Title and statement of responsibility area
Stanley Howard Knowles fonds
General material designation
- Textual record
- Graphic material
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Level of description
CA UCA Acc: 2008-32, ID # 3261
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Statement of scale (cartographic)
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Issuing jurisdiction and denomination (philatelic)
Dates of creation area
1927 - 1940 (Creation)
- Knowles, Stanley Howard
Physical description area
0.5m textual material, one box
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Archival description area
Name of creator
Stanley Howard Knowles was born on June 18, 1908 in Los Angeles, California to Margaret Blanche (Murdock) and Stanley Ernest Knowles. He was the third of four children born into the family—the first two daughters did not survive beyond infancy. In 1924, following the death of his mother five years earlier, Knowles visited Canada for the first time. He returned in 1926 and the next year enrolled in Brandon College as a candidate for ministry. While taking classes he worked as a student pastor, and to that end spent the summers of 1928 and 1929 working as a preacher in Hairy Hill, Alberta and Reston, Manitoba, respectively.
Upon graduation from Brandon College in 1930 Knowles became associate minister of First Baptist Church in Winnipeg. While in Winnipeg he attended United College, and in 1934 was ordained as a minister. In 1932, the year before the completion of his studies at United College, he was recruited along with fellow student William Hughes as co-pastor of Central United Church. While at Central United Church he began hosting public forums regarding labor, politics, Christianity and other aspects of the social gospel. Eventually this interest took the form of radio broadcasts. The church board became increasingly uncomfortable with Knowles’s message, an issue that came to a head in 1934. Knowles was approached by the Cooperative Commonwealth Federation (CCF) to stand for nomination to represent Winnipeg South Centre, an appointment which the church board did not find as appealing as their minister. Knowles resigned his post at Central United Church but finished third in the vote.
For the remainder of the 1930s Knowles worked as minister for several Winnipeg congregations. From 1935 to 1936 he preached at MacLean Mission and several surrounding churches, and from 1937 to 1940 preached at Kildonan United. In 1936 he married Vida Cruikshank, a member of the MacLean Mission congregation. In March 1940 Knowles again ran for election, this time in Manitoba’s Springfield riding. Again he failed to secure the winning number of ballots, but the next year became a city alderman in Winnipeg. In 1942 he became provincial secretary of the CCF and that same year won the right to represent Winnipeg North Centre in Parliament. He would remain in Parliament until 1958, when Diefenbaker’s Progressive Conservative party secured the largest majority government to date.
Between 1958 and 1961 Knowles played an important role in creating what was then known as “The New Party.” The New Party was formed in 1962 from a union between the CCF and the Canadian Labor Congress, of which Knowles was the executive vice-president between 1958 and 1962, and christened the New Democratic Party (NDP). It was as a member of the NDP that Knowles regained his riding of Winnipeg North Centre in 1962. He retained this position until October 1983, when he announced he would not contest the next election. This announcement came only a few years after a serious illness caused him to be absent from Parliamentary proceedings for an extended period. During his career as a parliamentarian Knowles also participated in the First General Assembly of the United Nations in 1946, was a member of the CCF National Council (1939 – 1961), acted as the Vice-Chairman of the CCF (1953 – 1961) and served as the CCF Party Whip (1944 – 1958), NDP Party Whip (1962 – 1972), and NDP House leader (1962 – 1984).
In recognition of his many years of service Knowles was appointed to the Privy Council of Canada in 1979 and made an honorary officer of the House in 1984. Knowles’s interest in the social gospel permeated his political career and influenced his particular goal of promoting improvements to pension funds in Canada. He passed away on June 9, 1997.
The records were donated to the archives in June 2008 by David Knowles (son of S. H. Knowles).
Scope and content
The fonds contains 182 sermons written and preached by Knowles. In addition other pastoral documents, church letters, various addresses, a photograph, correspondence, and newspaper and magazine articles are included.
Immediate source of acquisition
The fonds arrived at the archives in an ordered manner; however, more appropriate order was imposed by the archivist. Some material was re-formatted via photo-copying.
Language of material
Script of material
Location of originals
Availability of other formats
Restrictions on access
No restrictions on access.
Terms governing use, reproduction, and publication
Item-level descriptions of sermons (“S. H. Knowles Sermon List”) and ephemera (“S. H. Knowles Ephemera List”) are available. A database of sermons (MS Excel document) that may be sorted according to various criteria (date preached, location preached, biblical passage used) is also available.
No further accruals expected.