Fonds F0937 - John D. Higinbotham fonds

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John D. Higinbotham fonds


  • 1790-1960, predominant 1875-1960 (Creation)

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Extent and medium

1.3 m of textual records. -- 415 photographs

Context area

Name of creator

Biographical history

John D. Higinbotham, 1864-1961, was born in Guelph, Ontario. In 1883 he graduated from the Ontario College of Pharmacy and the following year came to Fort Macleod and opened a drug store. He moved to Lethbridge in 1885 where he opened the Higinbotham Drug Store. He also played an active part in the community. Between 1885 and 1910 he served as the postmaster, was one of the founders of the Alberta Pharmaceutical Association, organized the Sunday school of Knox Presbyterian Church, served as chairman of the Lethbridge School Board, held high Masonic offices, was appointed coroner in 1892, and was affiliated with many local organizations. In 1928 he made a trip down the Mackenzie River with Dr. Frank H. Mewburn. He had a particular interest in western Canadian history and wrote extensively about it. In 1933 he wrote When the West was Young, which was published by Toronto's Ryerson Press. He married Margaret Anna Torrance, ?-1937, in 1889 and they had eight children, Helen, Evelyn Allan, 1890-?, Harold, Allan Gladstone, 1898-1898, Marjorie, 1899-?, Norman Lindsay, 1900-?, Mary Mewburn, 1904-?, and Muriel Dryden, 1904-?. In 1929 he sold his drug store in Lethbridge and returned to Guelph. His memoirs were published as When the West was Young : Historical Reminiscences of the Early Canadian West / by John D. Higinbotham. -- 2nd ed. -- Toronto : Ryerson Press, 1978, c1933.


Archival history

Immediate source of acquisition or transfer

Gifts of Tom Randall and (Helen) Phyllis Higinbotham, 1962-1977.

Content and structure area

Scope and content

The fonds consists of personal and family correspondence; business correspondence pertaining to his position as postmaster, his affiliation with the Presbyterian Church and Pharmaceutical Association, and his appointment as coroner; correspondence and enquiries relating to his writings; his notes, poems, articles, radio broadcasts and manuscripts, including drafts and reviews of When the West was Young; diaries (1885-1887, 1937-1941) and travel journals; newsclippings and articles on Western history, people and places; indexed scrapbooks and notebooks; and programs, certificates, and greeting cards. Includes family photographs and photographs of his travels, ranching scenes, Alberta personalities, Lethbridge, Fort Macleod, and Waterton. Includes 1876-1887 Fort Whoop-Up bill-heads (some signed by David Akers), collected from the site by Higinbotham; and an article by Nellie McClung set at the Higinbotham home.

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Conditions governing access

No restrictions on access.

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Script of material

Language and script notes

The material is in English.

Physical characteristics and technical requirements

Finding aids

Inventory available. Please consult before requesting material.

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Title based on contents of records.

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