The History of the Daughters of the Midnight Sun
The Daughters of the Midnight Sun were founded in 1938 around the table of Mrs. Bailes. On November 11th, 1938 Yellowknife's first "women only" social organization, the Daughters of the Midnight Sun, (DMS), was formed. They adopted the motto "To contribute to the betterment of the community and to enjoy the friendship with each other having no regard to racial, religious, or political prejudices."
On the 10th anniversary of DMS, Yellowknife's News of the North wrote that the "women were busy...they bought books for the newly organized school, sponsored dances and socials, purchased medicine, food and clothing for needy cases, planned their first mid-night banquet on the longest day of the year, gave great surprise parties, held Hallowe'en masquerades, donated to the Red Cross, sent gifts to the local boys in uniform during the war, started the town's first lending library...[and]... contributed to the school-building fund." And that was just in their first ten years!
DMS social events and the sale of their famous cookbooks raised funds for many different projects over the years and, while one of its stated goals was to make Yellowknife a better place, it also allowed Yellowknife women, faced with the prospect of life in an isolated far-northern mining town, the perfect means to socialize.
The highlight of each year, and the origin of this organizations unusual name, was the "annual banquet held at midnight of June 21, when the Daughters leave their husbands at home and have fun on their own!
As Yellowknife grew and developed, in part because of the selfless work of the Daughters, there was less of a need for an organization like DMS. Women had many other choices for social activities and by the early 1980's membership in DMS, which had once peaked at 90, had dwindled to only 25.
The final meeting of the Daughters of the Midnight Sun was held in 1985. In a final act to help make Yellowknife a better place to live, the club donated $5000 to the Yellowknife Association of Concerned Citizens for Seniors to help construct Avens Manor.
Taken from the Prince of Wales Heritage Centre - Archives
Proceeds for the sale of the cookbooks will go to the Yellowknife Seniors Society and to the production of Women of the Midnight Sun, a musical highlighting the rich history of DMS.