Series GR-1330 - Correspondence inward

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Correspondence inward

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  • textual record
  • microform

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  • Source of title proper: Title based on the contents of the series.

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  • 1892-1917 (Creation)
    British Columbia. Dept. of the Provincial Secretary

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Physical description

34 microfilm reels [B04520 - B04553]

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Biographical history

The Dept. of the Provincial Secretary was established in 1872. Prior to that, the origins of this department was in the offices of the Colonial Secretaries for the Colony of Vancouver Island (1863-1866), the Colony of British Columbia (1864-1866) and the united colony of British Columbia (1866-1871). When British Columbia joined confederation in 1871, the name Colonial Secretary remained in place until April 1872 when a Provincial Secretary was named to assume the duties and functions (SBC 1872, c. 15).

The mandate of the Provincial Secretary included all the powers, duties and functions held by provincial secretaries and registrars in other provinces of the Dominion of Canada. They included being the keeper of the Great Seal of the Province, with the authority to issue letters patent and commissions, and being the keeper of all registers and archives of the province and previous governments of the province. As with other departments, it was also the duty of the Provincial Secretary to make an annual report to the Lieutenant-Governor. The first annual report was produced in 1872.

At various times, different agencies have been under the direction of the Provincial Secretary such as treasury and audit branches, Bureau of Mines, gold commissioners, Returned Soldiers’ Commission, Provincial Library and Archives, Provincial Board of Health, Vital Statistics, Provincial Home, and others. In most instances these agencies were later transferred to the control of new ministries established to administer the specific function or functions.

At various times and for varying periods, the Provincial Secretary was responsible for industrial schools, mothers’ pensions, administration of the Infants’ Act, protection of historic sites, and arbitration of labour disputes. In 1947, the Dept. of the Provincial Secretary administered the Civil Service Commission, Government Printing Bureau, Superannuation Commission, mental hospitals, institution farms, homes for the aged, inspector of hospitals, and the Elections Act.

In 1976, with the addition of travel and tourism functions from the Dept. of Recreation and Travel Industry, the Dept. of the Provincial Secretary was renamed the Ministry of the Provincial Secretary and Travel Industry (OIC 3199/76).

Custodial history

Scope and content

This series contains letters inward to the Department of the Provincial Secretary, 1892-1917. During the period covered by GR-1330 (1892-1917) the Provincial Secretary was variously responsible for the departments of Mines, Education and Immigration. Within these departments he was responsible for the Legislative Library and Archives, the Queen's Printer, the Bureau of Statistics, the Civil Service Commission, and various agencies concerned with health and social welfare. The multiplicity of his duties accounts for the range and diversity of the records in GR-1330. Among the records are correspondence to, and from, the Lieutenant-Governor and the Executive Council, correspondence from Dominion officials concerning colonization and settlement, applications from organizations wishing to register under the Benevolent Societies Act, memoranda of association from businesses seeking to be incorporated under the provincial Companies Act, petitions from community groups requesting schools and improved municipal services, plus letters from private persons applying for appointments in the civil service. Also included are records arising from the administration of the provincial elections, hospitals, and asylums. Contemporary indexes to documents in GR-1330 are to be found in GR-0524: Provincial Secretary. Index to Correspondence Inward, 1872-1924. Documents are indexed by subject and/or by name of correspondent. Having located a document in one of the GR-0524 index volumes, researchers should note the file number which appears in the index. (It will be seen that documents received by the Provincial Secretary were numbered sequentially by year: thus file #1237/92 indicates a document received in 1892.) Index file numbers correspond to those which are noted on the reel/file list that follows. e.g. file 1237/92 will be found on Reel B4520; file 525/93 will be found on Reel B4521, etc.

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Immediate source of acquisition

Transferred from Provincial Secretary's office, 1961.


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There are no access restrictions.

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Associated materials

GR-0540, GR-0526, GR-0539 and GR-0541

Related materials


General note

GR-1330 may be used in conjunction with GR-0540: Provincial Secretary. Correspondence Outward, 1872-1918 (also available on microfilm, reels B2449 B2511). And with GR-0526, Provincial Secretary. Correspondence inward, 1871-1892; GR-0539, Correspondence outward index, 1919-1924; and GR-0541, Correspondence outward letterbooks, 1919-1924. As its name suggests, the Department of the Provincial Secretary functioned as the secretariat of the provincial government. Established as the "Colonial Secretary" in the Constitution Act of 1871, the office was re-styled "Provincial Secretary" on 11 April of the following year (BCS 1872 No. 15). In addition to his duties as Provincial Registrar, keeper of the Great Seal of the Province, and keeper of "all registers and archives of the Province," the Provincial Secretary had charge of all Orders-in-Council and minutes issued by the cabinet; he was also responsible for "all matters connected with the holding of elections...." In practice, however, his responsibilities and powers were even wider than those laid out in the Constitution Act or in subsequent Provincial Secretary Acts.

General note

Accession number(s): G83-028

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