Fonds MSS 445 (A15-62) - William Bernard and Eva Irene Cooper fonds

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William Bernard and Eva Irene Cooper fonds

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Fonds

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CA UMASC MSS 445 (A15-62)

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Date(s)

  • 1931-1958 (Creation)
    Creator
    Cooper, William Bernard

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Physical description

0.04 m of textual records

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Name of creator

(1891-1968)

Biographical history

William Bernard (Barney) Cooper was born on 9 March 1891 in Simla, Punjab, India to British parents, and lived there until he was 12. He made his way to Canada before the First World War and enlisted in the Royal Winnipeg Rifles in 1915, earning the Military Cross in January 1918. On 28 April 1916, he married Eva Irene Herron (1890-1976) in Winnipeg. After the war, the couple returned to Canada and lived in Lethbridge, Alberta and Regina, Saskatchewan before moving to Winnipeg in 1926 or earlier. They adopted a daughter, Phyllis Mairi Cooper, who was born in Edmonton in 1926, and Barney worked for an insurance company.
Beginning in 1926, Barney and Eva Cooper participated in psychical research experiments at the home of Dr. T. Glen Hamilton (1873-1935) and Lillian May Hamilton (1880-1956). He was one of three auxiliary mediums (along with H.A.V. Green) in the Hamilton séances, known in the records as “Victor”. When the Winnipeg Society for Psychical Research was formed in June 1931, Barney Cooper was elected as its Vice-President. The Coopers also held a series of séances at their Winnipeg home in late 1931; the majority of purported spirit communicators were also present in the Hamilton experiments. The group’s participants were Eva Cooper, Barney Cooper (referred to as Victor in the proceedings), Eva's mother Catharine Herron (d. 1936), Wilfrid Ernest (Bill) Hobbs (1887-1982), and, occasionally, their young daughter, Phyllis Cooper. The Coopers continued to attend the Hamilton sittings until about 1933, after which they moved to Toronto for employment. After moving to Toronto, Barney Cooper was still involved in psychical research, but only within the family. The Coopers maintained ties with the Hamilton family, periodically meeting Dr. Hamilton’s daughter, Margaret Hamilton Bach (1909-1986). Barney Cooper died in Toronto in 1968.

Name of creator

(1890-1976)

Biographical history

Eva Irene Herron was born in Toronto in 1890, and married W.B. (Barney) Cooper in 1916. She was in Britain for the duration of her husband’s military service in First World War, and returned with him to Canada after the war. They lived in Lethbridge, Alberta and Regina, Saskatchewan before moving to Winnipeg in 1926 or earlier. They adopted a daughter, Phyllis Mairi Cooper, who was born in Edmonton in 1926. Beginning also in 1926, Barney and Eva Cooper participated in psychical research experiments at the home of Dr. T. Glen Hamilton (1873-1935) and Lillian May Hamilton (1880-1956). The Coopers also held their own séances at their Winnipeg home in late 1931; the majority of purported spirit communicators were also present in the Hamilton experiments. The group’s participants were Eva Cooper, Barney Cooper (referred to as Victor in the proceedings), Eva's mother Catharine Herron (d. 1936), Wilfrid Ernest (Bill) Hobbs (1887-1982), and, occasionally, their young daughter, Phyllis Cooper. The Coopers continued to attend the Hamilton sittings until about 1933, after which they moved to Toronto for employment. Eva worked as a sales clerk and later manager of the china department at Birks. The Coopers maintained ties with the Hamilton family, periodically meeting Dr. Hamilton’s daughter, Margaret Hamilton Bach (1909-1986). After moving to Markham, Ontario to be closer to her daughter and grandchildren, Eva died there in 1976.

Custodial history

Mrs. Phyllis Ritchie (nee Phyllis Mairie Cooper), daughter of William and Eva Cooper, donated the records to the Survival Research Institute of Canada (SRIC) in 2002. They were transferred to the University of Manitoba Archives and Special Collections by Walter Meyer zu Erpen (President, SRIC) in 2015.

Scope and content

This fonds contains séance notes and papers from Margaret Hamilton Bach concerning her psychic research.

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Immediate source of acquisition

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This collection is arranged according to the specifications provided by the transferring agent.

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English

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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), especially the Hamilton family fonds, as well as the H.A.V. Green fonds (MSS 439).

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Inventory and finding aid prepared by Samantha Booth on 2 July 2015.
Quality checked by Mary Grace Golfo on 24 March 2017.

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