- MsC 147
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]).