Peter Hugh Aykroyd:

An Inventory of His Papers at the University of Manitoba Archives & Special Collections

Inventory prepared by Samantha Booth
University of Manitoba Archives and Special Collections
330 Elizabeth Dafoe Library
Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada

Finding aid encoded by Samantha Booth (18 December 2015)
Finding aid written in English.



Collection Summary

Repository:
University of Manitoba Archives and Special Collections
330 Elizabeth Dafoe Library

Creator:
Peter Hugh Aykroyd

Title:
Peter Hugh Aykroyd fonds

Dates:
1921-2009

Quantity:
0.26m textual records

Identification:
MSS 456 (A14-44)

English

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Biography of Samuel Augustus Aykroyd

Dr. Samuel Augustus Aykroyd was born in 1855 near Kingston, Ontario. In 1884 he married Ellen Jane Wemp, and had two children, Lillian and Maurice. Initially a schoolteacher, he became a dentist in 1892 and remained so until his death in 1933. He came to Spiritualism in the early 1900s, and around 1908 made his first visit to Lily Dale, New York, where one of the largest fixed Spiritualist camps existed. From 1920 onwards, Dr. Aykroyd and his wife hosted numerous séances at their cottage near Lake Loughborough (and occasionally in Kingston and Toronto), often using a medium named Walter Ashurst (1890-?). These séances were also variously attended by his son and daughter-in-law (Marjorie), and later their children (Peter and Maurice Jr.). The séances often resulted in a variety of psychic phenomena such as table tipping and voices, including many regular spirit communicators such as Irishman “Mike Whelan”, Ming dynasty-era “Lee Long”, Egyptian prince “Blue Light”, and Native American “Broken Arrow”. Although they attempted to achieve materialization of spirits, the Aykroyd group was never successful in that regard.

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Biography of Peter Hugh Aykroyd

(Samuel Cuthbert) Peter Hugh Aykroyd was born in 1922 in Ontario, Canada. He was a policy advisor to the Pierre Trudeau government and has currently retired with his wife Lorraine to the house that his grandfather lived in on Lake Loughborough. He participated in some of the séances of his grandfather as a small child (1929 onwards) and has had a lifelong interest in Spiritualism and the supernatural. In the 1990s, he and his sister Judy discovered many of his grandfather’s journals and other papers. Peter eventually wrote and published the book A History of Ghosts (2009) that is largely based on those papers and his own experiences. He is the father of actors Peter J. and Dan Aykroyd, both of whom are still connected with the paranormal – Peter created the TV series PSI Factor (1996-2000), while Dan, who also hosted the show, co-wrote and acted in Ghostbusters (1984), which was partly derived from childhood memories and stories.

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Scope and Contents of the Collection

This fonds is comprised of 1) materials pertaining to the donor’s grandfather, Dr. Samuel Aykroyd, including correspondence and other notes, and his journals compiled by Peter Aykroyd; and 2) materials pertaining to the donor, Peter Hugh Aykroyd, including correspondence about and a copy of his book.

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Arrangement of the Papers

This collection is arranged according to the donor's order where possible.

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Restrictions on Access

There are no restrictions on access.

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Restrictions on Use

Users must abide by the relevant copyright legislation.

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Related Materials

This fonds is one of a series of fonds and collections transferred to the Archives by Walter Meyer zu Erpen, President of the Survival Research Institute of Canada. It is related to the various other Psychical Research and Spiritualist Collections that the University of Manitoba Archives & Special Collections has attracted since it acquired the Hamilton Family fonds.

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Custodial History

Samuel Aykroyd’s records, dating from 1921-1934, were found in the 1990s in a locked trunk in the basement of his Toronto home by his granddaughter, Judy Harvie, and his grandson, Peter Hugh Aykroyd. Peter Aykroyd donated these and his own records to the University of Manitoba Archives and Special Collections in 2014, with Walter Meyer zu Erpen as the transferring agent.

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Detailed Description of the Collection

Peter Hugh Aykroyd fonds [ 1921-2009 ]

BoxFolder
11 Samuel Aykroyd – Correspondence to son Maurice & daughter-in-law Marjorie 1921-1926
2 Samuel Aykroyd – Transcriptions of séance messages (August 22, 1933 (typed) & July 12, 1934 (handwritten)) 1933-1934
3 Samuel Aykroyd – “Usury”: draft(s) of letter “to the editor of the Globe”, handwritten by S. Aykroyd [nd]
4 Samuel Aykroyd – Unbound, thematic portion of “The Journals of a Kingston Spiritualist” – Letters to the Editor, etc. pp. 1-312 [compiled by P.H. Aykroyd] [nd]
5 Samuel Aykroyd – Unbound, thematic portion of “The Journals of a Kingston Spiritualist – Drafts of correspondence pp. 1-96 [compiled by P.H. Aykroyd] [nd]
6 Samuel Aykroyd – Unbound, thematic portion of The Journals of a Kingston Spiritualist – Diary pp. 1-32 [compiled by P.H. Aykroyd] [nd]
BoxFolder
21 Samuel Aykroyd – “The Journals of a Kingston Spiritualist Vol. I” [compiled by P.H. Aykroyd] 2002
2 Samuel Aykroyd – “The Journals of a Kingston Spiritualist Vol. II” [compiled by P.H. Aykroyd] 2002
3 Peter H. Aykroyd – Correspondence re: researching/writing book; "A History of Ghosts" by Peter Hugh Aykroyd 2006; 2009

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