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W.J.D. Dempster fonds

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W.J.D. Dempster fonds

Title Notes 


Title based on provenance of the fonds.

Level of Description 



Dates of Creation 


1897-1979, predominant 1903-1921

Physical Description 


.20 m of textual records
132 photographs : 103 b&w prints, 29 b&w copy negs

Scope and Content 


The fonds consists of records, in two accessions, created by, or about, W.J.D. Dempster, Sergeant and later Inspector in the North West Mounted Police (NWMP), serving in the Yukon Territory. Accession 79/84 includes Dempster's reports and copies of correspondence from search patrols, 1909-1912; five original handwritten diaries from 1909, 1911, 1912, 1914 and 1916; an original 16 page handwritten account, "Fitzgerald Relief Patrol", written by Dempster in 1952, at the request of George Black; copies of letters he wrote to his parents in Wales, November 1910 and February 1911; a copy of the International Yukoners' Association resolution to name the Dempster Highway, August 1963; and two poems, possibly written by Edmund Ironside, "The Lost Patrol" and "To a Sergeant that I know of in the North". The second accession 2002/122, consists of original and copied textual records and photographs. Eleven original handwritten diaries (record books), 1903-1921, are records of his days in the Yukon. (The diaries are not continuous, some years and months are missing.) The textual records also include original instructions sent to Dempster to look for the lost Fitzgerald patrol in February 1911 and a list of articles retrieved by him after finding the lost men; Oaths of Office and Appointments; and correspondence between Dempster's son, Hugh and the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP). The copied records are typed highlights from the diaries, 1898-1922; partial transcription of diaries 1898 and 1915-1916; a list of names of Fort McPherson patrols from 1899-1921; a list of early NWMP leaders in the Yukon from 1894 to 1911; letters Dempster wrote to his parents and sister, 1897-1911; and copies of selected newspaper clippings from a scrapbook. The fonds also includes photographs from two albums and one scrapbook. One album was a donation and depicts scenes of the McPherson Patrol from 1906-1912, First Nations families of the Fort McPherson area, and creeks, mountains and rivers of the northern Yukon. Captions accompany the photographs. Twenty-nine images were selected from a second album and a scrapbook (both compiled by Mrs. Catherine Dempster) for copying. Images include the Dempsters and their 2 children, residents of Dawson City, the hospital in Mayo, a masquerade ball in Mayo, and the McPherson Patrol.

Administrative History or Biographical Sketch 


Click on the link(s) below for more information.

Dempster, W.J.D. (William John Duncan), 1876-1964

Other Names Access Point(s) 


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Dempster, Catherine
Dempster, Hugh, 1928-2002

Custodial History 


The material in accession 79/84 was passed on to Dempster's children, Hugh Dempster and Sheila Calvert, who donated it to the Yukon Archives in 1979. Accession 2002/122 was donated by Hugh's daughter, Beth Dempster.

Restrictions on Access 


The diaries in 79/84 may not be published in their entirety without the written permission of Sheila Calvert during her lifetime. The materials in accession 2002/122 may be reproduced for private use or research. Cannot be published without written permission of Beth Dempster in her lifetime. Yukon Archives has the right to display on the Internet.



Photographs numbered according to the original orders in the albums.

Physical Description Notes 


Some letters in the two accessions may be duplicates. The album contains 103 b&w prints, 5 are loose.



Diaries are fragile.

Availability of Other Formats 


The original diaries in 79/84 have been photocopied to facilitate research, as the originals are fragile. Reference prints are available.

Finding Aid 


Caption list is available for the photographs.
Click here to view online.

Location of Original 


One album and a scrapbook returned to Beth Dempster.



79/84, 2002/122

Specific Location 


MSS 102 (79/84) : Textual records
MSS 285 (2002/122) : Textual records
PHO 518 (2002/122) : Photographs

Record Last Modified 



Record URL


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