Fonds - Bill Harding fonds

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Bill Harding fonds

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  • 1931-1990, predominant 1931-1967 (Creation)

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1.56 m of textual records

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Name of creator


Biographical history

William M. Harding was born on July 9, 1911 in Moose Jaw, Saskatchewan. In 1914 he moved with his family to Swift Current, Saskatchewan, where he attended Elmwood School and Central Collegiate. From 1928-1934 he attended the Manitoba Agricultural College in Winnipeg, where he earned a Bachelor of Science in Agriculture. He married Beatrice Louise Lewis of Morden, Manitoba on September 21, 1935. They had a daughter and a son - Margaret Ruth, born April 13, 1938, and David James Donald [Jim Harding], born June 28, 1941. Harding's career began at the Swift Current Experimental Station (1934-1936) and the Prairie Farm Rehabilitation Act Administration (PFRA) (1937-1941), where he performed agricultural extension work and field husbandry research. In 1942 he moved to Calgary, Alberta, where he was employed as an administrator and accountant for the Calgary Exhibition and Stampede. Returning to Saskatchewan in 1945, he became Acting Director of the newly-elected CCF government's Adult Education Division in Regina. Transferring to the Saskatchewan Department of Agriculture in 1947, he became an advisor to the Minister, and established the Radio and Information Division where he wrote, produced and delivered a daily fifteen minute commentary on agricultural matters, "Your Ag. Rep. Reporter" on CHAB Radio. From 1952-1957 he served as Secretary to the Saskatchewan Royal Commission on Agriculture and Rural Life, and was Secretary of the Saskatchewan Local Government Continuing Committee and Secretary of the Board of Directors of the Centre for Community Studies from 1958-1961. In 1961 Bill Harding began his association with the United Nations, working on community development and land settlement projects in Liberia (1961-62), British Guina (Guyana) (1964-67), Somalia (1968-70), and the Philippines (1971-73). This association culminated in 1974 when he became Director of the UN Development Program Division of Information and Director of Program Policy in New York. In July, 1975 he retired and returned to Regina. Following his retirement, Harding continued his international development work, undertaking small consulting projects for the UN and the Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA). He soon became heavily involved in local international development groups, serving as a director of the Regina Committee for World Development and of the Saskatchewan Council for International Development. He was instrumental in setting up the Edna Curren Memorial Fund, and served as Secretary-Treasurer since its establishment in 1977. He also taught a course on "Social Justice, Peace, and International Development" at the University of Regina School of Human Justice in 1983, 1984 and 1987. He also became active in groups opposing the expansion of uranium mining in Saskatchewan and was a charter member of the Regina Group for a Non-Nuclear Society. He participated in the Cliff Lake and Warman Refinery inquires, and traveled the province attending public meetings sponsored by the United Church, the Inter-church Uranium Committee, and the Saskatchewan Environmental Society. He was a member of the organizing committee of the First International Uranium Congress held in Saskatoon in 1988. Harding further participated in the environmental movement as a member of the Saskatchewan Ecological Alliance and the Regina Greens. Bill Harding also involved himself in provincial politics, working for the CCF at the constituency and provincial levels. He served on the Provincial Council Executive at various times, was chair of the Provincial Organizing and Education Committee, and was involved in Group Training and Farmer-Laborer-Teacher Institutes during the 1940s and 1950s. He was Director of Education and Organization for the Saskatchewan New Democratic Party prior to the 1964 election. Propelled by the "medicare crisis" and doctors' strike of 1962, Harding became the first president of the Regina Community Health Services Association, a body dedicated to the establishment of community clinics, and worked on behalf of the provincial organization in southern Saskatchewan. Besides his professional, and political life Bill Harding was involved in organizing sports and community activities. In particular he was active as a hockey referee and rules consultant. During his time in Calgary (1942-1944) he referred for the Alberta Senior League and published "Quick Reference Hockey Rules" which was widely accepted amongst hockey officials. In Swift Current during the 1930s he belonged to the Kinetic Club and was active in organizing the Frontier Days Celebration, and in Calgary is acted as Secretary for both the local and provincial Kinsmen. In 1945-46 he was a founding member and first secretary of the Lasserre Community Co-operative Association, a group planning to build a complete community of homes in Regina.

Custodial history

Scope and content

Fonds consists of personal papers created by agriculturalist, civil servant, international development worker, community activist, and sportsman, William M. Harding. Arranged by Harding in eleven roughly chronological series (Swift Current; Calgary; Hockey; Basketball; Adult Education Division; Department of Agriculture Period; CCF/NDP files; Community Clinic files; Guyana Period; and Liberia Papers), the papers provide selective documentation of his life and activities. Of particular interest are correspondence, reports, clippings, pamphlets, committee files, radio scripts, notes, briefing materials, minutes, and other records relating to his career as a civil servant with the Government of Saskatchewan, first with the Adult Education Division (1945-1946) and then with the Department of Agriculture (1947-1952). Records relating to Harding's work as Secretary of the Royal Commission on Agriculture and Rural Life (1952-1957), The Local Government Continuing Committee (1958-1961) include reports, a discussion handbook, speaking assignments and notes, pamphlets, correspondence, and other documents. Political materials, including election platforms, publicity materials, canvassing reports, analysis of election results, surveys, working papers, and correspondence (contains Woodrow Lloyd letters) relate to Harding's organizational and educational work for the CCF/NDP during the 1950s and 1960s, and a small series of pamphlets, statements, reports and published documents provide informatin on the community clinic movement in Regina and Saskatchewan. Also noteworthy is a substantial series of correspondence, reports, meeting materials, speeches, press clippings, pamphlets and other papers pertaining to his United Nations development work in Guyana (1964-1967), and in Liberia (1961-1962). Harding's early life and career in Swift Current are represented through articles, historical material, lecture notes, correspondence, clippings, pamphlets and reports from his work at the Swift Current Experimental Station in the 1930's, and by historical material on the Kinetic Club. A small clutch of clippings, publicity materials and documents concerning the Kinsmen arise from his time with the Calgary Exhibition and Stampede (1942-1944), and his sporting activities as a hockey official in Alberta and as an organizer of basketball in Swift Current and Regina are also documented. A detailed personal history prepared by Bill Harding in 1990 is also included.

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Arranged by Bill Harding.

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Preliminary file list for 91-29 is available.

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