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Canadian History

The holdings of private papers and archives relevant to Canadian history are extensive. They can be grouped under a number of subjects: the fur trade and early business papers, family papers, politics etc.

The fur trade and early business papers include the Masson Papers (1778-1837) which regroup the journals and papers of many of the people associated with the North West Company. See the website "In Pursuit of Adventure: The Fur Trade in Canada and the North West Company" [] for the Masson Papers. The papers of Thomas Blackwood, William Grant, Joseph Frobisher, John MacDonald of Garth, Simon McTavish and James McGill are all primarily concerned with the fur trade. For the latter half of the nineteenth century, the papers of James Bissett document the activities of the Hudson Bay Company. Closely related to this material are a number of small collections concerning the attempt of Lord Selkirk to settle colonists on the Red River. Also concerned with Western Canada are the W.B. Cheadle papers (1843-1904). Other early business papers include the shipping registers and other records of the St. Lawrence Steamboat Company (1819-1838, 1892).

There are a number of important series of family papers. The de Léry Macdonald papers (1633-1871) document the important seigneurial families Chartier de Lotbinière, Rigaud de Vaudreuil, Harwood, Lefebvre de Bellefeuille, Lemoyne de Longueuil, Lambert Dumont and allied families. Other families for whom there are significant holdings include the Rhodes, Morgan, Lighthall, Wicksteed and Panet families. The Dashwood papers concern the proposed purchase of the seigneury of Longueuil. The legal papers of the Montreal lawyer Frederick Griffin include much material on Montreal families and businesses from c. 1830-1880.

Canadian political history is represented by a number of collections. The Herman Witsius Ryland papers include copies of much early official correspondence particularly to Sir James Craig (1810-1815). The papers of Thomas Storrow Brown contain information on the Rebellion of 1837, while those of John Rose cover various political topics (1836-1867). The papers of Sir Herbert Ames (c. 1895-1915) are primarily concerned with Montreal civic politics. On the other hand, the papers of George Washington Stephens (1866-1942) document both his activities on the Montreal Harbour Commission and on the governing commission of the Saar established by the Allied powers after the 1st World War. The early history of the Cooperative Commonwealth Federation and the organization of the New Democratic Party in Québec (1941-1965) is documented in the material collected by Michael K. Oliver. The relations between the C.C.F. and the Roman Catholic bishops in the 1940s are recorded in the Murray Ballantyne papers. The archives of the Positive Action Committee (1975-1985) are also held by the Division.

Other material of interest for Canadian history includes the records of the Council of Christian Education of the Province of Québec (1836-1966) and the papers of Christopher Dunkin on education in Québec in the 1830s and 1840s. Finally, note should be taken of the manuscripts and papers of William Kingsford and other Canadian historians.

Finally, there are the papers of the McGill-educated psychologist Abraham Aaron Roback (1890-1965). While not extensive, the papers do include correspondence with such figures as Albert Schweitzer, Thomas Mann, Havelock Ellis, Theodor Heuss and Werner Jaeger.


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