Fonds F 10 - Mitchell F. Hepburn fonds

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Mitchell F. Hepburn fonds

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Reference code

CA ON00009 F 10

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Issuing jurisdiction and denomination (philatelic)

Dates of creation area


  • 1893-1945 (Creation)

Physical description area

Physical description

3.9 m of textual records
546 photographs
5 drawings
12 reels of motion picture film (1 hr., 20 min.)
4 audio reels (1 hr., 15 min.)

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Archival description area

Name of creator


Biographical history

Mitchell Hepburn (1896-1953) was a politician and the Liberal Premier of the Province of Ontario between 1934 and 1942.

He was born 12 August 1896 on a farm in Yarmouth Township, Elgin County. The son of William and Margaret Fulton, he attended a local public school and St. Thomas Collegiate. In 1912 he suddenly quit school and joined a bank as a ledger keeper. After marrying Eva Burton in 1918, Hepburn returned to the 950 acre family farm.

In 1926 Hepburn entered federal politics, being elected Liberal Member for Elgin West, a constituency he was to hold until his resignation in 1934. In December, 1930, the provincial Liberal Party at a Toronto convention selected Hepburn to replace William E. N. Sinclair as Ontario leader. In the provincial election of 1934, Hepburn soundly defeated George Henry's Conservatives, winning 66 seats to 17. Three years later, the Liberal government easily won re-election, dropping just three seats to Earl Rowe and the Conservatives.

On 17 October 1942 Hepburn suddenly and abruptly resigned from office and was succeeded by Gordon Conant. Conant's term, however, was short-lived since a provincial convention in April 1943 selected Harry Nixon as leader and Premier. After their electoral defeat in 1943, the provincial Liberals turned to Hepburn to win back power. However, in the 1945 election, George Drew's Conservatives easily won re-election and Mitch Hepburn suffered personal defeat in West Elgin. He then retired to Bannockburn Farm where he died on 4 January 1953.

Custodial history

Scope and content

Fonds consists of records documenting Mitch Hepburn's political and personal life.

Textual records consist of two series of correspondence, one arranged chronologically and one arranged alphabetically; correspondence with William Lyon Mackenzie King; subject files; reciepts and accounts; speeches; invitations and Christmas cards; and clippings. Records relate to Hepburn's political career as a federal Member of Parliament, Member of Provincial Parliament, leader of the Ontario Liberal Party, and Premier of Ontario.

Photographs consist of albums, panoramics and photo files documenting Hepburn's political career, particularly his terms as Premier. Subjects include official and candid portraits, views of Hepburn with cabinet members and friends, official openings and special events, visits of dignitaries, trips, and campaigns. There are a few photos depicting events associated with the Hepburn era in Ontario, such as the Depression and the Dionne Quintuplets. There are a significant number of photos of Hepburn's leisure activities with friends at Bannockburn Farm and elsewhere. Finally, there are a number of family photos, particularly views of Hepburn with his wife and children. The fonds also includes a small number of editorial cartoons.

Audio recordings consist of Mitchell Hepburn giving war-time speeches. The motion picture footage includes home movies and several excerpts from various newsreels of the day. The home movies show all three Hepburn children enjoying life on the farm and especially the occasion of Gene Autry's visit in 1940. The newsreel footage, which dates from 1934 to 1940, features Premier Hepburn throughout most of his career.

For a more detailed description, use this link to the Archives of Ontario's descriptive database:

Notes area

Physical condition

Immediate source of acquisition

Fonds was acquired by the Archives of Ontario from Mrs. Eva Hepburn at an unknown time. Sound and moving image materials were kept together at Bannockburn Farm for many years as part of Mr. Peter Hepburn's personal collection prior to their transfer to the Archives.


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Availability of other formats

Films and sound records are available on video and audio cassette reference copies.

Some of the photographs from this fonds are available in digital format in the Archives of Ontario Visual Database. Search using reference code F 10.

Restrictions on access

There are no access restrictions on this material. Original sound and moving image material is restricted for conservation reasons, and for this material copies are available. Some restrictions apply to photographic material for conservation reasons. See individual series descriptions for more detail.

Terms governing use, reproduction, and publication

Copyright held by creator. These materials cannot be published without permission of the copyright holder.

Finding aids

For a more detailed description, use this link to the Archives of Ontario's descriptive database:

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Title supplied from content of fonds.

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Rev. Apr/12.

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