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Description found in Archives

Sir John A. Macdonald fonds [textual record, cartographic material, architectural drawing] 

Date(s)

1827-1971

Place of creation

No place, unknown, or undetermined

36.82 m of textual records.
63 maps
2 architectural drawings

Scope and content

Fonds consists of the political and personal papers of the Rt. Hon. Sir John A. Macdonald. The majority of the records are post Confederation, although there is extensive correspondence pertaining to Confederation and the events leading up to it. The political papers document the shaping of a new nation, and cover such key events as railway construction, determining national boundaries, and a wide range of other topics including government administration and native affairs. The personal papers provide insight into Macdonald's personal life, his legal practice, financial affairs, and the management of his estate. Family papers include the personal papers of Baroness Macdonald, and correspondence with close friends and other family members, including Macdonald's mother, and his sister Louisa. Fonds consists of maps that reflect the major concerns of Canadians in the second half of the nineteenth century. Many of the maps pertain to the building of a transcontinental railway line to link the east and west coasts of a new nation. Others are survey and land grant maps of the Canadian west, particularly Manitoba and the Northwest Territories. A number of maps focus on fishing rights off the east coast of Canada, mining and timber limits in central Canada and other natural resource issues. Some are related to the establishment and building of harbours and canals (Montreal Harbour and the Trent Canal). There are also topographic maps of various regions across Canada. A small number of maps centre on Sir J.A. MacDonald's business dealings before Confederation as a buyer and seller of property in the Kingston, Peterborough and Toronto areas. Included are two technical drawings. Fonds also includes one map showing boundary lines between Alaska and Canada (from the Arctic Ocean to just south of the 55th parallel). Annotations in red ink show the boundary as claimed by Canada; annotations in blue ink show the boundary as interpreted by the Americans. Other maps pertain to projected and existing railroad lines across North America on both sides of the Canadian - American border in the two decades after Confederation; a map showing the Canadian Pacific railway line through Indian Reserves near Serpent River, Ontario; two maps of the Port au Pique and Great Valley Rail Line between Amherst and Truro, Nova Scotia servicing the coal fields of Spring Hill; one of the maps also shows the extension of the rail line to Moncton, New Brunswick; there are also three maps of northwestern Ontario -- they include two maps of the area between Lake Superior and Winnepeg and Lake Superior and Fort Pelly showing Indian Reserves and a third undated map showing boundaries in northwestern Ontario.

Architectural: technical drawings
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Cartographic material
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Textual records
Microfilm reel C-1657
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Microfilm reel C-1696
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Terms of use

Volumes 1-569 (originals) and volumes 803-804 have been withdrawn from circulation. Researchers must use the microfilm or photocopies (copyflo). Photocopies (copyflo) made from the microfilm are available only for Volumes 1-536.
Cartographic material: No restrictions. Credit Library and Archives Canada.
Architectural, technicl drawings: No restrictions. Credit Library and Archives Canada.

Textual records Finding aid contains a boxlist and microfilm conversion lists for Vols. 1 to 593. The finding aid also contains a nominal index to the authors in the Personal Correspondence series (Vol. 537), a subject index for Vols. 297-335, a detailed index to the financial papers, including additional correspondence not included on the Prime Minister's CD-Rom, a conversion list for the letterbook transcripts, and an item listing of correspondence from Macdonald located in other fonds and collections at the National Archives. Part II of the finding aid, which covers Volumes 597 to 805, contains an item level listing of oversize material in horizontal files. There is no finding aid for Volumes 594 to 596. MSS0104 90 (Paper)

Separate nominal, subject and chronological indexes are available on microfilm for Vols. 1-545, 558 and 569. The nominal index is available on microfilm reels C-4810 to C-4813; the subject index on reels C-4813 to C-4815 and the chronological index on reels C-4815 to C-4818. Each index contains approximately 150,000 entries. (Microform)

The Prime Minister's CD Rom contains item level descriptions for the correspondence found in Vols 1-545, 558 and 569. (Electronic)

Textual records: Finding aid for oversize items; MSS0104 (Electronic)
http://data2.archives.ca/pdf/pdf001/p000000027.pdf

Cartographic material Please consult lower level descriptions. 90 (Other)

Architectural, technical drawings Please consult lower level descriptions. 90 (Other)

Biography / Administrative history

Prime Minister of Canada

The Right Honourable Sir John A. Macdonald was born in Scotland and was raised and educated in Kingston, Upper Canada. He was a lawyer, but during most of his life political duties left him little time for his law practice. He married twice and was survived by his second wife and two children.

He entered provincial politics as a Conservative in 1844, becoming a member of the Executive Council in 1847. Macdonald played a major role in creating the Coalition of 1854 which he moulded into the Liberal-Conservative Party which dominated much of the succeeding half century. He was the central figure in the creation of the Canadian Confederation of 1867. Becoming Canada's first Prime Minister in 1867, he retained that post until 1873. He was Prime Minister again from 1878 until his death on 6 June 1891. Besides being Prime Minister, Macdonald held numerous important cabinet posts. Macdonald was central to many Canadian political developments such as the Northwest Rebellions, the Pacific Scandal, the Canadian Pacific Railway and the National Policy.

Additional information

The majority of the papers were acquired from the Baroness Macdonald in 1914 and transferred to the custody of the Archives in 1917. Additional correspondence and items have been acquired from various donors numerous times since that date.

Custodial history
Most of the papers of Sir John A. Macdonald were arranged between 1891 and 1917 by Macdonald's former secretary and literary executor, Sir Joseph Pope.

Availability of other formats note
Volumes 1-569 are available on 241 reels of microfilm. The index occupies 9 reels.

Location of duplicates note
The microfilm is available in provincial archives.

Exhibitions note
Exhibition Title: Glasgow's Glasgow. Curator: The Words and the Stones, Glasgow, Scotland; 1990.04.07-1990.11.05. (MG 26 A Volume 129, page 53567)

Subject heading

1. Alaska Boundary Dispute, [1851-1891] Anna Macpherson, [1852-1889]
2. Alaska - Boundaries - Canada, [1851-1891] Louisa Macdonald, [1852-1889]
3. Canada - Boundaries - Alaska, [1851-1891] Margaret Green, [1852-1889]
4. Canada - Officials and employees - Selection and appointment, [1851-1891] Kingston-Perth Road, [1862-1927]
5. Railroads - Canada, [1851-1891] Earnscliffe (Estate), [1862-1927]
6. Governors-general - Canada - Correspondence, [1851-1891] Sir John A. Macdonald Testimonial Fund, [1862-1927]
7. Canada. Parliament - Elections, [1851-1891] Sir David Macpherson, [1843-1891]
8. Fenians, [1851-1891] Lawrence Vankoughnet, [1843-1891]
9. Secret service - Canada, [1843-1891] Edgar Dewdney, [1843-1891]
10. Prime ministers - Canada - Correspondence, [1832-1891] Sir Alexander Campbell, [1843-1891]
11. Macdonald family
12. Macdonald, Hugh John - Correspondence.
13. Marriage, [1847-1891] Colonel H. Bernard, [1862-1927]
14. Freemasons - Membership, [1847-1891] Great Britain. Treaties, etc. United States, 1871 May 8.
15. Diseases, [1847-1891] United States. Treaties, etc. Great Britain, 1871 May 8.
16. Medicine, Preventive, [1847-1891] Washington, Treaty of, 1871.
17. Law - Canada - Cases, [1835-1874] Washington, Treaty of, 1888.
18. Law Canada.
19. Lawyers - Canada, [1837-1874]
20. Wills, [1827-1891]
21. Commissions, [1827-1891]
22. Marriage licences, [1827-1891]
23. Poetry.
24. Medicine - Formulae, receipts, prescriptions, [1827-1891]
25. Prime ministers - Canada - Family, [1845-1910]
26. Prime ministers - Canada - Children, [1847-1891]
27. Prime ministers - Canada - Staff, [1855-1891]
28. Prime ministers - Canada - Spouses, [1845-1910]
29. Real property, [1833-1891]
30. Will. Macdonald, John A. (John Alexander), 1815-1891
31. Marital property - Canada, [1862-1927]
32. Inheritance and succession - Canada, [1862-1927]
33. Decedents' estates, [1862-1927]
34. Administration of estates - Canada, [1862-1927]
35. Macdonald of Earnscliffe, Agnes Macdonald, Baroness, 1836-1920
36. Diaries. Macdonald of Earnscliffe, Agnes Macdonald, Baroness, 1836-1920
37. Estate. Macdonald of Earnscliffe, Agnes Macdonald, Baroness, 1836-1920
38. Finances, personal. Macdonald of Earnscliffe, Agnes Macdonald, Baroness, 1836-1920
39. Will. Macdonald of Earnscliffe, Agnes Macdonald, Baroness, 1836-1920
40. Genealogy. Macdonald family
41. Prime ministers - Canada - Mothers, [1852-1889]
42. Prime ministers Canada.
43. Premiers ministres Canada.
44. Macdonald, Minnie, ca. 1852-1889.
45. Riel Rebellion, 1885.
46. Rébellion de Riel, 1885.
47. Galt, A. T. (Alexander Tilloch), Sir, 1817-1893.
48. Politique et gouvernement Canada
49. Politics and government Canada
50. Estate. Macdonald, John A. (John Alexander), 1815-1891
51. Finance, Personal. Macdonald, John A. (John Alexander), 1815-1891
52. Tupper, Charles, Sir, 1821-1915.
53. History - Confederation, 1867. Canada
54. Shipwrecks - Great Lakes.

Private

Other system control no.

Related control no.

1. 1951-095 NPC
2. 1963-087 NPC
3. 1974-025 PIC
4. 1978-207 NPC
5. 1982-234 NPC