Fonds RBSC-ARC-1657 - Hilda Thomas fonds

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Hilda Thomas fonds

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Physical description

7.34 m of textual records and other material

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Biographical history

Hilda Louise Thomas (nee Halpin) was born June 23, 1928 in Kimberley, BC. Thomas attended the University of British Columbia, where she received a B.A. in 1948 and an MA in 1965. She went on to become a Senior Instructor in the Department of English, where she taught for 30 years.
Thomas was an active member of the New Democratic Party and its predecessor, the Cooperative Commonwealth Federation (CCF) from 1951 until the end of her life. She ran for city council in 1970, and for the provincial NDP in 1972, 1975, 1979 and 1983. She also ran for nomination in the Federal NDP. Among other party activities, she served on the executive of the Vancouver Point Grey, and on the executive and council of both the provincial and federal parties. She was a chair of the Federal Participation of Women Committee, and active member of the BC Womens Rights Committee (WRC).
Thomas was also an active community activist. She was a socialist, feminist, environmentalist and anti-war activist. She was heavily involved in protesting the Vietnam War, and was Chair of the Vietnam Action Committee. Later she was active in protesting the Gulf War and Iraqi sanctions, as well as on behalf of Palestinians. In 1988 she helped found Everywomans Health Clinic, the first freestanding abortion clinic in British Columbia. She was also a founding member of the Endowment Lands Regional Park Committee, which worked to preserve Pacific Spirit Park as a Regional Park.
She died in Vancouver in 2005, survived by her husband, Philip J. Thomas, and three children.

Custodial history

Scope and content

The fonds consists of records related to Thomas's activities as a politician, UBC professor, and community activist.
The fonds is arranged into series based on Thomas's activities. Records relating to the NDP have been divided into the New Democratic Party of Canada series, the New Democratic Party of British Columbia, Point Grey series and the New Democratic Party Vancouver Area Council series. There are also separate New Democratic Party Participation of Women Committee and New Democratic Party of British Columbia Standing Committee on Women's Rights series.
The fonds also contains records related to Thomas's activism in many areas. Thomas was an active member of many activist organizations, and these organizations comprise the Committee to Defend Political Prisoners in Quebec series, the Endowment Lands Regional Park Committee series, the BC Federation of Labour series, the Women's Selection Committee for Women's Health Advisory Committee to the Vancouver Health Board series, and the BC Federation of Women series.
Thomas also kept subject files and correspondence related to her activism that included material from several organizations, or from none. These records have been grouped into series based on the subject, including the Vietnam War series, the Women and Peace series, the Human Rights series, the Feminism Subject Files series, the Anti-nuclear war subject file series and the Labour Activities subject file series.
The fonds contains records from Thomas's time as a professor in the University of British Columbia series. Student essays written by Thomas are in the Student essays series. Thomas's research on Malcolm Lowry comprises a separate series.
Finally the fonds contains the Everywoman's Health Centre series.

Notes area

Physical condition

Immediate source of acquisition

Donated by the Thomas family in 2008.

One accrual acquired by Rare Books and Special Collections between, circa 2010.

Some Malcolm Lowry material in fonds was originally in the Philip J. Thomas fonds, which was acquired by Rare Books and Special Collections in 2015.


Where files in the fonds existed and were kept together, original order has been maintained. Where no original order could be ascertained, material has been arranged into series based on Thomas’s activities. As many of Thomas’s activities overlapped, subject files on various issues were maintained by her with no indication of how they related to her activities. These have been maintained as separate subject files, including files related to feminism, labour, and nuclear weapons and energy. These subject files contain primarily printed material and research notes written by Thomas.
Printed material has been included with the fonds when in the context of Thomas’s activities. Other printed material has been removed.

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No further accruals expected.

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Finding aid updated to include 2010 and 2015 accruals in October 2015 by M. Hunter.
Additional revision to 2015 accruals made in January 2016 by M. Hunter.

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