Fonds SC078 - Robert Wellington Mayhew fonds

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Robert Wellington Mayhew fonds

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  • Graphic material

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

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  • 1909 - 1969 (Creation)

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Physical description

1.53 m of textual records
ca. 400 photographs

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Name of creator


Biographical history

Robert Wellington Mayhew was born on 13 October 1880 in Cobden, Ontario, the son of Charles Mayhew and Sarah Dunlop Mayhew. He married Grace Logan on 26 February 1908; their children were Robert Logan, Charles Alan, and Jean Edwards; Alan Mayhew, an RCAF pilot during the World War, 1939-1945, was killed in action over the Indian Ocean in June 1943. His daughter Jean married Alex Lawrason; his daughter-in-law is the Victoria sculptor Elza Mayhew.

Mayhew was first elected to the House of Commons for Victoria at a by-election held on 29 November 1937; he was re-elected at general elections in 1940, 1945 and 1949. He served as Parliamentary Assistant to the Minister of Finance from 1946 to 1948, and was Minister of Fisheries from 1948 to 1952. He retired from politics in 1952, and was appointed Canadian Ambassador to Japan that same year, serving in this post until 1954.

Mayhew was prominent in the Victoria community for many years. He was president and later Vice-Chairman of the Board at Sidney Roofing & Paper Co. Ltd. and its subsidiaries, and was a member of the Victoria Advisory Board and the Royal Trust Company. Early in his political career he was Reeve of Oak Bay Municipality. Other memberships included the Rotary Club, Victoria Club, Colwood Golf Club and the Union Club. For his services to the community he was awarded a public service medal from the City of Victoria in 1948, and was made a Freeman of the City of Victoria in 1966 and of the Municipality of Oak Bay in 1968. Mayhew was a member and elder of the United Church in Victoria. He was given an honourary Doctor of Laws degree by the University of Victoria in 1965.

Both Robert and Grace Mayhew were awarded honourary life memberships in the Victoria Liberal Association in 1954. Grace Mayhew, who was born in London, Ontario, on 21 April 1878, died in Victoria on 2 September 1967. Robert Mayhew died in Victoria in 1971.

Custodial history

Scope and content

The fonds consists of records documenting activities of Robert Mayhew and family, including subject files relating to Mayhew's career as Canadian Ambassador to Japan and as Minister of Fisheries, records of Grace Logan Mayhew, including diaries and notebooks on Japanese arts and crafts kept by Mrs. Mayhew on sojourns in Rome and Japan and material relating to her funeral in 1967; photographs of visits of Japanese dignitaries and the British royal family, as well as portraits of Canadian prime ministers; certificates of Mayhew's honorary Doctor of Laws degree, Freeman of Oak Bay and Victoria, and appointment of Mayhew as Minister of Fisheries and as Ambassador to Japan.

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Immediate source of acquisition

The records of Robert Wellington Mayhew were acquired by U. Vic. Special Collections from Mayhew's son, Robert Logan Mayhew, in August 1971.


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Revised by JF, August 8, 2013.

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  • English

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