Fonds MSS 381 - Howard Newns Reed fonds

Title and statement of responsibility area

Title proper

Howard Newns Reed fonds

General material designation

  • Textual record
  • Sound recording
  • Object
  • Graphic material

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Physical description area

Physical description

0.64m textual records (incl. 41 books)
20 sound recordings : 19 CDs ; 1 audiocassette
15 objects : dowsing rods, etc.
2 photographs : 1 b&w ; 1colour

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Archival description area

Name of creator


Biographical history

Howard Newns Reed was born in London on April 28, 1914 to Morris and Emmaline Reed. He studied at the London Hospital Medical School and became an optometrist, graduating in 1941. During the Second World War, medical practitioners were being called up to utilize their skills as part of the armed forces. Reed opted to join the Colonial Medical Service in Africa where he was stationed in Tanzania until returning to England in 1946. Shortly afterwards, Reed moved to Winnipeg to open an optometry clinic. Though the collection of spiritual science material in his Winnipeg home would become immense, it wasn’t until 1963 that Reed came into contact with Spiritualism. Shortly after his mother’s death, Mary Wright, a medium who was married to Reed’s father’s cousin, contacted Reed and told him that she had experienced a vision of his mother, who instructed her to write to Howard and say how sorry she was that in life she did not know of Spiritualist communication with the departed. Reed became intrigued, but it wasn’t until 1970, on a trip back to England, that Reed decided to attend a Spiritualist sitting. This, in turn, led to his attendance at a Spiritualist church service which impressed Reed and stoked both his spiritual and scientific curiosity, leading to more and more research and dabbling. Before his death in 2010, Reed collected approximately 3,000 books related to spiritual science, many of which were donated to the Survival Research Institute of Canada (SRIC) between 2000 and 2006.

Custodial history

The first accession (A10-107) was donated to the University of Manitoba Archives and Special Collections (UMASC) by the estate of Howard Reed in 2010, with Walter Meyer zu Erpen (President, SRIC), acting as the transferring agent. The second accession (A15-69) was also transferred by SRIC, in 2015, from materials donated by Howard Reed from 2000-2006, and by his estate in 2010; the materials removed from books that were donated to SRIC were removed and sorted by Walter Meyer zu Erpen.

Scope and content

This fonds consists of two accessions in eleven series: the first is composed of books and other publications, materials removed from those books, CDs, and artifacts relating to dowsing (stored in an oversize box); the second is composed of several unpublished works of George W. Meek (ca. 1984-96), correspondence and other materials removed from Reed's books still held at SRIC, publications, and sound recordings.

Notes area

Physical condition

Immediate source of acquisition

Walter Meyer zu Erpen (Survival Research Institute of Canada, President)


The fonds was arranged in part with the transferring agent in accordance with specifications he provided. The two accessions have been kept separate.

Language of material

  • English

Script of material

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Restrictions on access

There are no restrictions on access to this material.

Terms governing use, reproduction, and publication

There may be restrictions on the reproduction of some of the material. Users must abide by relevant copyright legislation.

Finding aids

A finding aid can be downloaded from this description.

Generated finding aid

Associated materials

This fonds is one of a series of fonds and collections transferred to the Archives by Walter Meyer zu Erpen, President of the Survival Research Institute of Canada. It is related to the various other Psychical Research and Spiritualist Collections that the University of Manitoba Archives & Special Collections has attracted since it acquired the Hamilton Family fonds (MSS 14). It is particularly related to the Walter David Falk fonds (MSS 443), as Howard Reed and Walter Falk were close friends.

Related materials


No further accruals are expected.

General note

Separation Statement:
(A10-107) Various textual materials (bookmarks, certificates, brochures, correspondence) were removed from the books donated in this collection. Those deemed to have archival value were placed in a separate folder and the rest were discarded. One each of the two copies of The Cameron Aurameter in Action (1982) and A Letter to Robin: A Mini-Course in Pendulum Dowsing, 10th Rev (2001) were also removed from the collection and offered back to the transferring agent.

(A15-69) Audiovisual material was removed from 2 books and placed in their own folder: 1 audiocassette from the “The Property” movie/TV show proposal, and 1 CD from “Songs of the Soul”. Newspaper clippings were photocopied and discarded on 22 June 2015.

Alternative identifier(s)

Electronic Records

EL 41

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Description record identifier

MSS 381, EL 41 (A10-107; A15-69)

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Rules for Archival Description (RAD)



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Dates of creation, revision and deletion

Created by Jarad Buckwold on 25 February 2013.
Revised by Samantha Booth, June 2015.
Quality checked by Mary Grace Golfo-Barcelona on 07 June 2017.

Language of description

  • English

Script of description


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