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Halifax Relief Commission
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Appraisal Board minutes and other material

The Appraisal Board was established by the Halifax Relief Commission shortly following the commission's appointment in 1918. The primary function of the board was to assess damages to properties as a result of the 1917 explosion, ranging from minimal damage to total destruction of property. Claims received from the property owner, supported by an estimate from a contractor, were compared with the appraisal of an inspector of the board and an adjustment made. As the work of repairs proceeded, properties were inspected and payments were made on such reports up to the limit of the determined amount. The board also worked in close co-operation with the commission's reconstruction and architectural departments in the work of rebuilding. Board members included: Melvin S. Clarke, real estate businessman, chairman; F.S. Whittaker, insurance broker; J.C. Harris, contractor; W.G. foley, masonry contractor; and George Mackenzie, manufacturer.

Series forms part of the Halifax Relief Commission fonds and consists of records documenting the role of the Appraisal Board in assessing and approving claims for properties damaged in the explosion. Includes minutes and general correspondence of the board, 1918-1919; statements and lists of damages and awards; case files, arranged alphabetically by claimants including businesses and merchants, churches, institutions, and individuals in Halifax and Dartmouth; correspondence, financial statements, and other items concerning financial compensation to the City of Halifax, 1917-1967; reconstruction forms, arranged alphabetically by street in Halifax and Dartmouth, indicating property owner, address, tenants, building use, size of lot, size of building, assessed value before explosion, and estimated costs of permanent repairs; report on property damage, mainly in areas outside of the city; index book, 1917-1920; and cash awards book, 1918-1919.

Architectural plans for the reconstruction of Halifax and other material

Series forms part of the Halifax Relief Commission fonds and consists of architectural plans, maps and photographs commissioned or accumulated by the commission to support or document its role in the reconstruction of Halifax. Many of the architectural drawings are by Ross and MacDonald, architects, Montreal and Halifax. Photographs, almost exclusively prints, depict Halifax after the explosion and the reconstruction of the devastated areas, particularly Richmond. Also includes twelve scrapbooks, containing newspaper clippings, as well as typewritten notices, published articles and photographs, documenting the activities of the commission,1917-1971.

Commissioners' correspondence, minutes and financial records

Series forms part of the Halifax Relief Commission fonds and consists of commissioners' correspondence, minute books and general financial statements and reports. Correspondence consists of incoming and outgoing correspondence to and from commission members and its committees, other local relief organizations, federal minister of finance and other federal, provincial and municipal government officials, and local businesses and individuals. Correspondence covers the period immediately following the explosion and includes mention of relief activities, personal injuries and deaths, court cases, repair and construction work, general inquiries, and extends to subsequent financial, property, and administrative matters of the commision, the establishment of Fort Needham park, and histories of the explosion. Arranged alphabetically by correspondent or subject. Correspondence files also contain some annual reports of the commission and its committees, newspaper clippings, notes, pamphlets, and miscellaneous documents. Includes lists of the dead kept by the Mortuary Commmittee, some indicating wages at their place of employment, residence, and religious denomination statistics.

Halifax Relief Commission

  • Fonds
  • 1917-1978

Fonds consists of records documenting the commission's role in overseeing the expenditure of relief funds and the reconstruction of Halifax and Dartmouth following the 1917 explosion. Records also document the work of the Halifax Relief Committee, which was superceded by the commission in 1918.

Consists of six series:
• Appraisal Board minutes and other material
• Commissioners' correspondence, minutes and financial records
• Pension claims case files and other material
• Reconstruction committee case files and other material
• Architectural plans for the reconstruction of Halifax and related cartographic materials,
• Halifax Relief Committee minutes, and relief fund record books

Halifax Relief Commission

Halifax Relief Committee minutes and relief fund record books

Series forms part of the Halifax Relief Commission fonds and consists of minutes of the executive and management commmittee of the Halifax Relief Committee from 6 December 1917 to 28 January 1918 and two journals and indexes kept by the committee treasurer, and continued by the commission, to record contributions to the Halifax Relief Fund from 10 December 1917 to 20 April 1918. Journals indicate date, name of donor, whether an organization or individual, where from, amount contributed, and total amount of funds. Donors were mostly from across Canada and the United States, although there are some from Europe, the West Indies, and other regions. One of the indexes includes a report of funds donated to the Halifax Relief Fund as of 5 January 1918 under the heading of province, state, or country, and total amounts contributed.

Pension claims case files and other material

Series forms part of the Halifax Relief Commission fonds and consists of records documenting restitution to victims of personal injury or death following the 1917 explosion. Series includes claims files containing registration forms indicating the names of victims in the household, as well as their age, previous and present address, occupation, place of birth, race, children and their ages, financial resources, name of church or other organization to which the family belongs, and list of relatives. Files also contain claims investigator's notes, volunteer visitors' reports, and relief order forms indicating items provided to individual victims and the monetary value of items. The majority of claims files are arranged by claim number and are accessible by alphabetical file card index. Three volumes (MG 36 vols. 185-187) are unnumbered and arranged alphabetically by surname. Series also contains correspondence relating to pension and medical issues and pension policies; attestation forms pertaining to disabilities and widow status; accounts; registers; widows' statements; lists of pensioners and widows; statistics; and reports and statements of the Blind Relief Committee, Medical Relief Committee, and Medical Social Service Department.

Reconstruction Committee case files and other material

Series forms part of the Halifax Relief Commission fonds and consists of records documenting the Reconstruction Committee's role in overseeing the planning, reconstruction and management of residences, buildings, and properties in the devastated area, including North End Halifax, greater Halifax and Dartmouth. Series consists of case files, arranged alphabetically by street name, which contain incoming and outgoing correspondence between commission members and employees, owners, tenants, municipal officials and others, concerning building permits and the rental and/or sale of properties. Files also include related damage reports, deeds, bonds, mortgages, leases, bills, descriptions of lots, agreements of sale, insurance policies, permits, applications for permits, questionnaires, rental accounts, contracts, ledgers, architectural specifications, and photographs depicting temporary housing erected after the explosion.