Woman of the Week, Miss Jessie B. Mifflen, B.A., Evening Telegram, 1947, May 10, p.8
The only person remaining of the six ladies who pioneered in Adult Education in 1932, Miss Jesse Mifflin, B.A., is now with the division of Visual Education, which is a branch of the Department of Education.
Miss Mifflin has gleaned an extensive knowledge of the country from her years as a field worker and adult teacher. For the first four years of her connection with the Department of Education, she travelled all over the island, covering the north coast down to the Straits of Belle Isle, and along the south coast, spending two months in one settlement, two months and another. This experience has been invaluable to her in her present work. She then took over as acting field Secretary in the absence of the then Field Secretary, who was ill, and did this work for a year.
Miss Mifflin went to Columbia University in the summer months, where she took courses in Adult Education administration, she was given the charge Education. The year of the Coronation of the eight children who went to England to witness ceremonies and celebrations.[sic]
In 1942, Miss Mifflin severed temporarily her connection with the division of Adult Education, when she was granted leave of absence to join the Air Force. During this time, she saw different parts of Canada, spending most of her time, however, in Winnipeg. After a year, she was recalled to the Department, to take over permanently, the duties of Field Secretary.
When the work of the Department of Education was re-organized into rural and urban divisions, Miss Mifflin became the Urban Secretary, and helped in the organization and supervision of her districts. She continued with this work until last year, when the Film Board was taken over by the Department of Education, and Miss Mifflin was transferred there.
“The work is very varied,” Miss Mifflin explained. “I arrange programmes for our nine field workers who travel the county, and I keep contact with them while they are out in the field, and arrange their itineraries. I plan programmes for the schools and clubs here in the city, and in addition, there are this year, about twelve clergymen, who own their own projectors. I arrange programmes for them and send them out suitable films regularly. Several of the schools in urban areas have their own projectors, Corner Brook, Grand Falls, St. Michael’s College and St. George’s, and they get the same service. Then there are requests for films from Harmon Field, Argentia, and Fort Pepperrell.”
“There is never a dull moment with work of this type,” Miss Mifflin declared. “We are kept very busy. Most of the city schools make use of our films. Where school doesn’t have its own projector, we send our men to give shows about four times a week. And we also send films to the Orthopaedic Hospital, the Mental Hospital, the Sanitarium, and although the latter hospital does not use many of our films, we provide the facilities. With the co-operation of Rotary Club, they obtain special films.”
“Then we also cater to the Merchant Navy, and the Handicraft centle [sic], the Vocational Institute and the orphanages. A large number of church groups call for films, especially young people’s societies, a few women’s clubs, and the Y.W.C.A. We give two or three shows every day of the week, and all these have to be properly planned, and well balanced. An overdose of educational films is hardly the thing, so we include some entertainment in cartoons, singsong and sports films. At the present time, we get quite a demand for agricultural and co-operative films.”
Miss Mifflin made it very clear that the work started by the Film Board has increased by leaps and bounds. “There is absolutely no comparison,” she said, “between the work this year and last. Believe me, we don’t spend our time just looking at films. We are kept very, very busy.” Miss Mifflin herself has spent many of her half days and nights at work, cleaning up the jobs that could not receive her attention throughout the day. “But,” she shrugs, “I like it so well, that it isn’t work at all. It’s a pleasure.”
The Division of Visual Education has probably one of the largest library of films for the size of the country. Its 300??? pictures are of every type and can meet the needs of all sorts of groups of people. Outsiders who view the collection with amazement, declare that the library is better than any they have seen elsewhere. With such equipment at its disposal, it is not to be wondered at that so much has been accomplished in the visual education field.
The machinery, unfortunately, is very expensive, and few schools, except the larger ones have been able to afford to buy their own projectors. Miss Mifflin feels that he is only a question of time before schools all over the island will have them. Still pictures, however, are comparatively cheap, and many rural schools are showing these. A good library of filmstrips is being built up to serve these schools.
The projectionists cover the greater part of the island, except the northern peninsula, where traveling is difficult. Everywhere the films have been shown, they have been greatly appreciated, particularly in the smaller outports, where films had never been seen. “It helps make the job interesting,” Miss Mifflin said, “when you feel that you are making people happy while helping them.”
There has been a constant demand for the five Newfoundland films that have been made, particularly from the bases, where so little is known of the country as a whole, and requests have even come in from Canada. One of the ten copies of “Silent Menace” has been placed in almost every district.
The combination of the visual and adult education divisions is not actually[sic] complete as yet, although there is the closest co-operation between the workers. It is expected that when the contemplated change of quarters to Fort William has been made, the amalgamation will be complete.