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William Aberhart fonds

1928-1971, predominant 1935-1966

Physical Description:
6 cm of textual records. -- 15 audio discs.-- 33 photographs

William "Bible Bill" Aberhart, 1878-1943, was born in Ontario. He studied at the Hamilton Normal School and was granted his BA from Queen's University in 1911. In 1902 he married Janet Jessie Flatt, 1878-1966, and they had two children, Ola (MacNutt), 1905-2000, and Khona (Cooper), 1903-2000. In 1910 they moved to Calgary, Alberta and Aberhart became a high school principal. He was principal of Crescent Heights High School, 1915-1935. He ran popular bible classes, and in 1925 began his Sunday afternoon radio broadcasts, called the "Back to the Bible Hour". In 1927 he opened the Calgary Prophetic Bible Institute, and two years later founded the Bible Institute Baptist Church. In 1932 he became interested in the monetary ideas of Major C.H. Douglas, who espoused state supervision of credit and dividend payments to citizens. He founded the Social Credit League, and in 1935 became the premier of Alberta when Social Credit swept the United Farmers of Alberta (UFA) government from power. The government was unable to implement Aberhart's proposed reforms because the legislation was disallowed by the federal government. Aberhart died in office. In 1974 the Historic Sites and Monuments Board of Canada designated Aberhart as a National Historic Person. For further information see Bible Bill / David R. Elliott and Iris Miller. - Edmonton : Reidmore Books, 1987.

Scope and Content:
The fonds consists of recorded radio broadcasts (1936-1940); miscellaneous speeches, lectures, correspondence and greeting cards (1935-1943); appointment as President of Alberta Executive Council (1935); and family photographs. Includes programs of memorial events, and recordings of Aberhart Memorial Service (1943) and opening of Aberhart Memorial Sanatorium (1952).

Source of Acquisition:
Gifts of Ola MacNutt, Calgary Herald Public Relations Department, and Stephanie Alexander, 1981-1982.

The material is in English.

Originals and Reproductions:
The radio broadcasts are also available on audio cassettes.

No restrictions on access.

Finding Aids:
Inventory available. Please consult before requesting material.

View finding aid / scanned documents:

The majority of Aberhart's official records are at the Provincial Archives of Alberta. The University of Calgary holds many of his personal papers.
Some 1937 radio broadcasts are in the CFCN fonds, a transcription disc of a 1938 speech is in the CFAC Radio fonds, and transcripts of speeches from the Calgary Prophetic Bible Institute and as Premier are in the Fred Kennedy fonds, and the J. McKinley Cameron fonds, at Glenbow.

Call Numbers:
(M=manuscript; N&P=photos; R=sound recordings; S=slides; F=films)
M-3583, M-3828, M-6138, M-6469, PA-2440, NA-4454, RAD-9, RED-9, RET-23

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