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Archival description
Religions English
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Correspondence and other documents

Series documents the imprisonment of Sons of Freedom convicts at Piers Island Penitentiary between 1932 and 1934, from its initial stage in search for an island to set up the prison to determining the conditions for release of the prisoners. The records, the majority of which consist of correspondence between senior officials, shed light on the construction and management of the prison, as well as the problems that the federal prison system encountered regarding both personnel and prisoners.
Series consists of textual records including correspondence, telegrams, and memoranda, most of which were written to or by H. W. Cooper. The remainder of the records were created by other authorities, prisoners, and relatives of prisoners. Series also contains a warrant written by J. Cartmel and a chronology written in shorthand by H. W. Cooper. Also included in the series is an empty manila envelope. The records in this series have been arranged into the following three files: 1932; 1933; and 1934.

Doukhobor collection

  • MsC 121
  • Fonds
  • 1886-1999, predominant 1898-1937

Collection comprises photographs, manuscripts, correspondence, ephemera, books and periodical material resulting from and pertaining to the settlement and subsequent history of Doukhobors in Western Canada. Books and periodical items have been catalogued in the SFU Library Catalogue. Digitized images and accompanying descriptions of a portion of the collection are available on the Doukhobor Collection, 1898-1930 website.

J. A. Forin

This sous-fonds includes letters authored and received by J. A. Forin between 1926 and 1933, handwritten note, clippings, broadside as well as three publication belonging to Forin that contain his handwritten annotations. All records are in English.

Forin, John Andrew

Photographs

Series displays photographs taken on Piers Island showing the officers, guards, and matrons; male and female prisoners visiting through a fence that separates men’s and women’s compounds; female prisoners working; penitentiary buildings; penitentiary perimeter; vessel used for transferring prisoners; and a patrol boat. As there are no dates recorded for these photographs, it is not possible to determine the exact dates they were taken; however, based on the subject matter, it is assumed that dates of creation are between 1932 and 1934.

[1932]

File consists of correspondence to and from H. W. Cooper pertaining to the construction of the penitentiary and matters regarding the personnel and prisoners; a warrant prepared by J. Cartmel pertaining to Mike Woiken, one of the prisoners; a chronology written in shorthand by H. W. Cooper regarding a search for an island to set up the penitentiary; the translation of a letter from Russian to English from an inmate to his wife; a report on the refusal of some prisoners to work; telegrams regarding the construction of the penitentiary; and an empty manila envelope belonging to B.C. Penitentiary.

[1933]

File consists of correspondence to and from H. W. Cooper regarding prison guards; conduct of convicts; matrons; absence of acting deputy warden; and the appointment of Major Poirier to Temporary Deputy Wardenship. Other correspondence includes a letter from Superintendent D. M. Ormond to Major I. A. Poirier regarding his transfer to the Deputy Wardenship of Piers Island Penitentiary; and a letter to a prisoner from his sister regarding the well-being of his children and lack of sufficient funds for their care. File also contains three memos; one telegram regarding the purchase of water tanks; as well as a list of construction costs.

[1934]

File consists of correspondence to and from H. W. Cooper regarding the release of Doukhobor convicts; the sequence of events from the arrival of the “Sons of Freedom” at the penitentiary; and Deputy Warden R. S. Douglass, his responsibilities at Piers Island Penitentiary, and his successful performance of duties . File also contains one letter from G. Sloan, Attorney General of B.C., to Hugh Guthrie, Minister of Justice, pertaining to policies towards the “Sons of Freedom”.

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