Rare First World War Government Publications

Press publicity for Canada’s Victory Loan, 1918 and Plan and organization of press publicity for Canada’s victory loan, 1919 are two of the thousands of rare primary source materials, borrowed and digitized from Library and Archives Canada, which form the Government Publications collection on Early Canadiana Online.

These books trace the federal government's unprecedented attempts to organize an advertising and propaganda campaign in 1918-9, with newspaper and magazine ads inciting Canadians to invest as much as possible in the war effort. Forced by the saturation of British money markets to find new sources of capital at home and abroad, the federal government preached an ethic of self-denial and thrift and promoted a series of annual domestic loans whose enrollment reached 88% of Canadians in 1918. These "Victory Loans" raised capital to meet war expenditures but also to prop up Canada’s export market by advancing the funds required by Allied countries to purchase Canadian raw materials.

Alongside this nationwide advertising campaign were a set of directives to encourage newspaper and magazine editors to write positively and prominently about the Victory Loan initiative in their editorials and news stories, a striking early example of state control and mass persuasion in Canada.


Nominal rolls

Canada had only 3,100 under arms in 1914, few countries having entered a major war with less preparation. The creation of a Canadian contingent depended on an influx of volunteers drawn from the much larger Canadian militia, whose structure and organization is detailed in the Quarterly Militia List of the Dominion of Canada (1899-1917).

In addition, each unit of the Canadian Expeditionary Force published a Nominal Roll of Officers, Non-commissioned Officers and Men, listing the names, ranks, countries of birth, and dates and places of enlistment of each member of the unit, as well as next of kin with address. These records are being acquired, preserved, and released on Early Canadiana Online. Below are the commanding officers of Lord Strathcona’s Royal Horse, raised for service in the Boer War (1899-1902) and possibly the most famous Canadian regiment at the time.

Select titles

No. 3 General Hospital: Nominal Roll of Officers, Nursing Sisters, Non-Commissioned Officers and Men (Ottawa, 1915) New!
Lord Strathcona's Horse ("Royal Canadians"): Nominal Roll of Officers, Non-Commissioned Officers and Men (Ottawa, 1915) New!


Library and Archives Canada

These rare and nationally-significant titles are held in the Special Collections at Library and Archives Canada (LAC), a treasure trove of Canadian printed heritage. Canadiana.org is grateful for LAC’s longstanding efforts to preserve this material and generosity in sharing it for research, teaching, and public use.