Fonds PR0139 - Charles Plavin fonds

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Charles Plavin fonds

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    • Source of title proper: Title based on the content of the records.

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    • 1900-1965 (Creation)

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    Physical description

    0.70 m of textual records and other material

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    Name of creator


    Biographical history

    Charles Plavin was born in Latvia in 1875, the fourth son in his family. He attended the Lutheran Parochial School in Riga, the capital of Latvia, for four years. Among his studies, Plavin learned Russian and German. At the age of 21, he was conscripted into the Russian army, where he served as an office clerk from 1897 until 1900. He was discharged in 1900 and returned to Riga.

    He stayed there for several years but was forced to flee to Germany on October 5, 1905 for advising farmers on their stand against new taxes that had been decreed by the Czar. He fled to Berlin, where he worked as a stonemason by day and attended night school to learn English. His dream was to move to America and in the fall of 1907 he landed in Galveston, Texas. From there he travelled to San Francisco and helped to rebuild portions of the city that had been destroyed in an earthquake. During his time in San Francisco, Plavin developed the disease silicosis and on doctor's orders moved first to Vancouver, British Columbia and then to Edmonton, Alberta.

    He arrived in Edmonton in April of 1911 and then journeyed to Lac Ste. Anne where he homesteaded for some time. Eventually he left Lac Ste. Anne and settled in North Star, Alberta. He worked this land until his retirement at age 92, first raising cattle and then becoming a grain and pig farmer.

    During his lifetime he also undertook various surveying projects because of his expertise as a stonemason, including surveying in the Crowsnest Pass area. Charles Plavin had planned on building and developing a cultural centre and bomb shelter for the Battle River area. Although these plans were not realised, he did make other contributions to the community. He helped organise local music festivals for which he provided money and a trophy. In 1962, he set up the Peace River Pioneer Memorial Scholarship in Music through the University of Alberta.

    Charles Plavin died in 1969 and left his farm to the provincial Department of Agriculture.

    Custodial history

    Scope and content

    Fonds consists of records relating to Plavin’s interest in his line of work and projects in which he participated, as well as records reflecting his role in the community and his personal interests. These include construction plans, financial records, correspondence, imprint material, and photographs. The fonds has been arranged into the following series: Construction work; Civic involvement; Musical interests; Benevolent and Protective Order of Elks; Correspondence; Latvian interests; Political; Miscellaneous; Imprint material; Maps; and Photographs.

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    Physical condition

    See Condition Survey

    Immediate source of acquisition

    The records in this fonds came to the Provincial Archives of Alberta in two accessions. The first accession was deposited by Charles Plavin on October 7, 1965. The second accession was deposited at the archives by the Historic Sites Service on December 16, 1976.


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        The language used in the records is predominantly English, but there are some records in Latvian.

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        Restrictions on access

        Access Conditions: None

        Terms governing use, reproduction, and publication

        Use Conditions: Permission for use required. Subject to the Copyright Act.

        Finding aids

        Inventory is available.

        Associated materials

        For other records pertaining to Charles Plavin see accession PR1980.58 at the Provincial Archives of Alberta.

        Related materials


        Further accruals are not expected.

        General note

        Some of the information in the Administrative history/Biographical sketch has come from the Peace River Record Gazette, November 16, 1961 and from the Edmonton Journal, May 3, 1972.

        General note

        Includes the following accessions:


        Physical description

        Also includes 89 imprint records, 29 photographs, 20 plans, 11 maps and 3 blueprints.

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