Fonds 0585 - R.J. Campbell fonds

Hudson's Bay Store in Grande Prairie Teens Fashion Show Original Staff at the Hudson's Bay Store

Title and statement of responsibility area

Title proper

R.J. Campbell fonds

General material designation

  • Graphic material
  • Textual record

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  • Source of title proper: Title of fonds based on contents.

Level of description

Fonds

Reference code

CA GPR 0585

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Issuing jurisdiction and denomination (philatelic)

Dates of creation area

Date(s)

  • 1948-1949 (Creation)
    Creator
    Campbell, Robert J.

Physical description area

Physical description

4 pp of textual records
15 photographs

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Archival description area

Name of creator

(1915-2000)

Biographical history

R.J. (Bob) Campbell was born March 17, 1915 in Makinak, Manitoba. He began his career with the Hudson's Bay Company in the Fur Trade Department as a junior clerk during the Great Depression. After about three years he was promoted to the position of Post Manager, which allowed him to marry his childhood sweetheart, Patricia Roach, of Winnipeg. His first Fur Trade Post was Dease Lake, BC, followed by Kitwanga, Fort St. James, and Fort St. John. His success in those postings resulted in his being appointed manager of the new store being built in Grande Prairie at the age of 33. The HBC supplied a house for the family on 98th Street, just north of Richmond Avenue.

When the Grande Prairie store opened in 1948, it was part of the HBC Fur Trade Division. According to Campbell's assistant, Hal Tipper: "Both Bob Campbell and I knew that the store we were about to open would be a far cry from the store folks in Grande Prairie were expecting. The gurus in Fur Trade Dept headquarters in Winnipeg envisioned a fur trade post, albeit a bit larger than normal. Grande Prairieites envisioned the Edmonton Bay store, albeit a bit smaller. Bob Campbell, and to some extent myself, were continually frustrated by our inability to give folks the store they were expecting. Our inititial inventory included dog sleds, dog harness and horse collars, along with traps, rifles and ammunition. The rifles and ammunition sold well as at that time (post war), supplies were still scarce. Little by little we transformed the store, ignoring for the most part the Fur Trade Dept Merchandise Depot in Winnipeg and dealing with more normal suppliers. I believe it was 1950 when management accepted the fact that trying to operate Grande Prairie as a Fur Trade Post was an error and moved our store into what was then called the 'Inland Stores Division'."

Bob Campbell left the Hudson's Bay Company ca. 1951, becoming a commission agent for a bulk fuel agency. Around 1952 he purchased Pete Butchart's flower shop on Richmond Avenue, on the north side of the avenue and just west of 101 Street. He re-named it Campbell Flowers;two generations of the family were in business with it for many years.

Patricia Campbell passed away in 1999, and Bob Campbel died at the age of 85, September 26, 2000.

Custodial history

The records were deposited by Harold V. (Hal) Tipper, the assistant administrator to R.J. Campbell in 1948. Hal began his career with the HBC at the Yellowknife Store--Fur Trade Department in 1946 and was appointed assistant manager of the new Fur Trade Department Grande Prairie when he was only 20 years old. When Bob Campbell passed away in 2000, these records were passed on to Mr. Tipper by the Campbell family.

Scope and content

The fonds consists of 15 photographs, an Employment Agreement between the Hudson's Bay Company and R J Campbell, and a magazine clipping photo of R J Campbell. The photographs are of the Hudson's Bay Company Store in Grande Prairie when it opened in 1948, the original staff group in 1948, 4 photos of the crowds on opening day, 2 photos of a children's fashion show on opening day, and 5 photographs of the HBC Company float for the opening of the Smoky River bridge.

Notes area

Physical condition

Immediate source of acquisition

These records were donated to South Peace Regional Archives by Harold Tipper, assistant administrator to R.J. Campbell in 1948, on August 1, 2014.

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Language of material

  • English

Script of material

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No accruals are expected.

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Accession number: 2014.063

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Description record identifier

0585

Institution identifier

South Peace Regional Archives

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Level of detail

Partial

Language of description

  • English

Script of description

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