Fonds IH 980.30 - New Westminster Chinese Benevolent Society fonds

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New Westminster Chinese Benevolent Society fonds

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CA NWM IH 980.30

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  • [ca 1904-1974] (Creation)
    New Westminster Chinese Benevolent Society

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1.4 m of textual records

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Biographical history

The first meeting of the New Westminster Chinese Benevolent Society (NWCBS), also known as the New Westminster Chinese Benevolent Association, was held on March 16, 1915. This meeting elected a business firm called Si Yuan Hao as the president, and Xin Jin He as the Vice President. The Executives were: Tai An Zhan, Guang An He, Jin Yuan Hao, and Tai Li He. The NWCBS held its second meeting on March 22, 1915, which was attended by 12 business representatives, and Mr. Huang Dusheng. The twelve businesses were: Si Yuan Hao, Xie Sheng Long, Yuan Sheng Hao, Yi Xiang Hao, Tong Sheng Hao, Guang An He, Jin Yuan Hao, Tai Li He, Xu Hua Xuan, Ying Tai Hao, Xie Yuan Hao, Chang Sheng Hao. In the same month, four more meetings were held, and on March 29, 1915 a meeting was held to discuss matters about electing officers for the NWCBS office, which was located at 826 Victoria Street, New Westminster, a building often referred to as the New Westminster Chinese Centre (NWCC).;The first meetings of the NWCBS were prompted by the concerns over the City Hall's inspection of the then Chinese cemetery in 1915 and the municipality's intention to use the cemetery land for other city purposes. From that point on, the NWCBS held regular meetings up to the late 1940s. Some of the most involved members were, in addition to those already mentioned, businesses such as Xin Chuntang, Sheng An Hao, Sheng Li Long, and individuals such as Liu Fuzhao, Feng Dewen, Li Zhaoping, Huang Baiyun, and Jiang Qin. The issues discussed at the NWCBS meetings include matters of importance to the local Chinese community, fundraising for various causes such as the operation and maintenance of the NWCC, observing traditional Chinese festivals, defending the rights of Chinese in legal proceedings, the war of resistance in China, natural disaster relief in China, and caring for the wounded soldiers and refugees. The meetings of the NWCBS became less regular in the early 1950s. In 1955, Mur. Huang Baiyuen resigned his position as Executive Director of the NWCC, after which Jiang Qin and a few others assumed the responsibilities for the NWCC, until the early 1960s. After that, there was only sporadic documentation of meetings of the NWCBS with the last meeting record dated March 24, 1969.;The Chinese Hospital was a significant undertaking of the New Westminster Chinese. Although the records fo the Chinese Hospital predated the first NWCBS meeting, it is apparent from the Hospital records that some of the prominent members of the NWCBS were also sponsors of the morgue, and by extension of the Chinese Hospital. Guang An He donated $100 to the morgue in 1904. Other founding members of the NWCBS, such as Jin Yuan Hao, Xin Jin He, Tai An, Jin Yuan and Tai Li He were among the first donors to the morgue. At a November 11, 1923 meeting, the NWCBS discussed issues on how to improve the rules and regulations for admitting patients to the Chinese Hospital. No more activities of the Chinese Hospital were documented after 1967. Utility bills of the Chinese Hospital from 1948 to 1967 were mailed to an address at 825 Holbrook Street, New Westminster, c/o PO Box 685. The PO Box is that for the NWCBS.;The NWCBS was also the sponsor of the New Westminster Chinese Public School, which was first opened in the early 1940s, using the meeting room of the NWCBS building. It appeared that the school became inactive subsequently, and was reopened pursuant to a decision made by the NWCBS in March 1955. The names and addresses of two individuals, Mr. Wah Leung of 443 Jackson Avenue, Vancouver, and Rev. C. C. Shiu of 905 Hecate Street, Nanaimo, BC, were stamped on some of the Chinese textbooks that are present in this fonds.

Custodial history

The NWCBS records were rescued by the staff of the New Westminster Museum and Archives from 826 Victoria Street, New Westminster, prior to its demolition in 1979.

Scope and content

The fonds consists of the following series: minutes of the meetings of the NWCBS; the Society's financial records, the Chinese Hospital records; fundraising records; general records of the Society; published material in the form of newspapers, magazines, pictorials, as well as classroom textbooks.

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Access to Chinese Hospital Patient Registers is subject to review under the Personal Information and Protection of Privacy Act.

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Finding aids

FindingAids with series descriptions and file lists are available in Chinese (traditional and simplified), Mandarin Pinyin, and English.

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BCAUL control number: NWM-3782

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