© Mennonite Heritage Centre, Winnipeg, Manitoba (Last updated February 11, 2010)


  • Reimer, Helena F., 1905-1993


    Retrieval numbers: Volume 5423, 5432; Photo collection 666.

    Title: Helena F. Reimer fonds
    Dates: 1944-1971 , predominant 1944-1957
    Extent: 15cm of textual records.
    Extent: 35 photographs.
    Repository: Mennonite Heritage Centre Archives

    Historical note

    Helena Friesen Reimer (1905-1993) was born in Steinbach, Manitoba, the first child to Abraham and Margaretha (Friesen) Reimer. Helena received her Manitoba Teacher's Certificate in 1928 after achieving the highest marks in the province on her Education Entrance Examination. Helena taught for several years but again took up studies, receiving her R.N. (Registered Nurse) from Winnipeg General Hospital in 1937 where she held various positions ranging from nurse to instructor and supervisor. In 1944 Helena Reimer began her first in a series of overseas nursing assignments at a refugee camp in the Middle East under the UNRRA (United Nations Relief and Rehabilitation Administration). She spent two years at the camp, after which her assignment was transferred to Formosa, China (Taiwan) from 1946-1948. Helena then returned to Winnipeg for a few years where she was the Assistant Superintendent of Nursing at Winnipeg General Hospital. During this time she worked to complete her B.N. (Bachelor of Nursing) from McGill in 1951. Helena resumed her work overseas with the WHO (World Health Organization) in 1951 as a Senior Nurse Educator in Cambodia. In 1953 Helena transferred to Egypt and helped to found a Nursing Education Institute as part of the University of Alexandria. She worked there as an educator and administrator until 1956. After contracting a tropical disease, Helena had to return to Canada where she recovered and was able to earn her M.A. (Masters of Arts) from the University of Chicago in 1957 in the field of nursing administration. In 1958 Helena accepted a position with the Order of Nurses of the province of Quebec. Montreal soon became her home and she remained there until her retirement in 1970. Helena enjoyed her work as Secretary-Registrar (Executive Director) and the challenge of bilingualism; she made many friendships during her years with the Order of Nurses of Quebec. Upon retirement Helena moved back to Manitoba where she lived in Winnipeg and kept active taking courses, teaching English to refugees, and volunteering with the elderly. In 1974 Helena received both an honorary doctorate from the University of Winnipeg, and the high honour of the Order of Canada for over 30 years of dedication to nursing in Canada and abroad. Helena passed away in Steinbach on May 16, 1993 after months of severe illness.

    Scope and content note

    This fonds contains reports and correspondence from Helena's various assignments with the UNRRA and WHO, as well as University reports and assignments, correspondence from her hears in Montreal, and other notes and documents. Also included are several newspaper clippings or articles, a small collection of photographs, and many interesting documents such as diplomas, certificates and travel identification.

    Index terms

    Subject terms

  • Reimer, Helena F., 1905-1993

    Creators

  • Reimer, Helena F., 1905-1993

    Adjunct descriptive data

    Finding aids

    Consists of a file list.

    Notes

    Custodial history

    This material has come from Helena's sister, E. Regina Reimer in 2009.

    Physical description details

    Described by Erika Enns Rodine.

    Language

    English and some French.

    Restrictions on access

    No restrictions on access.

    Accruals

    More accruals expected.

    Immediate source of acquisition

    E. Regina Reimer.

    Other notes

    Accession no. 2009-038, 2009-053.

    Inventory File list

    Volume 5423
    1. Correspondence and reports from UNRRA Middle East refugee camp. -- 1944-1946.
    2. Correspondence and reports from UNRRA/WHO Formosa, China (Taiwan). 1946-1948.
    3. Correspondence and reports from WHO in Cambodia. 1951-1953.
    4. Correspondence and reports from WHO in Egypt. 1951-1953.
    5. Correspondence and reports from Montreal (Association of Nurses of the Province of Quebec). 1958-1970.
    Volume 5432
    1. Newspaper articles and clippings. 1954-1993.
    2. University assignments, reports and papers. 1951-1957.
    3. Travel documents, certificates, awards and other artefacts. 1928-1993.
    4. Biographical information and documents. 1949-2009.
    Collection Number:
    666 Helena F. Reimer photograph collection
    666:1 Portrait of Helena Reimer. - [196-]. - 9.5 x 14.5 cm [b&w].

    This photograph is a portrait of Helena Reimer. She is wearing a blouse and pearl necklace.
    666:2 Helena Reimer at Government House receiving Order of Canada. - Dec 6, 1974. - 12 x 9 cm

    [col. ].

    This photo is of Helena Reimer standing among the gathered audience to receive the Order of Canada.

    She is wearing a long, pale blue dress with sleeves. -- Note: Photo is mounted on a paper backing with

    cover, measuring 19 x 18.5 cm.
    666:3 Helena Reimer at Government House receiving Order of Canada. - Dec 6, 1974. - 12 x 9 cm

    [col. ].

    This photo is of Canada's Governor General, Jules Leger, presenting the Order of Canada to Helena

    Reimer. Other Government House officials are looking on. -- Notes: Photo is mounted on a paper backing

    with folding cover measuring 19 x 18.5 cm.
    666:4 Helena Reimer at Government House receiving Order of Canada. - Dec 6, 1974. - 12 x 9 cm

    [col. ].

    This photo is of Helena Reimer shaking the hands of Canada's Governor General, Jules Leger, and his

    wife Gabrielle after receiving the Order of Canada. -- Notes: photo is mounted on a paper backing with

    folding cover measuring 19 x 18.5 cm.
    666:5 Helena Reimer at Government House receiving Order of Canada. - Dec 6, 1974. - 19.5 x

    24.5 [col.].

    This photo is of Helena Reimer with her sister Neta Toews, after receiving the Order of Canada, which

    she is wearing. Both Helena and Neta are wearing long, pale blue dresses with white gloves. Helena is also

    wearing around her neck the watch that her mother gave to her father when they were married.
    666:6 Helena Reimer's Retirement, Montreal 1969. - [1969]. - 20 x 25.5 [col.].

    This photo is of Helena Reimer greeting another woman at her farewell occasion in Montreal.
    666:7 Helena Reimer's Retirement, Montreal 1969. - [1969]. - 20 x 25.5 [col.].

    This photo is of Helena Reimer on the occasion for her farewell from the Order of Nurses of Quebec. She

    is being applauded by a room full of people.
    666:8 Helena Reimer's Retirement, Montreal 1969. - [1969]. - 20 x 25.5 [col.].

    This photo is of Helena Reimer at her farewell from the Order of Nurses of Quebec after she had spent

    12 years as Secretary-Registrar. The farewell was held at the Queen Elizabeth Hotel in Montreal. In the

    photo Helena is standing behind a podium to make a speech.
    666:9 Helena Reimer's Retirement, Montreal 1969. - [1969]. - 20 x 25.5 [col.].

    This photo is of Helena Reimer making her farewell speech upon her retirement from the Order of Nurses

    of Quebec in Montreal at the Queen Elizabeth Hotel.
    666:10 Helena Reimer's Retirement, Montreal 1969. - [1969]. - 20 x 25.5 [col.].

    This photo is of Helena Reimer and three other women at her farewell reception in Montreal. The ladies are

    visiting and smiling.
    666:11 Helena Reimer's Retirement, Montreal 1969. - . - 20 x 25.5 [col.].

    This photo is of Helena Reimer and friends in the nursing profession at her farewell reception in Montreal.
    666:12 Portrait of Helena F. Reimer upon her visit to Montreal in 1974. - [1974]. - 19.5 x 25.5 [col.].

    This photo is of Helena Reimer sitting at the desk in her old office at the Order of Nurses of Quebec

    building. Helena is holding a pen and the desk has a pile of file folders stacked on it.
    666:13 Portrait of Helena F. Reimer upon her visit to Montreal in 1974. - [1974]. - 19.5 x 25.5 [col.].

    This photo is of Helena Reimer when she visisted Montreal in 1974 to receive the Order of Canada. The

    Order of Nurses of Quebec held a reception for Helena to celebrate the occasion. Helena is in the centre,

    and on the back of the photo she describes the event and the people beside her. Among them are Eileen

    Flanagan and James [Hugenou?].
    666:14 Helena F. Reimer receives Univ. of Winnipeg Honorary Doctorate. - Oct. 26, 1974. - 24.5 x

    19 cm. [b&w].

    This photo shows Helena F. Reimer at the University of Winnipeg convocation ceremony in 1974 where

    she was awarded with an Honorary Doctorate. Greeting Helena is Agatha Dyck Warkentin, a former

    teacher and old friend.
    666:15 Female Student Making Dorm Bed. - 1955. - 5.5 x 4.5 cm. [b&w].

    This photo depicts a female student making her bed at the Higher Institute of Nursing at the University of

    Alexandria in Egypt, which Helena Reimer helped to found.

    Photos 666-15 through 666-35 are in a green album with Egyptian art on the cover. The album was

    presented to Helena in 1955 as token of appreciation from her students at the Higher Institute of Nursing

    at the University of Alexandria.
    666:16 Female Student Making Dorm Bed. - 1955. - 5.5 x 4.5 cm. [b&w].

    This photo depicts a female student making her bed at the Higher Institute of Nursing at the University of

    Alexandria in Egypt.
    666:17 Helena F. Reimer touring building in Egypt. - 1955. - 6 x 6 cm. [b&w].

    This photo shows Helen F. Reimer in a small group on a tour of a building somewhere in Egypt. Helena is

    second from the left, and is wearing a light grey skirt and jacket.
    666:18 Female student sitting at desk. - 1955. - 4.5 x 5.5 cm. [b&w].

    This photo shows a female student of the Higher Institute of Nursing sitting at a desk writing in a little
    666:19 Female student posing in classroom with skeleton model. - 1955. - 4.5 x 5.5 cm. [b&w].

    This photo shows a female student of the Higher Institute of Nursing standing beside a skeleton model in

    a classroom.
    666:20 Helena F. Reimer at the Higher Institute of Nursing. - 1955. - 4.5 x 5.5 cm. [b&w].

    This photo is of Helena sitting in a chair next to a bookcase and holding papers at the Higher Institute of

    Nursing at the University of Alexandria, Egypt. She is wearing a dark blouse and long skirt, and glasses.
    666:21 Female Students in an Anatomy class. - 1955. - 4.5 x 5.5 cm. [b&w].

    This photo shows four students with an anatomical model at the Higher Institute of Nursing in Alexandria,

    Egypt.
    666:22 Students in Nursing Class. - 1955. - 4.5 x 5.5 cm. [b&w].

    This photo is of a classroom of nursing students at the Higher Institute of Nursing at the University of

    Alexandria, Egypt. They are sitting at desks and the teacher is at the blackboard. They are learning about

    the history of nursing.
    666:23 Huddle of Nursing Students. - 1955. - 4.5 x 5.5 cm. [b&w].

    This is a photo of a group of a dozen female nursing students all huddled together discussing something

    at the Higher Institute of Nursing in Alexandria, Egypt.
    666:24 Three Girls Riding Two Bikes. - 1955. - 4.5 x 5.5 cm. [b&w].

    This photo shows three young women riding on two bikes in Alexandria, Egypt. They are some of Helena's

    students at the Higher Institute of Nursing there.
    666:25 Nursing Students playing Volleyball in Egypt. - 1955. - 4.5 x 5.5 cm. [b&w].

    This is a photo of a group of female nursing students playing a game of Volleyball outside in Alexandria,

    Egypt. They are all dressed in long skirts and blouses.
    666:26 Nursing students in classroom lab. - 1955. - 4.5 x 5.5 cm. [b&w].

    This photo shows a classroom of young nursing students in white lab coats using microscopes at the

    Higher Institute of Nursing in Alexandria, Egypt.
    666:27 Nursing students and staff standing on a lawn in Egypt. - 1955. - 4.5 x 5.5 cm. [b&w].

    This photo shows a group of about twenty people, mostly students, standing and talking to one another on

    a lawn in Alexandria, Egypt. Helena F. Reimer is among the group, towards the right side in a medium

    coloured jacket and pleated skirt. She is holding up her right hand.
    666:28 Classroom of Nursing Students at University of Alexandria. - 1955. - 4.5 x 5.5 cm. [b&w].

    This photo is of a classroom of nursing students, all appear to be young women, at the Higher Institute of

    Nursing at the University of Alexandria, Egypt.
    666:29 Nursing Students looking at textbook. - 1955. - 4.5 x 5.5 cm. [b&w].

    This photo shows two female nursing students looking at a textbook on a cart of books at the Higher

    Institute of Nursing.
    666:30 Nursing Students with Anatomical Model. - 1955. - 4.5 x 5.5 cm. [b&w].

    This photo shows two young women posing with an anatomy model. A skeleton model is in the background

    to the right of the anatomy model.
    666:31 Student with book at Higher Institute of Nursing. - 1955. - 4.5 x 5.5 cm. [b&w].

    This photo is of a female nursing student sitting at a desk with a book open in front of her. Behind her

    another student is standing reading a book.
    666:32 Nursing Students at University of Alexandria. - 1955. - 4.5 x 5.5 cm. [b&w].

    This photo is of a group of nursing students in a large room. Some of them are sitting at a table working

    on something, while the others are looking on.
    666:33 Model Hospital Room at Higher Institute of Nursing. - 1955. - 4.5 x 5.5 cm. [b&w].

    This photo shows a model hospital room, complete with model patients; one is lying in a bed and the other

    is being pushed in a wheelchair by a student.
    666:34 Nursing Students in Library. - 1955. - 4.5 x 5.5 cm. [b&w].

    This photo shows a small group of nursing students working in a library at the Higher Institute of Nursing

    at the University of Alexandria, Egypt.
    666:35 Helena F. Reimer and Staff. - [195-]. - 13 x 8.5 cm. [b&w].

    This is a photo of Helena Reimer and her fellow staff members from the Higher Institute of Nursing at the

    University of Alexandria in Egypt. There are six women all together, Helena being the only one sitting

    down. On the back of the photo is written "Helena Reimer, Muriel Graham and staff".