H. M. Speechly, Margaret Stansfield:

An Inventory of Their Papers at the University of Manitoba Archives & Special Collections

Inventory prepared by David L. Innes
University of Manitoba Archives & Special Collections
Winnipeg, Manitoba

Finding aid encoded by Julianna Trivers, Brett Lougheed (August 2002; edited July 2003)
Finding aid written in English.

Revision History

  • July 26, 2005 - MSS 53, PC 75 converted from EAD 1.0 to 2002 by v1to02.xsl (sy2003-10-15).

Collection Summary

University of Manitoba Archives & Special Collections
Elizabeth Dafoe Library, Winnipeg MB R3T 2N2

H. M. Speechly, Margaret Stansfield

Speechly, Stansfield Family fonds

1902, 1925-1953

1.6 m of textual records. -- 1 photograph.

MSS 53


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Biography of H. M. Speechly, Margaret Stansfield

Harry Martindale Speechly was born in Cocin, south-west India, November 1, 1866, the son of the first missionary bishop of the Episcopalian Church in the semi-independent states of Travancore and Cocin.

When he was three years old, his parents returned to England. He received his early education at Perse Grammar School in Cambridge, and the Monkton Combe School located in Bath. He was an academically sound student, but his first love was sports. While in school he playeed cricket, soccer, rugby, and lawn tennis.

He began his medical studies at the London Hospital located in Whitechapel, England in 1884. Five years later he graduated with the degrees of M.R.C.S. Eng. and L.R.C.P. Lon.

With school and college days behind him, he began his medical career as a physician with England's North Sea Fishing Fleet. However, the long months at sea were not to his liking so he resigned his position to accept an appointment as the house surgeon, house physician, and casualty officer at the London Hospital. In 1893, he resigned this position to become the medical officer at a boy's prep school in Chesire, England. He practiced medicine in Chesire for eight years.

While in Chesire, two things happened that changed his life forever. The first was his marriage to Mary Barrett, the eldest daughter of Reverend W.F. and Mrs. Barrett of Neston, Chesire, in 1895. The second event was the opportunity to view some lantern slides depicting scenes of Canada. Dr. Speechly promptly fell in love with the country of Canada, and began to make plans to move his family to Canada.

In 1901, he moved to Pilot Mound, Manitoba. His wife and family joined him the next year. In Pilot Mound he practiced medicine for fifteen years in a manner that was marked by skill and faithfulness. He also served as community Coroner.

During the First World War, he left Pilot Mound to serve as an Army Medical Officer in the Fleet Military Hospital, near Aldershot, England. He served in this position from July 1916 to April 1919. During this period of time, Dr. Speechly did the work of two physicians, and was awarded the Red Cross Medal for meritorious service.

In 1919, he returned to Canada to set up a successful medical practice in Winnipeg. Ten years later he was appointed Provincial Coroner, and served in this position until his reluctant retirement in 1942. Meanwhile his wife, Mary Speechly, also very community-minded, became involved with many committees and associations connected with improving the quality of practical education in Manitoba schools. She was the first female appointed to the Board of Governors of the University of Manitoba.

From 1942 to 1945, Dr. Speechly was Assistant Medical Officer at the King Edward Hospital in Winnipeg. Dr. Speechly sincerely believed that "no man should presume to live in a community without working for it." As a result of this belief, the communities that he lived in have been blessed with many outstanding contributions. His community activities make a formidable list, so only a few of his many accomplishments are detailed in this short biographical sketch of his life.

Dr. Speechly helped found and was President Emeritus of the Manitoba Natural History Society and the Manitoba Museum. He also served as President of the Winnipeg Health League, was a life-time member of the Manitoba Medical Society, and served as president of the Manitoba Horticultural Society and of the Winnipeg Boy Scouts Association.

Dr. Speechly served his church as lay reader for over fifty-five years. He was a member of all the synods of the Anglican Church, and Dominion President of the Brotherhood of St. Andrews. He also served as the president of the Manitoba Branch of the British and Foreign Bible Society, and of the Lord's Day Alliance.

Dr. Speechly is probably best known for his ongoing battle against mosquitos. In 1927, he took his first step in eliminating this pest by asking the Natural History Society to appoint an expert committee to examine the feasibility of a mosquito control campaign for Greater Winnipeg. Since that time, almost to his death, he served permanently as president and chairman of the Greater Winnipeg Anti-Mosquito Campaign.

Dr. and Mrs. Speechly are the parents three children; Margaret, (Mrs. E.J. Stansfield), William G., and Leslie B.

Dr. Speechly died in Winnipeg, March 17th, 1951, at the age of 84, after a short illness.

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Scope and Contents of the Papers

The scope and content of this collection is best described in the appraisal report of the National Archival Appraisal Board, dated January 20, 1983. The following is a quotation from that report:

This collection will be of particular value to anyone studying social, political, land economic conditions in Winnipeg, especially from the mid-twenties to the mid-forties. In addition to chronicling events in that city, the papers trace the activities of prominent community leaders and the various associations of which Speechly was an active member. The unpublished autobiography provides a detailed account of the life and career of an active and vigorous civic leader.

The papers include correspondence, photographs, published articles, notes, pamphlets, and memorabilia and an unpublished autobiography of a prominent Winnipeg doctor over a period of almost four decades (1925-1961). The 1,329 letters to his daughter (Margaret Stansfield) written between 1925 and 1943, provide an interesting and relatively detailed chronicle of events and prominent people in Winnipeg. The collection is in excellent physical condition and occupies 75 cm.

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Organization of the Papers

This collection is organized into 7 series

  • Correspondence 1925-1943
  • Autobiography 1944
  • Articles 1902-1939
  • Notes by Dr. H.M. Speechly: 1941-[19-?]
  • Honorary Doctorate of Law: 1943
  • Articles About Dr. H.M. Speechly: 1919-1971
  • Photograph Collection (PC 75)

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Restrictions on Use

As far as has been determined, there are no restrictions on the use of this collection. Researchers are responsible for abiding by all relevant Canadian copyright law regulations in the event of publishing materials herein. The collection can be consulted and used only in the reading room of the Department of Archives and Special Collections, Elizabeth Dafoe Library.

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Custodial History

The Speechly, Stansfield Family Collection was transferred to the Department of Archives and Special Collections on September 10, 1982, by H.M. Speechly's oldest married daughter, Margaret Stansfield.

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Other Finding Aids

Photograph Collection (PC 75)

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Detailed Description of the Collection

Correspondence 1925-1943
11 Incoming Correspondence:

Iverach, William, May 6, 1938

Lincoln, P.C., Feb. 9, 1931

Outgoing Correspondence to Margaret Stansfield:
12 Dec. 2, 1925 - Dec. 31, 1925

(12 items)

3 Jan. 2, 1926 - Dec. 31, 1926

(107 items)

4 Jan. 3, 1927 - Dec. 31, 1927

(94 items)

5 Jan. 2, 1928 - Dec. 28, 1928

(99 items)

6 Jan. 3, 1929 - Dec. 29, 1929

(77 items)

7 Jan. 4, 1930 - Dec. 31, 1930

(79 items)

21 Jan. 4, 1931 - Dec. 20, 1930

(75 items)

2 Jan. 3, 1932 - Dec. 28, 1932

(87 items)

3 Jan. 1, 1933 - Dec. 30, 1933

(91 items)

4 Jan. 4, 1934 - Dec. 30, 1934

(91 items)

5 Jan. 6, 1935 - Dec. 29, 1935

(85 items)

6 Jan. 2, 1936 - Dec. 27, 1936

(79 items)

31 Jan. 11, 1937 - Dec. 19, 1927

(64 items)

2 Jan. 16, 1938 - Dec. 25, 1938

(63 items)

3 Jan. 12, 1939 - Dec. 23, 1939

(61 items)

4 Jan. 12, 1939 - Dec. 23, 1939

(61 items)

5 Jan. 12, 1941 - Dec. 28, 1941

(41 items)

6 Jan. 18, 1942 - Dec. 13, 1942

(46 items)

7 Jan. 10, 1943 - June 13, 1943

(25 items)

41 Incoming Correspondence to Mary Speechly:

Jones, Frances E., Feb. 7, 1935

Speechly, Bill, July 9, 1934

1 Outgoing Correspondence from Mary Speechly:

Stansfield, Margaret -- July 15, 1934 - May 15, 1943 (16 items)

2 Incoming Correspondence to Dr. H.M. & M. Speechly:

Speechly, Bill, 1934 (2 items)

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Autobiography 1944
43 Autobiography by Dr. H.M. Speechly:

Unpublished, 1944 (140 pp)

Carbon copy of typed manuscript

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Articles 1902-1939
44 Articles by Dr. H.M. Speechly:

"Birds of Pilot Mound", Pilot Mound Sentinel . December 1902, Christmas Issue.

"Contacts with Nature in Medical Practice", Canadian Medical Association Journal . XV, 1191-1195, 1925.

"Reminiscences - 1884-1937", University of Manitoba Medical Journal . pp. 63-71, Oct. 1937

"Looking Back", The Messenger . pp. 2-3; 28-29, Sept. 1939.

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Notes by Dr. H.M. Speechly: 1941-[19-?]
45 Notes by Dr. H.M. Speechly:

Feb. 8, 1941

Feb. 22, 1941

July 27, 1941


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Honorary Doctorate of Law: 1943
46 Honorary Doctorate of Law:

Conferred upon Dr. H.M. Speechly, University of Manitoba Convocation May 1943. Includes Dr. A.T. Mather's Presentation Address.

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Articles About Dr. H.M. Speechly: 1919-1971
47 Articles About Dr. H.M. Speechly: 1919-1971

(24 items)

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Photograph Collection (PC 75) 1899
One large photo, 30 x 38 cm, of the Neston & District Cricket Club in England, 1899.

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