Item 1 - Letter from John McCrae to Carleton Noyes, with poem, In Flanders Fields

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Title and statement of responsibility area

Title proper

Letter from John McCrae to Carleton Noyes, with poem, In Flanders Fields

General material designation

Parallel title

In Flanders Fields

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Reference code


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Statement of scale (cartographic)

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Issuing jurisdiction and denomination (philatelic)

Dates of creation area


  • May 1916 (Creation)
    McCrae, John, 1872-1918

Physical description area

Physical description

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


Biographical history

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.

Custodial history

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.

Notes area

Physical condition

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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Items can be requested for consultation online via the Library Catalogue or by email at Advance notice is recommended.

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With envelope.

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Physical storage

  • Folio Box: McCrae Poem