Title and statement of responsibility area
John G. Diefenbaker fonds
General material designation
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Title statements of responsibility
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Edition statement of responsibility
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Statement of scale (cartographic)
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Issuing jurisdiction and denomination (philatelic)
Dates of creation area
1815-1979, predominant 1925-1979 (Creation)
Physical description area
593.2 m of textual records and other material
Publisher's series area
Title proper of publisher's series
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Archival description area
Name of creator
John George Diefenbaker was born in Neustadt, Ontario, 18 September 1895 and died in Ottawa 16 August, 1979. A lawyer and a politician, he served as Prime Minister of Canada from 1957 to 1963.
Diefenbaker's family moved to the Fort Carlton region of the then North-West Territories in 1903; he attended school in several communities before the family moved to Saskatoon in 1910. After receiving a B.A. (1915) and M.A. (1916) from the University of Saskatchewan, he enlisted for service during the First World War; he subsequently completed his law degree (1919) and was called to the bar the same year.
First practicing law in Wakaw, he moved to Prince Albert in 1924. He ran unsuccessfully in the federal elections of 1925 and 1926 and the provincial elections of 1929 and 1938, before being elected as the MP for Lake Centre in 1940.
In 1956, Diefenbaker was selected as the new leader of the Progressive Conservative Party, and became Prime Minister in 1957 - considered an upset. In March 1958, he led his party to the biggest majority government to that point in Canadian history, with 208 seats.
After the 1962 election, the Diefenbaker Conservatives were reduced to a minority, and they lost power in 1963. He was challenged as leader, and lost the vote at the leadership convention in 1967. Continuing to serve as an MP until his death, he was elected for the 13th time in May 1979. He died in August 1979 and was buried in Saskatoon on the campus of the University of Saskatchewan (next to the Diefenbaker Canada Centre) following a state funeral in Ottawa and a cross-Canada train journey.
Scope and content
Fonds includes personal correspondence and papers, as well as background and reference material assembled by John Diefenbaker
and his staff. There is also large collection of press clippings, supplemented by press clippings gathered by the Progressive Conservative Party of Canada.
Immediate source of acquisition
The fonds is divided into twenty-three series:
I Legal Series
II Pre 1940 Series
III 1940-1956 Series
IV Leader of the Opposition, Dec. 1956 - June 1957 Series
V Family Series
VI Prime Minister’s Office Numbered Correspondence Series
VII Reference Series, 1957-1967
VIII Prime Minister’s Office Unnumbered Correspondence Series
IX Second Leader of the Opposition, 1963-1967 Series
X Office Administration Series
XI Member of Parliament, 1967-1979 Series
XII Personal and Confidential Series, 1957-1979
XIII Reference Series, 1940-1957
XIV Memoirs Series
XV Historical Series, 1815-1974
XVI Press Clippings Series
XVII Photographs and Slides Series
XVIII Audio-Visual Series
XIX Scrapbook Series
XX Poster Series
XXI Speech Series
XXII Prime Minister’s Office/ Second Leader of the Opposition Press Release Series
*XXIII Cabinet Ministers’ Statements and Speeches
Language of material
Script of material
Location of originals
Availability of other formats
Series I through VIII and part of series XII are available on microfilm; see series descriptions for details.
Restrictions on access
Some restrictions apply; see series-level descriptions for details.
Terms governing use, reproduction, and publication
Hard copy finding aids available; file-level descriptions also available in separate database (all series except XVI, XXI, and XXIII) - https://library.usask.ca/diefenbaker/. See photographs and slides series description for link to item-level image database.
This collection is stored off-site; please contact the Archives in advance to arrange in-person use