Fonds 006 - Lawson family fonds

Title and statement of responsibility area

Title proper

Lawson family fonds

General material designation

  • Textual record
  • Graphic material
  • Sound recording

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  • Source of title proper: Title based on the creator of the fonds.

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Issuing jurisdiction and denomination (philatelic)

Dates of creation area


  • [1880-1990] (Creation)
    Lawson (family)

Physical description area

Physical description

1.69 m of textual records and other material

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Archival description area

Name of creator


Biographical history

The Lawson family moved to the area now known as West Vancouver in 1907, and is one of the original pioneer families of West Vancouver. John Lawson, who became the second Reeve of West Vancouver from 1913 to 1914, was instrumental in the development of education, postal service, transportation, and telephone service for the area. He and his wife Christina had three children – Elizabeth, Gertrude, and Duncan.

The family was very active in all aspects of community life. In 1908, the first church services in the District took place at the Lawsons' waterfront home with Elizabeth Lawson as pianist. Elizabeth married in 1914 and raised a family in West Vancouver. Gertrude Lawson devoted her life to teaching, and was a well-loved school teacher in West Vancouver. She lived in her stone castle house at 680-17th Street until her death in 1989. The District purchased the property, and her original home was designated as a Heritage Building. After subsequent renovations, it officially re-opened as the West Vancouver Museum and Archives in 1994. Duncan Lawson served in World War I and was killed in action overseas in 1918. The Duncan Lawson Chapter of the Imperial Order Daughters of the Empire was named in his honour. Elizabeth Pitman (Lawson) died in 1953, and John Lawson, who was regarded as the father of West Vancouver, died in 1954. His wife, Christina Lawson died in 1955. John Lawson bequeathed part of the family's waterfront property to the District, which became John Lawson Park. The park and museum serve as historic reminders of the important contributions the Lawson family made to the development of West Vancouver.

Custodial history

Most of the records in this fonds were found in 1989 in the home of Gertrude Lawson, 680-17th Street West Vancouver by members of the West Vancouver Museum and Historical Society, when the home was being reviewed for restoration as the new site for the West Vancouver Museum and Archives. The records were obtained for the archives with the permission of the Municipality of West Vancouver. Additional records were supplied by Rupert Harrison and by Gertrude (Pixie) Wilson, Gertrude Lawson's niece.

Scope and content

The fonds consists of material generated and collected by the Lawson family and extended family members. Records include personal correspondence, photographs, journals, school records, and art work, as well as financial and business records pertaining to family businesses, investments and community involvement.

The fonds is arranged into the following sous-fonds and series:
Series 1: Photographs and postcards
Sous-fonds 1: John Lawson sous-fonds
Sous-fonds 2: Gertrude Lawson sous-fonds
Sous-fonds 3: Christina Lawson sous-fonds
Sous-fonds 4: Duncan Lawson sous-fonds
Sous-fonds 5: Harte family sous-fonds
Sous-fonds 6: Elizabeth Lawson sous-fonds

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Physical condition

Immediate source of acquisition


Language of material

  • English

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    Associated materials

    The Imperial Order Daughters of the Empire - Duncan Lawson Chapter fonds contains records of the West Vancouver organization founded by Gertrude Lawson. These records were originally considered part of the Lawson family fonds. The West Vancouver Transportation Company fonds contains the records of this company, which was co-founded by John Lawson. These records were originally considered part of the Lawson family fonds. The West Vancouver Museum collection includes artifacts originally considered part of the Lawson family fonds (see accession 1989.066).

    Related materials


    Alpha-numeric designations

    BCAUL control number: WVAN-243

    Physical description

    Includes: ca. 330 photographs, 7 paintings, 2 audio cassettes, 4 maps, 1 audio disc, and 1 drawing.

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    Rules for Archival Description



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    Dates of creation, revision and deletion

    Revised March 2010

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      Script of description


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