The papers in the collection range from the early part of the 20th century to the 1990s and reflect the rich and varied life of Rev. Canon Laurence Wilmot.
The collection contains over 50 appointment diaries and journals covering the years 1946 to 1992 as well as a collection of Warden's notebooks, correspondence, speeches yearbooks and calendars from Rev. Canon Wilmot's years at St. John's College.
The rest of the papers are organized into series corresponding to Rev. Canon Wilmot's various occupations and activities. The series' includes his personal correspondence and the notes and papers he amassed as a student in a variety of educational institutions. These include notes from his years at St. John's in the late 1920s, notes and assignments from the 1946 fall session at Yale Divinity School, papers and tests from Harvard Summer School in 1960 and various papers and notes from the University of Manitoba's M.A. program in the 1970s.
Materials relating to Rev. Canon Wilmot's time as an army chaplain during World War II make up the second series. The military records, notebooks, letters and other documents included in this series provide a detailed picture of the daily activities and routines of a chaplain attached to a regiment engaged in active combat. Not only is there a terrific collection of letters sent from overseas to his wife in Canada - on a daily basis - but also her replies, as well as transcribed versions of same. Also included in the war correspondence is a collection of letters sent to Wilmot by relatives of the unit's casualties. Also included are several letters written by wives requesting divorces.
One section of the collection contains the papers generated by Rev. Canon Wilmot's clerical duties, including correspondence with church officials, collections of sermons and devotional talks and a few miscellaneous items.
Another series is made up of documents relating to Rev. Canon Wilmot's stint as a field secretary for the Anglican Church's General Board of Religious Education from 1946 to 1949. His correspondence from this period indicates the frustrations he experienced in trying to introduce some much needed innovations in the face of opposition from the head office. Several of the files contain material relating to the Knights of the Cross, the men's lay organization Rev. Canon Wilmot was in the process of getting off the ground before the General Board put a stop to it.
Documents relating to Rev. Canon Wilmot's time as a college administrator and lecturer, both at St. John's College in Winnipeg and at St. Augustine's College in Canterbury, England, are included in the collection. The material on St. John's should be of particular interest since it reflects Rev. Canon Wilmot's difficult relationship with the church hierarchy as well as his impressive accomplishments. His correspondence and activities on behalf of the College extend into the 1990s.
The collection also contains the papers generated by Rev. Canon Wilmot's career as a hospital chaplain in Houston, Washington, D.C. and Whitby, Ontario from 1967 to 1972. All of his patient interview notes, student assignments and correspondence from this period are included.
The "writer and researcher" series consists of documents relating to his 1979 book Whitehead and God and to his writing and research on various aspects of early University of Manitoba history and Manitoba history in general.
The final series includes papers from the various organizations and committees with which he became involved upon his return to Manitoba in 1973. Among them are the Continuing Education Committee of the Diocese of Rupert's Land, the 1980-81 Anglican Task Force on Ministries To and With the Elderly, Creative Retirement Manitoba and the Society of Self-Help, Inc. (SOS). The SOS papers' depiction of a charitable organization destroyed by incompetent (and possibly corrupt) management and childish power struggles is of particular interest.
Included in the photograph collection (PC 132) is a significant number of images dating back to the late 1890s (but mostly onward from the mid-1920s) and many photographs which document Rev. Canon Wilmot's war experiences as a chaplain in Italy and The Netherlands (over 200 photographs and negatives of this period).
The cassette and reel-to-reel tapes are largely from the 1970s and 1980s and include a few personal messages, some family history, some sermons and talks and a sizable number of religious conferences, discussion groups and lecture series. One of the tapes contains a 1968 talk on ethics by the noted American anthropologist Margaret Mead.
On October 1, 1996, John Richthammer, Don Kroeker and Rev. Canon Wilmot worked together at his home to select important, representative photographs depicting Rev. Canon Wilmot's life. Photographs collected span the 1890s to the 1990s.
Additional documentation in the form of manuscripts, degrees and commendations (university, army, community), as well as both original and typewritten correspondence between Rev. Canon Wilmot and his wife Hope during W.W. II, were obtained in order to compliment the Collection.
Complimentary collections located in the Archives & Special Collections include the collection (MSS 56) of Rev. Charles William Gordon (Ralph Connor), a well-known Manitoba minister and highly-successful Canadian novelist, whose collection is one generation earlier than Wilmot's. The collection (MSS 63) of Rev. John Mark King (Gordon's father-in-law) is yet another generation earlier. As well, the St. John's College Collection might be consulted by those wishing to correlate Wilmot's collection to the material in the St. John's Collection.