Fonds MSS 104 - William Neville fonds

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Title proper

William Neville fonds

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  • Multiple media

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Fonds

Reference code

MSS 104

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Issuing jurisdiction and denomination (philatelic)

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Date(s)

  • 1957-2009 (Creation)
    Creator
    Neville, William

Physical description area

Physical description

18.6 m of textual records and other material.

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Name of creator

(1940-)

Biographical history

William Franklin Wymark Neville was born on September 15, 1940, in Winnipeg Manitoba. Neville attended the University of Manitoba as a student, during which he served as president of the Student’s Union, until 1963, when he received a Bachelor of Arts Honours degree. He went on to read philosophy, politics, and economics at Oxford University as a Commonwealth and Rhodes Scholar. He graduated from Oxford with a B.A. in 1966 and a M.A. in 1971.

After Oxford, Neville became a professor in the departments of politics and history at Trent University in Peterborough, Ontario. Where he was also a founding member of the Canadian Studies Program.

Neville went on to serve as a research and administrative assistant to the Manitoba Deputy Minister of Labour for several short periods between 1963 and 1965; and in 1969 and 1970 Neville worked with former Prime Minister John Diefenbaker on the Diefenbaker papers in the National Archives.

Neville returned to Manitoba to act as Chief of Staff to provincial Conservative leader, Sidney Spivak (then leader of the Opposition in the Manitoba Legislature), but after a bitter leadership battle, which saw Sterling Lyon emerge as party leader in 1975, and although Neville had the distinction of being the youngest delegate to the leadership convention (which chose John G. Diefenbaker as leader of the Progressive Conservative Party in 1956), Neville decided to pursue an academic career rather than a political one.

However, while Chairman of the Winnipeg Public Library Commission, a battle with City Council over a plan to establish an independent citizen board stirred him to enter civic politics. With the support of the now-disbanded Independent Citizen's Election Committee (ICEC) behind him, Neville won the Tuxedo Heights ward in a 1979 by-election gaining more than four times as many votes as his two independent opponents combined.

Between the years of 1979 and 1989, as a city councillor, Neville chaired two important ad hoc committees on freedom of information and helped to introduce a greater measure of openness to a secretive city government. He rose to become one of the more influential members of council as a member of the powerful Executive Policy Committee from 1980 to 1982 and again from 1983 to 1986, when he voluntarily withdrew. In late 1988 he removed himself further from the decision-making centre by leaving the city's informal ruling caucus, the Independent Caucus, after a disagreement over the urban limit line against development. He was re-elected by acclamation in 1980 and 1983 and in a contested election in 1986 Neville represented the ward until his withdrawal from politics in 1989.

Neville also taught at the University of Manitoba as an Associate Professor in Political Studies from 1976 until his retirement in 2005. He has also been Assistant to the Vice-President (1976-1982), University Coordinator of Canadian Studies (1978-1982), Assistant to the President (1982-1996), Head of the Department of Political Studies, and Acting Head of Native Studies. Following his retirement in 2005, Neville was named a Senior Scholar in political studies.

During his time as city councillor, Neville also chaired the city’s Historic Buildings Committee (1980-1989), later serving as chair of the Manitoba Heritage Council (1989-2001), and as the Manitoba member of the Historic Sites and Monuments Board of Canada (1996-2004).

In 2001, Neville received the Dr. and Mrs. Ralph Campbell Award for University Outreach for "Enlarging and enriching relations between the University and the community". In 2002, he was awarded the Lieutenant-Governor's Medal for Excellence in Public Administration “in recognition for over 40 years of distinctive leadership in public administration" (selected by the Manitoba Branch of the Institute of Public Administration in Canada). He twice received Heritage Winnipeg's distinguished Service Award, and in 2006, he received the Gabrielle Leger Award, presented by the Heritage Canada Foundation "for services to the nation in the field of heritage conservation".

Currently, Neville is the author of a number of essays, chapters in various books, has written extensively for the Winnipeg Free Press and other periodicals, and is an occasional broadcast commentator on political issues for CBC Radio and Television.

Custodial history

The fonds was originally donated to University of Manitoba Archives & Special Collections through several accessions between 1986 and 1994. The fonds was arranged and described in 1994. Subsequent accessions were received and integrated into the collection in 1995 (A.95-13), 2005 (A.05-55, A.05-67), 2006 (A.06-27), and 2009 (A.09-59).

Scope and content

The fonds consists of Neville's papers as city councillor including correspondence and reports of the various committees on which he served. Committee reports include the Historical Buildings Committee and the Winnipeg Library Committee reports. Neville chaired the Committee on Environment and also sat on the Committee on Recreation and Social Services, the Committee on Protection, Parks and Culture and various ad hoc committees dealing with Access to Information, Public Libraries and the General Government By-law. Also included are papers relating to the Manitoba Heritage Council, the Historic Sites and Monuments Board, and miscellaneous writings, speeches, and manuscripts/drafts of columns. The collection also includes Neville's university papers as assistant to the President of the University of Manitoba.

The 2005 accessions are divided into six series: biographical material, correspondence, articles and writings, organizations and conferences, other interests and issues, and photographs. The 2006 accession contains Neville’s extensive correspondence, samples of his writings in completed published and handwritten draft form, and a large amount of information related to causes he was involved in and people he was friends or with whom he wasacquainted. This accession strongly emphasizes his work as a city councilor, executive assistant and political science instructor, as well as samples of the many newspaper columns and speeches he has written or presented between 1970 and 2006.

The 2009 accession is divided into twelve series: biographical material and awards, speeches, citations and commentaries, articles and book chapters, Historic Sites and Monuments Board of Canada, Manitoba Heritage Council, Heritage Winnipeg, City of Winnipeg, Winnipeg Public Library, correspondence, academic material, Meech Lake Accord research, and research material.

The photograph collection consists of 31 photographs, 10 slides, and 1 videocassette. The tape collection consists of 5 audio reels.

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A finding aid can be downloaded from the fonds-level description by clicking on the “Download’ link under “Finding Aid” on the right hand side of the screen.

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Alternative identifier(s)

PC

111

TC

072

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Status

Draft

Level of detail

Partial

Dates of creation, revision and deletion

(A1995-013) was created by Mark Vajcner (1995) and encoded by Julianna Trivers (August 2002).
(A2005-055, A2005-067) was created by Madeleine McLuhan-Myers (July 2006) and encoded (July 2006).
(A2006-027) was created by David Perlmutter (2007). Finding aid encoded by Vladimira Zvonik (2007).
(A2009-059) was created by Lewis St. George Stubbs (September 2009) and encoded (September 2009).

Revised by N. Courrier (July 2019).

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