10 July 2008

LAC online exhibition on Sir John A Macdonald

There is now an online exhibition on Canada's first Prime Minister on the LAC web site. It includes much interpretative material on his life, policies, legacies, reproductions of photographs, ephemera, and more.

Researchers will like the catalogue-linked digitized versions of the first 185 volumes of LAC's collection of 593 volumes of textual records of Sir John's papers.

I checked out a part of the digitized collection that I'd seen previously. The quality of the online version of a letter to Sir John from his niece W H Sparkes in England taking him up on a promise he made regarding her son George "that I might send him to you if I did not know what to do with him"is excellent. George was found a government job, was at the bedside when Sir John died, accompanied the body to Kingston for burial, served in the Canadian forces suppressing the 1885 Northwest Rebellion, in South Africa and WW1.

At a launch event at LAC on Wednesday evening with guests Thomas Axworthy and Arthur Milnes the point was made that, compared to the founding fathers of the country to the south, Canada makes very little effort to celebrate its first Prime Minister.

The presentation and discussion were recorded and should, hopefully, appear soon as a videocast or podcast.

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