Fonds MSS 447 - Joe and Lillian Bain fonds

Title and statement of responsibility area

Title proper

Joe and Lillian Bain fonds

General material designation

  • Textual record
  • Graphic material

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Dates of creation area


  • 1999-2015 (Creation)
    Meyer zu Erpen, Walter
  • 1971-2000 (Creation)
    Bain, Lillian Catherine
  • 1971-2006 (Creation)
    Bain, Joseph Cecil

Physical description area

Physical description

0.13m of textual records
1 colour photograph ; 1 paper sheet of printed photographs

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Archival description area

Name of creator


Biographical history

Lillian Catherine (Murphy) Bain was born in Toronto on 4 May 1916. She met Joe Bain in 1934 or 1935, and they were married in late 1935 in Toronto. They had eight daughters and two sons. In the mid-1960s, Lillian began to explore Spiritualism. She began her investigation at Toronto’s Springdale Church under the guidance of Reverend William Charles Partridge (1893-1984), where her main interest was in the healing aspects of Spiritualism. Lillian first visited Camp Chesterfield in Indiana in 1968, and visited annually until 1982, often accompanied by her husband. In 1971, she held a licentiate certificate from the Vancouver-based International Spiritualist Alliance, and gave her first lecture at Springdale Church. She was also certified as a healer by the National Federation of Spiritual Healers (Canada), Inc. In 1974, Lillian opened the Bethel Healing Sanctuary in her home at 91 Marilake Drive, Agincourt, on the instigation of British Spiritualists’ National Union minister Mrs. Hilda Martin.
Lillian worked at Springdale Church until 1978, when Reverend Partridge appointed her Pastor / Minister of the Springdale Park Spiritual Association church at Bracebridge, Ontario. She served there until the church’s closure in the mid-1980s, when she conducted the last service. For a number of years after Lillian became Pastor of Springdale Park Church, the Bains continued to live in Toronto. During those years, they spent their summers in a home on a lot in Springdale Park, on the North Muskoka River, next door to the Partridges’ summer cottage. In September 1980, Reverend Partridge ordained Lillian and Joe in Richmond. In the late 1980s, Lillian began suffering from Alzheimer’s disease, which was not diagnosed until 1991, when she was already seriously ill. She died in 2003.

Name of creator


Biographical history

Joseph Cecil (Joe) Bain was born in Toronto in 1916. He lost his mother a few weeks later and was raised by his aunt, Mrs. Margaret (Horton) Robinson. He met Lillian Murphy in late 1934 or early 1935 and they were married in late 1935 in Toronto. Throughout Lillian’s time as a Spiritualist, Joe was supportive of her interests and career, building the Bethel Sanctuary in their unused basement in 1974. In 1980, Joe was certified as a healer with the National Federation of Spiritual Healers (Canada), Inc., and ordained by W.C. Partridge in Richmond. Joe, an Anglican, agreed to be ordained so as to have the authority necessary to manage the business and legal aspects of Springdale Park Spiritual Association, and to conduct funeral services when necessary. Later, he produced for his children a compendium from Arthur Findlay’s autobiography Looking Back (1955), to highlight the parts he felt were most significant to Lillian’s belief in Spiritualism. In 1980, he became the fifth and final President of Springdale Park Spiritual Association. He retired from his career in business for the last time in 1987, when he and Lillian moved up to Bracebridge permanently. After Lillian’s death in 2003, he donated a number of records and other material to SRIC. Joe passed away peacefully in 2009.

Name of creator

(1958 -)

Biographical history

A graduate of the University of British Columbia Master of Archival Studies program, Walter Meyer zu Erpen has been president and archivist of the Survival Research Institute of Canada since its creation in 1991. Meyer zu Erpen has also played an active part in local and British Columbia politics. As a member of the Green Party, he ran for Victoria municipal council in 1999, coming only 180 votes shy of winning the seat. In 2001, he ran provincially and placed third. He also served the party as Campaign Manager for the 2005 election and co-manager for the 2009 election and served provincially as Fund-Raising Chair from 2003-2005 and Party Chair from 2007-2009.

Custodial history

This collection was donated to the Survival Research Institute of Canada (SRIC) by Joe Bain between 1999 and the early 2000s, and was transferred to the University of Manitoba Archives and Special Collections in 2015 by Walter Meyer zu Erpen (President, SRIC).

Scope and content

This fonds contains certificates, correspondence, meeting agenda and minutes, study course outlines, leaflets, newsletters, séance records and other ephemera, photographs, and other records from the personal files of Joe and Lillian Bain. It also includes several folders of material from the Survival Research Institute of Canada correspondence and research files relating to the Bains. Photocopies of the 2 envelopes were made on 8 June 2015.

Notes area

Physical condition

Immediate source of acquisition

Walter Meyer zu Erpen


The fonds was arranged with the transferring agent in accordance with specifications he provided.

Language of material

  • English

Script of material

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There are no restrictions on access to this material.

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There may be restrictions on use of this material.

Finding aids

An online finding aid is available at the link below: Joe and Lillian Bain fonds

Associated materials

This fonds is one of a series of fonds and collections transferred to the Archives by Walter Meyer zu Erpen, President of the Survival Research Institute of Canada. It is related to the various other Psychical Research and Spiritualist Collections that the University of Manitoba Archives & Special Collections has attracted since it acquired the Hamilton Family fonds. It is especially related to the Springdale Park Spiritual Association (SPSA) fonds, as the Bains were active participants in the SPSA, and the Noreen Hodgson fonds, which is also associated with the SPSA.

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No further accruals are expected.

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Description record identifier

MSS 447 (A15-64)

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Rules for Archival Description (RAD)



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Dates of creation, revision and deletion

Created by Samantha Booth, June 2015
Modified by Samantha Booth, December 2015
Modified by Andrea Martin, January 2016

Language of description

  • English

Script of description


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