Fonds RC0070 - Stephen Reid fonds

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Stephen Reid fonds

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  • 1953-2011 (Creation)

Physical description area

Physical description

12.2 m of textual records and other materials.
Note: The first accrual includes 309 photographs, 22 video cassettes, and 5 audio cassettes. They were also measured and form part of the measurement that appears above. The third accrual contains 93 photographs.

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Archival description area

Name of creator


Biographical history

Stephen Douglas Reid was born in Massey, Ontario on 12 March 1950, the second of nine children born to Douglas Reid and Sylvia Shiels. At the age of sixteen, Reid turned to criminal activities, and he was jailed in 1971 for his part in the theft of gold bars in Ottawa. Escaping from prison, Reid, along with Patrick Mitchell and Lionel Wright, formed The Stopwatch Gang, robbing over 100 banks in Canada and the United States from their home in Arizona in the late 1970s. The FBI apprehended Reid in 1980, and he served time in Marion Penitentiary in Illinois until his extradition to Canada.

In 1984, while incarcerated at Millhaven Institution in Ontario, he began to write. The manuscript of his first novel, Jackrabbit Parole, attracted the attention of Susan Musgrave, who agreed to edit the manuscript. The book was published in 1986, the same year that Reid and Musgrave were married. He was released on parole in 1987. They then lived with their daughters Charlotte Musgrave and Sophie Musgrave Reid on Vancouver Island, and Reid joined in the activities of the literary community in British Columbia. His works include short stories, poetry, plays, articles, many of which have been published by Canada's leading newspapers and magazines. Much of Reid's writing and other work has involved issues relating to prison.

In 1999, as a result of a relapse into addiction, Reid participated in one more bank robbery, for which he is now serving an 18-year sentence at William Head Institution in British Columbia. In January 2008 he was granted day parole. Late in 2010 he was back in prison for violating parole. Reid had been living at his home in Massett, BC when in June 2018, he was admitted to hospital and died five days later of pulmonary edema and a heart blockage.

Custodial history

Scope and content

There have been five accruals. The fonds consists of manuscripts, correspondence, photographs, sound recordings, and moving images created by or related to Reid as a writer and teacher. It also contains institutional and legal papers created during and related to Reid’s crimes and periods of incarceration.

Notes area

Physical condition

Immediate source of acquisition

The first accrual (32-2004) was acquired in July 2004; the second accrual (71-2008) was acquired in 2008; the third accrual (26-2011) was acquired in 2011; the fourth accrual (2012-11) was acquired in 2012; the fifth accrual was acquired in 2015, all from Susan Musgrave through Bjarne Tokerud of Vancouver.


The first accrual has been arranged into the following series: manuscripts; literary business; prison and legal materials; personal materials; Patrick Mitchell; general correspondence; family correspondence; photographs and audio-visual; publications; oversized materials. The second accrual has been arranged into three series: correspondence; writings by Reid and others and printed materials; incarceration and rehabilitation. The third accrual has been arranged into five series: writings by Reid and others and printed materials; correspondence; teaching, workshops, projects films and royalties; personal; incarceration and rehabilitation. The fourth accrual has been arranged into 5 series: Journals and manuscripts; correspondence; business; personal ; and audio-visual, clippings and miscellaneous. The fifth accrual has been arranged into 4 series: writing and other materials; correspondence and graphic materials; Institutional papers and personal; and photographs.

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Restrictions on access

Access Restrictions:
Access to the following records is restricted until the death of Stephen Reid, except with Reid’s permission.

1st accrual
Series 3. Prison and Legal Materials, section on Institutional and Legal Papers (Box 20, File 18 to end of Box 22)
Series 4. Personal Materials, section on Activities (Box 28 Folder 3 to Box 29 Folder 7).
Series 5. Patrick Mitchell (Box 30 Folder 5 to end of Box 32).
Series 7. Family correspondence (Box 40A Folder 9 to end of Box 48).

Second accrual:
Series 1. Correspondence, sections on Family and Friends, Prisoners and Ex-Convicts and Patrick Mitchell (Box 54 to Box 56 Folder 24)
Series 3. Incarceration and rehabilitation (Box 60 Folder 11 to end of Box 63).

Third accrual:
Series 2. Correspondence, section on Family (Box 69).
Series 4. Incarceration and rehabilitation (Box 71).
Series 5. Personal (Box 72).

Fifth accrual:
Series 2. Correspondence and graphic materials (Box 76)
Series 3 Institutional papers and personal (Box 77)
Series 4 Photographs (Box 77).

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Further accruals are expected.

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