Alexander Spanos collection [textual records, graphic materials]

Supplied title note
Title based on the name of the creator of the records.
Collection number
1874-1987; predominantly 1938-1987
Physical description
20 cm of textual records; 811 photographs : b&w ; 2.5 x 3.5" - 8 x 10"; 200 negatives : b&w
Administrative history / Biographical sketch

Alexander Euphrates Spanos was born on January 20, 1918 in New Westminster, B.C. His father James and mother Maude had five children: Peter, Alexander, Marion, Minerva and George. His father was born in Patras, Greece and owned a candy factory and the Blue Moon Restaurant in New Westminster, while his mother had family roots that reached back to the early days of the founding of the province of British Columbia. His maternal grandfather, Sergeants Maynard came to British Columbia as part of the B.C. Detachment of the Royal Engineers who built roads and surveyed cities including, the then-capital of the province, New Westminster.

Alexander worked as a blaster for Britannia Mines from 1935-1938 and at Boeing Aircraft of Canada Limited from 1942-1945 as Stores Clerk, later transferring to the Machine Shop as a Journeyman.

From 1951-1978 Alexander served on a number of vessels that plied British Columbia's coastal waters and those in Southeastern Alaska. He began his career as an oiler and received promotions up to the rank of 2nd engineer. Some of the vessels he served on included the SS Chilcotin, SS Lady Cynthia, Princess of Nanaimo, SS Lakemba, A.G. Garish, Alaska Prince, Prince George, Globe VII, MS Ancora, Northland Prince, MV Skeena Prince, Northern Prince, Northern Prince II, MV Tahsis Prince, MV Hecate Prince, and the MV Klondike. He also served overseas on the SS Waitomo between 1955-1957.

In 1959 Alexander completed a Vancouver Vocational Institute diploma for "Fourth Class Stationary Engineer" and in 1964 a Certificate of Competency for "Fourth Class Engineer of a Steam-Driven and of a Motor-Driven ship". A recognized musician and photographer, Alexander Spanos passed away on May 11, 2009 after a short illness.

Scope & content

Records in this collection include the personal papers, correspondence, and maritime service records of Alexander Spanos. A considerable portion of the collection is comprised of photographs (loose and in bound scrapbook albums) – both personal, depicting family members and Alexander during his maritime career, and photographs of vessels - mainly sternwheelers and steamers. Of special note in the collection is an original (signed) bound photograph album from Thompson's Photography Studio, Vancouver.

Identifiable vessel photographs in the collection include:

A.G. Gar Doutrofsky Lusitania Sampson V
Active Eliza Anderson Lytton Sarah
Aksala Elraesenga Monarch Sechlelt
SS Aleutian Ethel Ross Monte Cristo Senator Jansen
Alida Geo. F. Starr Motor Princess Shepody
Amelia Gladys Nanana SS Sicamous
Aorangi Gleaner New Delta Sifton
Bailey Gatzert Gleeful Okanagan Skagit Belle
Baramba Glengarry Olympian Skagit Queen
BC Express Hazelton Omineca Skeena
Beaver Huronic Operator Sophia
Bonanza King Inlander Peerless Strathcona
Bowena SS Isabel Point May Surrey
Brittania SS Joan Port Simpson SS Thompson
C.R. Lamb K.D.K. (ferry) Princess Alice Tutshi
Canadian No. 3 Kamloops Princess Joan W.K. Merwin
Cape Cook Keno Princess Louise Western Slope
Casca Kirkland Princess Patricia Westminster Monarch
Chilco Klondike Princess Sophia Whitehorse
Chilcotin SS Kokanee R.P. Rithet William Irving
Cougar B Kuskanook Ramona Wilson G. Hunt
Dawson Ladner Ferry Ripple Rock Drill Barge Yosemite
Distributor Lady Alexandra Rosadie Yukoner
Dola Lady Evelyn Rosedale

Records arranged by the Archivist. The photographs and negatives included in this collection have been labelled as "Alexander Spanos Collection" and filed by vessel name into the larger Vancouver Maritime Museum photograph/negative collection.

Related materials
See VMM photograph files for ship photos.