As its mission, the Héritage Sutton historical society seeks to preserve the history of the Sutton area as well as of the persons and families who have written it. It manages collections and archives, publishes booklets, offers educational activities and contributes to exhibitions presented by the Musée d’histoire et des communications de Sutton.
Héritage Sutton is incorporated as a non-profit organization administered by its volunteer members. The Board of Directors is comprised of: Jeanne Morazain, President; Georges Létourneau, Vice-President; Alexandrine Poissant, Secretary; Carole Kierulf, Treasurer; Claude F. Gagnon, Lynda Graham and Jean Chevarier, Directors.
All the activities, including research, indexation, digitization and editing are performed on a volunteer basis.
There are many ways to help Héritage Sutton fulfill its mission:
– Become a member of Héritage Sutton. Each annual membership includes the two issues of the sketchbooks published during the year of membership and one free consultation of the archives.
– Become a volunteer and participate in the various activities of the society.
– Submit an article for a future issue of the History Sketchbooks.
– Donate documents and photographs that could enhance the history of Sutton and the Eastern Townships.
Acting on several fronts
At the last annual general meeting, held on November 24, 2018, Heritage Sutton President, Jeanne Morazain, reported on the last year’s activities and presented the priorities agreed upon by the board of directors for 2019.
Activities Report – 2018
There is a certain routine to the yearly activities: publish the Cahier d’histoire in the fall and the spring; reply to information requests, the number of which is constantly on the increase, collect & describe collections which are given or loaned, research the history of heritage buildings requested by the Town (30 addresses this year), draw up grant requests so that people can be hired. This year we received funds from Emploi Québec (January to June 2018), from Heritage Canada (summer 2018) and from BANQ (Bibliothèque et Archives nationales du Québec) (May to December 2018), and finally conceive new projects and apply for financing so that we can reach our objectives.
Three projects stand out in 2018:
The processing of the Mount Sutton Ski Centre & the Boulanger Family Fonds, which has finally been completed. We have created research tools which describe the content of the fonds according to the Rules for Archival Description. It is now up to
the new owners, the Boulanger family, the skiing community and the tourism promoters to make the collection known, to develop it and find funding for further enhancement.
The Filtex Fonds. Héritage Sutton was mandated by the Town of Sutton and the Rural Pact to document the history of the Filtex factory, one of the last witnesses to the industrial history of Sutton. The research was conducted on three fronts. The first focussed on the evolution of the architectural heritage near the old train station and shows the progressive establishment of an industrial site on this block. The second tells the history of the textile industry on this site between 1939 and 2004. The third, gives voice to the former employees of the spinning factory who bear witness to the nature of their work, the working conditions and atmosphere in the factory, as well as its economic importance for Sutton. One of the goals of this research is to provide discussion points for the upcoming decisions on the future of the site, subsequent to the demolishing of the structure. Volunteers Louise Harpin and Meredith MacKeen must be mentioned for their excellent work on this project.
And finally the oral history project, La parole des ainés (The stories of elders) has been started. We have been successful in receiving funding for organizing and bringing attention to our Oral History Fonds. In fact, under the programme, Quebec friends of elders (Québec ami des ainés; QADA), Héritage Sutton is receiving up to $106,200 over two years for preservation and description of the fonds.
This project is already well under way. The inventory and digitization of the existing interviews is complete, and their transcription is on-going. The first recordings of new individual and group witnesses were done with former Filtex employees. We recurited and trained (ongoing) volunteers to act as relay personnel or interviewers. To complete this project, Héritage Sutton has two partners. The managment comittee of the Community Centre in Sutton Junction participates in the project co-ordination by looking for more witnesses and by lending their space and equipment. Le Coeur du Village and the Salle Alec et Gérard Pelletier will stage short sketches from the life stories we will have gathered.
I am extremely proud for having obtained this important grant, as I had made it a priority of my tenure as president, a point I made clear during the 2017 AGM. It is a very exciting project which has inspired several of our members to volunteer. Dominique Parent has been hired to co-ordinate the project.
In contrast, our efforts to recruit volunteers for other projects have been less successful. Thus I conclude my progress report once again
with an urgent call for more volunteers. We need researchers, editors, translators, web masters and those familiar with social networks. All help is welcome.
Presented by Jeanne Morazain, President.
The year 2019 will be one of consolidation.
First of all is to finalize the project La parole des aînés(The stories of elders), that is, complete the transcriptions of the finished interviews; record by sound or video, some 25 interviews and 10 group workshops, and, especially, to share this oral heritage with the community.
The story of the Sutton yarn industry and those who worked there will be shared to the community to help formulate the decision as to the future use of the site.
A major reconstruction of our website will make it more dynamic and facilitate electronic transactions resulting in the possibility to receive our History Sketchbooks in PDF format rather than paper format as of May 2019 fort those members wishing so. The mandate to re-do the website has been given to Two Humans of Sutton (Claude Dagenais and Manon Gélinas).
A simplification of the accounting tasks is also on the agenda. Carole Kierulf does a remarkable job as treasurer. However, it is time to alleviate her work which has become more time-consuming over the years. For example, last spring, she managed a payroll of four employees; she also has to manage separate budgets for the projects for which Héritage Sutton receives grants.
We must also reorganise our vault to maximize the available space in order to be able to receive and process more documents concerning the history of Sutton.
No new projects are planned unless opportunities that we cannot turn down present themselves.
Finally, since our efforts to recruit volunteers to handle current affairs were not successful in 2018, we will redouble our efforts. We have an urgent need for translators (from French to English), researchers to document Sutton’s buildings heritage and to answer questions coming from all over America, as well as persons familiar with data bases. If you have some time to assist us, please contact us.