Fonds SCM-RG-0032 - Colleen Irwin fonds

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Colleen Irwin fonds

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  • Textual record

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Physical description

ca. 45 cm of textual records (including publications, scrapbooks, newspaper articles) along with 30 photographs

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Name of creator

(fl. 1926-1952)

Biographical history

George Spence, C.B.E. (October 25, 1880 – March 4, 1975) was a Canadian provincial and federal politician. Born in Birsay, Orkney Islands, Scotland, he studied electrical engineering at the Leith Academy Technical College and emigrated to Canada in 1900 to pan for gold in the Yukon. In 1903, he moved to Austin, Manitoba where he was a farmer. In 1912, he moved to Monchy, Saskatchewan. He was first elected to the Legislative Assembly of Saskatchewan in 1917 for the riding of Notukeu. A Liberal, he was re-elected in 1921 and 1925. He resigned his provincial seat in 1925 and was elected in the 1925 federal election in the riding of Maple Creek. A Liberal, he was re-elected in the 1926 federal election. He resigned his seat in 1927 to re-enter provincial politics, where he was appointed Minister of Railways. He was also Minister of Highways, Minister of Railways, Labour and Industries, Minister of Agriculture, and Minister of Public Works. He would serve until 1938 when he was appointed Director of the Prairie Farm Rehabilitation Administration. From 1947 to 1957, he was a member of the International Joint Commission, an independent binational organization established by the United States and Canada under the International Boundary Waters Treaty of 1909. In 1946 he was made Commander of the Order of the British Empire and was awarded an Honorary Doctor of Law degree from the University of Saskatchewan in 1948. In 1974, he was inducted into the Saskatchewan Agricultural Hall of Fame.

Custodial history

On January 20, 2003 the records were transferred to the Swift Current Museum.

Scope and content

The fonds, related to George Spence, were accumulated by the source. No other information was captured at the time of transfer to the Swift Current Museum.

The content has not been professionally appraised, arranged, or described. The following is a basic listing of the unprocessed contents:
-Volume 1 Appointments: green appointment book belonging to Ivy Spence, appointments for tea and luncheons, some inserts including one that reads "Susan's [Irwin] first work of art sent to Nanna Jan 28 1950 (3 yrs old)".

-Volume 2: booklet entitled Session 1943 House of Commons/Special Committee on Reconstruction and Re-establishment/Minutes of Proceedings and Evidence, at which George Spence was a witness, 1943

-Volume 3: booklet entitled "Address on Reclamation and Conservation on the Prairies" to the Geographical Society, Winnipeg, Manitoba, by The Honourable George Spence, Commissioner, International Joint Commission, 1954

-Volume 4: green scrapbook, including an envelope with newspaper clipping and correspondence of George and Ivy Spence; scrapbook contains newspaper clippings, re: George and Ivy Spence and their family, George Spence's career, Ivy Spence's social activities; place cards from dinner parties, brochure on the International Peace Gardens, photograph of a large group of men and one woman outside a building in Regina, probably the Saskatchewan Legislature

-Envelope 1, "International Joint Commission": "My Creed", 1931; copies of a newspaper article about George Spence, 1958

-Envelope 2, "Hydro-Electric Power Commission of Ontario": an envelope containing cards, invitations, notes and correspondence for George and Ivy Spence, ca. 1947 - 1949; brochure on the Empire State Building Observatory, 1949; brochure for Lee Mansion Memorial in Virginia

-Envelope 3, "Prairie Farm Rehabilitation Office": envelope addressed to Ivy Spence containing a certificate, re: a medal to be worn by Ivy Spence for the 1937 Coronation (medal not accompanying document), a letter sent to George Spence from his daughter Irene when she is at the University of Saskatchewan (mentions a date with Noble Irwin and war work, enlistment, etc.), a poem called "To A Sparrow" dedicated to the Spence's eldest daughter Irene by William Barnard; two copies of the program for the University of Saskatchewan's convocation ceremony, May 1948; program for commencement at Regina Grey Nuns' Hospital School of Nursing, 1945 (Irene Spence won medal for Highest Efficiency in Obstetrics); envelope containing an invitation to the commencement exercises for the Regina Grey Nuns' Hospital School of Nursing, 1945, and two invitations to the University of Saskatchewan's Convocation Ball, 1948; program for the Retail Merchants' Association of Canada, Saskatchewan Branch Banquet and Dance at Hotel Saskatchewan in Regina celebrating the 1937 coronation of George VI; hand-drawn diagram of seating arrangements (?); program for the University of Saskatchewan's convocation ceremony, May 1945; invitation to an afternoon reception for graduates of the University of Saskatchewan, 1948; newspaper clipping, re: graduates of Regina Grey Nuns' Hospital School of Nursing, 1945

-Envelope 3, "Prairie Farm Rehabilitation Office": invitations for George and Ivy Spence for tea, luncheon, supper; tourist brochures for Colonial Williamsburg, Fort George (Niagara-On-the-Lake), Niagara's Parks, The Old Mill (Toronto), the Thomas Jefferson Inn, Chesapeake Bay Ferries, Monticello (Virginia), Canadian Pacific Scenic Domes; programs for "Showplace" at Radio City Music Hall, ca, 1950s; Capital Airlines schedule, 1955; brochure for Niagara Falls Preservation Program; booklet, "On the Death of King George the Sixth", CBC, 1952; programs, banquet honoring CPR Construction Engineers, at Orkney, SK, 1925; birthday cards given to Mrs. George (Ivy) Spence; Clan map of Scotland from the Washington Post, 1954; newspaper clipping about the wedding of Enid Dixon and Jack Hammill; communion program from St. Paul's Memorial Church, Virginia, 1957; train schedule, Chicago-Milwaukee and St. Paul Pacific; booklet, Birthday Edition Journal; booklet, Local Council of Women of Regina, 1926

-Envelope 4, "Mr. Geo. Spence, M.P. Orkney, Sask.": envelope containing cards, invitations, programs, etc. for Mr. and Mrs. Spence, ca. 1920s, re: parliamentary affairs (Spence was an MP); other invitations, programs, correspondence, etc. received by George Spence in his position as MP for Maple Creek, ca. 1920s; booklet, 'The Interdependence of British Trade and British Immigration', a summary of two speeches made by George Spence, Minister of Public Works, 1936; an envelope of photographs (2 - 19, see below for list); correspondence; re: Order of the British Empire, received by George Spence, 1946; instructions for attending a "Drawing Room" the the Governor-General, February 19 1927; handout, House of Commons Debates: Official Report Speech of Mr. George Spence, member for Maple Creek on the Budget; postcard from Italy, to George Spence, from R.B.W.

-Envelope 5, "Queen's Visit to Canada June 26th, 1959 - Montreal, St. Lawrence Seaway": newspapers, The National Star, June 2,5 1959; The Montreal Gazette, June 26, 1959; The Montreal Star, June 25, 1959; The Montreal Star, June 25, 1959, p. 19; The Montreal Star, June 25, 1959, p. 17-32; The Montreal Gazette, June 26, 1959; The Montreal Star, June 25, 1959; The Montreal Gazette, June 26, 1959

-Envelope 6, "Dominion Department of Agriculture Prairie Farm Rehabilitation Office": invitation to an International Joint Commission event, 1952; wedding announcement for Irene Spence and Captain Noble Irwin, July 7 1945; certificate, re: a medal to be worn by George Spence for the 1937 Coronation (medal not accompanying document)

-Envelope 7, article written for Regina Leader-Post Jan. 1960. By Geo. Spence on the Columbia River, B.C.: editorial page from the Leader-Post, January 15 and 16, 1960

-Envelope 8, "International Joint Commission": newspaper clippings, obituaries for Marie Reid (Huffman), Sarah Wilson Kerr (Sharman); weddings of Marie Huffman and J.A. Reid, Rea Spence and Oliver Pederson; Spence's career with PFRA and IJC; birth announcement for Janice Marie Call (Stanley and Annabelle), other birth announcements

-Envelope 9, "Western Producer/On George Spence" by Grant McEwan Jan. 1958: newspaper, Western Producer, June 16, 1948 (pp.15-16 and 25-26, 2 copies); Leader-Post, April 7, 1962 (1-2, 7-8)

-Envelope 10, "Stories Written By Cowhand Author George Spence and Lord Tweedsmuir's Visit to Val Marie": newspaper clippings, re: George Spence's career, 1952, 1956, articles by George Spence under the alias Cowhand, 1944, 1945, 1951, 1956, visit of Governor General Tweedsmuir to Val Marie, 1949; booklet, "Water for the Prairies", by George Spence, published by the Canadian Geographical Journal, June 1952

-Envelope 11: "clippings/ L.B. Thompson funeral/the Naughton wedding - Ottawa": newspaper clippings, re: wedding of Helen Claxton to Lt. Col. Edward Leslie in Ottawa Citizen, 1957; death of Mayme Evans (n.d.), Leonard (L.B.) Thompson, 1956

-Envelope 12: newspaper clippings, re: South Saskatchewan River Dam, Diefenbaker, George Spence's career, 1958

-Envelope 13, "Paper clippings about Geo. Spence and Clippings by Geo. Spence": newspaper clippings: editorials by George Spence, 1945, 1947, 1949, 1953, 1957, 1958, 1959; articles about George Spence's career, 1938 - 1948, 1952, 1953, 1957, 1958, 1959, articles about George Spence (not career related), receiving Order of the British Empire, honourary law degree, 1948; wedding announcement for Eleanor Hedstrom and Ovar Uggen; visit of the Earl of Athlone and Princess Alice to Swift Current, 1941; irrigation on the prairies, 1943, 1946; wedding of Princess Elizabeth and Prince Philip, 1947; ticket to the University of Saskatchewan's Convocation, 1948; articles by George Spence, 1942; retirement of O. Freer from PFRA, n.d.

-Envelope #14: two photographs of George Spence (#20 and #21); invitation for George and Ivy Spence to go to Monticello with Anne and Roger McWhorter; other notes, cards, correspondence for George and Ivy Spence, ca. 1940s; newspaper clippings, re: Hetty Green, PFRA; invitations for George Spence from Lt. Gov. of Saskatchewan to attend the opening of the Legislative Assembly, receptions, other invitations, ca. 1940s; tourist brochures, re: Garrison Dam on the Missouri, Morden, SK; itinerary and map for a tour of the proposed route through the Souris River Basin, 1955; seating arrangements for a luncheon of the executive of the Regina Women's Liberal Club, 1935; cards commemorating deaths of Mary Rogers, 1924, and Eunice McKeen, 1943; invitations for Ivy Spence to visit other women's homes; invitation to attend the opening of parliament, and a skating party, 1926; George Spence's House of Commons traveling passes, CPR railway passes, 1925 - 1927, 1936; diagram of House of Commons seating; invitation to Diamond Jubilee of Confederation, 1927; letter re: Elbow dam, 1947; booklet, "Prevent Duck Depredations", by Floyd H. Davis

-Envelope #15, "Lethbridge Photograph - speaking at ? Jubilee": photo (#22 to #29, see below); letter to Ivy Spence from her brother Charlie, 1943; postcard from George to Ivy, while he was in New York, 1950 (never sent); McLean's Magazine article about George Spence, 1957; article on Remedial Works program at Niagara Falls, 1957; photo #30

-Envelope #16, "Staff Members at tea in Blue Lounge - Dec. 20 - 47": blank lined book, "Government of Canada No. 50", names of guests are written on the pages, between the pages are place cards and invitations, loose pieces of paper also containing lists of names


  1. large group of men and one woman, taken outside the Saskatchewan Legislature in Regina
  2. two women standing on the side of a truck, Louie (last name unknown) and Irene Spence (Irwin)
  3. the front yard of a house, surrounded by trees, presumably "The Bend" in Nanaimo, BC
  4. young child in a yard by a baby carriage unidentified, perhaps Irene Spence (later Irwin)
  5. "The Bend" in Nanaimo, BC
  6. front gardens of a house, "The Bend" in Nanaimo, BC
  7. Irene Spence (later Irwin) and Ethel Spence, in 1938
  8. Irene Spence (later Irwin) and another young woman, ca. 1935
  9. Florence Gardiner's wedding, July 1, 1946, at Lemberg, SK farm home
  10. Florence Gardiner's wedding, July 1, 1946, at Lemberg, SK farm home
  11. two men digging on the prairie, one might be George Spence
  12. Noble Irwin petting a dog, ca. 1940s
  13. Irene Irwin (nee Spence) sitting on a porch, ca. 1940s
  14. wedding party, at Vi Jean's, August 1944, (the photo has been cut so not all of the information is available)
  15. two children on a wooden sidewalk, Kae and Harold Brown
  16. an unidentified young woman by a car
  17. Irene Spence (later Irwin)
  18. Irene Spence (later Irwin), Ivy Spence and Ethel Spence, May 25, 1939
  19. George and Ivy Spence, ca. 1920s
  20. George Spence, ca. 1950s
  21. George Spence, ca. 1950s
  22. George Spence speaking to Lethbridge Board of Trade, 1947
  23. Mr. and Mrs. Thomas May
  24. Arlie and Edna Spence, daughters of Jack Spence
  25. young woman, unidentified as daughter of Jack Spence (see #27)
  26. man and a woman (Mr. and Mrs. Jack Spence?)
  27. six young women, the daughters of Jack Spence, Edith, Beryl, Alice, Rea, Arlie and Edna
  28. Mr. and Mrs. Jack Spence and their six daughter (see #27)
  29. George Spence and three unidentified individuals, taken in Victoria BC
  30. group photo taken St. Lawrence Power Project in Cornwall, ON, 1957, presented to George Spence by the International Joint Commission "built in 1935"

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No formal arrangement has been applied to the items in this fonds.

Language of material

  • English

Script of material

  • Latin

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No restrictions on access.

Terms governing use, reproduction, and publication

Use, reproduction, and/or publication of records are subject to the Copyright Act and the Terms and Conditions of the Swift Current Museum. Please consult the Swift Current Museum for further information.

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Minimal fonds level description is listed in AtoM. Until fully appraised and arranged record lists are available through the Swift Current Museum.

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