Subseries 1 - Correspondence

Title and statement of responsibility area

Title proper

Correspondence

General material designation

Parallel title

Other title information

Title statements of responsibility

Title notes

  • Source of title proper: Title based on content of subseries

Level of description

Subseries

Reference code

CA MUA MG 1022-2-1

Edition area

Edition statement

Edition statement of responsibility

Class of material specific details area

Statement of scale (cartographic)

Statement of projection (cartographic)

Statement of coordinates (cartographic)

Statement of scale (architectural)

Issuing jurisdiction and denomination (philatelic)

Dates of creation area

Date(s)

  • 1837-1899 (Creation)

Physical description area

Physical description

3.2 m of textual records

Publisher's series area

Title proper of publisher's series

Parallel titles of publisher's series

Other title information of publisher's series

Statement of responsibility relating to publisher's series

Numbering within publisher's series

Note on publisher's series

Archival description area

Name of creator

Custodial history

Scope and content

Subseries consists of Sir William Dawson's letters from a range of correspondents including family members, scientific and university colleagues, business and tradespeople, and friends and acquaintances. Of the 3.2 m of Dawson's general correspondence (c.1-c.19) covering the years 1837-1899, about 5,000 letters are on scientific subjects. With the passage of time, and particularly from the late 1870s onwards, the character of the correspondence becomes less substantially scientific, and more administrative, institutional and formal; at the same time, there is a marked shift towards North American correspondents. Perennial topics are geological exploration, the exchange of mineral specimens, and research or theoretical problems, but these are eventually outweighed by the business of learned societies, government science policy, demands for Dawson to lecture or write, and reactions to his publications. In the 1880s, the Darwin and Eozoon controversies are especially prominent. In 1891, there is correspondence relating to the meeting in Montréal of the Royal Society of Canada. Dawson's correspondents include academics, officials of learned societies, and a number of prominent researchers. There are substantial numbers of letters from Sir Charles Lyell, J.J. Bigsby, Sir William Logan, Spencer Baird, James D. Dana, David Penhallow and J.S. Newberry. Drafts of some of Dawson's outgoing correspondence are included. Dawson's correspondence also contains some items, largely from the Nova Scotia years, on his involvement with church affairs, missions and tract societies. Some clergy, such as the Rector of Little Metis, where Dawson kept a summer house, are amongst his regular correspondents. In later years there are inquiries from the general public on matters of science and faith, and the occasional letter from a religious eccentric. Some items amongst his general correspondence also relate to his education career as the Superintendent of Education in Nova Scotia, as well as to his applications to the University of Edinburgh; most, however, stem from his years as Principal of McGill. These letters discuss educational legislation and the activities of the Protestant Committee of the Council of Public Instruction, consult on points of information and policy with other universities and inquire about McGill's programmes. Noteworthy are the draft letters to Chancellor James Ferrier on the administration of McGill during Dawson's absence in Europe and the Near East (1883-1884), and an exchange of letters with Daniel Wilson of the University of Toronto on the question of co-education. Dawson's 30 cm of family correspondence include letters from Margaret Mercer Dawson, 1842-1845 and later; his son, George Mercer Dawson, on geological and personal matters; and other family members, ca 1869-1899 (c.48-c.49). Finally, his financial affairs are illustrated by letters amongst his general correspondence concerning his mining interests in Nova Scotia, particularly with his agent Howard Primrose and his partner E.A. Prentice. The numerous invoices and receipts are largely for domestic expenses, but include the subscriptions for his lectures to the Natural History Society of Pictou (1849), and bills for the printing and distribution of Dawson's publications.

Notes area

Physical condition

Immediate source of acquisition

Arrangement

Language of material

Script of material

Location of originals

Availability of other formats

Restrictions on access

Terms governing use, reproduction, and publication

Finding aids

Associated materials

Related materials

Accruals

Alternative identifier(s)

Standard number area

Standard number

Access points

Subject access points

Place access points

Name access points

Genre access points

Control area

Description record identifier

Institution identifier

Rules or conventions

Status

Level of detail

Dates of creation, revision and deletion

Language of description

Script of description

Sources

Accession area

Related subjects

Related people and organizations

Related places

Related genres