Fonds MsC-151 - Harry and Valerie Jerome fonds

Title and statement of responsibility area

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Harry and Valerie Jerome fonds

General material designation

  • Textual records
  • Moving images
  • Artefacts
  • Photographic materials
  • Sound recordings

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Dates of creation area


  • 1887-2011, predominant 1946-2011 (Creation)
    Jerome, Harry and Valerie

Physical description area

Physical description

.69 m of textual records
297 photographs
3 videocassettes
3 audio cassettes
3 objects

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Archival description area

Name of creator

(Jerome, Harry 1940-1982, Jerome Valerie 1944-)

Biographical history

Harry Winston Jerome was born in Prince Albert, Saskatchewan on September 30, 1940, and Valerie Jerome, his sister, was born in 1944. Their parents, Harry Vincent Jerome and Elsie Howard, met after the death of John Armstrong “Army” Howard who was Elsie’s father and Harry’s co-worker at the railway. In 1951, the Jerome family moved to North Vancouver, where both Harry and Valerie began their track careers. Valerie ran on the track team at Sutherland Junior High, and, a year later, Harry took up running at North Vancouver High School in 1958. After succeeding in his first track season, Harry was noticed by John Minichiello, a coach for the Vancouver Optimist Striders. Both Harry and Valerie ended up running for the Striders.

While Harry excelled at many sports, his trademarks were his speed and running abilities. He was one of the best sprinters in his day, both within Canada and internationally. At age 18, Harry broke the 31-year-old Canadian record for the 220-yard sprint – held by 1928 double Olympic gold medallist Percy Williams. In 1960, his athletic career became international when he equalled the world record for 100 metres by clocking in at 10.0 seconds at the Canadian Olympic Trials in Saskatoon. Harry and Valerie Jerome both qualified and ran in the 1960 Summer Olympics in Rome. During the semi-finals at the Rome Olympics, Harry collapsed with a torn hamstring. In spite of this injury, he made his return during the indoor season in 1961. During the 1962 Pan-American Games in Perth, Australia, Harry suffered a major leg injury. He underwent surgery for the torn muscle in his left thigh in December 1962 and was unable to compete in the 1963 track season. He was told by orthopedic surgeons that he would never run again; he spent ten weeks in the hospital and months in a cast. During this time, the Harry Jerome Scholarship was created by R.C. Gibbs. In spite of the severity of his injury, Harry made his return to the sport in 1964. At the 1964 Summer Olympics in Tokyo, he earned a bronze medal in the 100-metre final. In 1966, at the British Commonwealth Games in Jamaica, he won the 100 metre finals, earning a gold medal. In addition, he also set a world record of 9.1 seconds over 100 yards that year and won a gold medal in the Pan-American Games in 1967. Harry competed in his third Olympics in 1968, representing Canada in Mexico City; however, he finished seventh in the Olympic final. At the end of the 1968 season, he retired, ending a career that included stints as the world’s fastest man in tying the 100 yards world record of 9.3 seconds in 1960. Two years later he lowered it to 9.2 in a memorable day at Vancouver’s Empire Stadium. In 1966, he improved again upon that mark by running 9.1. During his career, he also held the world indoor mark for 60 yards and ran the anchor leg for his University of Oregon relay team that set a world mark in the 4×110-yard relay. After his retirement, he was named “British Columbia’s Athlete of the Century”.

Harry Jerome married Wendy Carole Foster, of Edmonton, in July 1962. He met Wendy at the University of Oregon, and they were married at the Norwood United Church in Edmonton. Wendy graduated from the University of Alberta and took a year of post-graduate work at the University of Oregon, where she met Harry. Harry and Wendy had a daughter, Deborah Jerome. Harry completed a B.Sc. and an M.Sc. at the University of Oregon.

In addition to his athletic career, Harry spent time teaching. In 1964 and 1965, he taught math and science at Richmond Secondary School. In the late 1960s, Harry set up his own track club called the Charlie Brown Track Club. In the 1970s, he taught at Templeton as a Physical Education teacher. Harry was also involved in athletic programming for youth. He worked as a recreation consultant for Sports Canada, a program that worked in conjunction with the Federal Ministry of Sport; during this time, Harry became involved in the Cross-Canada Sports Demonstration, a school program, which travelled from coast to coast with the theme “You Can Do It”. In 1971, Harry created the Premier’s Sports Award Program, a program that ran in BC high schools until the early 1980s. In1971, Harry also received the Order of Canada. Harry Jerome died suddenly from a brain aneurysm on December 7, 1982, at age 42.

In addition to her own track career, Valerie Jerome taught for 35 years. After Harry’s death, she began the Harry Jerome Commemorative Society in 1983. The committee fundraised and created a memorial for Harry, a bronze statue, sculpted by Jack Harman, which is situated in Vancouver’s Stanley Park. Harry’s legacy still remains with the annual Harry Jerome International Track Classic and the Black Business and Professional Association’s Harry Jerome Awards.

Custodial history

The records were in the custody of the creators, Harry and Valerie Jerome. When Harry died in 1982, Valerie Jerome took custody of the records held by Harry and also took custody of various records, such as newspaper clippings, photographs, audio cassettes, and videocassettes, which were given to her by friends of the late Harry Jerome. Valerie Jerome kept the records until their donation to Simon Fraser University Library, Special Collections and Rare Books in February 2012.

Scope and content

The fonds consists of textual records and other media created by Harry and Valerie Jerome, which reflect the various facets of Harry Jerome’s life, including academics, athletics, and community/national sports initiatives. While most of the records reflect Harry’s life, the fonds also includes records that pertain to Valerie Jerome’s life, namely her athletic and political career. In addition, a biographical manuscript, which is Valerie Jerome’s written iteration of the story of the Jerome family and Harry’s life, is included in the fonds. The fonds also includes records that were created by the Harry Jerome Commemorative Society and the Black Business and Professional Association’s Harry Jerome Awards. Additionally, the newspaper clipping series includes a file featuring Valerie Jerome’s son and Harry Jerome’s nephew, Stuart Parker, and his political endeavors with the British Columbia Green Party. In order to respect the multiple creators and the overall nature of the records, the fonds has been arranged into the following six series: Harry Jerome records; the Valerie Jerome records; Harry Jerome Award programs; the Harry Jerome Commemorative Society records; newspaper clippings; and photographs.

Notes area

Physical condition

Immediate source of acquisition

The records were donated by Valerie Jerome in February 2012. Some additional biographical notes were obtained in July 2012 and additional newspaper clippings were added in September 2012.


Records were in no discernible order when they arrived at SFU Special Collections and Rare Books. The arrangement of the fonds into series and file levels were provided by the archivist, with consultation of Valerie Jerome, in order to respect the multiple creators represented in this acquisition and the nature/context of the records themselves.

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Terms governing use, reproduction, and publication

Many of the works in this fonds, eg. newspaper clippings, written material, and photographs, are under copyright. Researchers are required to secure permission from the copyright holder(s) for uses of this material other than those covered by ‘fair-dealing’.

Access to some material in this fonds has been restricted by the donor.

Finding aids

File list is available.

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No further accruals are expected.

General note

Additional biographical information may be found in Valerie Jerome’s manuscript, under the series “Valerie Jerome records”.

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Dates of creation, revision and deletion

Created May 7, 2014 LZ

Language of description

  • English

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