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John Ferris fonds

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Date Range: 

Ferris, John, 1910-

Physical Description: 

.50 m of textual records

13 audio cassettes

Fonds is arranged into five series.
History Biographical: 

John Ferris (1910 –) was a civic and labour leader in Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario. Ferris was born in Sault Ste. Marie, Michigan but grew up in Sault Ste. Marie, Canada. Ferris began working in the Labour movement in the 1930s. In 1931 he formed a union of unemployed and marched on Sault Ste. Marie's city hall to demand additional relief money. He worked on lake freighters and became involved in the Canadian Seaman's Union. In 1940 he began work at Algoma Steel and was elected chief steward in 1941.

In 1942 Ferris became involved with the Algoma Steel workers joining the United Steelworkers of America (USWA). Ferris served in the Royal Canadian Navy from 1943-1945, after which he returned to Algoma Steel and was elected Vice President of USW Local 2251 in 1946. He served as Treasurer in 1956 and President from 1958-1962 and 1964-1973, when he was named Honourary President of the local. Ferris also served as Alderman for Ward 4 from 1957-1973 and then was re-elected in 1976. He seved on a variety of City Council committees and on the Transportation Commission. In 1974, Ferris was awarded the Medal of Merit by the City of Sault Ste. Marie to recognize his contributions to the community.

Ferris wrote a history of trade unionism in Algoma in 1951 titled, "Algoma Industrial and Trade Union development," and he was project leader for the book "50 Years of Labour in Algoma: Essay's on Aspects of Algoma's Working Class History," in 1978. Ferris also served on boards of the Algoma Fall Festival Association, the Children's Aid Society, James's St. Mall, as well as the River Front Phase 2 Committee. He was also a member of the Canadian Authors Association. Finally, he was a member of the Board of Management of the District of Algoma Homes for the Aged, as well as the Board of Governors of Algoma University College.

Scope Content: 

Fonds comprises records that document Ferris's working life, political activities and personal interests. Records include transcripts and audio recordings used in the writing of 50 Years of Labour in Algoma, newspaper clippings on Ferris, personal correspondence and manuscripts, city council campaign materials, correspondence, and other records. Also includes union newspapers and bulletins, memos and draft copies of union contract negotiations, material relating to the election of union representatives for 2251, material relating to conventions of the United Steelworkers of America, various presidential messages given by Mr. Ferris and some correspondence and union memorabilia.

Fonds is arranged in five series:

  • 50 Years of Labour in Algoma
  • Newspaper Clippings
  • Personal Manuscripts
  • United Steel Workers of America Union Local 2251
  • Sault Ste. Marie City Council
Associated Material: 

Associated materials may be found in the Sault Ste. Marie, ON Public Library: John Ferris fonds, reference number 992.4.

Access Restriction: 

No restrictions on access. Researchers must sign an “Access and Use form”. Privacy legislation applies to access requests. For access, please contact the Library Director, Arthur A. Wishart Library for more information.

Repro Restriction: 

Permission of the donor is required for reproduction. Archives staff must make reproductions. Reproductions are dependent on the fragility of the originals. Researchers must adhere to applicable copyright law and privacy legislation and permission of the copyright holder is required to publish from the fonds. Contact the Library Director, Arthur A. Wishart Library for more information.


Minor conservation conducted on fonds.

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