Fonds MS-10-1 - Roscoe Alfred Fillmore fonds

Portrait of Tim Buck by Yousuf Karsh Resignation letter from Jack London to members of the Socialist Party Letter from Martin Luther King, Jr. to Roscoe Fillmore Visa to enter the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics

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Roscoe Alfred Fillmore fonds

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  • Graphic material
  • Textual record

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  • 1909-1970 (Creation)
    Fillmore, Roscoe A.

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Physical description

48 cm of textual records (3 boxes)

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Name of creator

Biographical history

Roscoe Fillmore (1887-1968) was born in Lumsden, New Brunswick, on 10 July 1887. Fillmore was an horticulturalist, author, and political activist. He was a principle organizer for the Socialist Party of Canada in the Maritimes before World War One and joined the Communist Party of Canada in the early 1920s. In 1923 he spent time at an experimental farm in Kuzas, Siberia, working as an horticultural expert. Fillmore was president of the New Brunswick Fruit Growers' Association before losing his job as a large orchard manager in 1924 and moving his family (wife Margaret and children Dick, Ruth, Rosa, and Alexandra) to Centreville, Nova Scotia. He built a house and a nursery, and in 1938 became Head Gardener for the Dominion Atlantic Railway, where he was also responsible for gardening at the Grand Pré Memorial Park.

Fillmore was politically active in Centreville and a strong supporter of socialist causes. He wrote numerous political articles for magazines and, with Charles MacDonald, Frank Parry and Jim Sim, he helped to form the Centreville Socialists, a small group that met on Sundays at Sim's residence to discuss politics and government. When the Communist Party of Canada was banned in 1940, Fillmore helped refound the party as the Labour-Progressive Party of Canada. In the 1945 federal election he ran as the Farmer-Labour Candidate in the Digby-Annapolis-Kings riding. He received 362 (1.4%) of the 25,944 votes cast. The Centreville Socialsts met regularly until 1951 when Jim Sim died.

After the Centreville Socialists broke up, Fillmore and Parry focused on developing Valley Nurseries. Fillmore developed new plant varieties suitable for Nova Scotia's climate. He also published four books on gardening, which were written without the obscure terminology found in many contemporaneous gardening books, and he became a popular speaker on radio and across Canada under the nickname "Mr. Green Thumbs."

Fillmore renounced the Labour-Progressive Party of Canada in the 1950s, but continued to remain politically active until his death in 1968. Since 1978, semi-annual picnics have been held in his honour.

Custodial history

Fonds was donated to Dalhousie University in 1977 by Roscoe Fillmore's daughter, Rosa Skinner (accession No. 1977-052).

Scope and content

Fonds consists of fiction, non-fiction and poetry manuscripts, a notebook, leaflets and periodicals, newspaper clippings, and a hardcover copy of The Growing Question, a gardening book published by Fillmore in 1957. Materials relate to Fillmore's interests in horticulture and political activism.

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Physical condition

Immediate source of acquisition


The fonds is arranged into five series:

Clippings, leaflets, and periodicals

Roscoe Alfred Fillmore's personal correspondence


Personal papers of Roscoe Alfred Fillmore


Files in each series are listed alphabetically by title.

Language of material

  • English
  • Russian

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English. Some correspondence contains notes in Russian.

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Associated materials

See the Charles MacDonald fonds (MS-2-349) for the records of one of Roscoe Fillmore's longtime associates in Centreville, Nova Scotia. Also see the Roscoe Fillmore Memorial Picnic Organizing Committee fonds (MS-10-10) for records related to the semi-annual picnics held in Fillmore's honour.

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No further accruals are expected.

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Dates of creation, revision and deletion

August 2011

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