RBCM Archives

Series MS-0505 - Helmcken family papers

W.R. Higgins, Masonic cer...

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Helmcken family papers

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  • textual material
  • microform

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MS-0505

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Issuing jurisdiction and denomination (philatelic)

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  • 1848-1920 (Creation)

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Physical description

1.38 m of textual records, 1 reel of microfilm : negative ; 35 mm

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Scope and content

Papers of J.S. Helmcken and members of his family, including correspondence, 1848-1920, account books, 1871-1903, deeds, contracts, certificates, 1825-1890, medical notebooks, case books and account books, 1845-1890, notes and papers concerning the Beacon Hill Park Bowling Club, 1898-1914, rough notes and drafts for articles in newspapers, speeches, and reminiscences. Account books pertaining to the estate of Arthur Thomas Bushby, 1875-1901. Papers of Harry Dallas Helmcken, 1866-1894, and William Ralph Higgins, 1890-1903. J.S. Helmcken's confederation diary and reminiscences are also on microfilm. John Sebastian Helmcken was born in Spitalfields, London on 5 June 1824, the fourth child and eldest son of Claus Helmcken and Catherine Mittler. After attending St. George's German and English school from 1828 to 1839 Helmcken apprenticed himself to Dr. W.H. Graves as a chemist and druggist. On 2 October 1844, Helmcken registered as a student at Guy's Hospital, London, and in March 1848 was admitted as a Member of the Royal College of Surgeons. Two months later he was serving as surgeon aboard the Malacca until, on 12 October 1849, he received an appointment from the Hudson's Bay Company as surgeon and clerk for a five year term. Helmcken arrived at Esquimalt on 24 March 1850 and was first posted to Fort Rupert before being ordered to return to Fort Victoria in December 1850. On 27 December 1852 he married Cecilia Douglas, eldest daughter of Governor James Douglas. In 1856 Helmcken was elected to represent Esquimalt and Victoria District in the Legislative Assembly of Vancouver Island and served as Speaker of the Assembly until union with British Columbia in 1866. Governor Musgrave appointed Helmcken to the Executive Council of British Columbia in December 1869 while he was also serving as a member of the Legislative Council of B.C., and in the summer of 1870 he travelled to Ottawa as one of three confederation delegates from the colony. With the entry of British Columbia into Confederation in 1871, Helmcken retired from active politics. Helmcken also served as president of the Board of Directors of the Royal Hospital, remained physician to Victoria's jail until 1910, and contributed numerous articles on the early history of Vancouver Island in his later life. Dr. Helmcken died on 1 September 1920. The records include the papers of J.S. Helmcken and members of his family: correspondence, 1848-1920, account books, 1871-1903, deeds, contracts, certificates, 1825-1890, medical notebooks, casebooks and account books, 1845-1890, notes and papers concerning the Beacon Hill Park Bowling Club, 1898-1914, rough notes and drafts for articles in newspapers, speeches and reminiscences. There are also account books pertaining to the estate of Arthur Thomas Bushby, 1875-1901, and papers of Harry Dallas Helmcken, 1866-1894, and William Ralph Higgins, 1890-1903. J.S. Helmcken's Confederation diary and reminiscences are also on microfilm [A00810]. An index to the records is available as part of the hard copy finding aid kept in the reference room. Records are stored in the following volumes: Vol 1, folder 1-25, J.S. Helmcken (JSH), correspondence inward arranged chronologically, [1848-1873] Vol 2, folder 1-26, JSH, correspondence inward, miscellaneous, [1874-1915] Vol 2, folder 27-41, JSH, correspondence outward, miscellaneous, 1850-1911] Vol 2, folder 42-53, Miscellaneous papers Vol 3, JSH, Confederation diary; drug and medical supplies account book; case book , 1857-1879 Vol 4, JSH, medical notebooks Vol 5 , JSH, account books,1871-191[?] Vol 5, JSH, account books, 1880-1903 Vol 7, JSH, correspondence re bowling green Vol 8, JSH, correspondence and notes for articles about William Duncan and Metlakatla Vol 9, JSH, notes for speeches, reminiscences, and articles printed in newspapers Vol 10, JSH, miscellaneous notes Vol 11, JSH, reminiscences, originals [also on A-00810] Vol 12, JSH, reminiscences, typescript, copy 1 Vol 13, JSH, reminiscences, typescript, copy 2 Vol 14, Folder 1-14 Helmcken family, correspondence inward and outward Vol 15, Papers re Bushby estate Vol 16, Published works from the Helmcken family library

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Physical condition

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Deposited with the Provincial Archives, 1939.

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Accession number(s): MS-0505

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  • Box: A00810