Fonds MSS 147 - Robert Beamish fonds

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Robert Beamish fonds

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  • 1875-2001; predominant 1940-2000 (Creation)

Physical description area

Physical description

14 m of textual records and other material.

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Name of creator


Biographical history

Robert Earl Beamish was born on September 16, 1916 in Shoal Lake, Manitoba to William Henry and Mary May (McLeod) Beamish. He was educated at Shoal Lake Public School and McConnell High School. He entered Brandon College in 1934. He graduated as an honours student and class valedictorian with a B.A. in 1937. He received a Dominion-Provincial Scholarship to study medicine at the University of Manitoba. In 1942, he graduated with an M.D. and two years later a B.Sc. (Med). In 1942 he joined the teaching staff of the University of Manitoba. In 1943, he married Mary Kathleen Weekes. They had three daughters: Catherine born in 1949, Judith in 1953 and Mary Anne in 1955. Beamish served in Canada with the Royal Canadian Military Corps from 1944-1946 and retired with the rank of Captain. During his military service, Beamish began a prolific research career. He co-authored four articles, one of which was a study of tuberculosis in the Canadian Army. From 1947-1948 Beamish was awarded a Nuffield Dominion Travelling Fellowship to study in Great Britian. He studied at the Royal Hammersmith Hospital in London and later became the registrar at the National Heart Hospital. While in England, he obtained membership in the Royal College of Physicians of London and the Royal College of Physicians of Edinburgh, specializing in cardiology. He was later advanced to Fellowship in both organizations. Upon returning to Canada, Beamish endeavoured to have the study and treatment of heart disease established as a legitimate medical specialty in Canada. He established the department of cardiology at the Manitoba Clinic, which was expanded to include six doctors. He pioneered the idea that the lowering of serum cholesterol would greatly reduce the risk of heart attack. He was also an early proponent of the use of anticoagulants to prevent clotting and the blocking of arteries. In 1970 he joined the Great West Life Assurance Co. as Vice-President of Medical Underwriting, while still retaining teaching and research interests at the University of Manitoba. Beamish was the Founding Director of the Manitoba Heart Foundation and the founding editor of the Canadian Journal of Cardiology. He was awarded honourary degrees from Brandon University in 1988 and the University of Manitoba in 1989. He received the Order of Canada in 1990 and the Order of Manitoba in 2000. Dr. Beamish died in Winnipeg on February 17, 2001.

Custodial history

Robert Beamish donated the first accession of records to University of Manitoba Archives & Special Collections in 1978. This amounted to 0.04 m of textual records. It was designated MSS SC 19. The greater portion of the Robert Beamish fonds, designated MSS 147, was donated to Archives & Special Collections by his widow Mary in 2001.

Scope and content

The fonds consists of nine series. Where possible, the material is arranged chronologically. The first series is comprised of biographical information, including curriculum vitae, information from Who's Who and scrapbooks. The second series contains Beamish's personal and professional correspondence. Series three pertains to Beamish's academic and professional career. It includes correspondence regarding Beamish's research at the Health Sciences Centre and St. Boniface Hospital, as well as material from his time as a Vice-President at Great West Life Assurance Co. The fourth series deals with Beamish's publications and includes articles, book chapters and speeches. The fifth series pertains to Beamish's work as an editor with Cardiovascular News, Canadian Journal of Cardiology and Rhythmology. The sixth series contains programs and abstracts from several conferences that Beamish attended. Series seven contains board minutes and correspondence from various organizations. The largest series, the eighth, contains medical research and articles by others. The ninth series includes topics of personal interest to Beamish such as psychic research. MSS SC 19 consists of research papers, articles, and talks given by Robert Beamish from 1940 to 1978.

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Physical condition

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Language of material

  • English

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Restrictions on access

Some financial and investment material, patient files, and student evaluations that have been deemed confidential are restricted.

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Some photographs have copyright restrictions.

Finding aids

A printed finding aid is available in the Archives' reading room and an on-line finding aid is available at the link below: Robert Beamish fonds.

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No further accruals to this fonds are expected.

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Small Collections


Photograph Collection

PC 155

Tape Collection

TC 099

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