Norman Bethune collection [textual record, sound recording]

  • Record Information – Brief
    Hierarchical level:
    Type of material:
    Textual material, Sound recordings
    Found in:
    Archives / Collections and Fonds
    Item ID number:
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    Context of this record:
    • Norman Bethune collection
      Norman Bethune collection
  • Collection includes:
    2 lower level description(s)
    View lower level description(s)
    Place of creation:
    11.2 cm of textual records.
    17 audio cassettes (ca. 17 h).
    Language of material:
    Scope and content:
    Collection consists of material originally held by Library and Archives Canada, relating to Bethune's personal, medical and political activities in North America and Spain. Correspondents include Dr. Edward Kupka, Grant Fleming, J.S. Woodsworth, and the Jefe de Sanidad Militar, Madrid. Much of the material documents Bethune's participation in the Montreal Group for the Security of the People's Health and other aspects of the movement for socialized medical care. Also included are press clippings on his death, a letter from Dr. Robert McLure to Dominion Archivist Dr. W.I. Smith regarding Bethune, notes on a televised interview about Bethune, and a photograph of Bethune. Collection also consists of material exchanged between Library and Archives Canada and the People's Republic of China in 1982. The seventeen items from the Archives (also available on microfilm, reel H-1309) amassed from various North American sources, document Bethune's personal, political and medical activites in Spain and North America. Included are correspondence, articles by Bethune on medical subjects, and press clippings. There is slight duplication between this material and that originally held by the National Archives. The eighteen documents donated by the People's Republic of China (also available on microfilm, K-169) pertain largely to Bethune's activities in China and consist of correspondence, Bethune's writings on the organization of military hospitals, and telegrammes and press articles mourning his death. There is also some personal correspondence predating his arrival in China. Originals, 1971-1982, 4 pages. Photocopies, 1926-1975, 11 cm. Also included in collection are sound recording documenting proceedings of a conference of The Bethune Foundation at McGill University, including sessions on Norman Bethune, his life, his career, and their implications, 1979. Conference entitled Bethune: his times and his legacy.
    Additional name(s):
    Biography/Administrative history:
    Bethune, Norman, 1890-1939: Norman Bethune, the son of a clergyman, was born in Gravenhurst and educated at the University of Toronto's Faculty of Medicine. During World War I he enlisted with the first contingent of the Canadian Expeditionary Force and, after being wounded, served as a lieutenant-surgeon in the Navy. After the Armistice, Bethune practised medicine in England and Canada, and in Detroit where he learned that he had tuberculosis, spending the next year in sanitoriums and recovering in 1927. He later joined Dr. Edward Archibald, the tuberculosis specialist, at the Royal Victoria Hospital in Montreal, where he helped organize the Montreal Group for the Security of the People's Health, an organization devoted to establishing socialized medicine. During the Civil War Bethune set up a blood transfusion service in Spain and in 1938 he went to China to attend to the wounded during the Sino-Japanese War. He died there the following year. Bethune's fame resulted from his status as a hero in the People's Republic of China and the impact of this on Sino-Canadian relations.
    Finding aid:
    Textual records (Paper) The finding aid is a file list. MSS1391 (90 90: Open)

    Sound recording (Paper) Refer to AV Collection file, filed under The Bethune Foundation, for item-level descriptions. (Restrictions not set)

    (Electronic) All or some of the documents described have been digitized and are available at the following address: (90 90: Open)

    (Electronic) Les documents décrits ont été complètement ou en partie numérisés et sont disponibles à l'adresse suivante : (90 90: Open)

    Additional information:
    General Note:
    Received in 1971 from Dr. E. Kupka of California and from Dr. Robert B. McClure of Toronto, Ont.; one letter was copied from the original in the possession of Hazen Sise of Montreal, Que. Exchange material was received in 1982 from the People's Republic of China. Sound recording received in 1979.
    Location of originals note:
    The original of one letter is with Hazen Sise of Montreal, Quebec. Originals of 18 of the documents are with the People's Republic of China.
    Availability of other formats note:
    Seventeen items from Library and Archives Canada which are part of the material exchanged with the People's Republic of China are also available on microfilm reel H-1309. Eighteen documents from the People's Republic of China are also available on microfilm reel K-169.
    Related material:
    Additional material on Bethune also located in "Bethune and West China Union University" collection, MG 30 C 230.
    Subject heading:
    Other system control no.:
    Related control no.:
    1979-0161 MISA
    Former archival reference no.:
  • Conditions of access:
    Terms of use:
    Sound recording: Reproduction with written permission of copright owners. Copyright held by individual speakers.

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