Pierre-Esprit Radisson

Pierre-Esprit Radisson

Pierre-Esprit Radisson published by The Ryerson Press, 1930

Pierre-Esprit Radisson, published by The Ryerson Press in 1930, was written by Katherine Hale for the Canadian History Readers Series. Radisson and his brother-in-law Medard des Groseillers, were adventurers, couriers du bois, and explorers and are credited with laying the groundwork for the formation of the Company of Adventurers of England trading into Hudson Bay or what would later become The Hudson’s Bay Company.

Pierre-Esprit Radisson was born in Paris, France in 1636 and came to New France with his family at the age of 16. They settled in Trois-Rivieres, a major fur-trading centre. By the time Radisson was twenty, he had spent several years living with and among the native peoples of North America. He learned their languages, their customs and their superstitions. He also learned from them of the vast tracts of land untraveled by white men.

From 1660-1666, Radisson and Groseillers explored the territories north and west of Quebec where they encountered native peoples and were intrigued by their descriptions of large rivers and open bodies of water.

Returning to Montreal Radisson found himself out of favour with the local authorities and was fined and censured for trading without consent. Out of the large fortune of furs he had returned with he was left with little to show for his expeditions.

Radisson by C.W.Jeffreys

Radisson by C.W. Jeffreys

By 1666 Radisson was in London at the height of the Great Plague but, fortunately, in the company of Prince Rupert, first cousin of Charles II. Prince Rupert was an adventurer himself and by 1668, lured by the promise of a fortune in furs, Radisson had obtained the funds to mount an expedition to Hudson Bay. With Radisson in the Eagle and Groseillers in the Nonsuch, they left for North America. The Eagle was forced to turn back due to terrible weather in the North Atlantic. Back in London, Radisson turned to writing about his adventures.

When Groseillers returned the following spring laden with rich furs, it was not difficult to garner enthusiasm for a trading company. In May 1670, The Company of Gentlemen Adventurers trading into Hudson Bay was formed, with Prince Rupert its first President.

Pierre-Esprit_Radisson

Pierre-Esprit Radisson, Wikipedia.org

The record of Radisson’s adventures is captured in part due to Samuel Pepys, renowned British diarist. Radisson’s notes from his many adventures came into the hands of Pepys whose executors sold the writings as waste paper. Fortunately, a great English collector, Rawlinson, managed to recover what he could and the papers were given to the Bodleian Library at Oxford. And in a strange twist of Canadian history the documents were rediscovered in 1885 and were first published by the Prince Society of Boston. Pierre-Esprit Radisson died in London, 1710.

The CBC produced a 39-episode series, Radisson, which first aired February 1957. Shot in and around Montreal, the St. Lawrence River and Ile Perrot, and produced in both English and French, the series portrayed the many adventures of Radisson and Groseillers. It was among the first significant television dramas produced in Canada at a cost of $26 000 per episode.

Unknown

Amelia Beers Warnock, SFU Digitized Collections

Katherine Hale was a Canadian journalist, writer and poet. She was born Amelia Beers Warnock in Galt, Ontario in 1878. She became a journalist and was literary editor of the Toronto Mail and Empire until her marriage in 1912 to John W. Garvin, an editor in his own right. Using the pseudonym Katherine Hale, she published several volumes of poetry published by the Ryerson Press including Grey Knitting and other Poems, 1914, Morning in the West; a book of verse, 1923, Isabella Valancy Crawford, poems, 1923, two books in the Canadian History Readers series Jeanne Mance, 1930, and Pierre-Esprit Radisson, 1930, as well as This is Ontario, 1937, This is Ontario (revised following WWII), 1946, The Flute and other poems, 1950, and Historic Houses of Canada, 1952. Katherine Hale died in 1955.

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Antoine de la Mothe Cadillac

Antoine de la Mothe Cadillac

Antoine de la Mothe Cadillac 1657-1730 published by The Ryerson Press in 1930

Antoine de la Mothe Cadillac 1657-1730 by Agnes Laut was published by The Ryerson Press in 1930 and belongs to the Ryerson Canadian History Readers series.

The intent of the Canadian History Readers series was to portray many of the colourful personalities and events that shaped the early history of New France and eventually North America. These included the lives of indigenous men and women, European explorers and adventurers as well as depictions of many of the institutions that were created during the 17th and 18th centuries as well as the wars that were waged and battles that were fought, won and lost.

The series is written in a narrative style with contributions from many of the prominent Canadian writers of the 1920s and ‘30s, many with illustrations by C.W. Jeffries.

De La Mothe Landing at Detroit

De La Mothe leads a landing party at the straits (detroit) of the St.Clair River. He would go on to found the city of Detroit, MI.

Lorne Pierce, editor of the Ryerson Press from 1922 to 1960, was determined to provide young readers with readable, historical references of the many characters and events that dot the pages of Canadian history. These paperback editions were usually no more than 32 pages in length and sold for ten cents. An interesting note on many covers indicate that these books were “Endorsed by the Imperial Order Daughters of the Empire and The Provincial Departments of Education.”

The Toronto Globe in an early review of the Series reads in part: “A large number of these popular little books have made their appearance…They make absorbing reading for any one wishing to get a brief insight into the romantic life surrounding the important personalities in Canadian history.”

UnknownAntoine de la Mothe Cadillac was one such adventurer. He was born in 1658 in Saint Nicholas de la Grave, France, in the province of Gascony near the Pyrenees. He was educated in law and biology at a Jesuit institution. After a short military stint, la Mothe left for New France in 1683. Historians have found no record of his name on any passenger list leaving from France. La Mothe took this opportunity to create a new identity for himself.

He landed at Port Royal, Acadia, and spent the next several years exploring the eastern seaboard as far south as the Carolinas working as a trader. In 1687 he married Marie-Therese Guyon and together they had 13 children.

In 1688, La Mothe was introduced to the governor of New France, Louis de Frontenac, who sent him on a mission to explore the coast of New England but he was forced to return to France due to bad weather. While in Paris, la Mothe was made officer of marine troops by Louis Pontchartrain. When la Mothe returned to Port Royal, he discovered that the fort had been seized by the British and his wife and family held prisoner. But by 1691, la Mothe had again returned to Quebec and continued his chart-making and in 1692 he had become a Lieutenant Commander.

In this role la Mothe held several positions including commander of Fort du Buade (now St. Ignace, MI). In 1701 he founded Fort Pontchartrain du Detroit (now the city of Detroit) and a few years later he was appointed Governor of Louisiana from 1710-1716.

UnknownThe founders of the Cadillac Motor Company adopted his name and coat of arms in 1902.

There are many towns and locations named after Antoine de la Mothe Cadillac. However, later historians citing his dubious past and years of trading in alcohol and furs branded him a “soldier of fortune” and not “one of the great early heroes.” In fact, some would go so far as to brand him “one of the worst scoundrels to set foot in New France.”*

La Mothe returned to France and after a brief stint in the Bastille, eventually cleared his name and was appointed governor and mayor of Castlesarrasin, a town in the south of France near his birthplace. Antoine de la Mothe Cadillac died October 16, 1730 at the age of 72.

Agnes Christina Laut was born in Stanley Township, Huron County, Ontario February 11, 1871. She was the daughter of John and Eliza Laut. The family moved to Manitoba when she was five. Laut was educated at University of Manitoba and began a journalistic career with the Manitoba Free Press. She travelled extensively across the continent and moved to the United States in 1900 where she resided for most of her life. Laut continued to write about Canada and many of her titles were published by The Ryerson Press including, Lords of the North, 1900, The Story of the Trapper, 1902, Pathfinders of the West, 1904, Canada The Empire of the North, 1909, Heralds of Empire, 1913, Antoine de la Mothe Cadillac 1930, John Tanner, 1930, Marquette, 1930. Agnes Laut died in Wassaic, New York in 1936.

*Yves F. Zoltvany, (University of Western Ontario), Wikipedia

 

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Duncan Campbell Scott

Duncan Campbell Scott

The Selected Poems of Duncan Campbell Scott, 1951, The Ryerson Press

The Selected Poems of Duncan Campbell Scott was published by the Ryerson Press in 1951. This edition contains a memoir of Scott by Professor E.K. Brown.*

Scott was born in Ottawa, Ontario in 1862. His father, William Scott, was an ordained Methodist minister and in the 1840s, had as his charge, ministering to the First Nations along the eastern shore of Lake Huron and Manitoulin Island.  William Scott had a lifelong interest in First Nations peoples which he strived to pass on to his son Duncan.

Duncan Campbell Scott was educated in public schools in Ottawa and attended Stanstead College. At 17 he joined the Canadian Civil Service. His father knew Sir John A. MacDonald and requested an interview for his son. Scott started in the Department of Indian Affairs and spent the next 52 years there, rising to the position of Superintendent of Indian Affairs.

Scott was a friend of Archibald Lampman who inspired Scott to become a poet. Scott is regarded as one of Canada’s major poets but he never achieved the recognition of Lampman, Sir Charles G.D. Roberts or Bliss Carman. Still, he is regarded as one of Canada’s “Confederation poets.”

His works include The magic house and other poems, 1893, Labour and the angel, 1898, New world lyrics and ballads, 1905, Via borealis, 1906, Lines in memory of Edmund Morris (unpublished), 1915, Lundy’s Lane and other poems,1916, Beauty and life, 1921, Poems, 1926 and The green cloister: Later poems, 1935. Two volumes of short stories include In The village of Viger, 1896, and The witching of Elspie, 1923.

D.C.Scott

Duncan Campbell Scott

As Superintendent in the Department of Indian Affairs, Scott travelled extensively across Canada and captured the varied landscape of the country in his work. He also reflected on his interactions with the First Nations peoples across the country. His influence in the Department of Indian Affairs resulted in the formation of the Residential School System which had as its goal “to get rid of the Indian problem.” Duncan Campbell Scott died in Ottawa in 1947. He is buried in Ottawa’s Beechwood Cemetery near his life-long friend and fellow-poet, Archibald Lampman.

A plaque, erected in 2011, served to commemorate Scott’s literary work as one of Canada’s “Confederation poets”. A new plaque, however, was erected in 2015 and, because of the work of Canada’s Truth and Reconciliation Commission, acknowledged Scott’s role as being instrumental in establishing the Residential School System.

* Edward Killoran Brown was a professor and critic. He was educated at University of Toronto and University of Paris, and he taught at University of Toronto, University of Manitoba, Cornell and University of Chicago. His most important contributions to Canadian criticism were his well-known study On Canadian Poetry (1943, rev ed 1944); his annual surveys of Canadian poetry in the University of Toronto Quarterly (1936-50); and his edition of Duncan Campbell Scott’s poems (1951).

 

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Archibald Lampman

Lampman: At the Long Sault

At the Long Sault and other poems by Archibald Lampoon, The Ryerson Press, 1943

At the Long Sault and other poems by Archibald Lampman, was published by The Ryerson Press in 1943.

If you travel the MacDonald/Cartier freeway east through the province of Quebec, you will inevitably pass through the city of Dollard des Ormeaux/Roxboro on the outskirts of Montreal. This community is named after the martyr Adam Dollard des Ormeaux who was killed at Long Sault in 1660. At the Long Sault and other poems by Archibald Lampman, one of Canada’s pre-eminent poets, commemorates this epic battle.

At the Long Sault and other poems by Archibald Lampman was edited by Professor E.K. Brown with a Foreword by Duncan Campbell Scott. It contains 26 of Lampman’s poems and sonnets. It is considered a publisher’s edition as many pages have not been trimmed. The cover illustration is by Thoreau MacDonald.

Archibald Lampman was born in the village of Morpeth, near Chatham in south-western Ontario in November 1861. He was educated at Trinity University, Toronto and obtained a post in the civil service in Ottawa upon graduation in 1883. He held this post until his death in 1899. Lampman published three volumes of poetry including Among the Millet, 1888, Lyric of Earth, 1888, and Alcyone, 1899. A collection edition was published after his death with a memoir by Duncan Campbell Scott in 1900.

At The Long Sault and other poems by Archibald Lampman is described as “The Literary Discovery of the Year” by the publisher due to the many notations and reference material consulted by Brown from Lampman’s own notebooks which were generously loaned to Brown during the editorial process. In Duncan Campbell Scott’s Foreword to the collection, he quotes himself saying, “In the Preface to the first edition of Archibald Lampman’s poems and in the Introduction to the selection Lyric of Earth, I said all that I had to say on the life and work of the poet and I thought my function as custodian and editor was accomplished; but as the poems contained in this volume will prove it was not to be….if it had not been for Professor E.K. Brown’s admiration of Lampman and his interest in his method of work many of these poems might have been lost.”

It was Brown’s scrutiny of Lampman’s notebooks which had been meticulously preserved and cared for by Lampman’s daughter who “generously and unreservedly lent them to him,” says Scott, “It is Professor Brown we must thank for discovering and deciphering many of these poems which add to the sum of the poet’s work and in several instances definitely enrich our possessions.” Lampman is considered by some as Canada’s Keats.

Archibald Lampman worked as a civil servant in the post office in Ottawa. There he met Duncan Campbell Scott. The two would often spend time camping in and around the Gatineau hills close to the city. This accounts for Lampman’s affinity with nature and became known in later life as one of Canada’s most pictorial poets. Scott credits Lampman for inspiring him to write poetry himself. This ultimately led to Scott becoming even more well-known than Lampman in the end.

The major Lampman poem featured in At the Long Sault relates the battle at Long Sault in the Ottawa river in 1660 during the Beaver Wars. Des Ormeaux, commander of the Ville Marie settlement of New France, took a band of some 16 militia men along with a group of Algonquin allies up the Ottawa River to ambush a war party of some 200 members of the Iroquois Confederacy who were preparing to attack the French settlements along the St. Lawrence. Des Ormeaux’s group was joined by a band of 40 Huron at a make-shift fort near the rapids. The battle lasted five days until another band of Iroquois, some 500 strong, who were travelling down the St. Lawrence were diverted to Long Sault to aid in the attack. By the end of the fifth day, des Ormeaux and all his men had been slain. As a result of the battle at Long Sault, the Iroquois abandoned their assault on the newly formed settlements of Ville Marie (Montreal), Quebec, and Trois Rivières and des Ormeaux was credited with having saved New France.

The poem begins,

Under the day-long sun there is life and mirth

In the working earth,

And the wonderful moon shines bright

Through the soft spring night,

The innocent flowers in the limitless woods are springing

Far and away

With the sound and the perfume of May,

The waters glitter and leap and play

While the grey hawk soars.

 

But far in an open glade of the forest set

Where the rapid plunges and roars,

In a ruined fort with a name that men forget, —

A shelterless pen

With its broken palisade,

Behind it, musket in hand

In this savage heart of the wild,

More youngsters, grown in a moment to men,

Grim and alert and arrayed,

The comrades of Daulac* stand.

Ever before them, night and day,

The rush and skulk and cry

Of foes, not men but devils, panting for prey;

Behind them the sleepless dream

Of the little frail-walled town, far away by the plunging stream,

Of maiden and matron and child,

With ruin and murder impending, and none but they

To beat back the gathering horror

Deal death while they may,

And then die.

 

And later,

 

So Daulac turned him anew

With a ringing cry to his men

In the little raging forest glen,

And his terrible sword in the twilight whistled and slew.

And all his comrades stood

With their backs to the pales, and fought

Till their strength was done;

The thews that were only mortal flagged and broke

Each struck his last wild stroke,

And they fell one by one,

And the world that seemed so good

Passed like a dream and was naught.

 

*Adam Dollard des Ormeaux

ArchibaldLampman23 copy

Archibald Lampman

Archibald Lampman died at the age of 37. A commemorative plaque at Morpeth reads as follows: Archibald Lampman 1861-1899 Born in Morpeth, Upper Canada, Lampman spent most of his short adult life unhappily working as a clerk in the Post Office Department in Ottawa, for poetry was his true vocation. One of the “sixties group” which wrote Canada’s first noteworthy English verse, his work shows the influence of English writers, particularly Keats and Arnold, and of American nineteenth-century literature. Author of many poems describing Ottawa’s rural environs, he complemented his interest in Nature by commenting poetically on the dehumanizing effects of a mechanized capitalist society. He died at Ottawa.

Long Sault is now the municipality of Saint-André-d’Argenteuil. This portion of the Ottawa River was flooded in 1959 to raise the water levels, thereby covering the rapids, and is now a National Historic Site of Canada.

 

 

 

 

 

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Selected Poems of Dorothy Livesay (1926-1957)

Dorothy Livesay

Selected Poems (1926-1956) published by the Ryerson Press, 1957

Selected Poems of Dorothy Livesay (1926-1956) was published by the Ryerson Press in 1957. It features an introduction by literary critic Desmond Pacey and was published as part of the Ryerson Library of Canadian Poets series.

Dorothy Livesay (1909-1971) was born in Winnipeg to Florence and John Frederick Bligh Livesay. Her mother, Florence Livesay (1874-1953) was a journalist and author first in Ottawa and then in Winnipeg. She was the author of a volume of verse, Shepherd’s Purse, published in 1923 and a work of fiction titled Savour of Salt (1927). Her father, J.F.B. Livesay (1875-1944), was born on the Isle of Wight and came to Canada in 1895 to become a journalist. He served as a war correspondent for the Canadian Press in 1918 and was General Manager of the Canadian Press from 1920-1940. He was the author of Canada’s Hundred Days and Peggy’s Cove: an integral portrait of Peggy’s Cove, it’s people and their significance. Following his death in 1944, his autobiography was edited by Florence Livesay and published under the title The Making of a Canadian: Builder and Architect of the Canadian Press in 1947. *

Peggys Cove

Peggy’s Cove, Ryerson Press, 1944

Making of a Canadian

The Making of a Canadian, Ryerson Press, 1947

Newspaperman and poet Charles Bruce (1906-1971) wrote of J.F.B. Livesay, “Few Canadians of his generation have rendered more notable and enduring service to their country… He was the organizing hand that charted the plan on which the Canadian Press was fashioned. His skill and tact guided it through the earliest and most difficult years. His amazing knowledge of the relative values of the various news agencies in Europe and America, his familiarity with every important channel of internal communication, and his balanced sense of the regional interests of every section of Canada, enabled him to obtain and correlate with The Canadian Press a network of world embracing news agencies which, in the aggregate, are today giving people of Canada a news service unsurpassed in any of the other countries in the world. Such is the heritage he left his fellow Canadians. How many of his contemporaries did more for their country?”

Desmond Pacey, in his introduction to Selected Poems (1926-1956) says of Livesay, “Dorothy Livesay is one of the most important poets of her Canadian generation – of that generation which came to maturity between the two World Wars.” Encouraged by her parents, she was fortunate to have a well-stocked library from which to choose the works of some of the best English, American as well French and Russian writers of the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. In 1920, the Livesays moved to Ontario and spent summers on the Benares estate near Clarkson, rumoured to be the inspiration of Whiteoaks of Jalna by Mazo de la Roche. Livesay attended high school in Toronto and in 1927 entered Trinity College as an honours student in Modern Languages majoring in French and Italian. The University of Toronto was an inspiring environment for an aspiring young writer—E.J. Pratt, Robert Finch, L.A. Mackay were lecturers along with faculty members Pelham Edgar, Herbert Davis, Felix Walter, J.S. Will and E.K. Brown.

After winning the Jardine Memorial Prize for Poetry in her first year at Trinity College, Hugh Ayres of The Macmillan Company published a sixteen-page chapbook entitled Green Pitcher in 1928. Livesay was only 19.

From the Selected Poems of Dorothy Livesay (1926-1956)

REALITY

ENCASED in the hard, bright shell of my dreams

How sudden now to wake

And find the night still passing overhead,

The wind still crying in the naked trees,

Myself alone, within a narrow bed.

 

SUCH SILENCE

SOME silence that is with beauty swept

With beauty swept all clean:

Some silence that is by summer kept,

By summer kept all green…

 

Give me such silence in a little wood

Where grass and quiet sun

Shall make no sound where I have run

Nor where my feet have stood.

 

FIRE AND REASON

I CANNOT shut out the night –

Nor its sharp clarity.

The many blinds we draw.

You and I,

The many fires we light

Can never quite obliterate

The irony of stars,

The deliberate moon,

The last, unsolved finality

Of night

 

Livesay travelled to France in the early 1930s where she studied at the Sorbonne. She was impressed by the bohemian life style of the Left Bank and the sentiments and demonstrations against unemployment, war and the social revolutionary movements. She returned to Toronto and became involved in radical political groups. She worked for a time in the Family Welfare Agency in Montreal where she saw firsthand the impact of mass unemployment. Two poems for which she is well-known are The Outrider and Day and Night. The latter was selected by E.J Pratt in the Canadian Poetry Magazine in 1938 and caused a sensation as it was considered revolutionary poetry. When it was published in book form, it won the Governor-General’s Award in 1944. Livesay won the Lorne Pierce Medal by the Royal Society of Canada in 1947. In 1950 Livesay published Call My People Home, a documentary Poem for Radio which was broadcast over the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation network in August 1949.

Desmond Pacey, describes Dorothy Livesay’s poetry as a “fascinating combination of innocence and experience, of hope and fear, of faith and doubt….In a world which often seems in imminent danger of disintegration she lyrically proclaims the values of love, joy and art which are at once the justification and the salvation of the world.”

Dorothy Livesay died in 1971.

 

*Canada’s Who’s Who

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G. Raymond Chang Award

Chang Award - Clive and PresidentThe inaugural G. Raymond Chang Outstanding Volunteer Awards Night was held on Tuesday, June 20, 2017 at Ryerson University. The award celebrates the exemplary generosity and contribution of alumni and friends to Ryerson University. The awards are named in honour of the late G. Raymond Chang, former chancellor of Ryerson University, for his deep belief in the importance of volunteering.

Since retiring from McGraw-Hill Ryerson in 2011, Clive Powell has been immersed in the Ryerson Press collection, which was acquired by the publisher when it purchased the Ryerson Press in 1970. For more than six years he has been documenting the collection of almost 3,000 book titles and more than 2,000 related archival materials, conducting extensive research, producing a video and writing a blog about various aspects of the collection. His search for an appropriate home for the collection in order to preserve its rich Canadian cultural legacy led to its donation to the Special Collections unit of Ryerson University Library and Archives.

The award was presented by Mohamed Lachemi, President and Vice-Chancellor, Ryerson University.

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Canadian Wild Flowers

Can Wild Flowers Cover

Canadian Wild Flowers, Catherine Parr Traill, published by William Briggs, 1895

Canadian Wild Flowers, written by Catherine Parr Traill and illustrated by Agnes FitzGibbon, was a publication of William Briggs in 1895. Canadian Wild Flowers can be considered Canada’s first 4-colour, illustrated coffeetable book.

The four editions of Canadian Wild Flowers date back to 1868, 1869, 1870 and 1895. A note attached to the front of the fourth, 1895 edition from the desk of C.H. Dickinson, General Manager of The Ryerson Press, reads as follows: “Original Book — Bound in the Methodist Book and Publishing House in the year 1895 in light blue C M Pattern Extra Cloth. Cover – bevelled edges, stamped in gold leaf and blinded as this book – tripple* rules on outside edges with special circular stamp in centre in gold on page one of cover, the same stamping on the back cover – gilt edges, blue and gold lines with flowers, end papers.”

Canadian Wild Flower 4th Ed letter

*Notes from C.H. Dickinson on the 1895 edition. Note the word “tripple” spelled with two “p’s”

Catherine Parr Traill was born in England in 1802. She, and her sister Susanna Moodie, were two of four Strickland sisters who pursued literary interests. Catherine Parr Strickland had married Thomas Traill in 1832 and emigrated to Canada that same year to join her sister. She settled near the Otonabee River, near what is now Lakefield, Ontario.

In her preface to the 1868 edition, Ms. Traill presents a few words of introduction to her many “subscribers” to the work. She claims that any “shortcomings that may be noticed by our friends must be excused on the score of the work being wholly Canadian in its execution…Our Canadian publishers can hardly be expected to compete with the booksellers and printers of the Old Country, or of the United States, labouring as they must necessarily do in a new country under many mechanical disadvantages.”

IMG_0889

The title page of the 1895 edition shows the original copyright page, 1869

In her introduction to the fourth edition, Ms. Agnes Chamberlin, formerly Mrs. Agnes FitzGibbon, daughter of Susanna Moodie and niece of Catherine Parr Traill, provides a fascinating history of the publication of the book.

She records that: “In 1863, my aunt, Mrs. Traill, whose work on the Canadian flora (Studies of Plant Life in Canada (1885)) is well known, brought the manuscript of that work to Toronto, in the hope of finding a publisher willing to undertake it. She was unsuccessful, principally because of there being no illustrations. A kind friend, the Rev. Mr. Clementi, who had sketched some of our native flowers, offered her the use of his drawings if she could find someone to copy them.

 “I had never painted a flower, but the attempt to copy these drawings led to the discovery that I could sketch more accurately from Nature; and although Mrs. Traill’s book was not then published, I continued to make drawings of all the wild flowers I gathered, with the assistance of friends, on the Humber plains and in the woods about my house on the Dundas Road.

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Widowed with six children in 1865, Agnes FitzGibbon turned first to teaching to provide for her children. Later, she decided to try her hand at illustrating and publishing her aunt’s book. FitzGibbon managed to secure five hundred subscribers in an attempt to defray the initial costs of publication. Having guaranteed her patrons that the book would be entirely published in Canada, she set about finding the means of producing the book entirely by Canadian suppliers. A limited edition of 500 copies was printed by Messrs. Chewett & Co. Once printed, Ms. FitzGibbon along with “the help of one or two young friends, coloured the whole edition by hand.

The book was first published by John Lovell of Montreal in 1868 and a second edition in 1869. A third edition came out a year later. In 1870, Agnes FitzGibbon married Colonel Chamberlin and some years later began to revive the publication of a fourth edition through her Toronto publisher, William Briggs. Of the fourth edition, she says: “The work has many faults, of which no one is more conscious than myself, but both in drawing and colouring, the flowers are accurate representations of those gathered by myself and friends, and the book should be interesting as the first attempt in Canada to produce a work of this kind, and by an amateur who had never seen a lithographic stone till she commenced the work.”

Many of Agnes Chamberlin’s original drawings are contained in The Agnes Chamberlin Digital Collection in the Fisher Library at the University of Toronto.

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