Fonds RBSC-ARC-1363 - Tom McEwen fonds

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Tom McEwen fonds

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1.2 m of textual records

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Biographical history

Thomas McEwen was born in Scotland and moved to Canada in 1912. A blacksmith by trade, he was active throughout his life in the labour movement and as a member of the Socialist Party of Canada and its successor, the Communist Party of Canada. He was also Secretary-General of the Workers' Unity League before its demise in 1936. Between 1931 and 1944, he was imprisoned for seven years for his communist activities. In 1944, McEwen began his career as a newspaper editor, first with the Yukoner and later with the Pacific Tribune in British Columbia. He also ran unsuccessfully in the 1945 federal election as a labour candidate in the Yukon.

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The fonds consists of documents made and received in the course of pursuing activities and interests in labour and communist issues. Fonds includes books, correspondence, magazines, manuscripts, newsletters, pamphlets, press clippings, and reports.

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Lily (Steinman) Greene, who worked with the W.U.L., was a close friend of the McEwen family for many years. The Lily Greene Fonds contains a rich collection of 171 letters from Tom McEwen spanning the decades from 1944 to 1976, as well as 4 letters from his wife, Rose McEwen; her sister, Anne Belenkaya; and Norman McEwen, Tom and Rose’s son, and his family. The letters are mostly of a personal nature but many contain discussions of, or references to, issues important to the Communist Party in Canada and elsewhere, including Tom’s observations of and opinions on events occurring both at home and internationally, like the Vietnam war.

In this fonds are 22 photographs of Tom McEwen and various family members. A clippings file contains an assortment of newspaper clippings, some columns and opinion pieces written by Tom McEwen, with the majority on issues or events concerning a member of the McEwen family. The clippings cover the period from 1950 through to 2000. The fonds also contains two essays written by Tom McEwen and an audiocassette of a talk he gave in 1974 to a Grade 11 class taught by his grandson, Harry Ewen. The cassette also contains a recording of a CBC program “This Morning” that aired in 2000 and which incorporated that lecture as part of the program.

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No further accruals expected.

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