Fonds PR-1796 - John Emerson fonds

Title and statement of responsibility area

Title proper

John Emerson fonds

General material designation

  • graphic material
  • moving images
  • sound recording
  • textual record
  • multiple media

Parallel title

Other title information

Title statements of responsibility

Title notes

  • Variations in title: Title based on the contents of the fonds.

Level of description


Reference code


Edition area

Edition statement

Edition statement of responsibility

Class of material specific details area

Statement of scale (cartographic)

Statement of projection (cartographic)

Statement of coordinates (cartographic)

Statement of scale (architectural)

Issuing jurisdiction and denomination (philatelic)

Dates of creation area


  • 1922-1965, 1969; predominantly 1950-1964 (Creation)
    Emerson, John, 1911-1968

Physical description area

Physical description

ca. 218 audio reels and other material

Publisher's series area

Title proper of publisher's series

Parallel titles of publisher's series

Other title information of publisher's series

Statement of responsibility relating to publisher's series

Numbering within publisher's series

Note on publisher's series

Archival description area

Name of creator

Biographical history

John Emerson (1911-1968) was a prominent Vancouver musician, actor and entertainer who also arranged and conducted musical shows for radio and the stage. He started his musical career in the late 1920s while a student at the University of British Columbia, leading his own band. In the 1930s, he played aboard CNR coastal steamships, in Vancouver nightclubs, and in various radio programs on CJOR and CRCV (the forerunner of the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation's Vancouver station, CBR). As Emerson's career progressed, he expanded from performing into accompanying, arranging, conducting, acting, producing musical theatre, and working with developing actors and singers. He was highly regarded within the Vancouver entertainment community as a raconteur and a (sometimes acerbic) wit. In the 1950s and 1960s (until a debilitating stroke in 1964), he was considered as the complete "entertainer's entertainer".

Custodial history

Scope and content

The fonds consists of: audio recordings of John Emerson's radio, nightclub, stage and television performances and rehearsals; oral history interviews about John Emerson; Emerson's papers; a collection of theatrical, publicity, and family photographs; and a kinescope of the CBC Vancouver television musical variety program, "John Emerson Presents" (1959).

Notes area

Physical condition

Immediate source of acquisition

Donated to the BC Archives in October 1987 by Mrs. Mary Ida Emerson, the widow of John Emerson.


Language of material

Script of material

Location of originals

Availability of other formats

Restrictions on access

  • No access restrictions apply.
  • Conservation restriction: material in cool or cold storage requires special retrieval and handling.

Terms governing use, reproduction, and publication

Copyright to be determined.

Finding aids

  • A finding aid for the sound recordings (which also includes a listing of the unprocessed papers) is available on file and in the archives reference room.
  • Item-level descriptions of the sound recordings are available on-line.

Associated materials

Related materials


No further accruals are expected.

General note

Archives code(s): 88-131 ; 199001-001; 90-1483 ; 91-1328 ; F1987:36 ; T4352.

General note

Accession number(s): 88-131; 199001-001; 90-1483; 91-1328; F1987:36; T4352


Sound recording and moving image originals may be in cool or cold storage. Contact staff for specific details.

Physical description

Includes 13 audio cassettes, 1 m of textual material, 288 photographs, and 1 film reel.

Alternative identifier(s)

Standard number area

Standard number

Access points

Place access points

Genre access points

Control area

Description record identifier

Accession area