Fonds PR0071 - Ernest C. Manning fonds

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Ernest C. Manning fonds

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

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    • 1901-1980, predominant 1935-1959 (Creation)

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    Physical description

    65.45 m of textual records
    353 microfilm rolls.

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    Biographical history

    Ernest Charles Manning was born September 20, 1908 in Carnduff, Saskatchewan, son of George H. Manning and Elisabeth M. Dickson. He was educated at a rural school outside Rosetown, Saskatchewan.

    After listening to many of William Aberhart's radio broadcasts, he enrolled in the new Calgary Prophetic Bible Institute in 1927. He was raised in a nominally United Church family, but became a committed Baptist during his time at the Institute. Quickly taken under the wing of William Aberhart, Manning became the Institute's first graduate in 1930. He remained with the Institute and began assisting and speaking on the Institute's radio broadcast "Back to the Bible Hour". While at the Calgary Prophetic Bible Institute, he met the pianist for the church and radio broadcasts, Muriel Preston. They married in 1939 and had two children, Keith (1939-1986) and Preston (1942- ).

    During the early 1930's, William Aberhart became interested in the social credit theories of Major C. H. Douglas. Although he had not expressed an interest in politics as a young man, Manning was also influenced by these theories and joined Aberhart in the promotion of the new Social Credit League. In 1935, Manning ran and won a seat in the Alberta provincial legislature under the Social Credit banner in the multi-member electoral district of Calgary. After the landslide Social Credit victory, Aberhart appointed Manning to the portfolios of Provincial Secretary (1935-1943) and Minister of Trade and Industry (1935-1936, 1937-1944).

    When the Second World War began, Manning joined the 2nd Reserve Battalion, Edmonton Regiment, and was promoted to the rank of lieutenant in September 1942, and later captain. He discontinued his military duties when he was appointed Premier of Alberta on May 31, 1943.

    After Aberhart's death in 1943, Manning was elected leader of the Alberta Social Credit League and Premier of Alberta. He won seven elections as Premier of Alberta and held cabinet positions of Provincial Treasurer (1944-1954), Minister of Mines and Minerals (1952-1962) and Attorney General (1955-1968). During his tenure as premier, oil was discovered in Leduc, raising revenues for the province. He was fiscally and politically conservative, and moved away from most of the social credit theories in which his party had been founded. Despite his busy schedule as premier of Alberta, Manning continued his involvement with the "Back to the Bible Hour," later known as "Canada's National Bible Hour." He also wrote a book, "Political Realignment: A Challenge to Thoughtful Canadians," published in 1967. This book endorsed socially conservative policies in the federal sphere and sold over 30 000 copies. He resigned as Premier as a Member of the Legislative Assembly in 1968.

    After his retirement from the Alberta legislature, Ernest Manning was appointed to the Senate of Canada in 1970 where he served until 1980. He continued his involvement with "Canada's National Bible Hour," which eventually was broadcast to over 90 stations in Canada. After sixty years of involvement in the radio broadcast, he turned the reigns of the show over to the Global Outreach Mission in 1990s. He was appointed to the Privy Council of Canada in 1967, Companion of the Order of Canada in 1969, and was honoured with numerous awards, certificates and honorary degrees. The community of Aurora, Alberta was renamed "Manning" after the premier.

    Ernest Manning died in Calgary, Alberta on February 19, 1996.

    Custodial history

    Scope and content

    The fonds consists of records created or received by Ernest C. Manning during his tenure as the Premier of Alberta. The files include records generated by the activities of Herbert Greenfield, John E. Brownlee, Richard G. Reid, and William Aberhart as Premier that Manning received upon taking office.

    The fonds also includes materials relating to Manning's external activities of the Premier, including speeches, radio broadcasts, correspondence, as well as records pertaining to the Prophetic Bible Institute, the Alberta Social Credit League, as well as Aberhart's and Manning’s constituency records.

    The records contain correspondence, memorandum, reports, meeting minutes, agendas, legislation, submissions from organizations, newspaper clippings, invitations, registers of incoming mail, and other records containing diverse information regarding all aspects of government administration, including:

    • Agriculture, including schools, livestock, dairying, wheat and other crops, relief plans, the Alberta Wheat Pool, marketing, land settlement, cooperatives, and agricultural colonies, drought, soil erosion and conservation;

    • Justice, including acts and legislation, police, judges, gambling, prisons, and law enforcement generally;

    • Education, including schools, teachers, organizations, universities, agricultural colleges, other post-secondary and technical institutions, school districts, school buildings, students, school boards and trustees, and school finance;

    • Executive Council, including the British monarch, the Governor General, the Lieutenant-Governor, civil service, consular services and Agent-General positions;

    • Environment, including soil and water conservation, flood control, and dry areas;

    • Mines, minerals and other resources, including electricity, fisheries, forestry, timber, hydropower, coal, natural gas, pipelines, oil and oil sands;

    • Legislative Assembly, including meetings of the caucus, library administration, sessional papers, acts and legislation, speeches from the throne, reports, printing, and elections;

    • Labour, including minimum wage issues, disputes and strikes, unemployment, working conditions, and the Worker’s Compensation Board;

    • Municipal affairs, including cities, villages, towns, irrigation districts, special districts, improvement districts, planning, and local taxation and assessment;

    • Provincial Secretary, including corporations, theatres, motor vehicles, airplanes, historic sites, licensing, tourism, movies and censorship;

    • Public health, including hospitals, nurses, doctors, communicable and other diseases, mental health, sanatoriums, vital statistics, child welfare;

    • Public works, including roads, highways, parks, public buildings, and transportation;

    • Public welfare, including relief and unemployment projects and programs, mother’s allowances, and pensions;

    • Publicity and advertising, including government advertising, government publications, the Publicity Commissioner, films, television and radio broadcasts, exhibitions, and CKUA Radio;

    • Treasury, including provincial finances, bank policy, taxation, public debt, free trade, auditor’s reports, statistics, and audits;

    • Telephone and railway matters, including Alberta Government Telephones, the Canadian Pacific Railway, the Canadian National Railway, and other railways;

    • Trade, commerce and industry, including economic plans, freight rates, tariffs, free trade, marketing, licensing, and trade organizations;

    • Interprovincial issues, including relief efforts, commerce, Premier’s conferences, and liaison between provinces;Dominion and national issues, including constitutional matters, federal royal commissions, federal-provincial conferences, immigration and citizenship;

    • Celebrations, commemorations, and visits of dignitaries, including royal visits and those of Governors-General;Imperial, British, and international matters, including imperial conferences;

    • Alberta political parties, including the United Farmers of Alberta, the Alberta Social Credit League, Social Credit organizations in other provinces, and other political groups in Alberta; and

    • Other issues, including immigration and specific immigrant groups, wars and veterans, religion and the creation of the United Church, civil defense, alcoholism, and women’s rights.

    The fonds also includes a file of financial accounts of the Alberta Hotel Licenses "Help Win The War Fund" administered by Manning as well as letters patent appointing Manning as Provincial Treasurer (1944), Minister of Mines and Minerals (1952) and Attorney General (1955). It also includes a small volume of records created by Manning after leaving office.

    Notes area

    Physical condition

    Immediate source of acquisition

    Records relating to the Premier's Office were acquired by direct transfer and through records schedules 1969/024 and 1969/036. Later records were acquired by donation.


    The files are arranged according to the original filing system used by the Premier's Office.

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      Script of material

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        Availability of other formats

        The Premier's Office files in GR1969.0289 have been microfilmed.

        Restrictions on access

        Please consult the Reference Archivist regarding access restrictions to these records.

        Terms governing use, reproduction, and publication

        Subject to the Copyright Act. Permission for use required.

        Finding aids

        File lists are available.

        Associated materials


        Further accruals are not expected.

        General note

        Includes accessions GR1969.0289, GR1971.0280, GR1985.0437, PR1996.0677, and PR1997.0105.

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            The scope and content is based on a review of the files and a legacy description.

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