Métis Scrip

We are pleased to inform you that more than 24,000 references about money scrip (certificates) given to Métis family members were recently added online. These cancelled land scrip certificates were once issued to the Métis by the Department of the Interior in exchange for the relinquishment of certain land claims. A scrip would be issued “to the bearer” and could be applied to the purchase of, or as a down payment on, any Dominion lands open for entry in Manitoba and the Northwest Territories. These scrip were awarded to Métis heads of families and their children in the amounts of $240, $160 and $80.

How to find references

  1. Go to the search screen for Archives Search—Advanced.
  2. In the drop-down menu, select “Finding aid number” and then in the box, enter 15-24.
  3. Screen capture of an advanced Archives Search with the first drop-down menu showing "Finding aid number" and the value of "15-24" and the second drop-down menu showing "Any Keyword and the value "Riel."

  4. In the next line, select “Any Keyword” and enter a family name, in this case “Riel.”
  5. Click on the “Submit” button.
  6. Screen capture of an Archives Search result screen of the previous search.

You can find more in-depth information about the Métis and the Métis Scrip records on the Library and Archives Canada website.

Underwater Canada: A Researcher’s Brief Guide to Shipwrecks

Shipwrecks, both as historical events and artifacts, have sparked the imagination and an interest in the maritime heritage of Canada. The discovery of the War of 1812 wrecks Hamilton and Scourge, found in Lake Ontario in the 1970s, and the discovery of the Titanic in the 1980s, served to heighten public awareness of underwater archaeology and history.

Whether you are a wreck hunter on the trail of a lost vessel, or a new shipwreck enthusiast eager to explore images and documents that preserve the epic tales of Canadian waters, Library and Archives Canada (LAC) has something for you.

Starting your research

First, gather as much information as possible about the shipwreck(s) you are researching. Specifically, you will ideally want to obtain the following information (in order of importance):

  • Name of Vessel
  • Location of accident
  • Date of accident
  • Ship’s port of registry
  • Ship’s official number
  • Year of vessel’s construction

The Ship Registration Index is a helpful resource. The database includes basic information about more than 78,000 ships registered in ports of Canada between 1787 and 1966.

Can’t locate all of the information listed? There’s no cause for concern! Not all of the information is necessary, but it is essential that you know the name of the vessel. All Government records relating to shipwrecks are organized according to the ship’s name.

What is Available?

Using Archives Search, you can locate the following types of material:

Photographs

Maps

  • In Archives Search, under “Type of material”, select “Maps and cartographic material” to narrow your results.
    Government Records

All records listed are found in the documents of the Marine Branch (Record Group 42) and/or Transport Canada (Record Group 24).
Official Wreck Registers, 1870‒1975

  • Wreck Reports, 1907‒1974
  • Register of Investigations into Wrecks, 1911‒1960
  • Marine Casualty Investigation Records, 1887‒1980

Important: Government records contain information about shipwrecks that occurred in Canadian waters, and include all accidents involving foreign vessels in Canadian waters.

Please note: this is not an exhaustive list of resources, but rather a compilation of some of the major sources of documentation available on shipwrecks held at LAC.

Helpful Hints

You can find a number of digitized photographs, maps and documents on the Shipwreck Investigations virtual exhibition. More specifically, check out the collection of digitized Official Wreck Registers in the Shipwreck Investigations Database. Simply check if the name of the vessel you are researching is listed.

Another excellent source of information on shipwrecks is local public libraries. There are many maritime histories and bibliographies that offer reference points to begin your shipwreck research.

Remembering cartoonist Roy Peterson

On September 30, 2013 Canada lost one of its most talented and renowned editorial cartoonists, Roy Peterson. As a tribute, let’s take a look at his remarkable career spanning 40 years at the Vancouver Sun.

Mr. Peterson was born in Winnipeg in 1936 and studied at the Vancouver School of Art. His first forays into the art of cartooning came when he was a young man. While working as a window display artist, he began mailing his cartoons to various newspapers in northern British Columbia. In 1962 Mr. Peterson began his cartooning career at the Vancouver Sun where he carried out his duties as staff editorial cartoonist until 2009.

Early career

In addition to his work with the Vancouver Sun, Roy Peterson also collaborated with journalist Allan Fotheringham, producing illustrations for Mr. Fotheringham’s back page editorials for Maclean’s magazine. Mr. Peterson also collaborated with journalist Stanley Burke, producing a number of bestselling books aimed at satirizing Canadian politics and politicians of the day in the form of serialized children’s stories. Titles of these stories include Swamp Song, Frog Fables and Beaver Tales and The Day of the Glorious Revolution. In 1979, The World According to Roy Peterson, a solo collection of his cartoons and caricatures, was published by Douglas & McIntyre.

A unique style

Mr. Peterson had a very unique artistic style, relying heavily on the use of cross-hatching when producing his work. In Mr. Peterson’s pre-digital artistic world, cross-hatching (being a series of small intersecting lines in close proximity to one another) was produced laboriously by hand and used to designate shading and to differentiate between light and darker areas.

Distinctions

Throughout his long and distinguished career, Mr. Peterson has been the recipient of many awards, most notably as the record-breaking winner of seven National Newspaper Awards. Mr. Peterson also helped found the Association of Canadian Editorial Cartoonists. His work has been well-received internationally with exhibits at both the Smithsonian Institution and the United Nations.

In December of 2004, Roy Peterson was invested into the Order of Canada, being cited as one of Canada’s “… finest editorial cartoonists. Expertly blending humour and satire, he has provided insightful commentary on our political landscape.”

Want to learn more about Roy Peterson?

Library and Archives Canada began acquiring the work of Roy Peterson in 2000. The Roy Peterson fonds (Mikan #160207) contains 1,871 pen and ink drawings and documents his work for the Vancouver Sun from 1962 to 1993.

The Hidden Room: An Intimate Look at P.K. Page’s Creative Space

P.K. (Patricia Kathleen) Page is regarded as one of Canada’s most beloved creative voices. Both a poet and artist, Page crafted beautiful images through her words and art in her home office in Victoria, British Columbia. When Page passed away in 2010, her literary executor Zailig Pollock documented the contents of her office to preserve a sense of the physical creative space that inspired her while she wrote and worked on her art pieces.

A photograph of P.K. Page’s computer desk holding her various papers, books and mementos

P.K. Page’s computer desk holding her various papers, books and mementos

This idea of capturing a glimpse of the way writers work is becoming a vital practice for cultural heritage institutions like Library and Archives Canada (LAC). At Emory University Libraries in the U.S., visitors can access author Salman Rushdie’s papers and nose around his computer. Emory transferred the author’s donated digital files to a computer that replicates the operating system he used to write his earlier works. You can trace Rushdie’s creative process by accessing documents and emails he wrote and programs he used. When the British Library acquired poet Wendy Cope’s archives, the institution preserved the physical environment that affected the writer’s creative work through one panoramic photo of her office.

A photograph of P.K. Page’s art table

P.K. Page’s art table

The same effort was made in preserving P.K. Page’s creative space through photographs. Researchers took photos of her office, and her books and possessions were carefully catalogued, shelf by shelf, so that we can know what kinds of books she referred to and what she looked at when she paused to consider her next line of verse. Symbols from Sufism—the mystical branch of Islam that Page began studying in the 1960s—surrounded her on the walls and cushions in her office.

Some of the most intimate details captured in documenting P.K. Page’s creative space were the items found on her desk. Mementos she would have glanced at numerous times each day rested in front of her computer screen. These items included a note with the question “What’s next?” and a handwritten prayer in Portuguese. This prayer must have meant something special to the poet to have occupied such a place on her desk. We know that she acquired it in the 1950s while living in Brazil with her husband, W. Arthur Irwin, during his time as Canadian Ambassador to that country.

A photograph showing a selection of literary works on the bookcase in P.K. Page’s office

A selection of literary works crowd the bookcase in P.K. Page’s office

By preserving Page’s creative space, we get a peek at how she created art with words, and researchers now have clues they can use to better understand the work and life of one of Canada’s most prolific and inspired poets. Her archival fonds, which contains manuscripts, personal papers, photographs, and some sound recordings, is held at LAC. For more information on how to access an archival record at LAC, we invite you to read our blog series “Discover the Access Codes for Archival Records at Library and Archives Canada“.

Photographs by Emily Ballantyne.

Also discover:

Discover the Access Codes for Archival Records at Library and Archives Canada – Part III

Earlier blogs (Part I and Part II) on restricted records explained the various codes that govern access to Canadian federal government records at Library and Archives Canada. In Part I, we learned that access code “32” beside a reference to a particular archival container means that the material is restricted under the provisions of Canada’s Access to Information Act and Privacy Act. However, that doesn’t mean that all of the container’s contents are restricted.

Each year, many files in archival containers are requested by researchers, and in many cases those files are open. But in order for an entire archival container to have access code “90,” meaning that it is open for research, all the files in that particular container must be open. Even if one file or just part of one file is restricted, the code against the container remains 32 – closed. However, researchers wishing to access a container marked code “32” have the right to submit a request for the material they need.

It is quite possible that the file or files to be consulted have already been reviewed and are accessible. The only way to know is to order the ones you wish to see. Library and Archives Canada’s Access to Information and Privacy staff will examine the request, and if the particular file or files requested have been previously reviewed and opened, you will receive them in an “interim” archival container.

For more assistance, you may ask Library and Archives Canada’s consultation staff or Access to Information and Privacy team.

140 Years Strong: The Royal Canadian Mounted Police

The year 2013 marks the 140th anniversary of the establishment of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP). The Act allowing for the provision of a police force for the Canadian North-West was given Royal Assent by Queen Victoria on May 23, 1873 (to view, select page 110 on the drop down menu from the link). The North West Mounted Police (NWMP) was formally established by a Dominion Order in Council on August 30th of the same year (RG 2, Privy Council Office, Series A-1-a, volume 314, Order in Council 1873–1134). The Canadian Parliament voted to merge the NWMP and the Dominion Police, a federal police force with jurisdiction in eastern Canada in 1919. On February 1, 1920, when the legislation came into effect, this combined police force became the Royal Canadian Mounted Police.

Black-and-white image of an officer in uniform sporting a western-style Stetson, seated on a horse, with the Canadian Rockies in the background.

Royal Canadian Mounted Police (silhouette) Source

Colour photograph of an officer posing with a dog in a field.

RCMP officer posing with dog Source

Library and Archives Canada (LAC) holds many records that document the numerous challenges the RCMP faced in maintaining law and order in the vast regions of Canada.

Available online at LAC:

For consultation on site:

For more photos, visit our Flickr album.

Yesterday Once More: Canada’s Music Industry in Portraits

Do you have a favourite popular musician or rock group from the last three or four decades of the 20th century? There’s a good chance you’ll be able to find their photographs documented in the Library and Archives Canada (LAC) Portrait Portal.

The Portal contains photographs taken between 1963 and 2000, selected from LAC’s RPM fonds, an archive that includes thousands of Canada’s and the world’s most popular artists and bands. It also features actors, music and entertainment executives, broadcasters, politicians and sports figures rubbing shoulders with music industry greats. These portraits have been digitized and added to the Portrait Portal as part of LAC’s ongoing digitization initiatives.

What is the significance of the RPM archive to the Canadian music industry?

Founded in Toronto in 1964, RPM was a Canadian weekly trade publication that focused on the Canadian music recording and radio industries. In 1964 it established the RPM Gold Leaf Awards (also referred to as the Maple Leaf Awards), which would soon evolve into the JUNO Awards. RPM was among the parties that lobbied for Canadian content regulations in the broadcast media, and it inaugurated the RPM MAPL logo (with MAPL standing for music, artists, production, lyrics) that has been widely used to identify the Canadian content of commercial sound recordings. The periodical ceased publication in 2000.

According to Cheryl Gillard, a Library and Archives Canada music specialist, the collection of RPM photographs, now available online through the Portrait Portal, “allows anyone, anywhere to take a behind-the-scenes look at the inner workings of the music industry. Also, for the first time, the Portal’s collection of RPM photos allows less high-profile but historically important Canadian music professionals to be documented and honoured.” This collection showcases Canadian popular culture and reflects the interconnection between the music industries in Canada and the United States.

You can search for photographs of popular musicians in the LAC Portrait Portal simply by entering the name of your favourite band or musician into the keyword search field.

For more information about Canada’s music industry, check out LAC’s RPM database, which contains the digitized versions of the music charts in RPM Weekly from 1964 to 2000. The Canadian Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences (CARAS) website is also a great place to search for a list of past JUNO award recipients—and more!

Spotlight on theatre posters

Library and Archives Canada (LAC) has an extraordinary collection of posters promoting theatre in Canada from the 19th century to the present day. These posters are found in a wide variety of private and public archives and collections, including those of Vittorio, Theo Dimson, Guy Lalumière et Associés Inc., Normand Hudon and Robert Stacey.

Theatre posters also feature in the archives of such Canadian personalities as Marshall MacLuhan and Sydney Newman, and even in collections of old documents—for example, the theatre playbills printed on board the ships in the expedition in search of Sir John Franklin (around 1850-1853).

In addition, we must mention the archives of various theatre and stage artists and professionals (Gratien Gélinas, Jean Roberts and Marigold Charlesworth, John Hirsch and others), and of artistic and cultural institutions such as the National Arts Centre, Theatre Canada, the Magnetic North Theatre Festival, the Globe Theatre and the Stratford Festival.

But the real treasure trove of theatre posters can be found in the “Posters” series of the performing arts collection, which comprises about 750 posters and programs, and in the miscellaneous poster collection, which includes about 3,170 posters.

You might say that theatre posters play a starring role at LAC!

For sample posters, please see our Flickr album.

Questions or comments? We would love to hear from you!

How to find photographs that are not yet available online – part two

Our previous article “How to find photographs that are not yet available online—part one” explained the best-case scenario for finding photographs that are not yet available online. But what happens when things don’t go that smoothly?

What if I find items that are close but not what I want?

If there are items in your search results that aren’t quite what you’re looking for, don’t despair. It’s quite possible that we have what you want, but that it hasn’t been described yet. The items that have already been described offer you a useful clue as to where those non-described items might be.

First, note the fonds, collection, or accession where each item is from and look at the field labelled “extent.” How many other photographs make up that collection? Perhaps there are more images relating to your topic.

Does the item have:

- an item number?
– a particular photographer?
– certain keywords?

Use variations of those keywords, item number and photographer’s name to do other online searches in Archives Search. If those don’t yield any results, try the finding aid related to each item, either online or on paper. See “How to find photographs that are not yet available online—part one” for tips on using the finding aid.

What if the finding aid is not online or the finding aid is only available in paper?

If you find a fonds, collection, or accession that seems relevant to your research but that doesn’t have an electronic finding aid, look to see if it has a paper one. If it does, you can visit us at 395 Wellington Street in Ottawa, to have a closer look at it. If there is no reference to a paper finding aid, then you have to search through the boxes from that collection. If you cannot come to Ottawa, you can contact our reference staff for guidance, or you may wish to hire a freelance researcher.

With more than 25 million images, chances are we have your “perfect shot.” You just have to find it!

Questions or comments? We would love to hear from you!

How to find photographs that are not yet available online – part one

Library and Archives Canada (LAC) has more than 25 million photographs, one of the largest archival photographic collections in the world. To make these collections more accessible, LAC has undertaken an ongoing project to digitize them, including photographic material. Currently, some images are already digitized and described at the item-level in our Archives Search database.

Given the cost and complexity of describing and digitizing fragile archival images, photographs are described and digitized only when they are requested by users. So, if you are looking for that unique, one-of-a-kind archival photo that no one else has requested (e.g., UFO, Big Foot or Ogopogo), you better start digging!

Begin by checking what has already been described. Follow the steps outlined in our past article: “How to find photographs online” to get a sense of the type of photographs that already exist on your topic, individual, or location.

If those searches do not yield what you’re looking for, it’s time to dig deeper. This is where archival research meets detective work! Remember, from now on we’re talking about photographs that have not been digitized, so you will not be able to view the image before ordering it or visiting LAC.

Keyword Search

In Archives Search, after selecting “Photographic Material” under “TYPE OF MATERIAL” you can enter key words in the search box. Get creative with the key words; archival documents are often titled using the creator’s own language. Narrow your search by using the “ADVANCED SEARCH” features.

You may end up with image search results that aren’t exactly what you’re looking for. Don’t panic. This list is just the beginning of your journey into deeper archival research. It’s fun, trust us!

Fonds/Collections/Accessions

Have you found archival records, including photographs and textual records, all jumbled together? These groupings are called fonds or accessions or sometimes collections. This is a high-level description of an entire grouping of material, usually based on the source of the original donation.

Check out the extent field and see how many photographs are listed there. Read the descriptions carefully and see if the material described relates to the photographs you’re looking for.

They do? Great!

Now, read the description again and see if there is a finding aid.

There is? Good!

Now see if it’s electronic and attached to the description in Archives Search.

It is? Fantastic!

Open it up and see if it provides a listing of the contents of the fonds, collection, or accession.

It does? Wonderful!

Locate the box that you think contains the image you’re looking for, based on the contents of the finding aid, and order the box by following the steps outlined in our article “How to consult material that is not yet available online.”

But what happens if things don’t go this smoothly? Our next article on this topic will provide more tips from our experts on what to do. Stay tuned!

Questions or comments? We would love to hear from you!