Fonds F 235 - John Hall Archer fonds

Title and statement of responsibility area

Title proper

John Hall Archer fonds

General material designation

  • Textual record
  • Graphic material
  • Poster
  • Cartographic material
  • Sound recording
  • Architectural drawing
  • Technical drawing
  • Object

Parallel title

Description type


Title statements of responsibility

Title notes

Level of description


Reference code

F 235

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


  • 1924-2004 (Accumulation)
  • 1862-2004 (predominant: 1965-2004) (Creation)
    Archer, John H., 1914-2004

Physical description area

Physical description

ca. 22.980m of textual records
466 photographs : prints, b&w, col.
20 photographs : slides, col.
2 drawings : pencil, ink
12 prints : etchings
12 prints : posters
133 maps
1 atlas (56 p. ; 28 maps : b&w); 61 cm
4 audio cassettes (3 hr. 18 min.)
12 architectural drawings
4 prints : postcards
1 print
1 object

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 Hall Archer was born July 11, 1914 on a farm 20 km south of Broadview, Saskatchewan. He was the third of ten children born to British homesteaders Charles and Mary Archer, who came to Canada in 1903.

Archer's primary education began in Broadview's Highland School, and he completed his final year of high school at Scott Collegiate in Regina. Beginning in 1932, Archer farmed and attended Normal School in Regina. From 1935 to 1938, he upgraded his teaching credentials through correspondence and summer courses offered by the University of Saskatchewan in Saskatoon. His enlistment during the Second World War resulted in a break in his studies. After the war, Archer obtained a Bachelor of Arts (Honours) in history (1947) and a Masters of Arts in history (1948) from the University of Saskatchewan in Saskatoon. At McGill University in Montreal Quebec, Archer received a Bachelor of Library Science (1949) and he earned a Doctorate of Philosophy in history (1969) from Queen's University in Kingston, Ontario.

In the period from 1933 to 1940, John Archer taught in the Highland, Grainview, Edenland, and Wawota school districts. In 1940, he left his position as Vice-Principal of Wawota High School, and enlisted in the Canadian Army. He signed up as a gunner in the Royal Canadian Artillery and became a part of the 1st Canadian Survey Regiment, Flash Spotting Battery. He was stationed overseas in the United Kingdom, North African/Mediterranean theatre and Italy during the war where he served with distinction and completed officer training. He also ran (unsuccessfully) for public office as a candidate in the 1944 Saskatchewan General Election, representing active service voters in Area Number 2 (countries bordering on the Mediterranean Sea). Archer returned to Saskatchewan in 1945 with the rank of Captain.

Following the completion of his Bachelor of Library Science degree, Archer returned to Saskatchewan to become the Assistant Legislative Librarian in 1949. During the period from 1951 to 1964, he was Legislative Librarian of Saskatchewan and served on the Saskatchewan Archives Board. From 1957 to 1962, he also held the position of Provincial Archivist. From 1962 to 1964, he was Assistant Clerk of the Legislative Assembly of Saskatchewan.

In 1964, Archer left Saskatchewan to become Director of University Libraries at McGill and in 1967 he became an Associate Professor of History and University Archivist at Queen's University. In 1970, Archer returned to Saskatchewan, this time to take up his appointment as principal of the University of Saskatchewan, Regina Campus. He served as the University of Regina's President from 1974 to 1976. In 1976 while Professor of Western Canadian History at the University of Regina, Archer was engaged by the Saskatchewan Archives Board to write a history of Saskatchewan to coincide with the province's 75th Anniversary. He continued to teach throughout the 1980's and 1990's at the Senior's Education Centre, University of Regina.

During his lifetime, John Archer gave many speeches and lectures throughout the province to interest groups and students. In the year 1980, as promotion for the Celebrate Saskatchewan 75th Anniversary and the publication of his work Saskatchewan: A History, he spoke at over 200 events.

Archer wrote and edited many books and articles, as well as contributing forewords, introductions and reviews to many literary works. These projects included writing Honoured with the Burden (a history of the Regina Board of Education); Bernard Amtmann, 1907-1979; and Living Faith, History of Diocese of Qu'Appelle. He was general editor of the memoirs of John Diefenbaker and also edited Grainbuyer's Wife; Billy Bock : The Book of Humbug; Land of Promise; and West of Yesterday. Archer participated in several radio and television broadcasts, such as The Saskatchewan Story; At Home in Saskatchewan; John Archer's Saskatchewan and Saskatchewan Mosaic.

Throughout his lifetime, John Archer served on a number of boards and commissions at the local, provincial and national levels. These included the Saskatchewan Golden Jubilee Committee(Secretary); Rafferty Alameda Environmental Assessment Review Panel (Chair); Rural Development Advisory Group (Chair); Canadian Centenary Council (Director); South Saskatchewan Hospital Board (Member); Wascana Centre Authority (Director, treasurer); Saskatchewan Judicial Council; Glassco Commission on Federal Government Organization (Project Officer); Saskatchewan Commission on Continuing Education (Chair); and Regina Advisory Committee of the Salvation Army (Chair and Life Member).

He received numerous honours and awards during his lifetime, including the Order of Canada (Officer); Saskatchewan Order of Merit; Golden Jubilee Medal; President Emeritus for the University of Regina; Anglican Church Award of Merit; Doctor of Laws from the University of Regina; Doctor of Canon Law from the College of Emmanuel and St. Chad; as well as having the main branch of the University of Regina Library named in his honour.

Archer participated in a number of organizations, societies and charitable groups concerned with Canadian history, political science, libraries and the arts. Including: the Canadian and American Library Associations; the Canada Foundation; the Saskatchewan History and Folklore Society; Monarchist League of Canada; Government House Historical Society; Saskatchewan Genealogical Society; Museums Association of Saskatchewan; and the Council for Canadian Unity.

His personal interests also extended to the game of bridge, curling, university athletics, rural development, the Saskatchewan Roughriders, and Canadian unity.

John Archer married Alice M. Widdup on August 24, 1939 in Broadview, Saskatchewan. They had two children John Widdup Archer (1947) and Alice Mary-Lynn Archer (1951). Archer died on April 5, 2004 in Regina, Saskatchewan.

Custodial history

Alice Archer, wife of John Archer, donated some of these records to the Regina office, Saskatchewan Archives in one accession in 2004: R2004-187 (April 2, 2004).

Scope and content

This fonds consists of records created, accumulated and used by John Archer and pertain to activities during the course of his personal life; his research interests and writing projects (his own and those on which he gave advice, made a contribution, or reviewed); his speaking engagements; his involvement in non-governmental organizations and institutions; his appointments on boards and commissions at the local, provincial, regional or national level; his education; and his employment history - in particular his career as a teacher/professor.

The types of records include correspondence, published and unpublished manuscripts, programmes, invitations, clippings and articles, photographs, reports and studies, research materials, subject files, speeches, appointment books, mailing lists, policies and procedures, committee minutes and transcripts, publications, financial reports, and proposals.

The records described in 1985 in old guide GR 358 were listed under forty-seven headings of identification and arrangement.

The accrual to the fonds described in 2006 has been divided into four series: Personal; Subject Files; Organizations; and Appointments, Boards and Commissions.

Notes area

Physical condition

Records are in good physical condition.

Immediate source of acquisition

John Archer donated these records to the Regina office, Saskatchewan Archives, in seven accessions between 1983 and 2002: R83-398 (August 18, 1983); R93-223 (May 25, 1993); R96-519 (November 1, 1996); R98-133 (February 3, 1998); R2001-226 (July 13, 2001); R2001-325 (November 26, 2001); and R2002-199 (June 28, 2002).


The factors determining the arrangement of the records in GR 358 (Collection R 848) were not documented during the description process.
Arrangement of 2006 accrual reflects both original order and archival intervention; series titles supplied by archivist.
Architectural drawings, some photographs and cartographic records have been retained in file due to context.

Language of material

  • English
  • French

Script of material

Language and script note

Some French and Latin language documents exist within the fonds.

Location of originals

Availability of other formats

Restrictions on access

Some of these records are subject to access restrictions. Some records are subject to access restrictions according to the terms of an agreement with the donor dated December 20, 1985. Please consult reference archivist for assistance.

Terms governing use, reproduction, and publication

Use, publication and/or reproduction of records are subject to terms and conditions of an agreement with donor dated December 20, 1985 and the conditions of the Copyright Act. Please consult reference archivist for assistance.

To consult the records, visit or contact the Regina office.

Finding aids

SAFA 208 (old guide GR 358) consists of a fonds description, series descriptions, file listings of textual records and some item listings of photographs, maps and an audiotape.
Item level descriptions of photographs, maps and sound recording and some textual records descriptions are also available in electronic format. Please consult an archivist for assistance.

Uploaded finding aid

Associated materials

Associated material:
The University of Regina Archives and Special Collections hold other records of John Archer, in the John Archer fonds (CAIN No. 151857) and in the University Secretary's Office fonds (CAIN No. 151935).

Research notes, drafts of manuscripts, corrected proofs and correspondence for the publication Bernard Amtmann, 1907-1979: A Personal Memoir, by John Archer and John Mappin can be found in the Amtmann Circle fonds (CAIN No. 40886) at Library and Archives Canada.

Additional records of Montreal Books Auctions and Canada Book Auctions can be found in the Bernard Amtmann fonds (CAIN No. 40884) and Canada Book Auctions fonds (CAIN No. 40923) at Library and Archives Canada.

Related material:
Video and audio recordings of interviews and programs hosted by John Archer are found in the holdings of the Saskatchewan Archives, Regina office. Consult the video and audio databases for descriptions of these records.

Records created by John Archer as Secretary of the Committee to Study and Review the Judicial System of Saskatchewan are available in collection R-244 (GR 20).

A more complete copy of the submission to the Royal Bank Award Committee of Audrey Matilda Foster of Birch Hills for the 1981 Award by John Archer and Frederick W. Johnson is available in collection R-E955.

The publication, "The Political Development of Saskatchewan" by John Archer is available in the Taras Cheberiak collection (R-1481.1).


No further accruals are expected

General note

Locations for retrieval: Regina - Hillsdale; Regina - Maxwell


For records in the 2006 accrual description, archival staff replaced the original file folders with acid-free folders, removed elastic bands, paper clips and other fasteners, and photocopied newspaper clippings. Oversize materials were removed to appropriate oversize storage (IR 15, R-OS 122). Large unmanageable files were split into smaller parts.

Alpha-numeric designations

Textual records: old guide GR 358 (R-848); R-E1712; R-E1775; R-E1851
Photographs: R-A24870, R-A32897 through R-A32925; R-B12166, R-B12167, R-B14230 to R-B14240, R-B14287 to R-B14288; R-D2529
Sound Recordings: Tape R-16081, Tape R-5961 to Tape R-5963
Maps: R-848m; A1394 through A1408
Oversized: R-OS 122

Alternative identifier(s)

Original ID


Standard number area

Standard number

Access points

Place access points

Name access points

Genre access points

Control area

Description record identifier

F 235

Institution identifier

Rules or conventions

Saskatchewan Archives. Archival Description Manual 2004.



Level of detail

Language of description

  • English

Script of description

  • Latin


Content of the fonds.
Donor agreement file.
Old guide GR 358 (Collection R-848)
Virtual International Authority File 145087439 (Corporate). Retrieved from:
Last accessed: 2014-04-03

Accession area