Fonds MS 200;2004.045 - Sovereign family fonds

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Sovereign family fonds

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CA VERN MS 200;2004.045

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  • 1894-2000 (Creation)
    Sovereign (family)

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Physical description

39 cm of textual records;44 photographs;1 sound recording

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Name of creator

Biographical history

Bishop Arthur Henry Sovereign was born in Woodstock, Ontario in 1881 of United Empire Loyalist stock. He graduated from the University of Toronto in 1906 with an MA, took his L.Th from Wycliffe College and his B.D. by examination by the general synod of the Church of England in Canada. The degree of D.D. came later from Wycliffe and from Emmanuel College, Saskatoon. He went overseas during the First World War and worked with the YMCA and the Khaki University as well as being chaplain for several army units. He was a member of the senate of the University of B.C., vice-president of the Children's Aid Society and chairman of the adoption committee, member of the executive of the Vancouver Health League, founder of the B.C. playground movement, President of the B.C. Branch of the Royal Lifesaving Society, chairman of the juvenile court and founder of the John Howard Society. He loved the mountains and was a member of the B.C. Mountaineering Club, the Alpine Club of Canada, and the Mountain Climbers' Safety Club. He was also senior chaplain for the Royal Canadian Legion until shortly before his death in 1966. He was Canada's bishop of longest standing, and 70 bishops were consecrated after he attained the rank. He received the John Howard Society of Ontario medal for distinguished humanitarian service a few days before his death. In 1957 he was named Vernon's Good Citizen, having come to Vernon to retire in 1950 at the age of 69. In Vernon, he was chairman of the board of commissioners for Silver Star Park, co-organizer of the school for mentally handicapped children and co-founder of the Vernon Toastmaster's Club. Arthur met his wife Ellen Fearnaught Ellison in 1912 on an Alpine Club outing. She was the daughter of Price Ellison, Vernon rancher and B.C.'s Minister of Finance and Agriculture at that time. Ellen attended Havergal College from 1905-1907 and, on winning a scholarship to McGill University in Montreal, she attended there from 1908-1910. Ellen and Arthur were married in 1913 and left shortly after for England where Arthur did postgraduate work at Oxford. The couple returned to Vancouver in 1914. In 1931, Arthur was elected Bishop of Yukon and the family moved to Dawson City. The following year he became Bishop of Athabasca in Peace River and continued in this post until retirement in 1950. At this time, Arthur and Ellen moved to Vernon where both took an interest in community affairs. Ellen and Arthur had four daughters and one son, Art E. Sovereign. Dr. Art E. Sovereign became a well-loved pediatrician practising in Vernon. Both he and his wife Agnes continued the family tradition of become very involved in community affairs and were, as a couple, named Good Citizens of the Year in 2000.

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Scope and content

Fonds consists of the personal records of Arthur, Ellen, and Art Sovereign. Includes correspondence, diary, personal data documents, personal writings, research material, sermon notes, lecture notes, scrapbook, genealogy, ephemera, and photographs.

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BCAUL control number: VERN-185

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