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Archival description
Major Matthews collection Series
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Correspondence of J.S. Matthews

Series consists of the correspondence of J.S. Matthews, generated primarily through his activities in acquiring archival material, gathering data, and disseminating information relating to the history of Vancouver. The bulk of the records was created and received in fulfilling the preservation and access functions of the City Archives. Series comprises 5 subseries: incoming correspondence; outgoing correspondence; incoming correspondence, miscellaneous; outgoing correspondence, miscellaneous and incoming correspondence photographs: CVA 371.

Sample business stationery

Series consists of letterheads, envelopes, tickets, blank forms, and a bulletin, all of which serve as examples of business stationery used in Vancouver during the 1880s.

Street and place names, Vancouver and area

Series consists of index cards containing descriptions which relate to the history of street names, place names, and subject categories pertaining to the City of Vancouver, Greater Vancouver, the Fraser Valley, and the B.C. coast. Many of the cards include news clippings. Arrangement is geographical by name of city or region, then alphabetical by name or subject.


Series consists of reproduced copies of such items as certificates of merrit, scrolls, telegrams, letters, advertisements, speeches, addresses, voters lists, etc. Also included are photographs and photocopies of photographs featuring civic gifts given or received by the City. Subjects range widely and include the bestowing of civic honours and recognitions, anniversaries, royal visits, visits of dignitaries, etc.

B.C. Rifle Association

Series consists of records relating to the general administrative, legal, and fiscal matters of the B.C.R.A. Records also relate to the planning of matches, selection of teams, purchase and disposition of awards, and communication with the Dominion of Canada Rifle Association. Includes minute books, correspondence and reports of the secretary, legal documents (including indentures and certificate of incorporation), treasurer's account books and annual reports, invoices, news clippings, programmes and score books from annual prize meetings, and photographs.

Collected photographs

Series consists of photographs which were collected by J.S. Matthews when he was the City Archivist. Photographs were collected on a variety of subjects, mostly in Vancouver, but also encompasing the Greater Vancouver area, British Columbia and Alberta. The collection contains photographs of civic events, scenery, aerial views, clubs, city government, royalty and their visits, World War 1, hotels, parades, First Nations, neighbourhoods, business and industry, monuments, schools, transportation and railways. The collection contains photographs of a number of well-known Vancouver photographers, including W.J. Moore, C.S. Bailey, Bailey and Neelands, William Stark, Norman Caple, C. Bradbury, C. Smith, and R.H. Trueman. The series also contains photographic copies of documents, correspondence, published items, ephemera, drawings and paintings. Accompanying labels and explanatory notes have been retained with their respective photographs.
Series consists of three subseries: 1) Albums; 2) W.J. Moore Cirkut negatives; 3) Incoming correspondence photographs.

Visit of H.R.H. Princess Elizabeth and the Duke of Edinburgh

Series consists of material documenting the 1951 visit of Princess Elizabeth and the Duke of Edinburgh to Vancouver. Includes news clippings, photographs, correspondence, and copies of minutes of the city's Entertainment, Reception, and Security Committees. Materials were assembled and pasted into a volume by J.S. Matthews.

William Stark, pioneer aviator, Vancouver

Series comprises material documenting the early history of aviation. Most of the material relates specifically to the first few years of Stark's career as aviator. Includes newsclippings, correspondence, and photographs as well as annotations of J.S. Matthews. Arrangement is chronological.


Series consists of documents collected by J.S. Matthews from various sources. The documents relate generally to Matthews' activities and to the history of the City of Vancouver but they share no particular activity- or subject-based relationship. Series comprises 3 subseries: general; perpetual calendar; and invoices, early Vancouver.

Miscellaneous copies of documents

Series consists of reproduced copies of documents and includes correspondence, newspaper clippings, advertisements, telegrams, maps, drawings, poetry, various legal documents such as birth, baptismal, and death certificates, etc. The subject range is very broad and includes civic, provincial, and federal political figures; prominent citizens; Indians; various members of the royal family; land and real estate in Vancouver; the Royal Engineers; Captain George Vancouver; the St. Roch and the Maritime Museum; Lord Stanley and Stanley Park, as well as various other parks; the Canadian Pacific Railway and B.C. Electric Railway; the Great Fire, as well as other fires; the shipping industry; the military; clubs and organizations; and Major J. S. Matthews and the Vancouver Archives.


Series consists of material relating to the British royal family. Includes photographs, prints, news clippings, and excerpts from magazines. Arrangement is by physical format.

Topical and categorical files

Series consists of a collection of records and other material relating to various individuals, places, and subjects, most of which are connected with the history of Vancouver and area. These files are the result of J.S. Matthews' continuous information-gathering activities during his tenure as city archivist. Series comprises two subseries: topical files and categorical files. Includes narrative notes, transcripts of interviews, correspondence, memoranda, reports, genealogical documents, excerpts from minutes of meetings, maps, plans, diagrams, profiles, and ephemera.

Early water supply, City of Vancouver

Series consists of records relating to the development of a water works system for the City of Vancouver. At the time that the records were created, such matters fell under the jurisdiction of the Vancouver Water Works Department. Records reflect the activities of the city primarily in obtaining lands in the Capilano Valley. Includes correspondence between the provincial land surveyor and the city clerk's office; a plan of lots at Capilano Townsite; and pamphlets on the engineering and political aspects of Vancouver's water supply. Arrangement is chronological.

First Narrows Bridge

Series consists of records relating to the initial ideas, planning, development, and completion of Vancouver's major construction project of 1937-1938, the First Narrows Bridge (or, Lions' Gate Bridge). Includes news clippings; correspondence of West Vancouver's city clerk, late 1920s; narrative notes and annotations of J.S. Matthews; and photographs by David Loughan. Arrangement is chronological.

Genealogy of J.S. Matthews

Series consists of records relating to the family history and biographical details of J.S. Matthews. Includes genealogical information written and compiled by Matthews, photographs, correspondence, and news clippings. Series also includes a file of correspondence created and received by M.I. Beveridge, assistant city archivist, at the time of Matthews' death.

Major Matthews private papers

Series consists of records created and collected by Matthews in both the private and public spheres of his life. It includes records created early on in Matthews' life in Wales and New Zealand, records created later in Vancouver, during his war service, and during his long tenure as City Archivist, and a file of newspaper clippings gathered after his death. The bulk of the records are made up of incoming and copies of outgoing correspondence to and from Matthews' many business and personal acquaintances and family members. Matthews created files for each of his correspondents or acquaintances, including files for his wife, Mrs. Emily Eliza Matthews and his sister-in-law and companion, Mrs. Mabel Agnes Willis. Matthews also kept meticulous records of memorials and art that he had a driving force in creating, including the Lord Stanley statue, the Larsen statue, Apodaca Park, portraits of himself and Mrs. Matthews, and historical paintings by John Innes. The series also includes files on properties owned by Matthews and files on the wills and estates he was executor of. Series comprises 4 subseries: financial records, diaries, subject files and personal files.


Series consists of 2 scrapbooks containing obituaries which J.S. Matthews cut out from various newspapers. Obituaries relate mainly to pioneers of Vancouver.

Unemployment and relief, City of Vancouver

Series consists of documentary material relating to unemployment and relief in Vancouver during the Great Depression of the 1930s. Comprised primarily of news clippings. Also includes photographs, correspondence, and historical accounts compiled by J.S. Matthews. Arranged chronologically.

Maps - convenience copies

Series consists of reproduced copies of maps, plans, charts, and surveys, mainly pertaining to the exploration, history, and development of Vancouver and the Lower Mainland, but also including geographic locations outside of this area. Also included are various early maps of Canada, North America, and the World and several maps featuring local Indian place names.

Early Canadian militia in British Columbia

Series consists of records relating to the activities of the 6th Regiment D.C.O.R. prior to the First World War, as well as to the training, battles, homecoming, honours, and ongoing association of the 102nd Battalion, C.E.F. and its members. Also included are records relating to the 2nd Battalion, 5th Regiment, Canadian Garrison Artillery (which preceded the 6th Regiment, D.C.O.R. and was part of the contingent from B.C. to the South African War). Includes correspondence, news clippings, narrative notes, photographs, company roll books, field service books, financial records, postcards, publications, maps, insurance policies, and ephemera. Arrangement is roughly chronological. Incoming and outgoing correspondence is arranged chronologically and alphabetically, respectively.

Matthews, James Skitt, Major

Mayors of Vancouver

Series consists of news clippings relating to 11 different mayors of the City of Vancouver during their respective terms in office. Also includes some correspondence and photographs. Arrangement is chronological.

Newspaper clippings

Series consists of J.S. Matthews' clippings from local and regional newspapers and relating to the history and development of Vancouver and outlying areas, public and private individuals, organizations, governments (municipal, provincial, federal), politics, ethnic groups, social issues, military, transportation and buildings.

Maps, plans, and other historical documents

Series consists of records which are of some historical significance and which are grouped together because of their physical size. Includes maps, plans, drawings, correspondence, newspaper articles, photographs, genealogical documents, and a baptismal register.


Series comprises 153 publications, primarily monographs, pertaining to the Canadian militia. Subjects include military training and tactics, policies and procedures for the Canadian forces, and rifle shooting. Original arrangement by source of acquisition has been maintained.