Fonds F 63 - W.J. Patterson fonds

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W.J. Patterson fonds

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  • Textual record
  • Cartographic material

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Reference code

F 63

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  • 1901-1987, predominant 1935-1958 (Creation)
    Patterson, William John, 1886-1976

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Physical description

1.08 m of textual records

2 maps

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Name of creator


Biographical history

William John (Billy) Patterson was born on May 13, 1886, in Grenfell, North-West Territories, to John and Catherine (Fraser) Patterson. Patterson attended school until the age of fifteen when he was employed by the Dominion Bank of Canada. He was eventually appointed manager of its Grenfell branch. In 1910, he joined the provincial Department of Telephones as a superintendent of rural telephones. He continued as such until 1916 when he enlisted as a lieutenant in the 10th Overseas Canadian Mounted Rifles Regiment to serve in the First World War. He was wounded in action in France in August 1918 and returned to Saskatchewan in 1919. Upon his return, he studied law for a year in Grenfell and later relocated to Windthorst, where he operated an insurance and financial agency until 1926.

Patterson was first elected to the Saskatchewan Legislature in 1921 as the Liberal Party Member of Legislative Assembly (MLA) for the Pipestone constituency (after 1934 known as the Cannington constituency.) He was appointed to the first James Gardiner Cabinet in 1926 and served as Provincial Treasurer (1926, 1927-1929), Minister of Telephone and Telegraphs (1926-1929) and Minister of Highways (1926-1927). He served in the second Gardiner Cabinet (1934-1935) as Minister of Natural Resources and Minister of Telephones and Telegraphs. Upon the resignation of Gardiner as Premier on November 1, 1935, Patterson was appointed Leader of the Saskatchewan Liberal Party and was sworn in as Premier of Saskatchewan and President of the Executive Council. He also continued as Minister of Telephones and Telegraphs and became Provincial Treasurer. During its mandate, Patterson's government successfully gained greater financial assistance from the federal government to battle the effects of the Depression and strengthened provincial-federal relations. His government also established a sales tax to fund education, provided greater relief assistance to the people of Saskatchewan, and improved healthcare funding for the treatment of tuberculosis, polio and cancer. The Patterson Government was defeated in the 1944 general election by the Co-operative Commonwealth Federation party led by T.C. Douglas.

Patterson continued as Leader of the Liberal Party, and was Leader of the Opposition in the Saskatchewan Legislature until his resignation as Leader in 1946. He continued to sit as the Liberal Party MLA for the Cannington constituency until 1949 when he left politics and relocated to Ottawa, Ontario. He was appointed to the federal Board of Transportation Commissioners, serving until 1951.

On June 25, 1951, Patterson was sworn in as Saskatchewan's tenth Lieutenant-Governor. He served in this post until 1958. Highlights of his term included representing the province at the Coronation of Queen Elizabeth II in 1953 and participating in events celebrating the province's Golden Jubilee in 1955.

In his retirement, Patterson remained interested in politics, particularly the Saskatchewan Liberal Party. He also served on various local and provincial committees and boards. W.J. Patterson died in Regina on June 10, 1976. He was interred at Regina Cemetery.

Throughout his career, Patterson had the distinction of being the first native-born Premier of Saskatchewan and Lieutenant-Governor of Saskatchewan, the first war veteran to be Premier, the first bachelor to become Premier, and, to date, the only person to hold both the posts of Premier and Lieutenant-Governor of Saskatchewan. In 1937, Patterson was made an honorary chief of the Peepeekisis people of the File Hills First Nation and was given the title of Ka-Nee-O-Teai (Leader of Men.) He received an honorary Doctor of Laws degree from the University of Saskatchewan in 1955. He was also made an honorary life member of the Telephone Pioneers of America, Saskatchewan Chapter 59. He was a member of the Masonic Lodge from 1909 until his death, and was a member of the Scottish Rite.

William Patterson married Florence May Donnelly on August 14, 1937, in New York, New York. They had no children. Florence Patterson died in Regina on
December 14, 1989. She was interred at Regina Cemetery.

Custodial history

W.J. Patterson donated some of these records to the Regina office, Saskatchewan Archives in one accession in 1966: 423 (R) (July 14, 1966).

Betty Jean Miller, niece of J.W. Patterson's wife Florence, donated some of these records to the Regina office, Saskatchewan Archives in one accession in 2006: R2006-139 (February 22, 2006).

Scope and content

This fonds consists of records created, accumulated and used by W.J. Patterson from 1901 to 1976 during his professional career, most notably as a Member of the Legislative Assembly for Pipestone (1921-1934) and Cannington (1934-1949), as Premier of Saskatchewan (1935-1944), as Leader of the Opposition (1944 to 1946) and as Lieutenant-Governor of Saskatchewan (1951-1958).

The fonds also includes a small volume of records accumulated between 1937 and 1987 by W.J. Patterson's wife Florence. These records include a visitor's register from a wedding reception held in her honour, correspondence received after the death of W.J. Patterson, invitations for events held by the
Government of Saskatchewan, and vital statistics documents.

This fonds includes public and private records.

No series assignment has been applied to the records in this fonds.

The types of records included are: speeches; diaries; newspaper clippings; correspondence; invitations; programmes; birth and marriage certificates;
publications; certificates; passports; maps; and a visitor's register.

Notes area

Physical condition

Records are in good physical condition.

Immediate source of acquisition


The factors determining the arrangement of records in old guide GR 2 have not been documented during the description process.

Records processed as F 63 have been arranged in chronological order by archivist.

Language of material

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Availability of other formats

Restrictions on access

These records are subject to access restrictions. Please consult reference archivist for assistance.

Terms governing use, reproduction, and publication

Use, publication and/or reproduction of records are subject to terms and conditions of the Copyright Act. Please consult reference archivist for assistance.

Finding aids

SAFA 649 (old guide GR 2) consists of a fonds description and file listings of some of the textual records.

Associated materials

Additional textual, photographic, audio and video records related to W.J. Patterson are available. Please consult the Regina and Saskatoon main card
catalogues, audio and video card catalogues and Threshold for descriptions of these records.

Related materials


No further accruals are expected.

General note

To consult the records, visit or contact the Regina office.

General note

Maps have been retained in textual records.


Conservation practices in place at the time of processing of R-79 were applied to the records. Records processed in 2011 were placed in acid-freefolders and had fasteners removed.

Location note

Location for retrieval: Regina - Hillsdale.

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Other codes: Old guide GR 2 (R-79)

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