Fonds MsC-47 - James Hawthornthwaite fonds

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James Hawthornthwaite fonds

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  • Textual records
  • Artefacts

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Dates of creation area


  • 1901-1911 (Creation)
    Hawthornthwaite, James

Physical description area

Physical description

30 cm of textual records and other material

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Biographical history

James Hurst Hawthornthwaite was born in Ireland in 1863. After immigrating to British Columbia, Hawthornthwaite married Elizabeth Ada Bate of Nanaimo, possibly in 1890. Together the couple had ten children: Alan Hurst (1891), Victor (1892), William Esmond (1893), Gilbert Shafto (1895), Leonore Kinghurst (1897), Cecilia Eros (1899), Star (1902), twins Joan and Gwen (1903), and James (ca. 1908). Hawthornthwaite worked as a colliery clerk in the coal mines of Vancouver Island before being elected to the Legislative Assembly of British Columbia in 1901. Hawthornthwaite represented the Vancouver Island ridings of Nanaimo from 1901 to 1912 and Newcastle from 1918 to 1920. Hawthornthwaite was one of the first socialists elected to the Provincial Parliament and became a member of the newly formed Socialist Party of Canada in 1903. During his tenure in the Legislative Assembly Hawthornthwaite focussed on planning and promoting labour legislation. Hawthornthwaite was instrumental in developing the Workmen's Compensation Act (the first of its kind in Canada). He also introduced legislation for the eight-hour work day and for women's suffrage and he actively opposed the exploitation of Asian labourers in British Columbia. James Hawthornthwaite died in 1926 and is buried in Ross Bay Cemetery in Victoria, British Columbia.

Custodial history

Acquired by Simon Fraser University Special Collections and Rare Books division in 1995.

Scope and content

Fonds consists primarily of incoming correspondence addressed to Hawthornthwaite in his capacity as a Member of the Legislative Assembly from his constituents and other residents of British Columbia. The fonds contains a file consisting of legislative bills, resolutions, and acts tabled during Hawthornthwaite's tenure in the Provincial Parliament and other records that Hawthornthwaite made or received in the course of his service to the people of Nanaimo, as well as published records of the legislative assembly of British Columbia for the years 1909 and 1910. The fonds also contains: a certificate for Hawthornthwaite's share in the Western Socialist Publishing Company which published The Western Clarion, the newspaper of the Socialist Party of British Columbia; a postcard depicting Joseph Mairs, one of Hawthornthwaite's contemporaries in the Socialist Party of Canada; and a copy of a book titled The changing order: A study of democracy, given to Hawthornthwaite by his friend Harry Sibble.

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  • English

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Created May 15, 2014, LZ

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  • English

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