Classification scheme: 
Hist. Mss. 1.202

Title: Wes Brown fonds

Dates of creation: 1941-1944

Physical description: 1 cm of textual material; one photo album

Biographical sketch: George Wesley "Wes" Brown (10 November 1919- ) was a member of the United Church of Canada who as a pacifist served in the Alternative Service Work Camps at Montreal River in Ontario and in the British Columbia forestry camps during World War II. He also served as editor of the Northern Beacon in Ontario and Beacon in B.C. until his resignation in May 1943. As editor he received some exchange issues of publications from Civilian Public Service camps in the United States. These titles have been transferred to the rare periodicals section of the library. Titles included Irrigator, Mono Log, Sage O'pinon, Peacemaker, Plowshare and Olive Branch.

After his service, he worked for a time as a dishwasher at the Toronto General Hospital. He applied to serve with the Quakers at a medical mission in China. He served for two years (1946-1947) setting up transportation of medical supplies, and helping to open hospitals and orphanages. These years were life-changing -- he returned to Canada a deeply spiritual person, but no longer a Christian. In 1950 he married Dorothy Tristram; they had two children. He worked for Dunlop Tire and Ontario Hydro until his retirement.

Custodial history: Donated to the Mennonite Archives of Ontario by Wes Brown, via Glen Brubacher, in February 2004.

Scope and content: The collection consists primarily of correspondence, much of it around a questionnaire Brown and other ASW camp leaders circulated to all men in the B.C. camps asking their views on variant forms of alternative service. A copy of the questionnaire is included in the collection. This questionnaire created conflict with the British Columbia Forestry Service. The responses to the questionnaires were kept unopened in sealed envelopes and were eventually destroyed in the fall of 1943. A photo album and miscellaneous publications complete the collection.

Note: Original archival description created 2004 by Sam Steiner

File list:

  1. Correspondence, 1942-1944, 2004
  2. Misc. publications
  3. Photo album, 1941-1943


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Mennonite Archives of Ontario
Conrad Grebel University College
140 Westmount Road North
Waterloo, ON N2L 3G6

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