Albert M. Belding
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- Belding, Albert Martin
45 cm of textual records and photographs
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Journalist, writer, poet, Albert Martin Belding, the son of Margaret and John Belding, was born at Apohaqui, Kings County, New Brunswick 8 May 1859. He attended the Apohaqui Superior School and later, the provincial Normal School. He and his wife, Mary A. Belding, had 8 children, including Marion, Helen, Walter H., Stanley G., and Elmer (1894-1968). Elmer Belding served overseas with the Canadian Expeditionary Force during the Great War and was at one time a member of the Dumb Bells acting troupe.
While a young teacher, Albert M. Belding became interested in journalism. He submitted articles to the Saint John "Daily Sun", and later joined its staff. In 1891 he became assistant editor of "Dominion Illustrated", a Montreal weekly. By 1892, he had returned to Saint John. He rose gradually through the newspaper ranks until he became editor-in-chief of the "Telegraph-Journal" and "Evening Times Globe". Albert Belding created no fewer than three pseudonyms for his daily columns -- "Hiram Hornbeam", "Mr. Paul the Sagamore" and "The New Reporter" -- through which he expressed opinions on civic, national, and international affairs. He contributed editorials and comments to the newspaper until the time of his death.
Albert Belding was also involved in other literary endeavours. With Harry Woodworth, he published a volume of prose and verse, "The Heart Broken Coroner". His poem recounting the unexpected death of Sir John Thompson at Windsor Castle in 1894 while a guest of Queen Victoria, came to the attention of Lady Aberdeen, who request that it be published in pamphlet form. Belding also published short stories in several publications, including "Chambers Journal" and the "Canadian Courier". In addition to his newspaper and literary careers, Albert Belding was well-known for his humanitarian and political activities. He helped found the Every Day Club, a social club for men and boys, and was active in the Children's Aid Society, the Playgrounds Association, the Social Services Council, the Boy Scouts, the Rotary Club, and the Canadian Club. He frequently lectured on the subject of improving the social life of communities.
Active on the Saint John Board of Trade, he promoted the port of Saint John and in 1925 travelled across Canada with Maritime businessmen and politicians speaking on the subject of "Maritime Rights" or the economic position of the Maritimes in Confederation. This cross-country tour resulted in the establishment of the Duncan Commission with a mandate to study the claims of the declining economic position of the Maritime provinces. He also travelled to the United States and the West Indies promoting trade interests. Belding's contributions to improving the social condition of New Brunswickers was recognized in 1935 when he was made a Member of the Order of the British Empire. He died on 5 January 1939 and is buried in Fernhill Cemetery, Saint John, N.B.
Information about the custody of these records prior to acquisition is incomplete.
Scope and content
This fonds consists of the literary, political, and personal records of Albert M. Belding. It contains correspondence relating to Belding's involvement with the Board of Trade and the Maritime Rights Movement; family and personal correspondence; published, printed, or draft articles, poems, and essays written by Belding, notably one on the subject of Saint John as a winter port; rough notes and research materials; and copies of printed or published articles by others on historical and economic themes.
There is also material on the Boys and Girls Club, the Canadian Authors' Association, Children's Aid Society, the Every Day Club, the Rotary Club, the Mahaney quadruplets, the Pearson family, the Union of New Brunswick Municipalities, Belding's naming as a Member of the Order of the British Empire, and on his trip to the West Indies as a member of the Board of Trade. Also included are newspaper clippings relating to the Spanish War and the First World War (recruiting, training, combat) and a scrapbook of clippings of Beldings column "As Hiram Sees It".
Lastly the fonds contains a few photographs, personal letters written to members of the Belding family other than Albert M., and letters written by Elmer Belding to his family between 1915 and 1919 when he was overseas during World War I. Elmer accounts of his experiences are detailed and give a vivid picture of military life. Albert Belding published some of these letters in the newspaper.
Immediate source of acquisition
The bulk of this fonds was donated to the Provincial Archives by Albert Belding's daughters, Marion Belding and Helen Goodwin, in 1981 and 1985. In 1988, four letters written by Albert's son Elmer Belding between 1915-1918 were purchased from Fitzpatrick Books of Fredericton, N.B.
The files are arranged alphabetically by subject. There is some overlapping of subjects.
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An inventory is available.