didn't start there until then. And I recall going to Toronto to select tables and chairs for the clothing labs.
Florence Partridge (09:10):
That would be in August of 1946.
Edyth Bray (09:13):
Florence Partridge (09:14):
Was the course of study of the pre- pre-war one-year course revived? Or was a new curriculum planned?
Edyth Bray (09:24):
I think we must have, uh, considered the old one and probably planned a new one. I really forget (laughs).
Florence Partridge (09:32):
You wouldn't have much time to plan a new one if you came in in August and the students registered in September.
Edyth Bray (09:38):
Florence Partridge (09:41):
Uh, what was your living accommodation?
Edyth Bray (09:48):
Guelph was very... A very difficult place to find a- a spot to live in. Uh, there were no apartments except perhaps the Delhi Street Apartments, and they were so far booked in advance they said you have to get on a waiting list and wait for people to die before you could get in there. There- there were really no other real apartments. But... And the, uh, vet students and aggie students had already spoken for all the apartments and houses. And there really was nowhere to live. So, um, the president decided that we could live in our rooms within Macdonald Institute. Those rooms had been designed originally as bed sitting rooms or study bedrooms. And there was a bathtub in the washroom for those who lived in to use. And, uh, when we started, uh, Ravina and Miriam had one of the front offices, I had the other. And Louisa had an office on the side of the building, and Jessie and Dorothy lived in the old home management apartment. And Mary Robinson lived in the residence as a... What did they call her? A dean? I forget.
Florence Partridge (11:23):
A house mother or something. Now, you mentioned Dorothy. That would be Dorothy Lindsley. She, uh, came to replace, um, Olive Cruikshank?
Edyth Bray (11:37):
Well, she came as associate director. They were anxious to get somebody with a PhD to be the director. And Dorothy didn't have an associate director... Didn't have a PhD. So she was made an associate director.
Florence Partridge (11:53):
I see. So, getting back to your living accommodations, uh, there must have been some disadvantages that. Were there any advantages?
Edyth Bray (12:03):
Well, we ate in the dining hall. And we were privileged to eat in the alcove with the dieticians and the, uh... They were called dogs in those days I'm sure... Uh, the men's residences. And these were, uh, graduate students who had returned from the war and therefore were a bit older than ordinary graduate students would be. So, it was rather pleasant. We had, uh, the odd social time as well as, um, meals regularly in the dining hall. And we did have maid service even though we did have to eat off the steel trays.
Florence Partridge (12:49):
The cafeteria service which had been introduced by the RCAF was continued for the students, I believe.
Edyth Bray (12:55):
Yes, it was.
Florence Partridge (12:58):
But you had maid service at the head tables.
Edyth Bray (12:59):
Florence Partridge (13:01):
Uh, who was the dietician at that time?
Edyth Bray (13:04):
Kay Beck was the chief dietician.
Florence Partridge (13:10):
Edyth Bray (13:10):
And Louise McConkey was the assistant.
Florence Partridge (13:12):
Now, you- you considered this an advantage to have your meals in Creelman Hall. Uh, there must have been disadvantages to living in residence. How do you, uh... Your- your rooms were on the second floor. The building would be locked at night. How did you arrange if you had a date? How did they call for you?
Edyth Bray (13:33):
I'm not sure that we locked the front door (laughs) early in the evening. But, at any rate, uh, perhaps they would phone. We did have a place where we could prepare the odd snack or a dinner if we wanted to because one of the food labs was not used so we could use that. And one of the clothing labs was not used, so I turned that into a living room. And so it was a good spot to have a group in because there was lots of space.
Florence Partridge (14:08):
What, uh, subjects did you teach? You- You said that you were responsible for clothing. Uh, what subjects were within that area?
Edyth Bray (14:18):
Well, the clothing course involved a bit of textiles, but, um, Mary Robinson was a textile expert. And she, um... Uh, Dorothy Lindsley was a textile person too. And she had brought Mary to assist her. And, uh... So wh- when Dorothy was trying to hand out the various subject matter, one seemed to go- to go begging was housing, and I was anxious to have that. So I undertook to teach the housing course which included a bit of interior work and design. So I-
Florence Partridge (14:59):
You- You had that right from the beginning.
Edyth Bray (15:01):
Florence Partridge (15:03):
Can you recall anything of special interest during those first years of the rebirth of Mac Institute? The- It must have been rather difficult getting the classes going again. Um, did you have to get along without some equipment? Did you have to make due? Or did you have interesting trips to buy equipment?
Edyth Bray (15:25):
Oh yeah. Yes, we did. And places like dressmakers supply were a boon because, uh, you could go down and order things you needed and then you could, uh, order by phone or by writing. And they were very good at supplying everything we required in the way of clothing equipment, uh, or supplies. And I recall designing a cupboard for my clothing lab, and the carpentry shop built it. And- And, uh, we managed to get the room painted something different from the bland cream that they had done the whole institute in at the beginning. Um, oh, sewing machines, of course, was, uh, well, not difficult to get. There was a Singer Sewing Machine company in Guelph, and so we purchased a number of sewing machines. There were some old ones that were still usable also. They were repaired. And we got... Every year, we got some new ones and sold some of the very oldest.
Florence Partridge (16:33):
What was involved in your clothing course? Did- What did the students do?
Edyth Bray (16:39):
Well, they started off making very simple... A very simple garment, usually an apron, because there were many things to be learned by... A number of these students didn't know how to run a sewing machine at all. And so they were able to learn how to manipulate the sewing machine and learn about the various kinds of stitches and tensions, etc. And then they would make a skirt and a blouse and then their graduation dress, and made some samples of individual, uh, um, stitches and sewing construction techniques.
Florence Partridge (17:21):
Would they have a written examination? Or would they- would their progress be judged on what they had done in the labs?
Edyth Bray (17:29):
They had both. They had a written exam. They had written tests during the year and they had a written exam at the end. And their practical marks were considered too.
Florence Partridge (17:40):
And what did they do in your, um, housing courses?
Edyth Bray (17:45):
Florence Partridge (17:48):
They obviously couldn't build a house (laughs).
Edyth Bray (17:51):
(laughs) Oh, they couldn't, no. Well, that's a long time ago. I've kind of forgotten. It seems to me we made a scrapbook, and we learned about the various styles and periods of houses, and a little bit about period furniture. And they would attempt to find examples of these and, uh, put them in their scrapbook. And, uh, I don't recall exactly how far we went with the first [inaudible] course I'm on the outline. But they did gather a fair bit of housing. Um, I don't recall whether we went in to wiring and plumbing and that sort of thing (laughs) at that stage. But...
Florence Partridge (18:43):
Wh- At this time was there attention being directed to planning and, uh, instituting a degree course?
Edyth Bray (18:52):
Yes. I think they started talking about that almost at the beginning.
Florence Partridge (18:59):
Edyth Bray (19:00):
They being perhaps Dr. Reek and Miss Lindsley, and... Of course, we all talked about it. We had afternoon tea in the- in the staff room. And, uh, since there were only six of us to begin with, we could all get together and chat.
Florence Partridge (19:25):
I see. And, uh, you got direction in planning from whom? Or did you have any direction?
Edyth Bray (19:37):
You mean about whether we had a degree course of not?
Florence Partridge (19:39):
Yes. And- And how it would... What... How- How it would sh- shape up.
Edyth Bray (19:45):
Well, I think that it was Sidney Smith who was then the president of the University of Toronto was in touch with him, this is Arnie from, uh, Minneapolis or St. Paul in Minnesota. And she was a well-known, uh, home economist who gave courses in evaluation principally. And so she was invited to come to Guelph to assess the situation and see whether or not she thought Guelph would be a good place to have a degree course. And after spending a couple of days in Guelph, she decided that it would be. And so she recommended this to Sidney Smith.
Florence Partridge (20:30):
Yes. Now, you mentioned Sidney Smith. Um, Macdonald Institute and the OAC and OBC were of course at that time, uh, affiliated academically with the University of Toronto. So this is why Sidney Smith would be involved.
Edyth Bray (20:46):
Florence Partridge (20:46):
Uh, so how long did, um, Dorothy Lindsley remain in, um, Macdonald Institute?
Edyth Bray (21:00):
While we were having our meals in Creelman Hall, Dorothy met Frank Walden who seemed to, uh, be of great interest to her. And so after about three years, she decided to get married. And, uh, I think Frank was working in Toronto, and so Dorothy moved away.
Florence Partridge (21:23):
So she was replaced then by Dr. McCready. Uh, that, I think, would be in the fall of '49. But, presumably by that time, most of the planning for the degree course would have taken place. In fact, I guess the first students were received while Dorothy was still there in- in the fall of '48?
Edyth Bray (21:48):
Florence Partridge (21:50):
So then Dr. McCready came in with the second year of the degree course.
Edyth Bray (21:59):
That must have been right. But of course (laughs), I can't remember exactly.
Florence Partridge (22:03):
Edyth Bray (22:04):
Uh, she had just come from, uh, Macdonald College in Quebec where she had been in charge of a four-year home economics course. So she had many ideas. And, uh, probably worked with Dorothy. I don't remember too much about that original planning.
Florence Partridge (22:26):
Yes. Well, presumably, um, some of the coursework would be planned as the years moved along.
Edyth Bray (22:35):
Oh yes, and as faculty was available. The- the subject matter changed a little depending upon who we could get.
Florence Partridge (22:42):
Mm-hmm (affirmative). And what did you teach when the degree course was established?
Edyth Bray (22:49):
I still taught first and second year clothing. And, uh, well, perhaps a bit of third year when we didn't have somebody that had been more recently taking courses. Uh, and I taught, um... I taught the housing course again. That was in third year.
Florence Partridge (23:13):
Uh, at this point, I think you undertook some graduate work? Where did you do this?
Edyth Bray (23:21):
Well, I had... I started the graduate work in summer of '47 before we had any degree program. Because Mrs. Arnie asked me (laughs) to go to Minnesota and take her evaluation course in the summer of '47, which I did. And then... Well, I went back to Minnesota in the spring of '48 and the spring of '49 to get a degree in... I think it was in education, home economics education.
Florence Partridge (24:03):
Mm-hmm (affirmative). Now, along with the, um, clothing classes, I believe there were fashion shows held. Can you talk about those?
Edyth Bray (24:18):
Well, it had seemed to be a- a custom to have a fashion show at Macdonald Institute. Or we held them actually in Macdonald Hall to begin with. And so, uh, we had the girls model the clothes that they made in spring. Now, they must have made dresses as well as a graduation dress because they didn't model their graduation dresses. But, we did have a fashion show, one where there were still only diploma students. So they must have made another dress in between. And, uh, they were quite popular. The parents were invited if they cared to come. And, uh, a few other people from campus would attend. And each year they began to get bigger and bigger and (laughs) more people came. And then eventually it became a part of, uh, College Royal. And the early ones were in, uh, Mem [War Memorial] Hall. And then, uh, when they became too popular for Mem Hall, they had to move to the gym.
Florence Partridge (25:34):
Uh, what... In connection with College Royal, um, was there competition involved in the fashion shows?
Edyth Bray (25:43):
No, not really.
Florence Partridge (25:45):
It was just a show.
Edyth Bray (25:47):
Florence Partridge (25:48):
Um, Mac students made several field trips, uh, to New York to visit fashion houses and art galleries and so on. And the comment was made by some people there that students from Macdonald Institute were always well-dressed and well-mannered. Were they instructed in deportment and how to wear clothes as well as how to make them?
Edyth Bray (26:19):
I don't know that they were especially instructed in how to wear them except it went along with (laughs), uh, the teaching of clothing selection that would be part of how to dress and how to assemble a wardrobe.
Florence Partridge (26:36):
But they, uh, they would be taught to, for example, they wouldn't wear saddle shoes with a formal gown.
Edyth Bray (26:43):
Oh (laughs), they really wouldn't need to be taught that.
Florence Partridge (26:46):
(laughs) Were there changes in the, um, methods of sewing introduced at... along the way? It seemed to me I heard of something called a- a bishop course or bishop method of sewing.
Edyth Bray (27:06):
Oh, Mrs.- Mrs. Bishop was a very industrious individual. And, uh, she was giving courses in Syracuse. I don't know how early, but I think I went during the summer of '53 probably and took one of her courses. And I was quite impressed and arranged to have her come to Guelph in the summer of '54. And we had a one-week, I think it was, the first time, course, which, uh, she gave. And we had high school teachers from all over the province came to take this course. And it was so successful that we repeated it again I think the following year and maybe for two weeks.
Florence Partridge (27:53):
W- What was involved in her method of- of sewing that was different from what you had been teaching?
Edyth Bray (28:03):
Well, it's supposed to be a faster method. But her... She was very particular about details. And by the time you got fabric (laughs) straight enough to begin to work on it, you had used a good deal of time. Of course, we'd always been particular about that. But, um, she was very fussy about such matters as straight of grain. And she taught a course, uh, at the very beginning where she wanted you to buy a printed fabric which would be probably printed off-grain. But you must make the garment by tearing it, therefore (laughs), the print was- was obviously off-grain. And this was supposed to go Illustrate the necessity have the material straight. And then she introduced, um, stay stitching which we hadn't used before. And this was sort of a guideline which kept materials from stretching. She was also very insistent that you didn't hand baste but that you try to do such things as setting a sleeve with the use of no more than two pins. And you wouldn't think it possible at first, but by means of stay stitching the shoulder line and the top of the sleeve and adjusting it, well, you could in a very short time put a sleeve in with one or two pins. And similarly, with other seams. And directional stitching was also very important, as I recall.
Florence Partridge (29:44):
You said she did not a- approve of hand stitching.
Edyth Bray (29:48):
Florence Partridge (29:50):
Hand basting, I'm sorry. What was the alternative? Machine basting?
Edyth Bray (29:54):
When it was necessary to baste, yes.
Florence Partridge (29:57):
I see. So, were the other changes, um, in the instruction methods? Or was that basically about...
Edyth Bray (30:07):
Yeah, the way you could apply that to various garments was pretty well, uh, the basic items that she taught.
Florence Partridge (30:16):
A new wing was added to Macdonald Institute. Did you participate in the planning of this?
Edyth Bray (30:27):
Yes, with Dr. McCready and some of the other faculty members who were involved.
Florence Partridge (30:34):
What was included in the new wing?
Edyth Bray (30:38):
On the main floor, there were, uh, two textile labs and a textile lecture room, some small offices. And on the second floor, there was the home management apartment and the dean's apartment, some more small offices. And in the lower level, there was a weaving room, a metal craft room, and a woodworking room, and two or three more offices.
Florence Partridge (31:17):
Were these craft courses included in the degree course?
Edyth Bray (31:23):
Yes. I think they were as far as I can remember.
Florence Partridge (31:29):
Were you still living in Macdonald Institute all this time?
Edyth Bray (31:34):
I moved out in the summer of '51.
Florence Partridge (31:39):
Where did you go?
Edyth Bray (31:40):
Well, I had a small house over on University Avenue which was almost opposite to the university grounds.
Florence Partridge (31:55):
Um, what was your relationship with the students outside classes?
Edyth Bray (32:05):
We went to many of their social functions. In the early days, it was required that they would have a chaperone for some of their parties. And we took turns being the chaperone at parties. And then later, we were just invited to their functions. And whenever possible, we used to like to go. And then also, sometimes we entertained them at home if we had any particular relationship with a group.
Florence Partridge (32:32):
A particular relationship might be as honorary class president or something of that kind?
Edyth Bray (32:38):
Well, yes, or students of our, uh- uh... Students that we had in maybe small groups or something of that nature, but not very large groups.
Florence Partridge (32:54):
What about, um, social events in general on the campus? Receptions, sports activities, anything of that kind?
Edyth Bray (33:05):
I don't remember doing very much with regard to the sports activities, but I certainly remember that we went to many openings of new buildings or new wings, and, uh, other types of, uh, oh, anniversaries for departments and, uh, that kind of thing.
Florence Partridge (33:29):
Can you remember any distinguished visitors to campus?
Edyth Bray (33:33):
Well, I do recall in the very early days that I was there, we had the governor general. That was when we had community houses of place of meeting. And, uh, well, what was Kennedy? He was the-
Florence Partridge (33:58):
Minister of Agriculture?
Edyth Bray (33:59):
Minister of Agric... The Minister of Agriculture I think at various times. And other speakers. And then, of course, they used to have a faculty Christmas dinner which was a big occasion that everybody tried to go to and enjoyed.
Florence Partridge (34:17):
Did you participate in associations connected with your work?
Edyth Bray (34:26):
The Home Economics Association, the provincial one. And later, I joined and went to conferences for the International Home Economics Association.
Florence Partridge (34:39):
Did you feel that these associations were helpful in your work? Did you feel that they, uh, helped you in your... In- in making friends of acquaintances with other people in the same disciplines?
Edyth Bray (34:57):
Oh yes, it was very helpful to meet other people teaching similar courses in various areas. And of course in other countries except for the United States, the course outlines were different.
Florence Partridge (35:17):
So you did attend, um, conferences in other countries?
Edyth Bray (35:22):
Well, we went to one in Paris and one in Helsinki and of course one in Bristol.
Florence Partridge (35:35):
Did you make any lasting acquaintances or friends through these meetings?
Edyth Bray (35:40):
One particular lady I met was at the, uh, pre-conference course to the Paris conference, and that was in London, England. There had been a whole week's course of touring England. But our faculty were not able to get away until the last three days of this course which took place in London. And, uh, we enjoyed those three days very much. We were entertained at a magnificent dinner in the, uh, Guild Hall. And I was placed beside this person whom I didn't know, and, however, we got talking. And, uh, her name was Meg Robinson. And I have seen her many times since when I've been to other conferences and have visited her at her home. And she has managed to get to Canada a couple of times.
Florence Partridge (36:37):
So you, uh, had a considerable amount of travel and in connection with your work and were able to make friends through this. Now in 1963, the one-year course was discontinued. Uh, how did you feel about this?
Edyth Bray (37:00):
I think I probably was sorry to see it go. But considering that the numbers in the degree course were getting bigger and the numbers of course that they were offered were increasing, there wasn't room for the diploma course. I- I guess a number of people thought that it didn't have a place on that campus. But it had served a good purpose for a number of years.
Florence Partridge (37:29):
Was there a difference in attitude between the students in the diploma course and the degree students?
Edyth Bray (37:38):
I recall (laughs) Dorothy Lindsley telling me that I'd notice a big difference. Well, there was a big difference, but the diploma students were still enjoyable. And they got a great deal out of the course, most of them anyway.
Florence Partridge (37:56):
Did- Did you feel that the, um, degree course students were more career-oriented than the diploma students?
Edyth Bray (38:08):
Well, yes, for that particular purpose. I think some of the diploma students went on to other careers. They had the diploma course as a background for nursing or for public school teaching, and, uh, of course matrimony.
Florence Partridge (38:28):
Macdonald Institute became a part of the University of Guelph when the university was formed in 1964. Did this result in any immediate changes at the institute?
Edyth Bray (38:44):
...I think that must have been about the time that Rex Richards was made, uh, head of the textile department. Previously, I'd been sort of responsible for clothing and textiles, although I did no work at all in textiles. And I think I was slated as a professor of, uh, housing and design at that... I think it was about that time.
Florence Partridge (39:16):
But this wasn't really a result of it- of the institute being included within the university? These changes would have happened in any case?
Edyth Bray (39:26):
Florence Partridge (39:30):
In 1969, the School of Hotel and Food Administration was added. This introduced male students and faculty into what had traditionally been a female enclave. Have any comments on this?
Edyth Bray (39:45):
We'd had Gordon Cooling for a long time. And as I mentioned, Rex Richards was there. And, uh, Keith Slater. I've forgotten what year he came. It, uh, must have been about that time or earlier.
Florence Partridge (40:00):
So you had male faculty.
Edyth Bray (40:02):
Yes, we did.
Florence Partridge (40:02):
But you hadn't had male students.
Edyth Bray (40:04):
I think I had one once or something (laughs), but I can't remember what it was.
Florence Partridge (40:15):
So did the introduction of male students to Macdonald Institute have any effect on anything there?
Edyth Bray (40:26):
By this time, I was working chiefly in the building across the street, and I couldn't see any... I didn't even see them- the students from hotel and food unless I went down there for a lunch.
Florence Partridge (40:42):
The building across the street. What do you mean by that?
Edyth Bray (40:45):
It was known as, and probably still is, as the Textile Building. It was supposed to have been demolished many years ago.
Florence Partridge (40:58):
In 1969, Dr. McCready was followed in the position of dean by Dr. Janet Wardlaw. Under Dr. Wardlaw's direction, the courses of study were revised and the name was changed from Mac- from Macdonald Institute to the College of Family and Consumer Studies. What effect did this have on your work?
Edyth Bray (41:25):
Not very much.
Florence Partridge (41:30):
You- You still taught the same courses and the course were not, um, changed very much.
Edyth Bray (41:35):
I gradually changed from teaching a number of clothing courses to mostly courses in housing and design.
Florence Partridge (41:45):
So this is what you were teaching when, um, Dr. Wardlaw became dean.
Edyth Bray (41:51):
After she became dean.
Florence Partridge (41:53):
I see. When did you retire?
Edyth Bray (41:59):
In July 1971.
Florence Partridge (42:03):
So you had been associated with Macdonald Institute for 25 years. What do you consider were highlights of that time?
Edyth Bray (42:18):
Well, some of the things I enjoyed most were the planning and decorating of the new wing and buying furniture for various such needs of the building, and also the decoration of the rooms, the purchase of, uh, flooring materials and, uh, the refinishing of the woodwork. Now, this was all in relation to the building itself. As far as the courses were concerned, I was pleased to see the clothing and design courses being increased and the students getting a really good background in that area of the work. We had several very good people teaching those courses. And we also had an excellent person in the housing and design when George Hoyer was there. Those, I think, perhaps were some of the highlights.
Florence Partridge (43:14):
Are there any graduates who stand out as you knew them as students or because of their accomplishments since their graduation?
Edyth Bray (43:24):
One of the first year degree people- degree course was Jean Steckle who, uh, after she graduated went to Newfoundland to work for a couple of years and went to Cornell to get a master's, and then went to Ghana and-
Florence Partridge (43:44):
She was working as a home economist, was she?
Edyth Bray (43:47):
Yes. And then, uh, after being at Ghana, she worked on a PhD at Cornell, and she was with F.A.O. And she was in another African country, I'm not sure which one it was. Sierra Leone? Something like that. And, uh, now she works with the federal department in connection with, um, nutrition. And she travels up to the far north where she works with them, um, natives, I presume, and also does a lot of work out in Ottawa. She is planning to retire soon and have a development on her home farm just outside of Kitchener where she will have courses in drama for young people. And then, um, another one that I recall is Cynthia McCulloch who took the... Cynthia McCulloch who took the diploma course and then later came back and took the degree course. Now she works in the Department of Defense in Ottawa. And Judy Maddren is one we hear quite frequently on CBC giving the news. Cynthia McCulloch was one who worked for the Stratford Festival as head cutter for a number of years, also I think worked with either the opera or the ballet in Toronto. And I think she's back at, uh, Stratford now too. There are many others of course, but whom I can't recall at the moment.
Florence Partridge (45:41):
Have you any regrets about leaving high school teaching for Macdonald Institute?
Edyth Bray (45:48):
No. I much preferred the work at Macdonald Institute to teaching high school.
Florence Partridge (45:55):
You've mentioned your interest in keeping in touch with graduates. We hope you may continue to enjoy your association with the alumni. And thank you very much, Edyth, for this interview-