Collection MsC 147 - Piers Island “Sons of Freedom” Doukhobor Imprisonment collection

Title and statement of responsibility area

Title proper

Piers Island “Sons of Freedom” Doukhobor Imprisonment collection

General material designation

  • Textual record
  • Photographic material

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Title notes

  • Source of title proper: Title based on contents of the collection.

Level of description

Collection

Reference code

MsC 147

Edition area

Edition statement

Edition statement of responsibility

Class of material specific details area

Statement of scale (cartographic)

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Statement of scale (architectural)

Issuing jurisdiction and denomination (philatelic)

Dates of creation area

Date(s)

  • 1932-1934 (Creation)

Physical description area

Physical description

1.5 cm of textual records
30 photographs

Publisher's series area

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Archival description area

Custodial history

The records were saved from destruction in the basement of a North Vancouver home once occupied by H. W. Cooper and were then purchased by Simon Fraser University Library, Special Collections and Rare Books.

Scope and content

The collection offers insight into the imprisonment of the “Sons of Freedom” between 1932 and 1934 at Piers Island Penitentiary. The “Sons of Freedom” Doukhobors began as a small, radical movement to reinvigorate the faith, restore traditional Doukhobor values, and protest the sale of land, education, citizenship and registration of vital statistics. They would achieve infamy through civil disobedience, nude marches, and burnings. In 1932, over 600 Sons of Freedom protestors were convicted of public nudity. As B.C. Penitentiary was unable to handle such a rise in inmate population, a satellite prison under the authority of B.C. Penitentiary was constructed on Piers Island to house these prisoners. The records document how the prison was set up and run and the problems that the federal prison system encountered regarding both staff and prisoners. The correspondence and telegrams shed light on the internal discussions of senior officials concerning the management of the prison and its prisoners.
Fonds consists of correspondence, memoranda, telegrams, and other textual records pertaining to the Piers Island Penitentiary created or accumulated by H. W. Cooper during his career as the warden of B.C. Penitentiaries. The fonds also contains photographs which were all taken at Piers Island. The textual records predominantly consist of letters to and from H. W. Cooper regarding the penitentiary, staff, and prisoners. The records have been arranged into the following two series: Correspondence and other documents (1932-1934); and Photographs ([between 1932 and 1934]).

Notes area

Physical condition

Immediate source of acquisition

The collection was purchased by Simon Fraser University Library, Special Collections and Rare Books in 2012.

Arrangement

Language of material

  • English

Script of material

Location of originals

Availability of other formats

Restrictions on access

No restrictions have been placed on access.

Terms governing use, reproduction, and publication

Finding aids

File and item level descriptions are available.

Finding aid

Associated materials

Additional records pertaining to Piers Island Penitentiary and H. W. Cooper may be found in the Doukhobor collection (MsC 52) held in this institution.

Related materials

Accruals

Further accruals are not expected.

Alternative identifier(s)

Standard number area

Standard number

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Control area

Description record identifier

Institution identifier

Simon Fraser University Special Collections and Rare Books

Rules or conventions

Rules for Archival Description

Status

Published

Level of detail

Full

Dates of creation, revision and deletion

Created June 19, 2014 AS
Edited Sept. 4, 2014 MH

Language of description

  • English

Script of description

Sources

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