Fonds 2000-026 - Catharine Parr Traill fonds

Title and statement of responsibility area

Title proper

Catharine Parr Traill fonds

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    Reference code

    CA ON00226 2000-026

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    Statement of scale (cartographic)

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    Issuing jurisdiction and denomination (philatelic)

    Dates of creation area


    • 1891 (Creation)

    Physical description area

    Physical description

    1 album (ca. 51 pages of specimens)

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    Name of creator

    Biographical history

    Catharine Parr Traill was born in Kent near London, England on January 9, 1802 as Catharine Parr Strickland. She was the fifth child of Thomas and Elizabeth Strickland. She was sister to Eliza, Jane Margaret, Susanna (later Susanna Moodie), Samuel and Agnes. In 1832 she married Lt. Thomas Traill. She emigrated with her husband to Upper Canada when the opportunity provided itself and they settled near the Otonabee River near Peterborough, Upper Canada. Together they had nine children. Catharine wrote a number of works on pioneer life in Upper Canada such as "The Backwoods of Canada" (1834), "Canadian Crusoes" (1853), "The Female Emigrants Guide" (1854), "Canadian Wild Flowers" (1868) and "Studies of Plant Life in Canada" (1885). She also kept a journal and in it she wrote down ideas and sketches for future writings. "The Old Doctor" (1985) was probably written between 1835 and 1840 when John Hutchinson, a native of Kirkcaldy, Scotland, was practising medicine in Peterborough, Upper Canada. Before emigrating Catharine had published a number of childrens books and stories in England. Catharine Parr Traill died on August 29, 1899. (Taken from: "Forest and Other Gleanings." Ottawa, University of Ottawa Press, 1994.)

    Custodial history

    The album was created by Catharine Parr Traill for her son, William, in 1891. The inside cover contains a handwritten note bordered with fern branches, that reads: "With your mothers affectionate love to Dear Willie Traill Lakefield / Duoro [sic] 1891/ Ferns Flowers and Mosses from Duoro Woods of Stony [sic] Lake". This album has always remained in the Traill family. After William Traill's death, it was acquired by his grandson, Thomas Rennie McCloy. In 1996, Mr McCloy died and the album was acquired by the donor (Mr McCloy's niece), who then offered it to the City Archives in December 1998. In December 1999 this album was certified as Canadian cultural property of "outstanding significance and national importance" by the Cultural Property Review Board, Department of Canadian Heritage, Ottawa.

    Scope and content

    Fonds consists of an original album (or herbarium) with a leather cover, containing 51 pages of mounted ferns, grasses, moss and flower specimens, collected from the Douro township and Stoney Lake area in 1891, by Canadian botanist and author, Catharine Parr Traill. Each specimen has a hand-written note identifying it. Some also contain additional notes recording where it was collected, date collected and other characteristics. It is extraordinarily rare to find an intact Traill album containing as many as 50 or more pages of mounted specimens.

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    Physical condition

    Immediate source of acquisition


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        Location of originals

        Availability of other formats

        Restrictions on access

        Some preservation restrictions apply.

        Terms governing use, reproduction, and publication

        Finding aids

        An inventory of plant specimens is available in the City Archives.

        Associated materials

        See also the PCMA Museum collection for a maple flower press once owned by Catharine Parr Traill. The Museum also holds a writing desk, clothing and other material owned by Traill and other members of her family.

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        Accruals are not expected.

        General note

        The album will remain intact with interleaves of acid free tissue.

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