New Books in the Genealogy Services Collection at 395 Wellington – October 2016

We’re excited to announce recently acquired genealogy publications. You can consult them in the Genealogy and Family History Room located on the 3rd floor of the Library and Archives Canada building at 395 Wellington Street.

Check out the list below. The link to the AMICUS record gives the call number you need to find the book on the shelves.

If you’re just starting out in genealogy, you should visit the Genealogy and Family History section of our website.

Happy exploring!

Church, Cemetery and Newspaper Indexes

Obituaries from the Christian guardian, 1891 to 1895, by Donald A. McKenzie (AMICUS 42197735)

Répertoire des naissances, des mariages et des décès de la paroisse de Saint-Ludger-de-Milot, 1934-1941, et de la paroisse de Saint-Augustin, 1924-1941, by the Société d’histoire du Lac-Saint-Jean, Service d’archives et de généalogie, Comité de Généalogie (AMICUS 43692197)

Baptêmes, mariages, annotations marginales et sépultures de Notre-Dame-du-Rosaire de Sherbrooke, 1942-1995, by the Société de généalogie des Cantons de l’Est (AMICUS 42040268)

Baptêmes, mariages, sépultures et annotations marginales de Sainte-Jeanne-d’Arc de Sherbrooke, 1913-2012, by the Société de généalogie des Cantons de l’Est (AMICUS 41994325)

Baptêmes, mariages, annotations marginales et sépultures de Christ-Roi de Sherbrooke, 1936-2012, by the Société de généalogie des Cantons de l’Est (AMICUS 41849903)

Baptêmes, mariages, annotations marginales et sépultures de Saint-Antoine-de-Padoue de Lennoxville, 1878-2010, by the Société de généalogie des Cantons de l’Est (AMICUS 41849905)

Baptêmes, mariages, annotations marginales et sépultures de Saint-Joseph de Sherbrooke, 1946-2010, by the Société de généalogie des Cantons de l’Est (AMICUS 42040250)

Baptêmes des paroisses Notre-Dame-de-Lourdes, 1928-1941 et Notre-Dame-Auxiliatrice, 1939-1941, by Michel Chrétien (AMICUS 41279336)

Baptêmes, mariages, sépultures et annotations marginales de Saint-Fortunat, comté de Wolfe, 1877-2013, by the Société de généalogie des Cantons de l’Est (AMICUS 42160267)

Cataraqui Cemetery burial registers: Kingston Township, Frontenac County, by the Kingston Branch, Ontario Genealogical Society (AMICUS 41669821)

Outremont, naissances : archives civiles (greffe) 1921-1941, St-Germain 1929-1942, Ste-Madeleine 1908-1941, St-Raphaël 1930-1941, St-Viateur 1902-1941, by Cécile de Lamirande (AMICUS 43564793)

Military

American loyalists to New Brunswick: the ship passenger lists, by David Bell (AMICUS 43913838)

Dictionnaire prosopographique des militaires beaucerons incluant le Régiment de la Chaudière depuis 1914, by Sylvain Croteau (AMICUS 43027689)

Family Histories

Généalogie ascendante de Irénée Bergeron, 1838 (Sainte-Croix-de-Lotbinière) – 1923 (Saint-Paul-de-Chester), by Linda Bergeron Szefer (AMICUS 42856232)

Généalogie des familles-souches de Saint-Casimir, by G.-Robert Tessier (AMICUS 43150466)

Saint-Just-de-Bretenières: cent ans d’histoire, 1916-2016: de la mémoire à la plume, by Louise Lefebvre (AMICUS 44279124)

Images of the Altona Haggadah now on Flickr 

The Altona Haggadah, a colourful handwritten and hand-illuminated manuscript on paper, created in 1763, is one of the treasures of the Jacob M. Lowy Collection at Library and Archives Canada (LAC).

The Haggadah, which means “telling” in Hebrew, is an important text in the Jewish tradition that is used during the Passover Seder, a ceremonial meal held in Jewish homes to commemorate the Israelites’ liberation from Egypt. It is a compilation of biblical passages, prayers, hymns and rabbinic literature.

You can also find incunabula (books printed before 1500), Bibles, ancient Jewish manuscripts and about 80 other Haggadot (plural of Haggadah) in LAC’s collection.

From the Lowy Room: the brightly illuminated manuscript of the Altona Haggadah

By Leah Cohen

The Altona Haggadah is one of the treasures of the Jacob M. Lowy Collection. This handwritten, colourfully illuminated manuscript on paper was created in 1763 for the holiday of Passover in Altona, Germany.

A haggadah, which means “telling” in Hebrew, is a text read during the Passover seder (“order” of service), a ceremonial meal that follows ritual steps laden with symbolic meaning. It is held in Jewish homes or public places, to commemorate the Israelites’ liberation from Egypt. The seder takes place on the first night of the holiday in Israel, and on the first two nights of the holiday outside Israel.

The rabbis instituted this “telling” based on the biblical Book of Exodus 13:8: “And thou shalt tell (higadeta) thy son in that day, saying: It is because of that which the LORD did for me when I came forth out of Egypt.”

The idea behind the seder and the haggadah is not a mere recounting of facts. Rather, the goal is to convey the experience of being a slave in Egypt who was liberated suddenly by God’s hand, and who as a free man witnessed God giving the Torah to Moses at Mount Sinai.

Examples of seder rituals

The family, or any group gathered together for a seder, carries out specific ritual steps. For example, they eat foods evocative of the slave/liberation experience, such as haroset, a mixture of ground fruit or nuts (the recipe varies), to convey the slaves’ arduous work carrying bricks. Or participants eat bitter herbs such as horseradish to recall the bitterness of slavery. They drink four glasses of wine while leaning to the left, a pose of ease, showing the behaviour of free men. The four cups of wine are intended to echo the four expressions of God’s redemption of the Israelites in the biblical Book of Exodus 6:6–8 (“I will bring you out from under the burdens of the Egyptians … I will redeem you with an outstretched arm, and with great judgments”).

Participants are encouraged to ask questions and debate, not just to read the haggadah passively. The seder aims to pique children’s curiosity, so traditionally the children recite a song asking why this night is different than any other night. The haggadah also includes prayers of Hallel, praising God. Fun-loving table songs, though not required, were added over time and are still enjoyed today.

The challenge of transmission or making the evening meaningful is accentuated because of the variety of people living in different times and places. An olive farmer in ancient Galilee would have related to the story of the Exodus from Egypt differently than, say, a 21st-century techie in Silicon Valley.

Therefore a specific haggadah is one source, among others, of popular culture for learning about a particular community. An artifact shows “mind in matter” (to quote Jules Prown), in addition to its textual content.

Why is the Altona Haggadah different from other haggadot?

The Altona Haggadah was part of a trend in Central Europe initiated by the “Court Jews.” These people, who often worked as financiers for noblemen, collected artistically designed Judaica objects for the home, such as handwritten and illuminated manuscripts. Such manuscripts were prized, even though Hebrew printing had existed since the 15th century! The existence of the Altona Haggadah shows that the collection of manuscripts was later adopted by the middle class. Because of the naive style of the art, an artist–scribe with less training could probably be commissioned—and at a lower cost than a “high-end” artist.

The small but lively Jewish community in Altona had been granted the privilege of engaging in shipbuilding by King Christian IV. As a result, there was economic stability and a middle class. The scenes of contemporary participants on the page that shows the ritual steps of the seder indicate a certain degree of comfort. For example, they are sitting on chairs that appear to be upholstered, around a sturdy table that is covered with a red cloth. In a room lit by a chandelier, each person also has the luxury of using his own haggadah.

Colourful image, in red, brown and grey, of a page from a manuscript of a Passover haggadah. The 12 ritual steps of the seder are illustrated. On the outer and inner margins beside the illustrations, text in Hebrew names the ritual and gives directions on how to carry it out in Yiddish (written in the Hebrew alphabet).

The illustrations show the ritual steps of the seder being carried out by contemporary participants. The scenes provide a snapshot of the Jewish lifestyle in Altona in the 1760s (AMICUS 33226322).

The Altona Haggadah also informs us that Jews in Altona had much in common with Jews elsewhere during the early modern period. For example, the scribe painstakingly wrote the commentary of Don Isaac Abravanel, 1437–1508, in small cursive letters, wrapped around the central text. This commentary, with its emphasis on redemption, written by a Jewish man who was forced to flee the Iberian Peninsula, was first printed in 1505 and is commonly found in Passover haggadot.

The artist and his work

The study of the Altona Haggadah, like that of any visual source, is an opportunity to learn about the artist and the iconography.

The name of the artist–scribe Elkanah “Pituhe Hotem” (literally, Elkanah, “engraver of the seal,” referring to the engraved stones in the shoulder piece of the High Priest in biblical Jerusalem), son of Meir Malir (Meir, the Painter, in Yiddish) is found in the colophon, the closing statement at the end of the Altona Haggadah.

We know of only two other manuscripts that Elkanah created. One of these, at the Jewish Theological Seminary in New York, is a haggadah on vellum, or animal skin, whereas the haggadah at the Jacob M. Lowy Collection is on paper. The other manuscript, “Tikune Shabat” (special prayers for the Sabbath), is found in the Klau Library of Hebrew Union College in Cincinnati.

The Lowy haggadah has a unique feature: an “omer” calendar. This is a calendar used to count the 49 days from the second night of Passover until the holiday of Shavuot, which celebrates the giving of the Torah to the Israelites. An omer is a biblical unit: a measure of grain. On the second night of Passover, an omer of barley was brought to the Temple as an offering, which marked the first day of the count. Since no Jewish calendars were printed in Altona during the 1750s and 1760s, the omer calendar may have been a welcome way to keep track of the count.

A colour image of two pages from a book. The writing is in Hebrew, in red and black, and includes mystical references. Some squares are colourful pieces of paper with a simple floral design, which were affixed to the calendar.

The Omer calendar, in which each square represents the cumulative days counted from the second day of Passover to Shavuot (AMICUS 33226322).

The scribe–artist Elkanah, or the patron who commissioned the Altona Haggadah, was influenced by the Amsterdam Haggadah or its many subsequent imitations. The Amsterdam Haggadah, which was printed in 1695, featured innovative copperplate engravings.

A collage presenting, side by side, the same page from two different editions of a book. In both images, there are drawings of two men standing on each side of a text in Hebrew. The page on the left is in colour, while the page on the right is in grey tones.

The colourful title page of the Altona Haggadah, 1763, is on the left (AMICUS 33226322); the engraved title page of the Amsterdam Haggadah, 1695, is on the right (AMICUS 29060785). Both show Moses and Aaron as well as vignettes (small illustrations) of Bible stories. The imagery in the Altona Haggadah has been simplified, and there are fewer vignettes—only three in medallions on the top of the page.

Another example of the influence of the Amsterdam Haggadah can be seen in both editions’ representations of the four sons. The four sons symbolize the attitudes of four types of participants in the seder: the wise son, the wicked son, the innocent son and the son who does not even know how to formulate a question.

A collage presenting, side by side, part of a page from two different editions of a book. Both images have four men with different clothes and poses; the images are alike because the corresponding men are dressed and posed similarly. The page on the left is in colour, while the page on the right is in grey tones.

The colourful illustration of the four sons in the Altona Haggadah is on the left (AMICUS 33226322); the engraved version of the four sons in the Amsterdam Haggadah is on the right (AMICUS 29060785).

Elkanah, the artist–scribe, used iron gall ink, notorious now for its corroding effect on paper, to write the text. He illuminated it with colours whose pigments included copper and other metals. Both ink and pigments caused corrosion that even a de-acidification in 1987 could not stop. The Altona Haggadah was brought to Library and Archives Canada’s conservators in 2007. How would they save this cultural artifact? They will share their secrets in the following blog, to be published next week.

Related sites:


Leah Cohen is a curator at the Jacob M. Lowy Collection, Library and Archives Canada.

Launch of First World War personnel records database

We are pleased to announce an updated version of our “Service Files of the First World War, 1914-1918 – CEF” database. The new database, now called “Personnel Records of the First World War”, provides access to the service files of members of Canadian Expeditionary Force (CEF) along with records for other First World War personnel.

The new database includes records for the following groups:

Canadian Expeditionary Force

  • Imperial War Service Gratuities recipients
  • Non-Permanent Active Militia
  • Rejected CEF volunteers
  • Royal Newfoundland Regiment and Forestry Corps

Discover the Personnel Records of the First World War collection today!

And be sure to visit the First World War page of the Military Heritage section of our website for an overview of all our First World War records.

We wish to acknowledge the participation of the Provincial Archives Division of The Rooms corporation of Newfoundland and Labrador for access to its digitized personnel files.

 

 

Open datasets – update

Library and Archives Canada is in the process of extracting from outdated storage devices, and then preserving, the datasets of studies undertaken by federal departments. The studies, covering a wide range of topics-including the environment, health, and immigration–are being made available on the Open Data portal. To learn more about the structure of the data, see Open Data: Providing access to historical Government of Canada studies.

In the coming months, Library and Archives Canada will be releasing the following datasets:

Alouette I synoptic data

The data result from radio sounding of the ionosphere by the Alouette I satellite. The data sets being released relate to data collected from May 1, 1963, to December 31, 1966.

Water Survey of Canada

The Water Survey of Canada has been collecting and publishing hydrometric data since 1908. Five categories of data were collected between 1908 and 1979:

  • FLOW files – historical daily, monthly and annual streamflow data from stations across Canada
  • LEVELS file – historical daily, monthly and annual water level data from stations across Canada
  • HYDEX file – descriptive information for hydrometric gauging stations (streamflow and water level)
  • PEAKS file – annual maximum instantaneous discharges or water levels from some 1,400 gauging stations across Canada
  • SEDEX file – historical daily mean suspended sediment concentrations in milligrams per litre from gauging stations across Canada

Food Prices Review Board

The results from several food price studies undertaken between 1973 and 1976 will be released:

  • Average retail food prices in major cities across Canada
  • Availability of comparative price information and effects on consumers’ purchasing decisions
  • Price data on dairy foods in major cities across Canada
  • Costs and benefits of meat specials merchandizing practices
  • Beef and pork prices in major cities across Canada

International Day of the Girl Child images now on Flickr

The United Nations declared October 11 as the International Day of the Girl Child, which recognizes the challenges that girls face each day from discrimination and abuse around the world.

Canada continues to fight for girls’ rights to equality, freedom and education.

Accessing our history: a project about prime ministers

By Mariam Lafrenie and Rachel Klassen

In collaboration with Queen’s University, Library and Archives Canada (LAC) has launched a project to highlight the speeches of Canada’s prime ministers. To begin the project, LAC’s Governance and Political Archives Section was pleased to work with Mariam Lafrenie, a Queen’s undergraduate student research fellow. Mariam became the project’s prime minister researcher over the summer of 2016. Her findings allowed our section to plan how to meet the project’s central objectives of facilitating greater access to the fonds of Canada’s prime ministers preserved by LAC, and to bring Canadians closer to their political history. To conclude this first phase, we asked Mariam to share her thoughts about both the project and some of the notable speeches she encountered.

Mariam Lafrenie’s reflections

Having worked in the fonds of several prime ministers, including Sir Charles Tupper, I have gained a unique perspective on Canadian history and heritage. I have seen the determination of Canada’s future and the goals agreed upon by our Fathers of Confederation, but I have also watched the evolution of these goals. Each prime minister attempted to redefine Canadian identity and the meaning of a unified nation.

Prime Minister Louis St. Laurent understood his Canada as a place where diversity and freedom flourished, but also as a place where discrimination and terrorism were inherently intolerable. He was known as “Uncle Louis” to Canadians, and during his prime ministership, he oversaw the establishment of the United Nations and Newfoundland’s entry into Confederation.

An older man is standing on a stage and reaching out to a crowd of children.

Prime Minister Louis St. Laurent with group of children, 1949 (MIKAN 3220798)

Prime Minister John Diefenbaker fought for the indomitable right of all Canadians to be free. In his Canada, being Canadian meant possessing the ability to express your beliefs and opinions, but also having the responsibility to uphold this standard for all of humanity.

I am Canadian, a free Canadian, free to speak without fear, free to worship God in my own way, free to stand for what I think right, free to oppose what I believe wrong, free to choose those who shall govern my country. This heritage of freedom I pledge to uphold for myself and all mankind. John Diefenbaker, House of Commons, July 1, 1960

An older man is standing and speaking to people seated at desks.

Prime Minister John Diefenbaker speaks in the House of Commons, October 14, 1957 (MIKAN 3214921)

Prime Minister Lester Pearson left a legacy of perseverance and diplomacy. His Canada was about social advancement, and it witnessed the creation of universal medicare, the Canada Pension Plan, and the Royal Commission on Bilingualism and Biculturalism. Most notably, however, he is remembered for his dedication to the pursuit of a national flag worthy of an independent and unified Canada.

Cover page of a published speech, includes text and a portrait of a white man.

“I Stand for Canada!” speech delivered by Lester Pearson (MIKAN 4924761)

Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau dedicated 15 years of service to Canadians and brought Canada through the October Crisis and the Quebec Referendum of 1980. He also spiritedly fought to unify Canadians, from coast to coast, and to entrench their rights and freedoms, as his Canada became a fully autonomous nation with its own constitution.

There still remains much to be discovered about Canada’s prime ministers. As LAC and Queen’s continue with this project, greater access to the prime ministers’ fonds will support this discovery!

Related links:


Mariam Lafrenie is an undergraduate student research fellow from Queen’s University who worked in the Private Archives Branch at Library and Archives Canada during the summer of 2016.

Rachel Klassen is a political portfolio archivist working in the Private Archives Branch at Library and Archives Canada.

Piper James Cleland Richardson, VC

By Emily Monks-Leeson

Today’s blog post for the series First World War Centenary: Honouring Canada’s Victoria Cross Recipients tells the story of Piper James Cleland Richardson, awarded the Victoria Cross (VC) for gallantry during the Battle of the Ancre Heights on October 8, 1916 at Regina Trench, Somme, France.

A black-and-white photograph of a young man wearing a kilt and sporran, holding a baton in his left hand and leaning on a sculptural shelf.

Piper James Cleland Richardson, VC, 16th Battalion, CEF. (MIKAN 3192331)

Born in Bellshill, Scotland, on November 25, 1895, Richardson immigrated to British Columbia where he served as a piper in the 72nd Seaforth Highlanders of Canada. In September 1914, he enlisted with the Canadian Expeditionary Force (CEF) and went overseas as part of a large Seaforth contingent of the 16th Battalion (Canadian Scottish).

On October 8, 1916, Richardson’s company was held up by uncut barbed wire and intense fire as they attacked German positions at Regina Trench. Richardson’s commander, Lieutenant-Colonel Cyrus Peck, later wrote of Richardson’s extraordinary courage. As the unit lay trapped in the shell holes of “no man’s land,” Richardson, a teenager who had played the company “over the top,” sought the commander’s permission to play his pipes again. In full view of the Germans, he marched up and down the wire entanglements playing his pipes where his fellow soldiers lay. His citation for the Victoria Cross states, “The effect was instantaneous. Inspired by his splendid example, the company rushed the wire with such fury and determination that the obstacle was overcome and the position captured” (London Gazette, no. 30967, October 22, 1918).

Amazingly, Richardson survived the attack and was detailed to take a wounded comrade and several prisoners of war to the rear. Realizing that he had left his bagpipes behind, he returned to recover them. Richardson was never again seen alive.

A black-and-white handwritten page describing the daily events leading up to the day of the action for which Piper James Cleland Richardson received the Victoria Cross.

War diary of the 16th Battalion for October 1–8, which describes the days leading up to the attack on Regina Ridge. (MIKAN 2034171)

The remains of James Cleland Richardson were located in 1920 and he is now buried in Adanac Military Cemetery near Albert, France. His bagpipes, long believed lost to the Somme mud, were identified in 2002 as being in the possession of Ardvreck Preparatory School in Scotland, part of a 1917 donation by British Army Chaplain Major Edward Yeld Bate. They are now on display at the British Columbia Legislature.

Black-and-white photograph of a young man in military uniform holding his bagpipes.

Piper James Cleland Richardson, VC, and bagpipes, 16th Canadian Infantry Battalion, CEF. (MIKAN 4922009)

Library and Archives Canada holds the CEF service file for Piper James Cleland Richardson. The James Richardson fonds contains his Victoria Cross certificate as well as an exercise book from his early schooling.


Emily Monks-Leeson is an archivist in Digital Operations at Library and Archives Canada.

Do you have Indigenous ancestry? The census might tell you

This article contains historical language and content that some may consider offensive, such as language used to refer to racial, ethnic and cultural groups. Please see our historical language advisory for more information.

Many individuals do genealogical research to determine whether they have an Indigenous branch in their family tree. For some, this is simply to confirm or disprove a family story. For others, the research is connected to self-identity, empowerment, possible registration in Indigenous organizations or funding connected to self-identification.

Library and Archives Canada (LAC) cannot make any determination about whether you are Indigenous, but our documents can assist in your research.

Sadly, sometimes, our family stories are just that—stories. Likewise, family photographs may lead us to make false assumptions. Are we seeing something that is not really there?

You might find the answer in census returns.

Identifying First Nation, Métis or Inuit in historical census returns

Seeking an understanding of Indigenous identity through family histories and genealogical research can be a challenging task in Canada. Two systems of definitions exist—one based in law and legislation, the other in family tradition and community practice. Continue reading

Paws and reflect: the legacy of Margaret Marshall Saunders’s Beautiful Joe

By Alyssa Currie

The Story

Beautiful Joe is a bestselling children’s story written by Margaret Marshall Saunders. The novel describes the life of a mistreated dog who finds happiness when he is adopted by a kind family. It gives a voice to domestic animals by presenting the story from Joe’s perspective and stressing animal cruelty. Using the name Marshall Saunders, the author originally entered her story into a contest by the American Humane Society in 1893 and won first place. The text was published a year later and quickly became a bestseller, reportedly the first Canadian book to sell over a million copies.

Our collections include two photographs and two autographed postcards related to Beautiful Joe. These records are remarkable because they document the real-life inspiration for the story and its connection to Saunders’s animal advocacy efforts. The preface to Beautiful Joe reads:

BEAUTIFUL JOE is a real dog, and “Beautiful Joe” is his real name. He belonged during the first part of his life to a cruel master, who mutilated him in the manner described in the story. He was rescued from him, and is now living in a happy home with pleasant surroundings, and enjoys a wide local celebrity.

The character of Laura is drawn from life, and to the smallest detail is truthfully depicted. The Morris family has its counterparts in real life, and nearly all of the incidents of the story are founded on fact.

Margaret Marshall Saunders, Preface to Beautiful Joe

The Photographs

Margaret Marshall Saunders first encountered “Beautiful Joe” during a visit to her brother and his fiancé, Louise Moore, in Meaford, Ontario. Upon returning to her family home in Halifax, Nova Scotia, Saunders began writing, determined to share Joe’s story. Though Saunders based her novel on reality, she adapted elements of the story to suit her fictional setting. For example, the location was changed to an American town to suit the rules of the contest and appeal to American readers. Saunders also renamed the Moore family, who originally adopted “Beautiful Joe,” as the Morris family and introduced elements of her own family into their narrative.

Black-and-white photograph featuring Dr. Edward M. Saunders, standing on the front staircase of a three-story Victorian style house. Dr. Saunders is wearing a black clerical suit and a black hat. The photograph was taken from across a residential street.

The Saunders family residence in Halifax, Nova Scotia where Beautiful Joe was written (a051627-v8)

Throughout the narrative, Saunders appears to model the Morris family after her own. This likeness is supported by a photograph of Dr. Edward M. Saunders donated by the author. A handwritten note, possibly from Margaret herself, on the reverse of the photograph reads:

Dr. Saunders original of Mr. Morris in “Beautiful Joe”

Black-and-white photograph of a middle-aged man sitting in an ornate chair with a small dog, possibly a Russell terrier, laying at his feet. The man is wearing a black clerical suit. Dark drapery and a potted plant appear in the right of the portrait. The back of the photograph includes a stamp from Gauvin & Gentzel Studio.

Dr. Edward M. Saunders, father of Margaret Marshall Saunders and inspiration for the character Mr. Morris in Beautiful Joe. Handwritten notes on the back of the photograph document its connection to Beautiful Joe (e011184730-v8)

The Postcards

Two recently described postcards from our literary archives further emphasize the story’s connection to reality and the enduring legacy; both postcards were printed years after the book’s original publication and signed by the author. The first postcard features a picture of the original “Beautiful Joe” and provides a visual counterpart for the story’s protagonist.

Black-and-white postcard featuring a photograph of a dark dog with no ears in a sitting position. The postcard is captioned “BEAUTIFUL JOE” and autographed in black ink, “Marshall Saunders, 1930.” The back of the postcard features a small picture of Margaret Marshall Saunders with the caption, “Marshall Saunders, author of the world famous book, ‘Beautiful Joe.’” The postcard has not been mailed.

Autographed postcard featuring the original “Beautiful Joe” who inspired the story (e011184731-v8)

As Beautiful Joe gained national and then international recognition, Saunders used its popularity to promote animal welfare. She collaborated with animal advocacy groups on campaigns, which in turn promoted the sale of her own literary works. A postcard issued by the Canadian Antivivisection Society demonstrates this reciprocal relationship; it features Saunders, with the caption, “Author of the world-famous book ‘BEAUTIFUL JOE.’” The author autographed the front of the postcard and signed the back:

“Please do not vivisect our dear dogs, Marshall Saunders.”

Black-and-white postcard featuring a photograph of a middle-aged woman wearing a lab coat and holding a small dog on her lap. The postcard is captioned, “Author of the world-famous book, ‘BEAUTIFUL JOE’” and autographed in black ink, “Yours truly, Marshall Saunders.” The back of the postcard reads “ISSUED BY THE CANADIAN ANTIVIVISECTION SOCIETY, 445A YONGE ST., TORONTO” and is signed by the author. The postcard has not been mailed.

Autographed postcard featuring Margaret Marshall Saunders, “Author of the world-famous book, ‘BEAUTIFUL JOE’” (e011184732-v8)

The Legacy

Saunders was a bestselling author by the time of her death on February 15, 1947. Later that year, the Government of Canada recognized her accomplishments by naming her a “Person of National Historical Significance.” Over a century has passed since Margaret Marshall Saunders wrote Beautiful Joe, but still her legacy remains.


Alyssa Currie is a master’s student from the University of Victoria working in the Literature, Music, and Performing Arts Archives Section at Library and Archives Canada.