TABLE OF CONTENTS
George Wilkes fonds:
George Clarkson Wilkes was born April 20, 1922 in Oakville, Ontario. During the Second World War he enlisted in the Royal Canadian Air Force and was seconded to the Royal Air Force in England, serving as a radar technician. After the war, Wilkes joined the Canadian government's forestry branch as a researcher, while also completing a Masters of Forest Economics at the University of Toronto. He later moved to the federal justice department, working as an investigations officer. He retired from the civil service in 1972 in order to dedicate himself to community activism in Ottawa. Wilkes was founding president of Action Sandy Hill, an organization dedicated to saving the area's historic homes, and was also a volunteer at Ottawa's AIDS hospice, Bruce House.
In the early 1980s, Wilkes served as Chairman of the Stage 2 Committee for the Art Works of the Houses of Parliament, whose main task was to make recommendations to the Canadian government regarding art works in Canada's Houses of Parliament. In the course of working with the committee, Wilkes took a special interest in the sculpture of Eleanor Milne (1925-2014), who in 1962 had been hired as official sculptor for the Canadian government, assuming responsibility for all statues and carvings commissioned for federal buildings across the country.
Beginning in 1983, Wilkes spearheaded a campaign to build a monument dedicated to universal human rights in downtown Ottawa, the first of its kind in the world. Designed by Melvin Charney (1935-2012), the Canadian Tribute to Human Rights Monument was unveiled by the Dalai Lama, Tibet's leader-in-exile, in front of Ottawa City Hall on Elgin Street in September 1990. For his life work, Wilkes received the Governor General of Canada's Meritorious Service Medal in 2000 and the United Way Community Builder Award in 2016. Wilkes died in Gatineau, Quebec, in July 2020.
The fonds consists of documentation relating to George Wilkes' work as Chairman of the Stage 2 Committee for the Art Works of the Houses of Parliament. Included is correspondence, minutes of meetings, and reports relating to the Stage 2 Committee. Photographs in the fonds, most of which were taken by Wilkes, include several showing early works in wood by Eleanor Milne and several depicting stone sculptures executed by Milne for the House of Commons Chamber, including bas relief sculptures in limestone representing sections of the British North America Act. There are also several photographs of Milne.
Source of title proper: Supplied title based on contents of the collection.
Immediate source of acquisition: The fonds was donated to the National Gallery of Canada Library and Archives by the Estate of George Wilkes in 2020.
Physical description: Photographs includes 122 b&w photographs, 37 b&w negatives, and 22 colour photographs.
Language: Text is in English
Terms governing use and reproduction: For permission to reproduce or publish material from the George Wilkes fonds, a written request must be made to the National Gallery of Canada Library and Archives.
Finding aids: Fonds level description available.
Accruals: No further accruals are expected.
Collection processed and finding aid prepared by Philip Dombowsky in 2021.
[Title of item], George Wilkes fonds, National Gallery of Canada Library and Archives.
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