Fonds RBSC-ARC-1662 - Arne Johnson fonds

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Arne Johnson fonds

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44 cm of textual records; 10 photographs.

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Biographical history

Arne Johnson (Jonassen) was born in Kingsberg, Norway, in 1896 and emigrated to Canada in ca. 1911-12. He began farming in Saskatchewan and moved to Nixon Camp near Chase, B.C., to become a logger. Johnson became a leading figure in B.C. Coast loggers' organizations by 1928 and was a major figure in the loggers' strike of 1934. During his work career, he was a member of the One Big Union-British Columbia Loggers' Union, Lumber Workers Industrial Union of Canada, Lumber and Sawmill Workers Union, United Brotherhood of Carpenters and Joiners of America, International Woodworkers of America and the Woodworkers Industrial Union of Canada. He left union organizing to return to fall at various logging camps from 1936 until his retirement. During his career, his residences included Vancouver, Sointula, and Port McNeill.

Custodial history

Donation from family.
Addendum #2 remained in the custody of the Johnson family after Arne’s death. They were gradually transferred to family friend Clay Porter who brought them to RBSC at UBC.
Addendum #3 transferred to RBSC by Clay Perry in January 2011.

Scope and content

The fonds consists of documents relating to his career in logging, including membership cards in various union organizations; correspondence with Myrtle Bergren relating to her book, <em>Tough Timber</em>, on the history of the loggers of British Columbia; union correspondence, and minutes of some union meetings including a meeting of October 3, 1948 in which a motion was passed to disaffiliate the membership from the International Woodworkers of America (IWA) and form the Woodworkers Industrial Union of Canada.

The records in the first accrual reflect Johnson’s activities both as a leader in the The Lumber Worker’s Industrial Union (LWIU) during the first half of the 1930s and his later activities as part of the Lumber and
Sawmill Workers’ Union (LSWU) and IWA from 1937 to 1963. Included in the LWIU period are detailed financial and membership account books as well as meeting minutes and correspondence relating to the 1934 strike. This accrual contains the following series: Lumber Workers’ Industrial Union series, Lumber Workers’ Industrial Union financial records series, Lumber and Sawmill Workers’ Union (Local 1-7 1) series, Photograph series, Workers’ Unity League series, and Personal records series.

The second accrual consists of records related to Arne Johnson’s activities as a logger and trade unionist. There are two series: Union activities series and Historical controversies series.

The third accrual consists of two files added to the Personal records series: one file contains a variety of personal documents, including Johnson’s birth certificate, marriage certificate, transportation records, and correspondence; one is a notebook consisting mostly of newspaper clippings.

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Physical condition

Immediate source of acquisition

Donated by E. C. Johnson, March 7, 1999.
Addendum #1 acquired from Clay Porter in March of 2001.
Addendum #2 acquired from Clay Porter in March of 2007.


Material was kept by the family after the death of Arne Johnson. It was given to Clay
Perry to deposit on behalf of the family. Upon arrival, it was arranged by series.

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No restrictions were placed on access.

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Inventory available.

Associated materials

Myrtle Bergson’s 1966 book Tough Timber: The Loggers of BC, Their Story is based on extensive interviews with leading ILWU members including Johnson. A copy is located in UBC’s ASRS, call number: HD6528.W6 B4.

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Photograph identifier: BC-1974

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