Sir Wilfrid Laurier fonds [textual record (some microform), graphic material]
Record Information – Brief1
Sir Wilfrid Laurier fonds [textual record (some microform), graphic material]
- Hierarchical level:
- R10811-0-X-E, MG26-G
- Type of material:
- Textual material, Photographs
- Found in:
- Archives / Collections and Fonds
- Item ID number:
- Context of this record:
Record Information – Details
- Fonds includes:
15 lower level description(s)View lower level description(s)
- Bilingual equivalent:
- Click here
- Place of creation:
- No place, unknown, or undetermined
62.82 m of textual records.
4 microfilm reels.
146 photographs : b&w.
38 medallic objects : bronze and silver.
- Language of material:
- Added language of material:
- English, French
- Scope and content:
The Wilfrid Laurier fonds documents his political career and includes correspondence, notes and memoranda, printed matter and addresses. There are also personal papers concerning finances, and family papers concerning Laurier's grandfather Charles, his father Carolus, his wife Zoé Lafontaine and his nephews. Additional papers include documents from Laurier's secretary Yvonne Coutu, documents concerning the Centenary of Laurier's birth at St-Lin, a letter from Lord Aberdeen, 1896-1897 and a letter from Lady Aberdeen, 1898.
Photographic series consist of depictions of Sir Wilfrid and Lady Laurier as well as other prominent individuals during Laurier's time as well as depictions of Laurier's house in Arthabaska, Quebec, monuments, official visits to various cities and Laurier's funeral cortege.
Medallic series consists of medallic items awarded to or acquired by Sir Wilfrid Laurier during his political career, mostly received while Prime Minister of Canada.
- Additional name(s):
- Biography/Administrative history:
Laurier, Wilfrid, Sir, 1841-1919 : First Francophone Prime Minister of Canada (1896-1911) Henry-Charles-Wilfrid Laurier was born in Saint-Lin, Canada East (Saint-Lin-Laurentides, Quebec) on 20 November 1841. He attended English and French schools, studied law at McGill University, and practiced in Montreal and Arthabaska, Quebec. As a young man, Laurier belonged to the radical Parti rouge, joined l'Institut canadien and edited the newspaper 'Le Défricheur'. He held local offices and was elected to the Legislative Assembly of the Province of Quebec for the riding of Drummond-Arthabaska in 1871, after which he co-founded the moderate Parti national. Laurier was elected to parliament as a Liberal in 1874 for the riding of Drummond-Arthabaska. Prime Minister Alexander Mackenzie appointed him minister of inland revenue in 1877. He lost the customary by-election for new ministers, but was soon returned in the riding of Quebec East, which he represented until this death. Laurier served as secretary to party leader Edward Blake from 1878 until succeeding him in 1887. After losing the 1891 general election, Laurier consolidated his leadership and public profile through a national party convention and speaking tour. Laurier served as prime minister from 1896 to 1911. During these fifteen years, he oversaw Canada's westward expansion by creating the Yukon Territory in 1898, the provinces of Saskatchewan and Alberta in 1905, resolving the Alaskan boundary, building new transcontinental railways and encouraging immigration from Europe. He promoted urbanisation, industrialisation, tariff reform, provincial autonomy and linguistic and cultural dualism between the French and English communities. Though an Anglophile, Laurier increased Canada's autonomy from Britain. He sent a military force to the South African War in 1899 and founded Canada's navy two years later. Laurier supported Canada's participation in the First World War, but opposed conscription. His refusal to join the Union Government in 1917 split the party and left him at the head of a small rump of 'Laurier Liberals' until his death. Laurier was knighted in 1897. He married Zoé Lafontaine in 1868. He died of a stroke at Ottawa on 17 February 1919 and was buried at Ottawa's Notre Dame Cemetery. Laurier consolidated and expanded the federal government's systematically racist relationship with Indigenous Peoples through colonial policies and actions. The government's sweeping, unilateral powers to erase and assimilate Indigenous Peoples caused tremendous ongoing trauma, displacement, disenfranchisement and exclusion. Laurier used the federal government's armed suppression of the Métis Nation's resistance in 1869 and 1885, the hanging of Louis Riel and ongoing violence against the Métis as a pretext to attack Sir John A. Macdonald's contempt for French language rights. The attacks heightened Laurier's national profile and galvanised French-Canadian support for the Liberal Party. As Prime Minister, Laurier continued implementing Macdonald's policies that extinguished Métis land title through the Scrip System and fraud. To secure western land for settlers, Laurier negotiated treaties 8, 9 and 10 with First Nations. The treaties forced First Nations onto reserves, deprived them of rights to natural resources, restricted their rights to buy and sell land, control funds, hunt, fish and farm. The treaties codified the government's desire to erase Indigenous Peoples' language and culture in Residential Schools, and through unilateral powers to ban traditional practices. Laurier's 1898 Elections Act deprived Indigenous Peoples of the right to vote in federal elections. Laurier opened Canada to new immigrant groups, like the Eastern Europeans who settled on the prairies. At the same time, he enacted legislation that systemically excluded other immigrants based on race. The Chinese Immigration Act of 1900 doubled the existing Head Tax on people arriving from China. The tax was increased again in 1903. Five years later, Canada signed an agreement with Japan to severely limit immigration from that country, and moved to ban black immigrants under a 1911 Order-in-Council. More generally, Laurier's amendments to the Immigration Act in 1906, 1908 and 1910 prohibited many categories of immigrants, gave the government arbitrary deportation powers, and racially targeted immigrants of Asiatic origin with financial and travel restrictions. The damage done by Laurier's policies and actions has been acknowledged in recent years. Courts, including the Supreme Court of Canada, have ruled that Canada did not provide the Métis Nation with promised land rights, and that the government failed to incorporate negotiated items into treaties 8, 9 and 10. The federal government has subsequently reached settlements with some of the First Nations that signed the treaties. The Government of Canada has officially apologised for actions taken by Laurier's government. The Prime Minister at the time apologised for the Head Tax on Chinese immigrants in 2006, Indian Residential Schools in 2008 and 2017, and for the Komogata Maru incident in 2016, which reflected Laurier's 1908 Immigration Act.
- Finding aid:
Textual records (Paper) Finding Aid No. 0091 has five parts. The first part contains a box/file list for all 1036 volumes of the papers. It also includes a microfilm conversion list and an item listing for the correspondence in Volumes 814A and 814B. The second part is an author index which contains references to more than 15,000 names for the first 757 volumes and volumes 791A to 791M. This index identifies the author, subject, date and page number of each letter. The author index is available on microfilm (reels C-1606 to C-1608) and on the Prime Ministers CD-Rom. The third part is a subject index for the same volumes which gives only the most significant subjects and page numbers. The subject index is available on microfilm reel C-1158. The fourth part is a chronological guide for volumes 1-757, 791A-791M, available on microfilm reels C-15740 to C-15748. This index gives the date, author, subject and page numbers for each letter. The fifth part consists of annual and alphabetical lists of correspondents from the series related to Patronage (volumes 833-1006). MSS0091 (90: Open)Textual records (Electronic) The electronic copy of the finding aid starts at volume 813. MSS0091 (90: Open)
http://data2.archives.ca/pdf/pdf001/p000000023.pdf(Electronic) All or some of the documents described have been digitized and are available at the following address: (90: Open)
http://heritage.canadiana.ca/view/oocihm.lac_mikan_98120Textual records (Microform) Microfiches : 39 fiches (2 copies) MSS0091 (90: Open)
- Additional information:
- Custodial history:
The greater part of Laurier's papers (volumes 1-806, 833-1006, 1008-1023 and microfilm reels C-371 to C-373) was acquired before 1951. In 1925, Laurier's nephew, Robert Laurier, deposited in the Public Archives of Canada the Laurier Papers in his possession. In 1938, these papers were officially acquired. A portion of the papers, however, had been left with O.D. Skelton for his use while he was preparing the biography "The Life and Letters of Sir Wilfrid Laurier" (1921)., These remained in the possession of the Skelton family and were placed in the Library of Queen's University. In 1951, they were transferred to the Archives through the co-operation of Mrs. Skelton and Queen's University. In 1961, letters damaged by water (pages 224326-226974) were arranged in chronological order and were microfilmed (C-371 to C-373) after which the originals were destroyed., In 1973, volumes 791A-791M were made from prints of these microfilms and volumes 1-791 were microfilmed and photocopied for consultation. Since 1954, documents from various sources have been acquired. Family papers were acquired in 1954-1958 (volumes 807-812). Family papers were acquired from Henri Laurier in 1967 (volume 813) and in 1971 (volumes 814A and 814B). Photocopies of volumes 814A and 814B were made for consultation., Clippings, scrapbooks and addresses were transferred from Laurier House in 1967 (volumes 815-826) and in 1976 (volume 1024). In 1967-1973, photocopies from originals held by the Laurier Museum, Arthabaska, Quebec were acquired (volumes 827-831). Three letters from Edward Blake to Laurier were transferred from the F.H. Underhill Papers in 1973 (volume 832). Miscellaneous documents were acquired from 1973 to 1984 (volume 832 and volume 1007, files 1-11)., Documents were transferred to the Archives through Queen's University from the Robert Nixon Papers in 1988 (volume 1007, files 12-25)., There are two gaps in the Laurier papers. There are almost no copies of letters written by Laurier until 1898, when typed carbon copies began to be retained. It seems probable that copies of the earlier letters were in letterbooks that have since disappeared., Copies of letters sent, December 1877 to July 1878, have been found (volume 831). Laurier's Leader of the Opposition Office in the Parliament Buildings was destroyed by the fire of February 1916, with the loss of nearly all Laurier's papers for the years 1912-1915., Additional material was donated in 1995 by Gordon V. Tunnoch (vol. 832)
- Location of originals note:
- Original photograph held by Pierre Brunet, Ottawa, Ontario.
- Exhibitions note:
Exhibition Title: Les Lettres D'Amour. Musée de la civilisation, Quebec, Quebec; 1989.02.06 - 1989.03.12
(MG 26-G Vol. 814a & 814 b - Letters from Wilfred Laurier to his Wife Zoe - July 06, 1867 - October 02, 1867 - February 28, 1868 - May 13, 1868 & March 02, 1879), Exhibition Title: Le Sport, L'Olympisme. Musée de la civilisation, Quebec, Quebec; 1990.05.02-1990.10.02. (MG 26 G vol. 356 - Letter from Baron Pierre de Coubertin addressed to Wilfrid Laurier June 1905 - 4 pages)
- Subject heading:
- Prime ministers - Canada - Spouses, 1899-1921 Lord Aberdeen, 1896-1897
- Prime ministers - Canada - Family, 1800-1930, 1847-1858 Lady Aberdeen, 1898
- Prime ministers - Canada - Finance, Personal
- Prime ministers - Canada - Death, 1919 Canada. Prime Minister (Laurier : 1896-1911)
- Prime ministers - Canada - Correspondence, 1871-1911, 1872-1878 Liberal Party of Canada, 1887
- Prime ministers - Canada - Staff, 1891-1941 Lord Grey, 1904-1911
- Imperial Conference, 1907 Melvina Laurier, 1847-1858
- Imperial Conference (London, England), 1911 Charles Laurier, 1800-1844
- Colonial Conference, 1897 Yvonne Coutu, 1891-1941
- Governors general - Canada - Correspondence, 1887
- North West Autonomy, 1901-1905
- Autonomy, 1901-1905
- Political parties - Canada, 1887
- Colonial Conference, 1907
- Colonial Conference, 1911
- Campaign Literature
- Canada - Foreign relations
- Politicians Canada
- Canada 1896-1911
- Former archival reference no.:
Ordering and Viewing Options
- Conditions of access:
The original documents in Volumes 1 through 791M have been withdrawn from circulation. The material is available on 205 reels of microfilm. Photocopies (copyflo) have also been prepared from the microfilm. Researchers are requested to use either the microfilm or the photocopies.
Photographic accession no. 1960-075: Material is closed. the National Archives of canada does not provide copies; copies must be obtained from the holder of the originals. Copyright expired. Credit: name of photograph / National Archives of Canada / copy negative number.
All other photographs: No restrictions on use. Copyright expired. Credit: name of photographer / National Archives of Canada / copy negative number.
Medallic items: No restrictions on use. Copyright expired. Credit: National Archives of Canada.
You can order materials in advance to be ready for you when you visit. You will need a user card to do this.
Cannot visit us on site? You can purchase a copy to be sent to you. Some restrictions may apply.
- Date modified: