Title and statement of responsibility area
Letter from John McCrae to Carleton Noyes, with poem, In Flanders Fields
General material designation
In Flanders Fields
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Dates of creation area
May 1916 (Creation)
- McCrae, John, 1872-1918
Physical description area
2 sheets ; 21.3 x 18.7 cm, in frame 37 x 29 cm, in wooden box 40 x 28.8 cm.
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Name of creator
Born in Guelph, Ontario, McCrae was a career soldier and practicing physician. He graduated in 1898 in medicine from the University of Toronto. Before the war, he worked at the Montreal General and the Royal Victoria Hospital, and taught at McGill University. Although McCrae was a trained physician, he joined an army fighting unit at the outbreak of the First World War. There, he experienced some of the first chemical weapons attacks during the second battle of Ypres in Belgium. In 1915, McCrae was ordered away from the artillery to set up the No. 3 Canadian General Hospital (McGill University) at Dannes-Camiers near Boulogne-sur-Mer in northern France. He died there of pneumonia on 28 January 1918.
Owned by Mrs. Carleton Noyes, class of 1904, R.V.H. Gift of May Metcalfe.
Scope and content
The item consists of a letter sent from John McCrae while on active duty to Carleton Noyes, Cambridge, MA, with an envelope postmarked 31 May 1916. Enclosed with the letter is an autographed signed copy of McCrae's poem, In Flanders Fields. The poem's first line in this copy ends with the word “grow,” a change from the published version in which the line finishes with “blow.” In his letter, McCrae modestly notes that the poem had achieved some level of notoriety.
Immediate source of acquisition
Left to the Osler Library among the literary archives of fellow physician and McGillian John Andrew Macphail.
Poem and letter are mounted in plastic frame fixed within wooden box. Only the last page of the letter is visible.
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