Jean Campbell Haynes (nee Archibald)

I came across Jean Archibald yesterday when I was at The Paper Hound Bookshop. Not in person, mind you. She died in 1974. But I encountered her through her bookplate on a book that I purchased. Kim Koch, one of the owners of The Paper Hound pointed out the bookplate to me and remarked that Jean might be a worthy subject for VAIW. I headed home and did a bit of research to see if there was enough information about Jean’s life to make it post-worthy; and, to my surprise, there was! There are relatively few biographical notes pertaining to women on this blog, so it is my great pleasure to present this one.

Jean Archibald’s (home-made?) bookplate. It was pasted in a collection of short fiction entitled A Century of Detective Stories, with an introduction by G.K. Chesterton. Her book collection seems to have consisted largely of true crime, sci-fi, cats and Egyptology.

Jean Campbell Archibald was born in 1911 in Vancouver, following the marriage of her parents, Arthur George Archibald and Muriel Mae Smith a year earlier. She was the eldest of six kids. While in Vancouver, A. G. Archibald was a shipper with F. R. Stewart & Co., a grocery supplier, and later a partner with Parkinson & Archibald Wholesale Fruit Merchants. Arthur died very young (age 49) in 1929.

There was a period between about 1915 and 1927 when the Archibalds were in Calgary (where her Dad was working with a dairy firm — possibly Foremost Dairy). Jean took most of her schooling there and in 1927, she was awarded a “gold medal” for achieving the highest marks among high school students in Alberta.

Following Arthur’s death shortly after the family moved back to the Lower Mainland from Alberta, Jean was tasked with raising her younger sibs and so had to abandon her plans of going to university. Her mother went to work raising chickens and selling the eggs.* Later, both women went to work for Bowman Storage. Oscar Bowman, the owner, was Muriel’s brother-in-law. Jean did secretarial and book-keeping work for Bowman; Muriel was a dispatcher. The women shared accommodation at the (still standing) Quebec Manor in Mount Pleasant.

CVA 99-5380 – Bowman Storage moving truck and driver in front of house at the corner of Hudson and Laurier Avenues. ca1918. Stuart Thomson. Bowman Storage was headquartered at 829 Powell Street at this time.
Vancouver News-Herald Jan 12 1952, Colin Haynes is in front row leftmost. He is with 9 other blind men who swam regularly at the YMCA pool.

It isn’t clear for certain how Jean met the man that she would marry. But I like to think that they met while serving together on the board of the Co-operative Society for the Visually Handicapped (a precursor to the CNIB?). In 1953, Colin Haynes was vice-president and Jean Archibald was secretary. Colin was blind (brought on by MS, apparently). They were married in Blaine, WA on November 23, 1955.

Jean died relatively young at age 62 in January 1974. Colin lived until 1980. Less than a year before her death, Jean had a letter printed in The Province in response to a query by a reader as to whether there was a local Sherlock Holmes club. I reproduce her letter below. I think it represents a clue as to her true range of literary interests beyond what is available today to an amateur biographer:

Courtesy: Shawna Archibald, Jean’s niece, n.d.

I wonder if your reader is thinking of the Baker Street Irregulars, a group formed in the 1920s and, as far as I know, continuing today. The group published the Baker Street Journal from New York. To become a member one had to write a thesis dealing with some aspect of Holmes’ career and these stories were printed in the journal. I don’t believe there is a Vancouver branch but it would be fun to have one.

— Jean C. Haynes, Vancouver

Province, 10 March 1973


*My thanks to Shawna Archibald, niece of Jean for her help in filling in some details pertaining to Jean’s life and for supplying the photographic portrait of Jean shown above.

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4 Responses to Jean Campbell Haynes (nee Archibald)

  1. Sheila Smart says:

    I’d like to imagine that they met in a public library. Talking books and Braille books were available through Canada’s public libraries starting in the 1930’s. Perhaps Jean’s interest in the CFVH came about through her dating Colin rather than the other way around? ;0)

  2. Steff says:

    Colin Haynes was actually suffering from M.S., not just a loss of vision. The two of them had an extensive book collection which we were lucky to have purchased about a year ago (a large portion of which went to Kim at Paperhound). Colin was also a very early member of Scientology, travelling to Phoenix, AZ early on to take begin his studies. Haynes also had a large collection of Scientology literature in this collection, some of which was signed by L. Ron Hubbard and in first form, as well as a large collection of archaeology, Egyptology, health eating and supernatural fiction. Together, they were an interesting duo.

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