The fonds consists of the records of Herbert Anscomb, who had one of the longest and most important political careers in the history of British Columbia. They document his activities as Reeve of Oak Bay, B.C., Mayor of Victoria, opposition member in the B.C. legislative assembly, cabinet minister in the B.C. government in numerous portfolios, leader of the Progressive Conservative Party of British Columbia, and member of the federal Royal Commission on Transportation from 1959 to 1962. Predominantly, the records relate to his political career which began with his election to Oak Bay council in 1924 and ended with his defeat in the provincial election of 1952. The fonds also consists of a relatively small number of records concerning his personal life, family, and his involvement in the wine and brewing industry.
The documentary forms most significant in number include correspondence, photographs, and speeches (in public, in the legislature, and for radio broadcast). In smaller numbers the documentary forms include handwritten notes which were passed from MLAs to Anscomb during sittings in the legislature, magazine articles, and political campaign literature such as brochures, posters and pamphlets. The fonds also includes collected editorial cartoons, caricature drawings and other art work, certificates, reports, guest and visitors books, and ephemera.
The records reflect a wide range of subjects; these include: government, politics and economic policy during the depression and World War II, the province’s coalition government, infrastructure building, political competition against the Co-operative Commonwealth Federation (CCF party), the single transferable vote electoral system, the process of appointment to government jobs, hospital insurance, and the history of the Conservative Party in B.C. and its relationship with the federal party.
The fonds consists of six series, as follows:
• Provincial political records
• Municipal political records
• Personal records
• Royal Commission on Transportation records
• Photograph album
• Newspaper clippings scrapbooks
Records of particular note include detailed diaries which Anscomb kept as Minister of Mines, Minister of Trade and Industry, Minister of Public Works, and Minister of Municipal Affairs in the early to mid-1940s. The fonds also consists of a rich collection of photographs which document in particular his career as mayor of Victoria and as a B.C. government cabinet minister.
The fonds also consists of a series of 12 volumes of newspaper clippings dating from 1924 to 1978. These scrapbooks cover Anscomb’s entire political career; subjects include all aspects of government and politics in Oak Bay, Victoria and the province of B.C., and not just articles pertaining to Anscomb himself. The fonds includes a manuscript of an unpublished autobiography Anscomb began in 1953.
Where possible the archivist has arranged records chronologically. Where files clearly had been used together as a group by their creator, that order was maintained.