Fonds OSC-ARC-02 - Simpson Family fonds

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Simpson Family fonds

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  • Multiple media

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  • Source of title proper: Title based on the content of the collection and on the information supplied by the donor/creator.

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Physical description area

Physical description

2.5m textual materials
2,642 photographs
28 artifacts
1 drawing
23 audio cassettes
1 VHS cassette

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Archival description area

Name of creator


Biographical history

Stanley Merriam Simpson (b.10 August 1886, d. 20 March 1959), also referred to as Stanley M. Simpson, or S.M. Simpson, was born in Chatsworth, ON. He arrived in Kelowna in 1913 at the age of 27. Here, he plied a carpentry trade and eventually established a screen door manufacturing company (S.M. Simpson Sash & Door, later S.M.S. Ltd., established 1916). Throughout his career, he established a box factory, a veneer plant, and a sawmill, all centred in the Kelowna, BC area. He also owned mill operations in Peachland, Lumby, and Malakwa, and operated a tree farm on the west side of Okanagan Lake.
In 1916, he married Bertha Birch, (b. 1885, d. 17 April 1917). A son, Horace Birch Simpson (b. 17 March 1917, d. 20 September 1994) was born.
On 25 November, 1944, following a series destructive mill fires, S.M. Simpson was approached by the city of Kelowna and asked to give the City of Kelowna an option to purchase the parcel of land damaged in the fire on Kelowna’s waterfront on Okanagan Lake. S.M. Simpson agreed, but only under particular terms of sale governing the exclusive civic or community use of the land, and conditions of resale, which precluded any subsequent commercial uses of the land. A total of nearly eight acres was purchased by the City for $55,000. The City acknowledged that the purchase price was considerably less than it would have been if it were purchased for the purpose of subdivision and commercial use. This agreement would come to be known as “The Simpson Covenant” and/or “The Simpson Covenants,” and/or “The Kelowna Sawmill Covenants.”

Name of creator

Biographical history

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(1938 -)

Biographical history

Sharron J. Simpson was born and grew up in Kelowna. After attending university, Sharron Simpson resided in Vancouver, Montreal, and Toronto before returning to Kelowna in 1984. Her occupations have included social worker, stockbroker, politician, and teacher.
Sharron J. Simpson has been actively engaged in advocacy for the preservation of family and community heritage and led the successful 2007 court challenge of the City of Kelowna’s proposed dissolution of the Simpson Covenant which was put in place by her grandfather, Stanley Merriam Simpson.

Custodial history

Custody of materials transferred from SMS Ltd. offices and succeeding agencies to Sharron J. Simpson, who donated these aggregations as well as her own materials to UBC Okanagan Library in 2014.

Scope and content

The fonds consists of two separate streams of documentation. The first consists of documents, photographs, and artifacts pertaining to the operations of a succession of sawmills and wood manufacturing plants founded by Stanley Merriam Simpson) and assumed by his son, Horace B. Simpson in the Okanagan area.
The second stream consists of the materials generated by Sharron J. Simpson, a Kelowna author, publisher, and activist. Sharron J. Simpson's records within this aggregation are primarily in relation to legal proceedings against the City of Kelowna in pursuit of the maintenance of the Simpson Covenant, which limits use of waterfront land on a former mill site sold by S.M. Simpson to the City under restrictive terms of sale in 1946. In the 2000s, the City sought to dissolve the Covenant; Sharron J. Simpson founded a society to challenge this initiative.
In total fonds consists of approximately 2,642 photographs, in various forms, including some duplicates. Records provide documentation of legal proceedings, finances, substantial mill operations, safety initiatives, administration, civic engagement, publicity, and labour relations relating to mill business, general family research, and writing samples. Artifacts include exemplars of production and souvenir materials.

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Accompanying material

Simpson, S.J. (2003). Boards, Boxes, and Bins. Kelowna BC: Manhattan Beach Publications.
Available at UBCO OSC: HD9764.C34 S58 2003

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Rules for Archival Description (CCA)



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Dates of creation, revision and deletion

Created July 29, 2015 by Paige Hohmann
Revised May 6, 2016 by Lara Maestro
Revised February 18, 2020 and December 8, 2020 by Paige Hohmann

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Script of description


Cutting, K. and Merriam, R.D. (2015). Merriam Family Tree. Retrieved 2015/07/29

Simpson, S.J. (2003) Boards, Boxes and Bins. Kelowna, BC: Manhattan Beach Publishing.

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