Fonds PR-1059 - Gerald Smedley Andrews fonds

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Gerald Smedley Andrews fonds

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  • textual record
  • moving images
  • multiple media
  • graphic material
  • cartographic material

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

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  • [187?] - 2006; 2013 (Creation)
    Andrews, Gerald Smedley

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Physical description

12.75 m of textual records and other material

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Biographical history

Gerald Smedley Andrews was born in Winnipeg, Manitoba, on December 12th 1903, son of Arthur Thornton Andrews and Emma Smedley (nee Harris). He attended Model and Mulvey Schools (1917) and Kelvin Technical High School (1918) in Winnipeg before moving to Calgary where he matriculated from Crescent Heights High School in 1920. As a young man he worked at various part-time and summer jobs, including messenger and paper-carrier (Winnipeg, 1916-1917), waiter (Field, B.C., 1919), ranch hand (Empress, Alberta, 1920) and horse-wrangler (Field, B.C., 1921). From April to September 1918 he served as a “Soldier of the Soil” on the farm of Frank Grain, in Purves, Manitoba. In 1920 Andrews moved to British Columbia, obtaining an Arts I degree from the University of British Columbia in 1921 and a Teacher's Diploma from the Vancouver Normal School in 1922. To fund future studies in forestry Andrews then taught in one-room schools at Big Bar Creek in the Cariboo (1922-1924) and in the Metis community of Kelly Lake in the Peace River District (1924-1926). In the summer of 1923 he travelled by pack-horse from Big Bar to Pemberton following the line of the Pacific Great Eastern Railway, and the following summer made a second trip through Pine Pass in the Rockies. In 1926 he began studies at the Forestry School at the University of Toronto, where he was introduced to aerial survey photography and photogrammetry. During the summers he worked on a forest survey in Manitoba (1927), at a forestry station in Quebec (1928) and as a timber cruiser in British Columbia (1930). After graduating with a B.Sc. in Forestry (1930) Andrews was employed by the Forest Branch as Chief of Party for the surveys of the Flathead, Tranquille, Niskonlith and Shushwap Forests (1930 to 1932). When prospects for continued work with the Forest Branch dried up at the end of 1932, Andrews travelled to Europe, earning his passage as an “ordinary seaman” on the Fred Olsen line's Victoria to London via Panama route. He pursued post-graduate studies in air photo survey and intelligence at the Imperial Forestry Institute at Oxford, England (1933) and the Forst Akademie, Tharant and Technische Hochschule in Dresden, Germany (1934). In 1934 he returned to work with the British Columbia Forest Branch as an air photography specialist, helping to develop the province's air survey program. On 15th October 1938, Andrews married Jean Elizabeth Bergholdt. The couple made their home in Victoria, and had two daughters. In 1940 he enlisted in WW2, at first serving with the Royal Engineers and later with the Royal Canadian Engineers (1940-1946), and rising to the rank of Lieutenant-Colonel. His work in aerial surveying and air photo intelligence mapping the underwater and surface conditions for the D-Day invasion of Normandy was recognized with an MBE in 1944. He returned to British Columbia in 1945 and in 1946 was appointed Chief Engineer of the newly-established Air Surveys Division of the Surveys Branch, Dept. of Lands and Forests. He was instrumental in developing the province's aerial photography and photogrammetry program, purchasing cameras, equipment and aircraft and hiring experienced war veterans as pilots, navigators, engineers, film processors and mappers. In 1951 Andrews was appointed to the dual positions of Surveyor General of British Columbia and Director General of the Surveys and Mapping Branch, which he held until his retirement in 1968. During this period he also served as a member of the federal-provincial Fraser River Board (1952-1963), as Provincial Boundaries Commissioner for British Columbia (1952-1968) and, on a leave of absence from July to September 1958, as a consultant for the United Nations, under the Columbo Plan, on survey and air photo requirements for international development of the Mekong River. After retiring from the British Columbia government he worked as a consultant in surveys administration for the Department of Mines and Technical Surveys, Ottawa (1969-1971) and as a guest professor on a CESO project teaching air photo interpretation to graduate engineers at the Escola Politecnica in Campe Grande, Brazil (1972-1973). Andrews' professional commissions included Professional Engineer (B.C.) (1936), Registered Professional Forester (B.C.) (1947) and British Columbia Land Surveyor (1952). Andrews was active in numerous professional and amateur organizations, including the Canadian Institute of Surveying (president, 1952); the International Society for Photogrammetry (president, Commission IV, 1952-1956); the Corporation of Land Surveyors of the Province of British Columbia (honorary past president, 1968) and the British Columbia Historical Association (president 1972-1974, honorary president 1984-1986). He received numerous honours and awards including Fellow of the Royal Geographical Society (London, 1942); Member of the British Empire (London, 1944); Doctor of Engineering honoris causa (University of Victoria, 1988); Order of British Columbia (1990) and Order of Canada (1991). Andrews' interests were wide-ranging and included world travel, history (particularly the history of British Columbia and Canada), geography, the biographies of surveyors and explorers, sketching, genealogy and languages (English, French, German, Spanish and Cree). He was a prolific writer and an avid photographer, authoring more than fifty publications and producing more than eight thousand 35 mm colour slides documenting all areas of British Columbia. Gerald Smedley Andrews died in Victoria, British Columbia, on December 5th 2005.

Custodial history

Acquired in multiple accessions from Gerald Smedley Andrews and his daughters, Mary and Kris Andrews.

Scope and content

The fonds consists of records generated by Gerald Smedley Andrews in Victoria and other parts of British Columbia and Canada, and overseas, in pursuit of his personal, wartime, professional and volunteer activities from about 1903 to 2005.

These activities include those of teacher; lecturer; researcher; author; historian; geographer; traveler; artist; photographer; genealogist; linguist; surveyor; engineer; forester; expert in aerial survey photography, mapping and photogrammetry and member of numerous amateur and professional associations and organizations.

The fonds consists predominantly of personal records but also includes records from Andrews' positions with the British Columbia government, including Chief Engineer of the Air Surveys Division, and Surveyor General and Director of the Surveys and Mapping Branch. The records cover a wide range of subjects but particularly relate to surveying (including aerial survey photography, mapping and photogrammetry) and surveyors, and the history and geography of British Columbia. The fonds include correspondence, research notes, lists, publications, newspaper articles and clippings, over 14,000 photographs, financial records, legal documents, tax assessments, membership cards, membership directories, nominal rolls, newsletters, minutes, financial reports, by-laws, annual reports, texts of speeches, questionnaires, memoranda, a patent application, invitations, resumes, graphs, diagrams, calculations, manuals, technical information, programmes, essays, manuscript drafts, grant applications, job applications, orders of service, texts of speeches, essays, drawings and other artwork.

The fonds also includes three videotaped cable television interviews with Andrews (1982-1985). a home video interview with Andrews and over 300 maps and plans.

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Some records in French or German.

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Restrictions on access

Access restriction: Series MS-2924 is restricted, see series level descriptions for details.
Conservation restriction: Graphic material may be in cool or cold storage.

Terms governing use, reproduction, and publication

Finding aids

File lists are available, see series level descriptions.

Associated materials

GR-1544. British Columbia. Ministry of the Environment. Surveys and mapping: director's files, 1946-1976.

Related materials


No further accruals are expected.

General note

Accession number(s): 75-159; 76-184; 77-031; 77-194; 78-110; 198006-032, 87-051; 87-115; 95-3721; V1986:60; 2010.40 (95-3721) 2013.12; 2014.199, and 2016.34


Moving image originals may be in cool or cold storage. Contact staff for specific details.

Physical description

Includes ca. 14,400 photographs, 4 videocassettes and ca. 300 maps.

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