Fonds RBSC-ARC-1300 - John Keenlyside Legal Research Collection

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John Keenlyside Legal Research Collection

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  • 1858-1900, 1923-1950. (Creation)
    Keenlyside, John S.

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138 cm of textual records

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Biographical history

John S. Keenlyside was born and raised in Vancouver and attended UBC and graduated with a degree in economics and political science. In 1973 he founded the investment counseling firm John S. Keenlyside & Co. which he manages with his two sons.
Stamp collecting was Keenlyside‟s initial collecting interest. Keenlyside is a Fellow of the Royal Philatelic Societies of London and Canada. He is also a director of a number of national philatelic societies and is a qualified national philatelic judge.
Keenlyside has been collecting 19th Century historical papers for over thirty-five years with his primary collecting interest being the history of British Columbia with an emphasis on the colonial period (pre- 1871). He has also collected documents relating to the fur trade and the Canadian Pacific Railway. Keenlyside collects manuscripts, documents, maps, books and ephemera relating to B.C. He has also donated two collections to Simon Fraser University: a substantial collection of Doukhobor material and a collection of HIV/Aids material.

Custodial history

The provenance of this collection starts with a fire in the Supreme Court in Victoria in the mid 1890s. In a rush to evacuate the records, a portion went to the British Columbia Provincial Archives and the other portion was removed and held by Justice Sir Henry Crease and his descendants until about 1950. The documents were then acquired by Dr. Joseph Pearce (Dominion Astrophysicist in Victoria) who had it administered by the well-known collector Gerald Wellburn after Pearce became critically ill. Wellburn sold the entire collection to a Vancouver stamp dealer in 1960 where it sat in a downtown vault of a trust company until 1991 when Keenlyside purchased it.

Rare Books and Special Collections acquired the Augustus Pemberton subseries from John Keenlyside on February 26, 2008 and the Inferior Court of Civil Justice subseries from Keenlyside December 30, 2008.

Scope and content

The fonds consists of legal documents collected by John Keenlyside over the last thirty five years. The documents give insight into the formation of British Columbia's legal system when it consisted of two colonies. The legal records (including writs, testimony, judgements, and other court documents) were produced by judges, magistrates, defendants, claimants, and other relevant parties. Some figures of historical significance who created legal records in this fonds are the first judge in BC, the first Attorney General, and BC's earliest clergy, businessmen, and other prominent figures from the colonial period.

This fonds also consists of documents related to the British Columbia Provincial Police force and various Japanese-Canadian and civil rights groups.

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Immediate source of acquisition

Accrual transferred from John Keenlyside in two portions in October and December of 2009.

Another accrual acquired from John Keenlyside in December 2010.

A third accrual was acquired from John Keenlyside in December 2013.

A fourth accrual was acquired from John Keenlyside in December 2018.


Material was collected and arranged by John Keenlyside.

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