Fonds MG 71 - Richard St. Barbe Baker fonds

Title and statement of responsibility area

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Richard St. Barbe Baker fonds

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Reference code

MG 71

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  • 1876-1982 (inclusive) ; 1951-1981 (predominant) (Creation)

Physical description area

Physical description

4.52 m of textual records
4 slide cases
1.2 m of photograph prints and negatives
Moving images
Audio tapes

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Name of creator


Biographical history

Richard St. Barbe Baker was born in Southampton, England in 1889. He immigrated to Canada and homesteaded on what is now the site of the Beaver Creek conservation area near Saskatoon, in 1909. He was one of the first 100 students to attend the University of Saskatchewan where, among other things, he operated the first student 'residence' in his barn on the campus, penned the University 'yell,' and initiated freshman John Diefenbaker. St. Barbe also attended Cauis College, Cambridge. He served during World War I, and was invalided in France in April 1918. Following the war, he worked briefly for the British Institute for Social Service, helping to establish the Ministry of Health. After completing forestry studies at Cambridge, he was appointed Assistant Conservator of Forests in Kenya where, in 1922, he founded the Men of the Trees, enlisting the help of 9000 voluntary tree planters in an attempt to arrest the invading Sahara. This society, which grew into an international organization, became the central cause of St. Barbe's life. He was called upon to advise several nations on forestry matters, and was active in promoting international cooperation in conservation. He published extensively, not only on forestry and trees but also on spiritual and religious topics and health matters. In recognition of his many accomplishments, the University of Saskatchewan conferred an honourary Doctor of Laws on St. Barbe in November 1971. In 1977, the Order of the British Empire was bestowed upon him by Queen Elizabeth II. St. Barbe died on June 9, 1982 while on a visit to the University of Saskatchewan.

Custodial history

Scope and content

This fonds contains files relating to St. Barbe's family, as well as his personal correspondence, autobiographical material, his forestry and conservation activities (including Men of the Trees and the Sahara Reclamation Program), and his involvement with the Baha'i faith. While the collection as a whole covers the full span of St. Barbe’s life, 1889-1982, the bulk of the material dates from post-World War II, much of the earlier material apparently having been lost to German bombs in England during the war.

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Immediate source of acquisition


The fonds has been arranged into 17 series. Each series is subdivided by subject and these sub-series are arranged chronologically within each file. The series are:
A. Biographical Material.
B. Personal and Family Papers.
C. Correspondence.
D. Forestry and Conservation Activities.
E. Literary Activities.
F. Religious Activities and Health.
G. Miscellaneous Papers.
H. Film, videos and audio material.
I. Books by St. Barbe Baker.
J. Trees and Life - The Journal of the Men of Trees.
K. Photographs.
L. Clippings.
M. Library.
N. Miscellaneous.
O. Slides.
P. Artifacts.
Q. Richard St. Barbe Baker Foundation.

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Restrictions on access

There are no restrictions on access.

Terms governing use, reproduction, and publication

Use, publication, and/or reproduction of records are subject to the terms and conditions of the Copyright Act.

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Finding aid: file titles with descriptions

Associated materials

The University of Regina Archives also has a Richard St. Barbe Baker fonds (75-5).

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