Fonds PR-0170 - Alexander Douglas and Elsie Turnbull fonds

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Alexander Douglas and Elsie Turnbull fonds

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  • textual record
  • graphic material
  • multiple media

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  • Source of title proper: Title based on the contents of the fonds.
  • Variations in title: Previously known as the Alexander Douglas Turnbull fonds

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  • 1927-[198-] (Creation)

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Physical description

3.1 m of textual records and ca. 42 photographs

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Name of creator


Biographical history

Alexander Douglas Turnbull was born at St. Mary's, Ontario on August 26, 1903. He graduated from the University of Toronto with a B.A.Sc. in Metallurgical Engineering in 1925 and joined The Consolidated Mining and Smelting Company of Canada at Trail, serving in various supervisory positions until his retirement from the Company in 1965.

In 1928 he married Elsie Grant Willard of St. Mary's, Ontario.

In 1942 Turnbull began his public career at the municipal level, first as Police Commissioner for Tadanac (1942-1943), then as Reeve of Tadanac (1944-1945) and subsequently as President of the Association of Kootenay Municipalities (1945).

Turnbull entered provincial politics in 1948 when he unsuccessfully contested a Rossland-Trail by-election as a Coalition (Liberal) candidate. In the general election of 1949 he was elected MLA for Rossland-Trail and in 1950 he was appointed Minister of Health and Welfare. During his term as Minister of Health and Welfare he consolidated the administration of the B.C. Hospital Insurance Service that was established under George S. Pearson. Prior to the resignation of the Coalition government on August 1, 1952, Turnbull also served as Minister of Municipal Affairs and Minister of Trade and Industry. He was defeated as a Liberal candidate for Rossland Trail in the 1952 provincial election.

In addition to an active public career, Turnbull has served on numerous community service associations, including the Community Chest and the Provincial Agency Review Committee, an organization he helped to form and which elected him their first chairman in 1961. He has also held positions with the Science Council of Canada and the Victoria Symphony Society.

Turnbull died in Victoria on June 23, 1993 at the age of 89.

Name of creator


Biographical history

Elsie Grant Willard was born in St. Mary's, Ontario in 1903. She graduated from the University of Toronto (Victoria College) in 1925 with a BA in English and History. She attended the Ontario College of Education and taught at the St. Mary's Collegiate Institute for two years.

In 1928 she married Alexander Douglas Turnbull and moved to Trail, B.C. where A.D. Turnbull was working for The Consolidated Mining and Smelting Company of Canada.

In Trail she took an active part in community work including the Trail Skating Club, Girl Guides, Community Chest and the Women's Auxiliary to the Trail Tadanac Hospital. She was president of the Trail Musical Society. She served on the B.C. Council of the Girl Guide Association from 1950 to 1963.

Always interested in local history, she was instrumental in forming the West Kootenay branch of the B.C. Historical Association in 1953 and served as its secretary and president. In 1964 her book "Topping's Trail" was published and in 1965 she wrote a history of the United Church of Canada in the Kootenays.

Elsie Turnbull died in Vancouver in January 1996 at the age of 92.

Custodial history

Scope and content

The fonds consists of A.D. Turnbull's files as an MLA and Minister of Health and Welfare as well as personal papers that reflect his association with various professional, national and community organizations. It also includes reminiscences by Elsie Turnbull and photographs.

Notes area

Physical condition

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In 1978, 42 photographs were removed from MS-0841, transferred to Visual Records and reaccessioned as 197811-015. The photographs were replaced in their original files in 2021.

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General note

Archives code(s): MS-0119, MS-0841.

General note

Accession number(s): 74-077, 78-160, 78-197, 78-198, 91-5577 and 197811-015.

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