Canada’s Earliest Printers

By Meaghan Scanlon

As you walk through the exhibition Premiere: New acquisitions at Library and Archives Canada, you will see two items from Library and Archives Canada’s (LAC’s) Rare Book Collection. One is a short medical pamphlet published in Quebec in 1785 that explains the symptoms and treatment of a disease thought to have been a form of syphilis. The other is a proclamation on the subject of French fishing rights, issued by the Governor of Newfoundland in 1822.

A colour photograph of a book open to the title page. It reads: Direction pour la guerison du mal de la Baie St Paul. A Quebec : Chez Guillaume Brown, au milieu de la grande cote. M, DCC, LXXXV.

Title page of Direction pour la guerison du mal de la Baie St Paul. Printed by Guillaume (William) Brown at Quebec City in 1785 (AMICUS 10851364)

These two publications may not appear to have much in common. In fact, though, they share an interesting historical connection: both are the work of the first printers in their respective provinces. William Brown, publisher of Direction pour la guerison du mal de la Baie St Paul [A guide to treating the Baie St Paul malady], and his partner, Thomas Gilmore, became the first printers in the province of Quebec when they set up shop at Quebec City in 1764. John Ryan, who produced the Newfoundland broadside, holds the distinction of having been the first printer in two separate provinces. Ryan and his partner, William Lewis, were already in business in Saint John when the province of New Brunswick was created in 1784. Ryan then relocated to St. John’s, Newfoundland, in 1806, and opened the island’s first press.

A black-and-white document proclaiming the rights of French fishermen under the Treaty of Paris, which confirmed the rights laid out in the Treaty of Utrecht, to fish in the waters off Newfoundland without hindrance or harassment by British subjects. The proclamation directs officers and magistrates to prevent British subjects from obstructing the French fishery, and gives warnings about potential actions to be taken against those British fishermen who refuse to comply.

By His Excellency Sir Charles Hamilton … a proclamation. Printed by John Ryan at St. John’s, Newfoundland, ca. 1822 (AMICUS 45262655)

Johann Gutenberg introduced printing to Europe in the middle of the 15th century, completing his famous Bible in Mainz, Germany, around 1454. By 1500, Gutenberg’s innovation had been adopted widely in Europe. European colonists then transported printing technology to the Americas. It was not until 1751—almost 300 years post-Gutenberg—that the first press reached Canada. This alone seems to us like an incredibly lengthy interval, accustomed as we are to rapid changes in technology. But it actually took close to another 150 years for printing to spread to all regions of the country. Through holdings like these items printed by William Brown and John Ryan, LAC’s Rare Book Collection documents the long and fascinating history of how printing made its way across Canada.

A colour reproduction of the cover page of a newspaper. The newsprint is creased near the top and sepia-tinged.

The Halifax Gazette, no. 1 (March 23, 1752). Printed by John Bushell (AMICUS 7589124)

This history begins with John Bushell, Canada’s first printer. In 1751, Bushell moved from Boston, Massachusetts, to Halifax, Nova Scotia. There, he published the country’s first newspaper, The Halifax Gazette, on March 23, 1752. As previously noted, Quebec and New Brunswick got their first presses in 1764 and 1784, respectively. By the end of the 18th century, printers had come to Prince Edward Island and Ontario, where Louis Roy established the first press in Newark (Niagara-on-the-Lake) in 1792. After John Ryan’s arrival in Newfoundland in 1806, there were presses in all of the eastern provinces. Many early eastern Canadian printers, including Ryan and Prince Edward Island’s first printer, James Robertson, were Loyalists—Americans who left the United States during the American Revolutionary War out of loyalty to the British monarchy.

The advent of printing in Western Canada and the North occurred before the close of the 19th century. In both Alberta and Manitoba, the first printers were missionaries who produced Indigenous language translations of Christian religious texts. Using a makeshift press and type he had cast himself, Methodist minister James Evans started printing in Cree syllabics at Rossville, Manitoba, in 1840. The Oblate priest Émile Grouard brought the first press to Alberta when he settled at Lac La Biche in 1876. In 1878, Grouard completed the province’s first book, entitled Histoire sainte en Montagnais (“Montagnais” was the term non-Indigenous people used for the Dene language). That same year, Saskatchewan’s first printer, Scottish-born Patrick Gammie Laurie, began publishing his newspaper, the Saskatchewan Herald (AMICUS 4970721), in Battleford. Laurie had walked to Battleford from Winnipeg—a distance of about 1000 kilometres!—leading an ox cart that carried his press.

The Fraser River gold rush lured prospectors to the west coast in 1858. A demand for printed news accompanied this influx of people, resulting in the establishment of British Columbia’s first five newspapers, all in Victoria. One of the five was The British Colonist (AMICUS 7670749), founded by the future premier of British Columbia, Amor de Cosmos. Gold also spurred the introduction of the press to Canada’s northern territories. During the Klondike gold rush in 1898, printer G.B. Swinehart left Juneau, Alaska, with the intention of starting a newspaper in Dawson City, Yukon. Swinehart’s journey stalled at Caribou Crossing due to the weather, so he published a single issue there while he waited. This paper, the Caribou Sun (AMICUS 7502915) for May 16, 1898, is the first document known to have been printed in Canada’s North.

A black-and-white photograph of a group of men standing in front of a log building with a sign that reads The Yukon Sun.

Office of G.B. Swinehart’s paper, renamed The Yukon Sun, at Dawson City, 1899. (MIKAN 3299688)

LAC’s published collection holds a lot of early Canadian printed material, including over 500 items printed in Canada before 1800. This is a significant number, but the collection still has many gaps. It is always exciting for LAC staff when we come across imprints that aren’t already in the collection because documents printed by Canada’s first printers tend to be very rare. The two publications featured in the Premiere exhibition are good examples. Only about five copies of Direction pour la guerison du mal de la Baie St Paul survive today. The John Ryan broadside was previously unrecorded, meaning that no other copies are known to exist.

If you’re in the Ottawa area, check out Premiere: New Acquisitions at Library and Archives Canada to see these rare early Canadian imprints in person, along with new acquisitions from other parts of LAC’s collection. The exhibition runs at 395 Wellington Street in Ottawa until December 3, 2018. Admission is free!

Additional resources


Meaghan Scanlon is Senior Special Collections Librarian in the Published Heritage Branch at Library and Archives Canada.

Tracing history through books

By Meaghan Scanlon

When you’re browsing in a used book store, you might not want to buy something if its pages are covered in marks left by previous readers. For researchers looking to learn more about where a book came from and how it was used, though, such traces are rich sources. Annotations, inscriptions, bookplates, and stamps are evidence of the history of a book’s ownership. This history, referred to as provenance, tells a story about the book and its owners.

Most of the items in the Rare Book Collection at Library and Archives Canada (LAC) passed through the hands of one or more owners before arriving here, and many of them bear physical signs of their former lives. LAC’s second copy of The Polar Regions, or, A Search after Sir John Franklin’s Expedition by Sherard Osborn is an interesting example. LAC acquired this book only a short time ago, in 2015, as a transfer from the department known at the time as Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development Canada. But the marks on the book’s pages indicate that it has actually been the property of the Government of Canada for about a century.

A colour photograph of two pages of an open book showing a stamp and a signature on the right-hand page.

Pages from copy 2 of The Polar Regions, or, A Search after Sir John Franklin’s Expedition by Sherard Osborn. A stamp at the top-right corner of the right-hand page reads “Commission on Conservation”; a handwritten signature in ink reads “W.A. Malcolm [?] / Jan’y [January] 1864 / Yokohama.” (AMICUS 6359969)

The book was printed in 1854. The oldest evidence of its provenance comes in the form of a signature on one of the pages that tells us the book spent some time in Yokohama, Japan, in 1864. Above the signature is an oval-shaped stamp reading “Commission on Conservation.” This likely means the book was part of the library of the Canadian Commission of Conservation. This commission was an advisory body established by the government to make recommendations on the stewardship of Canada’s national resources. It existed from 1909 to 1921; we can therefore guess that the book joined the public service during that period. In 1921, when the Senate was debating the Commission’s dissolution, one senator asked whether its “valuable library” would become part of the Library of Parliament’s collection. It seems that the books were instead distributed among the libraries of the various government departments that absorbed the Commission’s functions.

A colour photograph of the front endpapers of an open book showing a bookplate on the left-hand page and four stamps on the right-hand page.

Front endpapers of copy 2 of The Polar Regions, or, A Search after Sir John Franklin’s Expedition by Sherard Osborn, showing marks of past owners. Left: Bookplate from Indian and Northern Affairs Canada. Right: Stamps from Indian and Northern Affairs Canada (top right), the Lands, Parks and Forests Branch of the Department of Mines and Resources (blue stamps at middle and bottom left), and the Northwest Territories and Yukon Branch of the Department of the Interior (bottom right). (AMICUS 6359969)

This particular item’s Arctic subject matter made it a resource for the people responsible for the Canadian government’s administration of its northern territories. Over the years, this responsibility has landed with various federal bodies. The book apparently travelled with the staff who needed it, staying with them through several changes in bureaucratic structure. Much like the stamps on a passport, the jumbled departmental stamps on the book’s front free endpaper provide an illustration of its journey. After the closure of the Commission of Conservation in 1921, the book went to the Northwest Territories and Yukon Branch of the Department of the Interior (green stamp at bottom right), where it remained from 1922 to 1936. From 1937 to 1953, the Department of Mines and Resources took over northern administration, and got the book as part of the deal (blue stamps at middle and bottom left). Ownership marks from Indian and Northern Affairs Canada (black stamp at top right, and bookplate on facing page) and the Department of Northern Affairs and National Resources (stamp behind Indian and Northern Affairs Canada bookplate; not visible in photograph) depict the volume’s continuing odyssey through the government.

It is not always possible to glean so much from the traces of a book’s past. Still, next time you find a ratty old tome on a shelf, take a moment to look at what other readers have left behind. Maybe you’ll find more than you expect!

Additional resources


Meaghan Scanlon is a Special Collections Librarian in the Published Heritage Branch at Library and Archives Canada.

ISBNs and ISMNs: did you know?

Did you know that Library and Archives Canada (LAC) is the national agency responsible for issuing ISBNs (for English publications only) and ISMNs to Canadian publishers?

This week, LAC is honoured to host the annual general meetings for the International ISBN Agency and the International ISMN Agency, and to welcome delegates attending from national and regional agencies around the world. Work done by these international agencies to coordinate and supervise the world-wide use of the standards ensures that they meet the present and future needs of the publishing industry.

What is an ISBN?

ISBN stands for International Standard Book Number. Publishers, booksellers, and libraries have used them since the early 1970s to identify each unique edition of a publication. These numbers provide an unduplicated, internationally recognized identifier used in publisher inventories, online retail systems, and library catalogues. Each different format of a publication (e.g., hardcover, softcover, MOBI, EPUB, PDF) is assigned a separate ISBN, so that the correct format can be easily ordered or retrieved.

A photo of the back cover of four books showing the ISBN and barcode of each.

ISBNs are assigned to monographic publications such as books, e-books, and maps.

What is an ISMN?

ISMN stands for International Standard Music Number. Introduced in 1993 as a unique identifier for notated music, music publishers request ISMNs for scores and sheet music collections, including digital sheet music. They are not used for recorded music or books about music. A separate ISMN is assigned to each separately available format and component (e.g. full score, vocal score).

An image of the first line in the sheet music for the song Oh Canada.

ISMNs are assigned to scores and sheet music.

The elements of an ISBN/ISMN

Far from being a random number, the 13-digit number is composed of four or five meaningful elements providing valuable information about an item’s publishing location or language, publisher, and publisher’s size. For example, ISBN 978-0-660-05896-2 (a Government of Canada publication) breaks down as follows:

978:       The prefix element, needed to create a 13-digit barcode, identifies the number as an ISBN. (The prefix element for ISMNs is 979-0.)

0:  The registration group element identifies the country, region, or language area. English-speaking areas are 0 or 1. French-speaking areas are 2. (ISMNs do not use the group element, since music is international.)

660:  The registrant element identifies a particular publisher. The number of digits in this element varies according to the size of a publisher’s expected output. Large publishers have short registrant elements, while small publishers have long ones.

05896:  The publication element identifies a specific publication by a publisher. A long number indicates that a publisher has published (or expects to publish) many titles, while a short number indicates the opposite.

2:  The check digit verifies that the previous digits are correct, and is calculated by an algorithm.

The ISBN 978-0-660-05896-2 has five elements: 978 is the prefix that identifies the number as an ISBN; 0 identifies a country, region or language area; 660 identifies the publisher; 05896 identifies the publication; 2 is the check digit.

Dissecting the ISBN.

Canadian publishers or self-publishers should contact the ISBN and ISMN agencies at LAC to obtain the appropriate number of ISBNs or ISMNs needed for their publications.

Contact us

Please note that French language publishers must obtain their ISBNs from the Bibliothèque et Archives nationales du Québec.

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)

Superheroes of the Digital Universe: Digitizing the Bell Features Collection

By Meaghan Scanlon

Library and Archives Canada (LAC) is excited to announce a new digital resource for fans of Canadian comic books. The Bell Features Collection of Second World War-era comics has been completely digitized and is now available to researchers online.

The Bell Features Collection consists of 382 comic books, most in multiple copies, published in the 1940s by the Canadian comic book publisher Bell Features. These comics showcase an astounding selection of Canadian heroes such as Nelvana of the Northern Lights, Johnny Canuck, and Dixon of the Mounted.

Between November 2015 and March 2016, LAC’s digitization staff painstakingly photographed one copy of each issue held in the collection—a total of 193 comic books. At between 50 and 60 pages per comic, that’s around 10,000 pages!

Creating electronic copies of these delicate documents from LAC’s collection involved hours of careful labour from technicians in our digitization labs, who follow rigorous standards to get the best possible images while preserving the condition of the items.

The process begins with a technician placing a comic on a flat copy stand under an overhead camera, making sure to line the comic up with the camera so that the image taken will be straight. A sheet of Plexiglas is laid over the item to keep it flat. The Plexiglas is on small risers to ensure as little contact as possible with the surface of the comic. This helps prevent damaging the item by placing too much pressure on its spine. Every superhero has an archenemy, and so, too, does the digitization specialist: dust. A single particle on the Plexiglas can create a spot that ruins an image. The technician keeps an anti-static blower on hand to defeat this threat.

A comic book is placed on a flat black surface underneath a sheet of Plexiglas. A woman leans over the surface, using an anti-static blower to remove dust from the Plexiglas. The lens of a camera is visible above the table.

A digitization technician uses an anti-static blower to remove dust from the sheet of Plexiglas covering the comic book she is about to photograph. The camera lens can be seen suspended above the copy stand.

Once the comic book is in place, the technician uses an overhead camera to take a photograph. For the Bell Features Collection, a Phase One 645DF+ camera body with an IQ260 digital back and an 80-mm lens was used, with an F11 focus and a shutter speed of 1/13th of a second. The image taken with the camera is automatically uploaded to the technician’s computer, where she checks for imperfections. If she is satisfied with the image quality, she crops it in Photoshop and moves on to the next page.

A woman faces a computer monitor showing an image of a page from a comic book.

A digitization technician checks for imperfections in the digitized image of a page from Slam-Bang Comics no. 7 (AMICUS 42623987), with art by Adrian Dingle.

This entire process is repeated for each page of each comic book. Once all the pages of an issue have been photographed and the images corrected, a PDF version is created. Finally, this PDF is uploaded to LAC’s servers and a link is added to the relevant record in LAC’s online library catalogue.

If you’re interested in checking out a few of these newly digitized old Canadian comics, you can find a small sample on our website. Hungry for more? The finding aid attached to the catalogue record for the Bell Features Collection (AMICUS 43122013) includes links to all of the digitized comics. You can also access them via the catalogue records for each of the individual titles in the Bell Features Collection; see for example the record for Active Comics (AMICUS 16526991).

In the Ottawa area? Encounter some of Bell Features’ characters on a bigger scale when you visit LAC’s exhibition Alter Ego: Comics and Canadian Identity. It runs at 395 Wellington Street in Ottawa until September 14th. Admission is free.

Additional resources


Meaghan Scanlon is the Special Collections Librarian in the Published Heritage Branch at Library and Archives Canada.

Anne in the library: introducing the Cohen Collection

By Meaghan Scanlon

In five accessions between 1999 and 2003, Canadian lawyer, film producer, and bibliographer Ronald I. Cohen donated his extensive Lucy Maud Montgomery collection to Library and Archives Canada. (See AMICUS 44572655 for a description of the collection.) The collection contains materials related to adaptations of Montgomery’s work, as well as anthologies and periodicals in which Montgomery is featured. But the bulk of the collection consists of various editions of Montgomery’s published novels, including, of course, her most famous book, Anne of Green Gables.

Among the approximately 420 items in the Cohen Collection are no fewer than 46 copies of Anne of Green Gables. Three of these are in Japanese, two in French, and one each in Korean, Finnish, Norwegian, and Swedish. The other 37 are in English.

Why, you might ask, would anyone need 37 English-language copies of Anne of Green Gables? Isn’t the story the same every time? The answer is that for book collectors, it’s often not about the story told in the text. Rather, collecting is an opportunity to discover the story of the book itself, its publication, and the way it has been marketed and received. Many book collectors set out to document the history of an author or title as completely as possible through their collections. For some, this means amassing many copies of the same title.

The Cohen Collection traces the spread of Anne of Green Gables across the English-speaking world through its inclusion of early American, British, Australian, and Canadian editions. The novel was originally published in Boston in April 1908 (AMICUS 9802890). This first edition was extraordinarily popular and Montgomery’s publisher, L. C. Page, reprinted it at least 12 times before the end of 1909. The Cohen Collection contains copies of the sixth (November 1908) and eleventh (August 1909) printings.

Copyright page of the Cohen Collection copy of the sixth printing of the first edition of Anne of Green Gables

Copyright page of the Cohen Collection copy of the sixth printing of the first edition of Anne of Green Gables (AMICUS 9802890, copy 5). “Impression” is another word for printing.

The first British edition of Anne of Green Gables was also published in 1908 (AMICUS 21173240). Anne then made her way to Australia in 1925 (AMICUS 26942864). Interestingly, despite the iconic status of Montgomery and her work in Canada, the first Canadian edition of Anne of Green Gables (AMICUS 1706899) did not appear until 1942. This edition, too, went through several printings; the earliest copy in the Cohen Collection dates from 1948.

Although the story remains the same in each edition, the depiction of its heroine, Anne Shirley, on the books’ covers does not. Audiences in different places and time periods have encountered different representations of Anne, from the mature-looking woman on the first edition to the sometimes cartoonish drawings on later versions. The Cohen Collection’s copies of Anne of Green Gables document the visual history of the character through their illustrations, cover art, and dust jackets.

In fact, when Ronald I. Cohen started collecting L. M. Montgomery’s books, finding copies with dust jackets was one of his main goals. Historically, dust jackets were often discarded by readers (and libraries!) and early examples can be extremely hard to find. The numerous rare dust jackets in the Cohen Collection are therefore a highly valuable resource for researchers looking at the history of one of Canada’s most beloved literary classics.

To learn more about the Ronald I. Cohen Collection of Works by L. M. Montgomery, listen to the latest episode of Library and Archives Canada’s podcast, Kindred spirits after all!


Meaghan Scanlon is the Special Collections Librarian in the Published Heritage Branch at Library and Archives Canada.

New books in the Genealogy Services Collection at 395 Wellington Street—March 2016

Here is a list of our recently acquired genealogy publications. You can consult them in the Genealogy and Family History Room located on the 3rd floor at 395 Wellington Street in Ottawa. The link to the AMICUS record gives the call number you need to find the book on the shelves. Please note that CD-ROMs must be pre-ordered.

If you’re just starting out in genealogy, you should check out our Genealogy and Family History section.

Happy exploring!

Church, Cemetery and other indexes

La population des forts français d’Amérique, XVIIIe siècle : répertoire des baptêmes, mariages et sépultures célébrés dans les forts et les établissements français en Amérique du Nord au XVIIIe siècle : volume 3 – Détroit by Marthe Faribault-Beauregard (AMICUS 4941584)

Fegan’s homes newsletters. Volume 10: the Red Lamp 1913-1920 compiled by Douglas V. Fry & Fawne Stratford-Devai (AMICUS 32667771)

Arnprior area death notices, 2000-2007: compiled from Arnprior newspapers and funeral home notices [electronic resource] by Andriend Schlievert

Naissances & sépultures de Cabano, 1901-1939, St-Elzéar, 1933-1940, St-Honoré, 1871-1940, St-Louis du Ha! Ha!, 1878-1940 by Cécile de Lamirande (AMICUS 43564794)

Répertoire des baptêmes Saint-Sauveur, 1853-2013 by Société d’histoire et de généalogie des Pays-d’en-Haut (AMICUS 43711495)

Registres paroissiaux de Saint-Adelme de 1930 à 2014 : avec l’historique de quelques familles (extrait du livre du 50ième anniversaire de Saint-Adelme), (paru en 1981) et photo de mariage et d’anciens de chez-nous compiled by Madona Ouellet (AMICUS 43249438)

Inhumations sous l’église Sainte-Famille de Boucherville by Gilles Senécal (AMICUS 43918276)

Répertoire des mariages Saguenay-Lac-Saint-Jean, mise à jour 1972 à 1992 : 70 établissements by Jacques Gagnon (AMICUS 40910246)

Family histories and dictionaries

The Linossier and Montagnon family pioneers in the Interlake region: homesteading – R.M. of Eriksdale, Manitoba, Canada by John Paul Linossier (AMICUS 43525032)

Dictionnaire généalogique des familles Thériault : descendance de Claude, 1601-2011 by Camille Albert (AMICUS 39364192)

Les premiers Audet dit Lapointe d’Amérique by Guy Saint-Hilaire (AMICUS 43306689)

The legend of four Weber brothers by Tim Campbell (AMICUS 43188991)

Les Filles du Roy de 1663 : recueil de biographies des 36 premières Filles du Roy arrivées en Nouvelle-France by Irène Belleau (AMICUS 43919407)

L’Association des Saindon de l’Amérique du Nord : Le recueil (AMICUS 34986778)

Mariages Larocque = Larocque marriages [electronic resource] by Charles G. Clermont (AMICUS 43727175)

Local histories

Mercier fête son histoire : des histoires de familles by La Société du patrimoine et de l’histoire de Mercier (AMICUS 43223569)

Très-Sainte-Trinité, Rockland : regards sur notre histoire, vision vers l’avenir : 125e anniversaire, 1889-2014 by Corporation de la communauté Sainte-Trinité (AMICUS 43474887)

The Rare Book Collection: recent additions

A collection of 500 pre-1800 books were recently relocated to a permanent location in Library and Archives Canada’s rare books vault. The vault is equipped with optimal environmental conditions to ensure this special collection is properly preserved for generations to come. Prior to being transferred to Library and Archives Canada, the books were owned by the Library of Parliament. Most of this collection consists of books published in England or France, and many are multi-volume sets. The subject matter ranges from geography and history to theatre and essays.

 

Colour photograph showing rows of books on a shelf. All the books are flagged with a slip of paper with a call number on it.

The permanent location in the rare books vault.

About the Collection

The majority of the books are 18th-century hand bindings bound in full or partial leather. The collection also comprises some books made of paper, cloth or parchment. The books are decorated with intricate gold titling and tooling and are often accented with unique and stunning marbled papers, commonly used as the endpapers.

Colour photograph of an open book showing a sumptuous marble paper used for the end paper.

Marble paper detail.

Colour photograph collage of four beaver-stamp images showing the different stamp styles on the books.

The Library of Parliament “beaver” stamp on the spine of many of the books. The style and intricate details of the beaver changes over the years, but the familiar trademark remains easily identifiable.

The condition of the books

Before being added to the Rare Book Collection, factors such as moisture, temperature, light and dust contributed to the deterioration of many of the books. Although some books are in excellent condition, with the binding structures and text blocks intact, many are damaged and show signs of damage. Some items have suffered from water and fire damage, or contain traces of a pest infestation, while others are weakened and damaged due to centuries of physical use.

Red rot and leather deterioration

A large percentage of the collection (approximately 90%) suffers from various levels of leather deterioration. In some extreme cases, the type of damage is referred to by conservators as red rot. The deterioration of leather is a common issue in leather from this period as the tannins used in the manufacturing process contain chemicals that, over time, and in the presence of oxygen, undergo a chemical change that breaks down the leather molecules. This causes the leather to weaken, flake and powder.

Colour photograph of a gloved hand holding a book with the telltale signs of red rot. The glove and sleeve are covered in a fine reddish-brown coloured dust.

An example of red rot—the term describes the red-coloured powder that appears on the surface of badly deteriorated leather.

Next steps for this collection

So much can be learned from this collection of historical and beautiful books. Check back with us for the next blog posts on the physical inventory of this collection , which includes a detailed inventory of the state of the collection, the levels of conservation treatment required, the material composition of the books, type of decorations, etc. Also have a look at the following post, detailing what steps will be taken to preserve this fine collection.

New Books in the Genealogy Services Collection at 395 Wellington – March 2015

Here is a list of our recently acquired genealogy publications. You can consult them in the Genealogy and Family History Room located on the 3rd floor at 395  Wellington Street. 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 check out our Genealogy and Family History pages.

Happy exploring!

Family Histories

Le grand rassemblement…: familles Zéphirina Dupuis, Aquila Dupuis, André-Joseph Dupuis : généalogie et biographie by Francine Dupuis Loranger (AMICUS 43219206)

Mes ancêtres Laroche et Desrochers by Lyne Laroche, Nicole Levesque (AMICUS 43036457)

The Melanson story: Acadian family, Acadian times by Margaret C. Melanson (AMICUS 43102537)

Une famille, un village, un pays : les Gagnon, les Bergeronnes, le Québec by Rodolphe Gagnon (AMICUS 42915824)

Ethnic and Local Histories

Cartes mortuaires. Les Éboulements et Saint-Joseph-de-la-Rive by Alain Anctil-Tremblay, Jean-Philippe Tremblay (AMICUS 41850791)

Cimetières La Malbaie by Alain Anctil-Tremblay, Jean-Philippe Tremblay (AMICUS 41850786)

Cimetières Les Éboulements, 1733-2010 et Saint-Joseph-de-la Rive, 1932-2010 by Alain Anctil-Tremblay, Jean-Philippe Tremblay (AMICUS 41850986)

Familles Caron d’Amérique : répertoire généalogique by the Association les familles Caron d’Amérique (AMICUS 43168696)

Généalogie des familles acadiennes de l’Île-du-Prince-Édouard (volume 5) by Jean Bernard (AMICUS 38333031)

Gravestones of Glengarry (volumes 10 to 14) by Alex W. Fraser (AMICUS 48101)

New Books in the Genealogy Services Collection at 395 Wellington—January 2015

Below is a list of our recently acquired genealogy publications. You can consult these publications in the Genealogy and Family History Room located on the 3rd floor at 395 Wellington. The link takes you to the AMICUS record which gives the call number to help you find the book on the shelves.

If you’re just starting out in genealogy, you should check out our Genealogy and Family History pages.

Happy exploring!

Family Histories

De nos ancêtres Houallet en France aux descendants Ouellet-te en Nouvelle-France, de François Houallet et Isabelle Barré, à leur fils René et son rêve américain by Jeannine Ouellet (AMICUS 43057598)

Généalogie ascendante de Maurice Fortier by Lise Lefebvre (AMICUS 42357176)

La descendance de Pierre Gilbert, capitaine de vaisseau: Petite-Rivière-Saint-François à partir de 1756 by Jules Garneau (AMICUS 42913904)

André Marsil dit Lespagnol: l’ancêtre des Marcil et Mercille d’Amérique (1642-1725) by Denis Marsil (AMICUS 42507286)

La famille Miville-Dechêne, Julie: l’arrivée en Nouvelle-France et les pérégrinations à Québec et dans les environs du 17e au 21e siècle by Michel Émond (AMICUS 42421839)

Larocque family by Charles G. Clermont (AMICUS 42544482)

L’histoire de la famille acadienne des Lejeune dit Briard: les sept premières générations et plus by André-Carl Vachon (AMICUS 43023469)

Looking back: a history of the Robert and Hannah (Swinton) Williamson family, 2013-1783 by M. Yvonne Brown (AMICUS 42487533)

The Amos B. Weber family history by Tim Campbell (AMICUS 42624120)

The legacy of Peter Martin by Tim Campbell (AMICUS 43040697)

The Noah B. Martin family history by Tim Campbell (AMICUS 42624089)

The scent of oil: a Nicklos/Perkins family saga by Gary May (AMICUS 39274484)

Ethnic and Local Histories

Atlas généalogique de la France ancestrale: pays des migrants vers la Nouvelle-France by Micheline Perreault (AMICUS 42213484)

Dictionnaire des souches allemandes et scandinaves au Québec by Claude Kaufholtz-Couture and Claude Crégheur (AMICUS 42651679)

Irish presence: the protestant religious history, volume 1: Villages et visages en Lotbinière (includes cemetery transcriptions), research and writing by Sylvie Bernard; translation by Claude Crégheur and Mélanie St-Jean (AMICUS 38820935)

La colonie nantaise de Lac-Mégantic: une implantation française au Québec au XIXe siècle by Marcel Fournier (AMICUS 41526971)

Le pays des filles du Roy… au confluent du Saint-Laurent et de la Richelieu by Louise Biron, Danielle Mailloux and Louise Pelletier (AMICUS 42139559)

Les Filles du roi au XVIIe siècle: orphelines en France, pionnières au Canada by Yves Landry (AMICUS 42011241)

Les sépultures du coteau des Cèdres, 1750-1780 by Jean-Luc Brazeau and Isabelle Aubuchon (AMICUS 43036058)

Patriotes, reformers, rebels & raiders: tracing your ancestors during the troublous times in Upper and Lower Canada, 1820-1851 by Kenneth Cox (AMICUS 42726565)

Pour que rien ne s’efface: Notre-Dame-de-Lourdes, 2014 by Robert Charbonneau, Mario Cyr and Huguette Plourde (AMICUS 43043082)

Répertoire des naissances, des mariages et des décès de la paroisse de Saint-Émilien, Desbiens, 1926-1941 by Société d’histoire du Lac-Saint-Jean (AMICUS 42654710)

The Irish Catholic families of Puslinch Township, Wellington County, Ontario: a genealogy by Marjorie Clark (AMICUS 42756767)