Newsletter Spring 2012

Canadiana Spring 2012 Newsletter

Canadian Digital Preservation Initiative

Canadiana is pleased to join the Canadian Digital Preservation Initiative (CDPI), a network of organizations committed to preserving long-term access to Canada’s digital resources. Embracing open cooperation at all levels, the CDPI aims to identify, discuss, and implement the global standards, best practices, strategies and technologies necessary for Canada’s emerging digital preservation infrastructure.


Digital Collection Management Services

The records and collections held by Canada's institutions form part of the country's enduring cultural memory. Canadian society benefits from access to its documentary heritage in many ways. These include social, scientific, economic, political and legal benefits: the documents in the Canadian corpus prove our sovereignty, define our borders, document our history, mark our social development, and celebrate our creative accomplishments.

Our Digital Collection Management Services are tailored to help governments, museums, libraries and private-sector organizations create and manage digital collections, either as virtual libraries or within larger digital repositories. These services are offered on a partnership basis as part of our mission to build digital preservation infrastructure and provide access to Canada's heritage.

Digital Collection Management Services


Spotlight on women's magazines

Early magazines and periodicals are prized by social sciences scholars as a window into all aspects of social life. As part of our project to preserve all Canadian magazines prior 1920, we have been adding key women's magazines to Early Canadian Online: The Canadian Home Journal (16 issues, 1910-18), Ladies' Pictorial Weekly (18 issues, 1892), Delineator (49 issues, 1891-1900) and Canadian Queen (14 issues, 1890-92). Historians, sociologists, and media scholars debate the extraordinarily ambiguous roles these publications played in women's lives and fortunes: on the one hand, giving voice to women writers; on the other, promoting tawdry romances and consumer goods as the normal and natural focus of women’s ambition.


Blog articles

Canadian dead at Spion Kop

Canadians at the Seat of War

On 24 January 1900 the Morning Telegram reported the death in battle of Brantford, ON native and Royal Military College graduate J. W. Osborne, an officer with the British Army's 90th Scottish Rifles. Osborne is killed leading an attack against heavily-armed Boer units at the Battle of Spion Kop. This action followed hot on the heels of the "Black Week," a set of devastating British defeats in December 1899. The first contingent of Canadian volunteers disembarked in November and would engage Boer forces in February.


Periodicals: an invaluable resource in women's history

Woman in Spring

Despite some 30 years of work by historians of both sexes and from all disciplines, the history of women has many unexplored facets, particularly in regard to the period preceding the 20th century. Periodicals from the 18th and 19th centuries represent an untapped mine of rich material that enables us to discover the history of women and that of their writings in the public arena. By providing access to periodicals, Canadiana contributes greatly to the dissemination of these sources, which are the very foundation of women’s public writing. These sources offer a renewed perspective from which to approach the literary history of women, and to discover some of the writings and views that challenge the established canon of work.


April Fool's Day


The origin of April Fool's Day has been a mystery for centuries. References do not appear in significant numbers until the eighteenth century, at which point the custom was already well-established. The tradition is mentioned as early as the fifteenth century, but even William Shakespeare, who was so fond of "fools" in his plays, says nothing about April Fool's Day. Fortunately, the 1 April 1891 edition of The Young Canadian offers a proper poetic tribute:

When the day comes we all know it. There is no day like it. It stands out by itself in the Calendar, in the Canadian Calendar as well as in others. There's the whispering the night before; then the muffled tripping of mischievous little feet in the morning; the giggling on the way down stairs, the laughter that, in spite of everything, will out; the sombre smile of mater and pater, and the choking chuckling of the urchins.


April Fool


Gardening and the Canadian immigrant experience

The history of gardening in Canada is intimately connected with the Canadian immigrant experience. Beginning with learning how to grow corn, beans and squash from the native Algonquins and Hurons, the early settlers quickly undertook to grow their essential provisions in the Canadian climate and geography. Without taking this key first step their initial few years of life in Canada would have been extremely difficult, if not impossible. As a result, everyone had to become proficient at productive gardening, using whatever means readily at hand. This formed the basis of the strong Canadian gardening tradition.


St. Patrick's Day in 19th-century sectarian Canada

The Cross, a Catholic publication of the mid-19th century, gives us this account from the Toronto Mirror of the Toronto St. Patrick's Day parade:

It was a proud sight to see Protestant and Catholic, Tory and Liberal, Repealer and Orangeman, walking side-by side in generous rivalry to honour the common land of their fathers and the common home of their hearts; and we devoutly bless the Mighty Ruler of Nations for such a sight ..


New on Early Canadiana Online

Over 130 new titles were added to Early Canadiana Online in 2011. The Marc records for these titles are available on our website.

Since February, the production team has added roughly 60,000 pages to Early Canadiana Online.

The Revue des deux Frances is a joint French and Canadian monthly launched in 1897 and mysteriously discontinued three years later, seemingly at the height of its success.

Published in Paris with editorial offices in Quebec, Montreal, and Lowell, MA (then home to a large French-Canadian immigrant community), the journal sprung from a period of renewed transatlantic francophone exchange in the 1890s and explored the literary, academic, cultural, and economic ties between France and Canada.

In March we posted a selection of rare photographs and illustrations published in the Revue to mark Otto von Bismarck's death in 1898. Steeped in bitterness from the defeat of 1870, the French journal presents Germany’s unifier as a ruthless practitioner of realpolitik, a manipulator of parties and men, an inveterate enemy of the Catholic faith and a warmonger at the expense of his neighbours—namely France.