This talk examines the richness of fur trade records before early 19th century accounting reforms in the industry began changing journal writing traditions. Whether left by traders of the London-based Hudson’s Bay Company, or by bourgeois representing crediting trading houses in Montreal (often working in the North West Company), such journals were a central part of a larger accounting system of the 18th and early 19th centuries. To support their accounts, traders left a rich legacy of miscellany, narratives, and stories that, if approached on their own terms, widen our understandings of a trader’s experience, as well as environmental, Indigenous, business, and colonial history.
The lecture will be followed by a cocktail reception in the reading room, and will be accompanied by an exhibition to showcase the library’s extraordinary collection of fur-trade holdings.
George Colpitts is a professor in the Department of History at the University of Calgary and the 2017 Fall Visiting Eakin Fellow at the McGill Institute for the Study of Canada.
This event is free and open to the public but RSVPs misc.iecm [at] mcgill.ca (subject: 2017%20Eakin%20Lecture%20RSVP) (by e-mail) are encouraged.