Fonds consists of the following series of textual records: personal papers, 1907-1972; correspondence concerning broadcasts, books, articles and personal matters, 1937-1973; finances, 1951-1952; Subject files, 1947-1958; manuscripts, 1935-1965; printed material related to broadcasts, recipe bulletins and her books as well as minutes for the Industrial Exhibition Association, and the Toronto Industrial Exhibition Prize List, 1862, 1882-1964; clippings and scrapbooks, 1928-1973.
The fonds also contains photographs of the life and career of Kate Aitken as teacher, home economist, and broadcaster; as well as Scott and Kennedy family portraits, [ca. 1880]-1966. Photographs depict teaching at Cypress Hills, Sask., broadcasting with C.B.C. and private radio stations, visits to the Canadian National Exhibition, Toronto, Ont., 1940-1951; visits to England, Korea, Germany, France, Australia, Mexico, Pakistan, Singapore, Japan, in the 1950's, portraits of Aitken by E.J. Blandford, Blackstone, Gilbert Milne, G.H. Jarrett; Aitken visiting an RCAF station, Goose Bay, Labrador, December 1955, photos by RCAF; Aitken with Senator John F. Kennedy at the convention of the American Women in Radio and Television, New York, N.Y., May 1959; McMaster University biology lectures televised on CHCH-TV, Hamilton, Ontario. Photos by Tom Bochler; portraits of Dr. Lajwanti Bhanot, Farley and Frances Mowat, Glenn Gould, and Kate Aitken by Gordon H. Jarrett, Robert C. Ragsdale and others.
Also included in the fonds are sound recordings of a speech given by Aitken at the C.N.E.; and "The Christmas Story" narrated by Aitken and Cy Strange, 1941.
Aitken, Kate, 1891-1971: Kate Aitken was born Kate Scott in Beeton, Ont. She taught school in Cypress Hills, Alta. Following her marriage to Henry M. Aitken in 1914, Aitken moved back to Ontario to run a poultry farm and fruit canning business. In 1923, Aitken became Director of Women's Activities for the Canadian National Exhibition and conducted cooking schools for 29 years until 1952. In 1927, she attended the Imperial Wheat Conference for the Ontario Department of Agriculture. Aitken began full-time broadcasting for CFRB and later CBC, writing and producing a homemaking-general news show three times a day, five days a week for over 23 years.
During World War II, Aitken was appointed Supervisor of Conservation for the Wartime Prices and Trade Board. Travelling across the country, "Mrs A" created her famous "Make over and make do" workshops designed to teach women to budget and conserve materials in short supply. As Food Editor for "The Standard" in 1945, Aitken travelled throughout Great Britain, Denmark and Norway doing a post-war food survey. She became a regular feature writer for the "Globe and Mail, "Chatelaine" and "Maclean's". She made five world tours to trouble areas such as Cyprus, Spain and Korea.
In 1955, Aitken resigned from radio in order to devote more time to writing and lecturing. She wrote more than a dozen books on cooking, travel and etiquette and two autobiographies; "Never a Day so Bright" (1956), and "Making Your Living is Fun" (1959). In 1958, Aitken was appointed to the Board of Directors of the CBC and in 1959, was CBC representative to the Canadian National Commission for UNESCO. Aitken was National Secretary for the Federated Women's Institute, President of the Toronto Women's Press Club and belonged to several other clubs.