1932-[ca. 2000]. — 62.5 cm of textual records. — 12 photographs. — 10 postcards.
Clifford Stanley Hook was born in Somerset, England in 1884. Jessica Beatrice Williams was born in Weston-Super-Mare in 1887. Clifford and Jessica were married sometime before 1909. The couple’s first child, Irene, was born in England sometime before 1911 and died of burns in 1912. A second daughter, Evelyn Beatrice, was born in Summerset, England on April 25, 1911.
The Hook family emigrated to Canada in 1913. They stayed awhile with Jessica’s brother in Regina before moving to Edmonton to find work. While in Edmonton, Clifford, a jeweller and watchmaker, was employed by G. F. Watcher for five years, as the expert in the repair department of Watcher’s jewellery business. A son, Herbert E. Hook (Ted) was born in 1914. Although Clifford tried to enlist during World War I, he was refused for medical reasons. The Hook family moved to Grande Prairie when Clifford purchased the R. H. Watcher business in March 1918. When he formed a partnership with Mr. J. Leonard shortly thereafter, the business became known as Hook & Leonard.
Realizing that the Peace country was in need of professional eye care, Clifford left Grande Prairie briefly and went to Ontario to attend the College of Optometry. His family remained in Grande Prairie during the period. Clifford graduated April 20, 1920 and returned to Grande Prairie, becoming the first Optometrist in the region. Upon his return he continued in the jewellery business and added an Optometry section. His business took him to many Peace River country communities including Waterhole, Spirit River, Brainard, Pouce Coupe, and even individual farms. He carried on his travels using a Model T in summer and a team and cutter in winter.
In 1920, the Grande Prairie store burned down. Leonard decided to try farming north of Sexsmith while Clifford continued practicing optometry and opened a new store. In May 1926, C. S. Hook closed his Grande Prairie jewelry and watch repair shop and moved the business to Waterhole. At various times, Clifford also operated jewellery stores in other towns including Sexsmith and Wembley.
A second son, Robert Clifford Hook, was born on June 12, 1918 in Grande Prairie. A third son, Jack Edgar Hook, was born on November 5, 1926. After spending 15 years in Grande Prairie, Jessica Hook moved to Vancouver for medical reasons, taking her three sons with her. Clifford and Evelyn remained in Grande Prairie. Jessica died August 16, 1940 in Edmonton at the age of 53 and is buried in the Edmonton Cemetery. She had moved to Edmonton a year before her death. C. S. Hook died in Grande Prairie on December 16, 1966 at the age of 87 after falling and breaking his hip.
Sometime before May 1931, Evelyn married Henry (Harry) Newton. The couple had one son, Stanley “Val” Newton, born February 14, 1938. Harry died on June 22, 1946 following a long illness. His son died a few years later on April 12, 1953 at age 15. On March 6, 1948, Evelyn married William Clemens McBryan of Clairmont. The couple had one daughter, Marilee. Evelyn McBryan died in Grande Prairie at age 74 on October 19, 1985. She had lived in Grande Prairie from 1916 until her death, having become a successful artist. Her second husband William McBryan died in February 1987 at the age of 68.
Ted Hook died in Vancouver on Saturday June 15, 1935 at the age of 22 from blood poisoning after getting a sliver under his nail a few days before his death. He had travelled to Vancouver only a few weeks previously and planned to return to Grande Prairie soon. He had been employed at the Grande Prairie Municipal District office and living at the home of his sister, Evelyn Newton.
Robert Hook was educated in Grande Prairie then lived in Vancouver for six years, working in a planing mill, and in Edmonton for one year, working as a washing machine repairman. He returned to Grande Prairie and joined his father’s business in 1940, apprenticing under him as a watchmaker for five years. The business now became known as C. S. Hook and Son. Robert Hook married Myrtle Viola Radley, the oldest daughter of Mr. and Mrs. W. J. Radley of Rolla, B. C., on Wednesday November 11, 1942. Myrtle had been born on March 21, 1922 in Khydive, Saskatchewan. She and her family moved to the Dawson Creek area in 1928. Robert and Myrtle had two daughters, Valerie and Lynne, and one son, Stan.
Although he was old enough to serve in World War II and registered for service, Robert received a medical exemption from military training in 1944. In September 1945, after attending upgrading classes, Robert left Grande Prairie to attend the University of Toronto’s College of Optometry, graduating on May 18, 1949. Following his graduation, he joined his father’s practice, both in Grande Prairie and in traveling to smaller outlying communities including Manning, Slave Lake, Fort St. John, Watson Lake, Cassiar, Hines Creek, Fort Nelson, and Dawson Creek. In 1962, Robert started own practice and continued with it until 1992 when he had a heart attack. He later joined the Paziuk and Campbell optometry office, where he practiced until his retirement in December 1994. By this time he had practiced in Grande Prairie and the Peace country for 49 years. In 1987 Robert was granted a Doctor of Optometry diploma from the University of Waterloo. Robert was also active in the community of Grande Prairie, being involved in the Grande Prairie JayCee club and a member of the Lions Club for 30 years. Myrtle had been involved in the Grande Prairie Jaycettes. Robert and Myrtle were divorced in the early 1960s. Myrtle later became known as Buryl Koly. She died on February 3, 2003. Robert Hook died in Grande Prairie on January 27, 2009.
Jack E. Hook joined the family business in 1945 and it was once again renamed, becoming C. S. Hook and Sons. Jack studied gemology and was a graduate Jeweller and Watchmaker. He was granted his Certified Watchmaker’s degree in June 1947 following several years of apprenticeship and a written examination. He received a Graduate Jeweller’s degree in 1952. Jack married Pearl A. M. Nicholson, the daughter of Mr. and Mrs. J. Nicholson of Wainwright, on September 20, 1948 in Grande Prairie. She had previously trained as a nurse at the University Hospital School of Nursing and worked for a year at Grande Prairie Municipal Hospital.
In September 1949, Pearl and Myrtle opened P. & M. Gift Box, a ladies’ wear shop and both women later became directors of C. S. Hook & Sons Ltd. Pearl also worked as the firm’s accountant. After completing a two-year Canadian Retail Jeweller’s Course in 1953, Pearl received her G. J. Jack and Pearl had three daughters, Shelley (now an optometrist), Kerry, and Tally, and one son, Ted. In 1965, the Jack Hook family moved to Edmonton. While in Grande Prairie, Jack was involved in the community as a volunteer fireman, and a member of the Lions’ Club, JayCees, U.C.T., and the Retail Merchants’ Association. Pearl was a member of the Jaycettes and the Grande Prairie Citizen’s Committee. Jack E. Hook died on June 28, 1993.
C. S. Hook & Sons expanded and renovated their Grande Prairie store was in 1945. Also in 1945, they purchased the Topps Jewelry business in Dawson Creek and in 1948 Lucien De Lasalle’s jewellery store, also in Dawson Creek. The Dawson Creek branch changed locations in 1950 and expanded further in 1954, bringing it up to par with the Grande Prairie store. In the late 1940s, C. S. Hook, J. E. Hook and Evy McBryan ran Alberta 5¢ to $1.00 Store, which separate from C. S. Hook & Sons. The store had been started by Harry Newton and was inherited by Evy on his death. In 1953, a partnership agreement was signed between C. S. Hook, R. C. Hook, J. E. Hook, Pearl A. Hook, and Myrtle V. Hook to operate as “C. S. Hook and Sons” with a head office in Grande Prairie and a branch office in Dawson Creek. In 1956 the firm was incorporated as C. S. Hook & Sons Ltd. and included the optometry, jewellery, and ladies’ wear branches. In June 1959, the business expanded again with the opening of a new store in Fort St. John.
During the 1960s, C. S. Hook & Sons went through a number of changes. By 1963 C. S. Hook & Sons had locations in Grande Prairie, Dawson Creek, Fort St. John, and Peace River. By 1962, P. & M. Gift Box had been renamed The Shelly Shoppes. Around 1965, C. S. Hook & Sons split up and its assets, including several properties, were divided among the partners. The section of the business known as Valshel Holdings went to Robert Hook. The remainder of the business went bankrupt shortly thereafter. In the time between C. S. Hook & Sons’ bankruptcy and C. S. Hook’s death in 1966, Robert Hook started Clifstan Jewellers as a retirement project for his father and hired a couple of former C. S. Hook & Sons employees to help run it. The store closed with C. S. Hook’s injury and death. Robert Hook continued to operate his optometric practice under the name of Valshel Holdings until the Alberta optometric association required him to form a separate professional corporation. Upon Robert Hook’s death, Valshel Holdings became the property of his daughter Valerie. The company is still in operation.
The records were donated to the South Peace Regional Archives by the family of Dr. Robert C. Hook. The records had been assembled and kept by Dr. Robert Hook and his father Dr. C. S. Hook. An accrual was donated by Dr. Robert Hook’s daughter Valerie in 2010.
Scope and Content
The fonds consists of records relating to the business interests of C. S. Hook & Sons, including businesses run by the company and subsequent businesses related to the company, and personal records of various members of the Hook family. The records date predominantly from the 1940s to the 1970s. Geographically, the records relate to the Peace Country of Alberta and British Columbia, particularly Grande Prairie, where the head office was located and members of the family lived, and Dawson Creek, Fort St. John, and Peace River, where the business operated branch stores.
The fonds is arranged in two series: Business and Personal, each with several subseries. An order has been established by the processing archivist based primarily on the content and chronology of the records as the original order had been disrupted.
Table of Contents
|Series 378.01||Business. — 1943-1990. — 41 cm of textual records. — 1 photographs.The series consists of material pertaining to the many business interests of the C. S. Hook & Sons firm, including businesses run by the company and businesses related to the company. The records cover all branches of the business, including optometry, jewellery and giftware, and ladies wear, in all locations, including Grande Prairie, Dawson Creek, Fort St. John, and Peace River. Some of the records relate to the business as a whole, while others are specific to a particular branch or location. The majority of the records date from the 1950s, 1960s, and early 1970s although some were created as early as the 1940s and as late as the 1990s. The series is divided into eight sub-series according to the type or content of the records: Administrative, Financial, Inventory, Sales, Employees, Correspondence, Contracts, and Promotion. An order has been imposed by the archivist.|
|SubSeries 378.01.01||Administrative. — 1943-1965. — 2 cm of textual records.The sub-series consists of records relating to the administration of all branches of the C. S. Hook & Sons business, including businesses run by the company and businesses related to the company. The records include a 1943 agreement with Bulova Watch Company, a 1951 construction contract, 1945 and 1948 purchase agreements, a 1953 partnership agreement, business licenses and related material, a 1965 Board of Industrial Relations Inspector’s Report, Alberta Labour Act regulations, a 1958 Chamber of Commerce membership card, an application for rent reduction, an unsigned lease for a Dawson Creek location, 1958 Retail Merchants of Dawson Creek meeting minutes, notes on a possible expansion to Fort St. John and a 1959 newspaper clipping describing the expansion, records relating to the British Columbia Social Services Tax Act, and blank forms and letterhead. The records have been arranged according to subject and date and divided into files by the archivist.|
|SubSeries 378.01.02||Financial. — 1945-1976. — 7 cm of textual records.The sub-series consists of material relating to the finances of the C. S. Hook & Sons business, including businesses run by the company and businesses related to the company. Some records relate to the entire business, while others relate specifically to one branch or location. The records include financial statements from the 1940s and 1950s, including one for the Alberta 5¢ to $1.00 Store, banking records including a Night Depository Agreement and bank passbooks from the 1950s and 1960s, personal income tax returns of C. S., Jack, Robert, and Myrtle Hook from the 1940s and 1950s, cash fund statements from 1964 and 1965, ledger pages from 1969 and 1976, financial information about the Grande Prairie Hook building in the early 1970s, material relating to mortgages and loans from the early 1970s, and miscellaneous receipts, returned cheques, deposit sheets, and petty cash vouchers predominantly from the 1950s and 1960s. The records have been arranged according to subject and type and within these by date, by the archivist.|
|SubSeries 378.01.03||Inventory. — 1948-1965. — 11.5 cm of textual records.The sub-series consists of records relating to the inventory and stock used and sold through the various stores and locations of C. S. Hook & Sons, including businesses run by the company and businesses related to the company. Most of the records relate to a specific store or branch (optics, jewellery and giftware, ladies ware) of the business, although it is not always clear which one. Among the records are orders, stock books, and inventory lists from the 1940s to 1960s, Canadian Coachways Ltd. Shippers’ Receipts from 1963, and Northern Alberta Railway Companies shipping receipt books from the 1950s and 1960s, some of which were dismantled to compact their bulk. The records were arranged by the archivist according to type of record and, as far as possible, business branch or location.|
|SubSeries 378.01.04||Sales. — 1943-1990. — 14 cm of textual records.The sub-series consists of records relating to the sales made by C. S. Hook & Sons in all branches and locations of the business and also include sales records of subsequent businesses related to C. S. Hook & Sons. Some records relate to specific and types of merchandise or services provided or to a specific branch of the business or store location, although it is sometimes difficult to determine which store is involved. The sales records include optometry related records such as signs, Pensioners’ Optical Services forms from 1962-1963, suggested fee schedules from the 1950s and 1960s, and Dr. Robert Hook’s 1990 Appointment Book. Related to the jewellery and giftware branch are watch sales books from the 1940s to the 1960s, jewellery purchase agreements from the 1950s and 1960s, parcel post insurance coupon books and Personal Jewellery and/or Camera Policies from the 1960s, Certificates of Guarantee and Registration for Columbia Tru-Fit Diamond Rings from the 1960s, records related to watch repairs from the 1940s to 1960s, Northern Alberta Railways Co. Employees’ Watch Comparison Reports from 1964, records related to film developing from the 1960s, C.O.D. forms and labels from the 1960s, a mostly empty customer book from 1963, Merchandise Vouchers, and various receipts, accounts, and orders. The sales records also include material from 1962 related to the traveling part of the business including lists of contacts and agents, a trip report, list of expenses, and a poster. The records have been arranged according to type or subject by the archivist.|
|SubSeries 378.01.05||Employees. — 1953-1964. — 2.5 cm of textual records.The sub-series consists of records relating to C. S. Hook & Sons employees from all branches and locations. The records include paysheets from all four locations (Peace River, Grande Prairie, Dawson Creek, and Fort St. John) predominantly from the 1960s and a Peace River payroll register, a 1957 contract of employment, receipts for unemployment insurance from 1959 to 1960, employment records of specific employees from 1963-1964, and minutes of a January 1955 staff meeting. There is also some material relating specifically to Ralph R. Dorland, an employee of C. S. Hook & Sons, including personal records and correspondence. The records have been arranged according to record type by the archivist.|
|SubSeries 378.01.06||Correspondence. — 1947-1965. — 1.5 cm of textual records.The sub-series consists of correspondence sent and received by C. S. Hook & Sons and associated businesses. The majority of the records date from the 1960s although some of the correspondence from suppliers goes back to the 1940s and 1950s. Various subjects are addressed in the correspondence including prices and supplies, sales, repairs, shipments, accounts and payment, employment, and store space. The archivist divided the correspondence into “General” and “Suppliers” and then arranged the records chronologically. Much of the advertising literature, pamphlets, and catalogues originally in this accession have been discarded. Those which had letters addressed to C. S. Hook & Sons have been retained as attachments to this correspondence.|
|SubSeries 378.01.07||Contacts. — [ca. 1945-1965]. — 1.5 cm of textual records.The sub-series consists of miscellaneous records relating to contacts useful to the C. S. Hook & Sons business. Some of the contacts relate to a particular branch of the business, for example jewellery and giftware or ladies wear. Other records relate to the business as a whole. The records include rough notes and lists of addresses for suppliers, lists of Herald Tribune Correspondents in various communities, pages from personal address and phone directories, and a 1959 Peace River District Phone Book with some numbers marked or added. All documents besides the Phone Book are undated, but were likely created or accumulated between 1945 and 1965. The archivist arranged the material by type and content.|
|SubSeries 378.01.08||Promotion. — 1947-1960. — 1 cm of textual records. — 1 photographs.The sub-series consists of material relating to C. S. Hook & Sons advertising and promotion, especially focusing on the jewellery and giftware branch of the business. The records include a 1959 list of prizes and winners from the opening of the Fort St. John store, official opening prize ballots, a complimentary Christmas turkey certificate, store display sketches, a 1954 promotional letter, CFGP advertising scripts from the 1960s, a CJDC rate card, a description of the listening habits of the Peace River Country, records relating to advertising in the Peace River Story, clippings of newspaper advertisements, a clipping about employee Roy Bell, and a photograph of employee Harry Kigiona. The records have been arranged according to topic or type of advertising by the archivist.|
|Series 378.02||Personal. — 1932-[ca. 2000]. — 21.5 cm of textual records. — 11 photographs. — 10 postcards.The series consists of material pertaining to the personal lives of members of the Hook family. Most of the records relate to Robert Hook, but small amounts also relate to Clifford, Evelyn, and Jack. The records date from 1932 to approximately 2000, but the majority are from the 1940s to 1970s. Types of records include photographs, certificates and licenses, correspondence, financial records, and records relating to education and automobiles. The series is divided into four sub-series, one for each member of the family whose records are included: Clifford S. Hook, Evelyn Beatrice McBryan, Dr. Robert C. Hook, and Jack Edgar Hook. The records were arranged by the archivist primarily according to which family member created or accumulated them.|
|SubSeries 378.02.01||Clifford S. Hook. — 1944-[ca. 2000].The sub-series consists of a small amount of material relating to C. S. Hook’s personal and professional life. Among the records are a short biography of C. S. Hook and his family, written long after his death, and several licenses and certificates of membership including a 1944 Canadian Association of Optometrists Alberta License, a 1950 License to Practice Optometry, a 1950 Alberta Optometric Association Membership and License, and Canadian Jeweller’s Institute (Watchmakers’ Division) memberships from 1947 to 1953. The certificates and licenses were originally framed, but were removed from their frames by the archivist. The stuck to the glass covering the Canadian Jeweller’s Institute (Watchmakers’ Division) certificate were additional membership stickers for the years 1954 to 1957 and 1959 to1960. The stickers, which were in poor condition, were discarded with the glass.|
|SubSeries 378.02.02||Evelyn Beatrice McBryan. — [ca. 1924]-1946. — 2 cm of textual records.The sub-series consists of material relating to Evelyn McBryan’s personal life. The records include a 1937 postcard, 1946 letter, and an autograph book containing messages, drawings, and signatures collected between approximately 1924-1932.|
|SubSeries 378.02.03||Dr. Robert C. Hook. — 1932-1987. — 16.5 cm of textual records. — 11 photographs. — 10 postcards.The sub-series consists of a material relating to Robert Hook’s personal and professional life. Some of the records also relate to the personal life of his ex-wife, Myrtle. The records are divided into several different general categories based on record type and content: Correspondence, Financial, War Service and Rationing, Education, Certificates and Licences, Events, Automobile, Travel, Miscellaneous, and Photographs and Postcards. The correspondence files include personal letters and telegraphs from family and friends, schools, and charities, a list of addresses of family members in England, and letters and case notes relating to a professional complaint made against Dr. Hook. The majority of the correspondence dates from 1969 to 1970, although some also dates from the 1940s. Financial records include a large number of receipts, predominantly from 1969 to 1972, with some correspondence interspersed. Most of the companies issuing the receipts are local companies and the receipts are primarily personal expenses, although some of them were issued to Valshel Holdings. War service and rationing records include Robert’s National Registration Certificate, Enrollment in Non-Permanent Active Militia certificate, Notification of Training, Certificate of Medical Examination, and correspondence from the Edmonton Regiment and the Department of National War Services, all from the World War II period, an application for gasoline privilege registration, gasoline licence and ration coupon book, and ration and liquor control permits and coupons belonging to Robert and Myrtle and dating from the 1940s. Records relating to Robert’s education include a 1944 yearbook from Grande Prairie High School, yearbooks from 1946 to 1949 from the College of Optometry in Toronto, Robert’s grades, various related newspaper clippings, the 1945-1946 college calendar, a 1947 student card, a 1949 letter regarding an interim licence in the Alberta Optometric Association, and correspondence with the British Columbia Board of Examiners in Optometry. Several binders, notebooks, and files of class notes were appraised out. Certificates and licenses include a Canadian Wildlife Federation Associate Member Certificate from 1978, a Kinsmen Club Member Certificate from 1949, a 1950 License to Practice Optometry issued by the Government of Alberta, Annual Licenses to Practice issued by the Government of British Columbia from 1974 to 1978, a copy of the Canadian Association of Optometrists Code of Ethics, Beta Sigma Kappa Membership Certificate and Honorary Doctorate from 1952, a 1949 British Columbia Certificate of Registration under the Optometry Act, certificates entitling the holder to practice optometry from the Alberta Optometric Association and Alberta Association of Optometrists from 1949, 1950, and 1986, and a 1987 Doctor of Optometry diploma from the University of Waterloo. These licenses and certificates were originally framed, but have been removed from their frames by the archivist. The glass over the Beta Sigma Kappa membership certificate had additional membership stickers for the years 1953 through 1961 and 1963, 1964, 1967 stuck to it. The stickers were discarded with the frame. Events records include programs for various banquets, concerts, plays, and other events, ball tickets, and invitations to Robert’s college graduation and a Conservative Association nominating convention. Most of this material dates from Robert’s time in Toronto. Automobile records include vehicle insurance and registration papers from 1959 to 1987, licenses from 1938, 1951-52 and 1958, Canada customs documents from a 1959 driving trip, and various other records relating to cars and driving. The travel records relate predominantly to the Robert Hook family’s trip to Europe in 1970 and his association with the discount travel group “Advantage Through Concord” (ATC) including information about ATC and “The London Society”, an ATC membership card, correspondence and receipts, a passport photograph of Valerie Hook, passport application instructions, customs information, and information for Canadians traveling overseas. Also included in the travel records are Canadian Pacific Railway tickets from 1948, a schedule of boat trips on the Peace River, and a message from a trip to Dawson Creek in 1969. Miscellaneous records include a photocopy of Robert’s birth certificate (issued in 1946), a 1973 Wildlife certificate, and a 1932 journal and notebook. The photographs and postcard file contains 11 photographic prints, 6 negatives, and 10 postcards. Many of the images are unfortunately unidentified, but they appear to relate primarily to Robert’s personal and family life, although a couple may relate to the C. S. Hook & Sons business. Eight of the postcards are promotional cards issued by Carl Brooks, an Outfitter from Wembley.|
|SubSeries 378.02.04||Jack Edgar Hook. — 1949-1961. — 3 cm of textual records.The sub-series consists of material relating to Jack Hook’s personal life and his involvement in the Junior Chamber of Commerce. The records include service and credit booklets for his car from around 1950, a 1961 letter, and correspondence, a registration form, and convention booklet from the 1956 Junior Chamber of Commerce (Jaycee) Regional Convention, for which he was the registration chairman.|