Fonds RBSC-ARC-1379 - Francis Millerd fonds

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Francis Millerd fonds

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  • Source of title proper: Title based on the contents of the fonds.

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  • 1893, 1921-2000 (Creation)
    Francis Millerd
    Predominate 1921-1977

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Physical description

1.94 m of textual records
180 photographs

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Biographical history

Francis (Frank) Millerd was born in County Cork, Ireland, in 1883. He came to Canada via South Africa -- where he served in the Boer War -- in 1908. Upon arrival, he took a job in a cannery at Steveston, British Columbia, and thereafter remained in the fishing business of the Fraser River area of British Columbia for the rest of his life. In 1909, he married Annie Findon of Ontario and they subsequently parented five children. By 1937, he was a member of the prestigious Vancouver Club. Millerd's home and place of business were both located in West Vancouver.

Early in his career, Millerd entered into employ and eventual partnership with Captain Gosse, forming first the "Gosse-Millerd Packing Company" and later, the "Gosse-Millered Limited" company. In 1922, he disassociated himself from Gosse, and in 1924 established the "Sommerville Cannery Company Limited," building and purchasing several canneries. At some point, he also formed "Millerd Packing Company Limited," which was either concurrent with or subsequent to his other company. By 1942, he had established "Francis Millerd and Company Limited," with himself as president. This appears to have subsumed earlier companies, although at some point a subsidiary company called "Millerd Great Northern Fisheries Limited" was formed.

Around 1935, Millerd's sons Frank and Don began working for his company. Millerd never actually retired but his sons gradually assumed more business responsibility and by 1965, when he was 84, Millerd only worked a few hours a day. In the mean time, Millerd became more involved in various fisheries related organizations. Most notably, he acted as president of the Fisheries Council of Canada in 1951-52. This umbrella organization was aimed at consolidating the activities of groups involved in the fishing industry and representing them to government. In 1953, Millerd was appointed a member of the Fisheries Prices Support Board, aimed at preventing price collapses in the fisheries. In 1964, he was appointed to the International Pacific Halibut Commission, a Canada-US body whose purpose was to maintain local halibut stocks.

Francis Millerd died in 1976.

Custodial history

Scope and content

The fonds primarily consists of records from the Francis Millerd and Company Limited (Francis Millerd & Co. Ltd.) business. These records mostly relate to the company and its relationship with its fishermen. The two primary functions of Francis Millerd & Co. Ltd. were the processing of fish and the contracting of fishermen to supply these fish. The fish processed were mainly varieties of salmon, as well as herring, clams, bloaters, sardines, dog fish, kippers, and silvets. Processing mainly took the form of canning, but smoking, curing, and freezing was also used. Some fishermen merely sold their fish to the company while others used company gear or vessels, often on mortgage plans or promisary notes. Others worked for hourly wages. The company possessed at least one cannery, the Great Northern Cannery, which Millerd had purchased in 1923. Until the late 1930s, the company made its own cans from sheets of tin. There were one hundred employees at the time of its sale in 1968. A packer vessel named Great Northern 8 was associated with this cannery, most likely preceded by similarly named vessels.

Other records in this fonds include materials which reflect on Millerd's activities and interests within the Canadian fishing and canning industries.

The fonds consists of five series titled: Early fishing company ventures; Francis Millerd and Company Limited papers; Francis Millerd Papers; Francis Millerd journals and day planners; and Publications produced by and for other agencies. The majority of the records within this fonds contain day to day administrative and financial records of Francis Millerd & Co. Ltd., including ledgers, mortgages, purchasing transactions, other contracts and agreements, log books, documents concerning company property and promisary notes. Other documents include vessel licenses, bills of sale, letters, rough notes, receipts, blueprints, and property appraisals.

Other records in the fonds include photographs, journals, day planners, research papers, yearbooks, and government-produced acts, regulations, news releases and reports.

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Physical condition

Immediate source of acquisition

The fonds was donated by Francis Millerd Jr., who inherited his father's business and his papers in September 1986. A subsequent accrual was added in 2002.


Upon receiving the initial donation, no filing system was discernible. Papers were loosely sorted or placed in envelopes. The original arrangement was only apparent at the item level, where several papers were often folded together or placed in a labeled envelope. Series, then, have been establishing in an attempt to reflect the functions of the creating agency.

While processing the accrual, it was deemed by the Archivist and the Archival Assistant that the Francis Millerd and Company Limited series was subdivided too narrowly as the previous arrangement had ten subseries. They were thus removed, creating one whole series.

Also during the accrual process, two of the four original series were renamed for clarity sake. "Sommerville Cannery Company records" was renamed "Early fishing ventures" and "Documents produced by and for other agencies" was renamed "Publications produced by and for other agencies."

A fifth series, "Francis Millerd's journals and day planners" was also added during the accrual process.

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Finding aids

The RAD-compliant description for the initial donation was prepared by Susan Hart in November, 1987. The finding aid was updated to include the records donated in 2002 accrual by Katie Sloan in November 2015.

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No further accruals are expected.

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