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George Gee fonds
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82 cm of textual records
2 mm micrographic copies
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George Gee was born on July 22, 1908 in Virden, Manitoba, where he lived with his parents and 9 brothers and sisters. After his father's death in 1909, the family's financial situation worsened until foreclosure forced the family to scatter across Canada in search of employment. Gee stayed in Manitoba working as a labourer until the stock market crash of 1929 forced him into the ranks of the unemployed. He then moved to Princeton, British Columbia to join his brothers. While in Princeton, Gee and his brothers supported themselves with odd jobs and George increasingly came under the influence of his brother Bill, who had joined the communist party in 1932. He also became affiliated with well-known communist organizer Arthur "Slim" Evans while helping with the Tulameen Coal Miner's Strike in 1933. In March of 1934, Gee married Lillian Smith-Mitchell of Princeton, B.C. Gee left Princeton in 1935 and took a job with Peterson Electric in Vancouver, B.C. Soon after, Gee was laid off and joined the communist party. In 1936, he left Vancouver for Seattle, Washington where he found steady work and joined the Local 77 chapter of the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (I.B.E.W.). In 1937, Gee moved back to Vancouver and worked for B.C. Electric. This same year, George and Lillian had their first daughter, Joyce. The Gee family welcomed their second daughter (Shirley) in 1939. On August 4, 1939, he began his career with the Local 213 of the I.B.E.W, where he went on to serve as a business agent from 1946-1955. During these years, the Gees had two more children, a daughter (Bonnie) and a son (James). Gee was expelled from the union in 1955 due to his political affiliation, where after he returned to his job at B.C. Electric (from which he had taken a leave of absence from 1946 on). After only working a half-day, Gee was fired because of his expulsion from the I.B.E.W. Five days later, close to 300 electrical workers walked off the job in protest to Gee's dismissal. From the date of his firing in 1955 until 1957, Gee made a series of attempts within the I.B.E.W. to be reinstated. The attempts all failed and were eventually followed by a trial in the Supreme Court, which rejected Gee's charges against the I.B.E.W. After Gee's defeat in The Supreme Court, he ran a small heating business called G&B Heating until 1960, when he, his wife Lilian, and their son James moved to Edmonton, Alberta. He worked there as the western representative for The United Electrical, Radio and Machine Workers of America (U.E.). In 1967 Gee moved back to Vancouver, B.C., and continued to fulfil this position until his retirement in 1974. By 1974, The Gees purchased property in Davis Bay, Sechelt. Gee was actively involved in political affairs, civic affairs and was one of the founding members of the Sechelt Communist Party.
Fonds was donated by Joyce F. Gee, daughter of George Gee, in July of 1992. The second accession, an accrual, was also donated by Joyce Gee in the fall of 2016, after she obtained the files from Library Archives Canada in 2013.
Scope and content
The fonds consists of correspondence, financial records, legal documents, subject files, surveillance files, and printed material relating mainly to the union activities of George Gee as a business agent for the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers, Vancouver Local 213, his expulsion from the union by an international representative of the union, and his attempts to be re-instated.
Handwritten, mimeographic, and typewritten documents have faded. Several documents have become embrittled due to paper acidity.
Immediate source of acquisition
Both accessions were immediately acquired from Joyce Gee, daughter of George Gee.
The fonds comprises two accessions, the first of which was donated in 1992. This accession spans boxes 1 to 3.The finding aid is available in this database and is a re-description of the original 1993 finding aid. There is no indication in the original finding aid or accession material regarding order. It is conjecture that the arranging archivist, except where it is noted at the series level, imposed order on the files. The second accession, an accrual, was donated in 2016, and the finding aid in this database has been updated to reflect this. In the 2016 accrual, physical order has been maintained by the archivist, and is reflected in the intellectual order described in the above series.
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File list available.
See also the Arthur H. Evans fonds and the Lily Greene fonds
No further accruals are expected.
A new finding aid was prepared in November 2009 by graduate students in the MAS/LIS at SLAIS, UBC. The arrangement was kept as it was found except for the omission of the first series, which contained two files: a biographical sketch created by the archivist, and a newspaper clipping about the passing of George Gee. This finding aid was then updated in October 2017 by MAS/MLIS graduate student Claire Williams to reflect the new accrual.
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New accrual processed and description updated by Claire Williams in Fall of 2017.
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Biography and custodial history found in the accession record. Additional information taken from the finding aid:
George Gee, 1908 – 1987: An inventory of records and papers in The Library of the University of British Columbia Special Collections and University Archives Division. Prepared by James Bowman, January 1993.