Visit this blog for regular posts about Your Archives: The Histories We Share throughout 2020. Visit the Archives of Manitoba to see the records in person.

April 2020:

April 30, 2020

Hudson's Bay House Library photograph collection subject files and "The Beaver" magazine vertical files — Submission by Dr. Karla Kit McManus, Assistant Professor of Visual Arts (Art History), Faculty of Media, Art + Performance, University of Regina

“The Beaver magazine was created in 1920 as an in-house magazine aimed at uniting the various far-flung workers of the Hudson's Bay Company who had little contact with the world beyond their outposts during most of the year. By 1938, the magazine had transformed from a glorified newsletter into an object of serious cultural significance and high print-production quality. Subtitled the ‘Magazine of the North,’ photography would become a key part of the magazine's approach to telling the story of the HBC's business interests in Canada's wilderness, where the fur trade was still a major economic engine. Many of the stories focused on the settler-colonial benevolence of the Company, and the wealth of images found in the Hudson's Bay House Library photograph collection subject files, which include over ten thousand images (including prints, contact sheets, negatives, slides, and transparencies) represent an enormous wealth of visual history about the HBC and its impact on the development of Canada in the age of photography. Of particular note is the representation of flora, fauna, and landscapes of the Arctic, which today are undergoing massive environmental changes because of global warming. The history of Canada's Indigenous peoples and their connection to the Hudson's Bay Company is also prominently recorded in these files and, between the magazine and the subject files, important work remains to be done in identifying the individuals who were photographed for the publication and whose images were often used without their permission. These files are of immense historical value not only to the province of Manitoba but are globally significant in their scope and historical importance. Manitobans should be proud to be the custodians of such a unique archive.”

The Beaver Magazine, Winter 1954. “Enter the Europeans…Among the Eskimos” by Diamond Jenesse.
"Leaving Thule for Craig Harbour" [Two Thule women aboard the "Nascopie" holding husky puppies.], photograph by Lorene Squire. 1938. Lorene Squire photographs taken for “The Beaver” magazine, Hudson’s Bay Company Archives, Archives of Manitoba, H4-125-1-1.

Want to know more?  Search Keystone for other records related to The Hudson’s Bay House Library photograph collection subject files and “The Beaver” magazine vertical files.  Learn more about the HBCA Names and Knowledge initiative.

Want to participate in Your Archives? See Submit Your Story for details. You may e-mail us at yourarchives@gov.mb.ca with a comment about this blog post and your comments may be included on this page.

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April 29, 2020

Hudson's Bay Company department store employee newsletter, “The Beaver Log” — Submission by Janis Thiessen, Professor of History, University of Winnipeg

“The Beaver Log was one of the employee newsletters of the Hudson's Bay Company department stores. These newsletters are such useful resources for learning more about business and labour history, and they are so much fun to read! My business history students have been indexing them for the Archives, and they are often taken aback by what passed for appropriate content several decades ago. The details of who is dating whom within the workforce, the ethnic/racial stereotyping, the paternalism -- they could read any number of scholarly journal articles on these aspects of Canadian business history. But turning the pages of these newsletters and being confronted by headlines like ‘Summer Brides and Happy Grooms’ or ‘What's the Matter, Girls?’ makes for a far more visceral experience.”

Hudson’s Bay Company Archives, Archives of Manitoba, “The Beaver Log” newsletter, July 1946, cover and page 9, H4-171-1-5.

Want to know more? Search Keystone for other records related to Hudson’s Bay Company staff publications.

Want to participate in Your Archives? See Submit Your Story for details. You may e-mail us at yourarchives@gov.mb.ca with a comment about this blog post and your comments may be included on this page.

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April 27, 2020

Photographs of the Hudson’s Bay Company store, Portage and Memorial — Submission by Della Beattie, Student

“I wrote a paper on the history of this building for an Art History class, using HBC Archive records. As a lifelong Winnipegger, I found it fascinating, and since the building is regularly in the news these days, also topical. It combines HBC history with Winnipeg history and contemporary issues, and is something everyone can relate to. There are many fabulous photos in your collection to illustrate this grand old building.”

photo with Hudson's Bay Company building with Legislative Building in background
Hudson’s Bay Company store at Winnipeg, Manitoba. Taken from the N.W. corner of Portage Avenue. Background, the Parliament buildings.
Hudson’s Bay Company Archives, Archives of Manitoba, Hudson’s Bay House Library photograph collection subject files, September 1928, HBCA 1987/363/W-315/97.
photo of Hudson's Bay Company in 1966
Hudson’s Bay Company store, Winnipeg
Hudson’s Bay Company Archives, Archives of Manitoba, Hudson’s Bay House Library photograph collection subject files, 1966, HBCA 1987/363-W-315/T147

Want to know more? Search Keystone for other records related to Hudson’s Bay Company, The Bay, Winnipeg (Downtown) or read the Spotlight on the Winnipeg store.

Want to participate in Your Archives? See Submit Your Story for details. You may e-mail us at yourarchives@gov.mb.ca with a comment about this blog post and your comments may be included on this page.

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April 24, 2020

Homestead files related to James Sinclair's homestead, NW22-14-22W — Submission by Sharon Simms, family history blogger

“A trip to the Manitoba Archives in Winnipeg in 2015 turned up some fascinating documents about the homestead of my great grandfather James Sinclair. In 1883, he journeyed from St. Margaret’s Hope in Orkney, Scotland to Blanshard Municipality in Western Manitoba. In 1890, James married Elizabeth Henry and made a home for her son James and their own seven children who were born between 1891 and 1900 a few miles north of Oak River, MB. During my visit to Winnipeg, I expected to find copies of forms and letters about the homestead granting process but found so much more – a story to be recorded for present and future generations!



“James Sinclair made homestead entry on the NW1/4 of 22-14-22 on October 11, 1887. The following June he started to break the land and got logs for a house and stable. On June 7, 1889, he built the two buildings and started to live there. These specific details come from a letter found at the archives from an Edward Hunter written in January of 1893. Hunter wrote this letter to Thomas Daly, Minister of the Interior in Ottawa, because of a disagreement over the Homestead Rights to this piece of land that seems to have begun with some wayward horses late in 1892.



“According to Hunter, Sinclair came upon some horses in his stacks in the fall of 1892 and put them in ‘The Pound’. Some of these animals belonged to a neighbour, John Hall Stewart who had to pay $24 in damages to Sinclair. Stewart (also the local Justice of the Peace) went on to sue Sinclair for $80 damages for impounding his stock illegally and when the suit was unsuccessful, he threatened to have the Sinclair homestead cancelled.



“The archives file about NW 22-14-22 includes several letters from both points of view including a man who swears to have plastered the Sinclair shanty in 1889 and again in 1891 and neighbours who vouch for Stewart and others for Sinclair.



“The most amazing piece found in the archives was a seven page handwritten letter from James Sinclair himself to Thomas Daly pleading his case. Seeing his beautiful handwriting and signature was beyond my wildest imaginings when planning the Archive visit!



letter, page 1 of 7
letter page 2
letter page 3
letter page 4
letter page 5
letter page 6
letter page 7
Letter from James Sinclair to T.M. Daly, 30 May 1893
Archives of Manitoba, NR 0215, Federal Department of the Interior homestead files, GR2060, Range 22W – Township 14 – Section NW22, M2850

“A final verdict is included in the file dated July 1893 to indicate Sinclair's claim was reinstated and his Homestead was again in his own name.  ‘The Homestead’ as this quarter section was always called by my family was planted and harvested by descendants for the next 116 years. Doing my own research, I was glad to discover that the two men buried the hatchet in later years. In James' obituary in 1935, John Hall Stewart was named as one of his pallbearers.



“Now the only thing this story needs is a great ending and it has just that. A great grandson of James Sinclair sold NW 22-14-22 to descendants John Hall Stewart in 2009. How's that for a twist of irony which would have been lost to history were it not for the Manitoba Archives!”


Want to know more? Search Keystone for other records related to homestead files, Rural Municipality of Blanshard, and family history.

Want to participate in Your Archives? See Submit Your Story for details. You may e-mail us at yourarchives@gov.mb.ca with a comment about this blog post and your comments may be included on this page.



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