Collection RBSC-ARC-1760 - Farris family collection

Title and statement of responsibility area

Title proper

Farris family collection

General material designation

Parallel title

Other title information

Title statements of responsibility

Title notes

  • Source of title proper: Title based on the content of the collection.

Level of description


Reference code


Edition area

Edition statement

Edition statement of responsibility

Class of material specific details area

Statement of scale (cartographic)

Statement of projection (cartographic)

Statement of coordinates (cartographic)

Statement of scale (architectural)

Issuing jurisdiction and denomination (philatelic)

Dates of creation area


Physical description area

Physical description

1 m of textual records and other material

Publisher's series area

Title proper of publisher's series

Parallel titles of publisher's series

Other title information of publisher's series

Statement of responsibility relating to publisher's series

Numbering within publisher's series

Note on publisher's series

Archival description area

Name of creator


Biographical history

The Farris family was considered a prominent family in the Vancouver area, producing distinguished lawyers and scholars over several generations. The patriarch, John Wallace de Beque Farris (1878–1970) was a successful lawyer in Vancouver and an active member of the Canadian Bar Association. Farris was also active in politics throughout his life, and acted as the Liberal MLA for Vancouver, the Attorney General and Minister of Labour, and was called to the Senate in 1937. Evlyn Fenwick Farris (1878-1971) was a scholar and advocate for continuing education and women's rights. She was the founder of the first University Women's Club of Vancouver, and was elected to the Senate of the University of British Columbia. These eminent positions afforded the Farris family an elevated station in their community, and the opportunity to associate with families not only in the Vancouver elite, but with other prominent Canadians.

John Wallace and Evlyn married in 1905, and had four children, Katherine Hay, Donald Fenwick, Ralph Keirstead, and John Lauchlan. The Farris family's prestige also contributed to the success of their children. Evlyn and John Wallace's son, John Lauchlan Farris (1911-1986) was well-known as the Chief Justice of British Columbia, and was a Harvard Law School graduate. After being called to the bar in British Columbia in 1935, he had a successful legal career and became a leading litigation counsel in Vancouver. Dorothy Beatrice Farris (1912-2004), a University of British Columbia graduate, and homemaker, married John Lauchlan in 1933 and had three children, Ann, Haig, and Katherine.

Custodial history

The Farris Family collection remained in the custody of several members of the family. Some of the records in the collection were made and received by John Wallace de Beque Farris and his wife Evlyn Fenwick Keirstad Farris, but upon their passing, many of their records were passed down to their son, John Lauchlan Farris. After his passing, his son, Haig de Beque Farris, continued donating records related to not only John Wallace de Beque Farris, but all the members of the Farris family from 2008-2015.

Scope and content

The collection reflects the careers and interests of the Farris family, who were prominent members of the Vancouver elite. Their status as a family of lawyers and educated individuals often allowed them the opportunity to travel and attend noted events such as the Royal Ascot Racecourse, and encounter several distinguished individuals, such as Prime Ministers Louis St. Laurent and Pierre Trudeau, Lieutenant Governor Walter Owen, and Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh. The collection consists chiefly of correspondence, photographs, matters of estate, family history, notebooks, manuscripts, legal memorabilia, and family memorabilia of John Wallace de Beque Farris, Evlyn Keirstad Farris, John Lauchlan Farris, and Dorothy Farris.

Notes area

Physical condition

Some items in the textual items in the fonds are brittle and are undergoing deterioration. Some records in the fonds feature rusting inorganic materials (e.g. staples and paperclips, spiral notebook coils). Some of the panoramic photographs are in need of conservation as well as the birth scrapbook of John Lauchlan Farris.

Immediate source of acquisition

The collection was acquired by the University of British Columbia Rare Books and Special Collections from the donor, Haig de Beque Farris, in several accessions.


There was no original order to the materials in the collection. All file titles were supplied by the archivist.

Language of material

  • English

Script of material

Location of originals

Availability of other formats

Restrictions on access

There are no restrictions on access

Terms governing use, reproduction, and publication

Finding aids

File list available

Generated finding aid

Associated materials


Further accruals are expected.

General note

Photograph identifiers: RBSC-ARC-1760-PH-001 to RBSC-ARC-1760-PH-140.

Maps that are a part of the Farris family collection have been removed and are catalogued separately. To access these items, search "Farris family collection" in the title field of the library catalogue.
Only one map remains in the collection, at the recommendation of the cataloguers.

Physical description

Includes 50 cm of textual records, 140 photographs, 2 cm of ephemera, 2 scrapbooks, 2 books, 1 audio reel, 1 medal, and 1 map.


The archivist has attempted to remove rusting inorganic materials from the fonds, but some remain.

Alternative identifier(s)

Standard number area

Standard number

Access points

Place access points

Genre access points

Control area

Description record identifier

Rules or conventions



Level of detail


Dates of creation, revision and deletion

Finding aid prepared by Andréa Tarnawsky (October 2016).
Finding aid updated by Andréa Tarnawsky (January 2018) to reflect an accrual to the fonds.
Finding aid updated by Ashlynn Prasad (August 2019).

Language of description

Script of description


Accession area