William Bernard and Eva Irene Cooper:

An Inventory of their papers at the University of Manitoba Archives and Special Collections

Inventory prepared by Samantha Booth
University of Manitoba Archives and Special Collections
330 Elizabeth Dafoe Library

Finding aid encoded by Samantha Booth (July 2, 2015)
Finding aid written in English.



Collection Summary

Repository:
University of Manitoba Archives and Special Collections
330 Elizabeth Dafoe Library

Creator:
William Berard Cooper and Eva Irene Cooper

Title:
William Bernard and Eva Irene Cooper fonds

Dates:
1931-1958

Quantity:
0.04m of textual records

Identification:
MSS 445 (A15-62)

English

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Biography of William Bernard Cooper (1891-1968)

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 WWI and enlisted in the Royal Winnipeg Rifles in 1915, eventually 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 Mairie 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 their own séances at their Winnipeg home in late 1931, where the majority of purported spirit communicators also communicated 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 an insurance job. After moving to Toronto, Barney Cooper was still involved in psychical research, but only within the family. The Coopers also maintained ties with the Hamilton family, periodically meeting up with Dr. Hamilton’s daughter, Margaret Hamilton Bach ([1910]-1986). Barney Cooper died in Toronto in 1968.

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Biography of Eva Irene Cooper (1890-1976)

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 WWI, 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 Mairie 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, where the majority of purported spirit communicators also communicated 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 an insurance job. Eva worked as a sales clerk and later manager of the china department at Birks. The Coopers also maintained ties with the Hamilton family, periodically meeting up with Dr. Hamilton’s daughter, Margaret Hamilton Bach ([1910]-1986). After moving there to be closer to her daughter and grandchildren, Eva died in Markham, Ontario in 1976.

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Scope and Contents of the Collection

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

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Arrangement of the Papers

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

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Restrictions on Access

There are no restrictions on access to this material.

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Restrictions on Use

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Related 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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Custodial History

Mrs. Phyllis Ritchie (nee Phyllis Mairie Cooper), daughter of W.B. (Barney) Cooper (1891-1968) and Eva Irene (Herron) Cooper (1890-1976), 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.

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Other Finding Aids

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Detailed Description of the Collection

Séance Notes, [ 1931 ]

The journal and loose notes document, with some overlap, the proceedings of fifteen séances held on Wednesday evenings between September 30, 1931 and December 23, 1931 at the home of William Bernard (Barney) and Eva Irene Cooper, 160 Woodhaven Boulevard, Winnipeg.

BoxFolder
11 Journal from Cooper séances 1931
2 Loose notes from Cooper séances 1931

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Margaret Hamilton Bach, [after 1944, 1958]

Papers and publications of Margaret Hamilton Bach, including an inscribed, annotated manuscript and an inscribed offprint of her article series in the Winnipeg Free Press.

BoxFolder
13 “In the Interests of Humanity (The Dawn Scripts, 1931-44)” (annotated manuscript) [after 1944]
4 “Is Survival A Fact?” (inscribed offprint) 1958

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