The fonds consists of the records of Rosemary Brown, and were created in her capacity as a member of the British Columbia legislative assembly (MLA), and as a member of the New Democratic Party. A large number of the records reflect Rosemary Brown’s activities on legislative committees and her caucus critic responsibilities.
The records, in smaller numbers, were also created in her capacity as a public speaker, columnist, and university instructor, activities which were not directly related to her job as MLA, but which were carried on at the same time she was an MLA. The fonds also consists of a relatively small number of personal records which were intermingled with records relating to her MLA work.
The records were created by Rosemary Brown at the B.C. legislature, although whether they were created by her, immediate staff, or caucus research staff, is not always clear. Records were also presumably created in Brown’s constituency office.
Records reflect events in the two constituencies she served, although most reflect the time period after she left Vancouver-Burrard to serve as MLA for Burnaby-Edmonds, from 1979 to 1986. Although the majority of her correspondence was with people in the greater Vancouver area, the geographic scope of the records includes all of the province of British Columbia as she was concerned with province-wide issues, and also received letters from citizens throughout the province. In addition to concerning B.C. affairs there are reports and letters from outside B.C. and concerning issues of national and international relevance.
The records date predominantly from 1977 to 1986.There are virtually no records from the periods of Brown’s life prior to becoming an MLA in 1972 or after her retirement from B.C. politics in 1986. There are almost no records from her first years as MLA, from 1972 to 1975, when she was on the government side of the house.
The subject matter of the files includes all aspects of British Columbia politics and public policy. However there is a particular emphasis on records related to the subjects of her caucus critic responsibilities and legislative committees, and areas of her personal interest and activism. Her critic or spokesperson areas, reflected in the files, include the Human Resources ministry (and related areas of Health), feminism and the status of women, human rights and minority groups, Attorney General, and Consumer and Corporate Affairs. The files also reflect her interest in municipal affairs, education, environmental issues, labour rights, civil rights, minorities and each of these in an international context.
A large amount of the correspondence is from members of the public who expressed their opinions on political and social issues. Correspondence also includes “case work” (requests from the public for assistance with personal issues and problems). As Brown was a well-known public figure, the correspondence comes from various parts of the province and is not restricted to her constituents. There are also a significant number of records related to the policies and political activities of the New Democratic Party both in B.C. and across Canada.
The fonds consists of the following documentary forms: correspondence; memos; briefs on legislation and issues from government, organizations and non-governmental bodies; research information; copies of Hansard and government bills and budget documents; reports; newsletters; pamphlets; petitions; position papers; press releases; reports; petitions; studies; election campaign literature and voter lists.
The fonds also consists of a large amount of collected resource or reference material; these subject files include clippings, newsletters, magazines, pamphlets and photocopied articles. There are a small number of Brown’s speeches and articles written by Brown. Some records appear to have been given to Brown by research staff, with their suggestions that she use the information for her questions in the legislature or for speeches. There are also what appear to be Brown’s handwritten notes on issues.
A small number of files consist of personal correspondence (friends and acquaintances) and personal business records, (financial, real estate purchases, mortgage, MLA remuneration), and collected ephemera. These were intermingled with the records relating to her MLA work.
There are no photographs in the fonds.
The correspondence files are arranged as they were by the creator of the records, in chronological and alphabetical order.
The files were found to have no numbered classification system. They were usually well-labeled by the creator of the files, and organized by the creator according to subjects falling under the responsibility of a government ministry (i.e. the Human Resources ministry, Health, the Attorney General, and Consumer and Corporate Affairs, etc.). However, many appeared to be out of the order of their original filing system, so it was sometimes necessary for the archivist to reorganize the files to return them to this original subject arrangement, grouping files according to the subject matter as it appears in the title of the folder.
The archivist determined that distinct series could not be distinguished; the fonds therefore consists of only one series.