Fonds MG4240 - J.W. McConnell Fonds

Title and statement of responsibility area

Title proper

J.W. McConnell Fonds

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  • Source of title proper: Fonds title and file titles are derived from the content of the Fonds.

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  • [between 1898 and 1979?] (Creation)
    McConnell, J. W. (John Wilson), 1877-1963

Physical description area

Physical description

13.6 m of textual records.
216 photographs.
7 moving images.

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Archival description area

Name of creator


Biographical history

John Wilson McConnell was born in Muskoka, Ontario 01 July 1877 to John McConnell and Margaret Anne (née Wilson) McConnell, both immigrants to Canada of Ulster-Scots origin. McConnell spent his childhood and early teenage years helping on the family farm until around 1891; at which point he moved to Toronto to join an older sister already living in that growing city. The remainder of McConnell’s siblings and his parents soon followed to Toronto around 1894. John Wilson McConnell died November 6, 1963 after a lengthy battle with leukaemia.

Custodial history

The records contained within this fonds were obtained from several sources over the course of ten years. All of the records were collected by Dr. William Fong, biographer of J.W. McConnell and Mr. Nicolas McConnell, great-grandson of McConnell. Records were sought and taken from McConnell family members as well as from the holdings of the J.W. McConnell Family Foundation and records stored at the McConnell home on Pine Avenue. All of the records in the Fonds were directly deposited into the McGill University Archives by Dr. Fong and Mr. McConnell. The business records in the Business and Professional Commitments series are scattered and not complete in terms of McConnell’s full activities. This is because McConnell periodically destroyed or had destroyed his various business records.

Please note that many pieces of correspondence, journals, scrapbooks and address books contain notes in pen or pencil not original to that item. These notes were written by Dr. Fong while the records were in his possession prior to 2004. The notes do not necessarily reflect the complete contextual information of the item.

Scope and content

This fonds contains records and supplementary material covering all three major aspects of the life of John Wilson McConnell: business and finance, social and philanthropic commitments, and family life. The records covering these subjects stem mainly from ca1898 to the time of McConnell’s death in 1963. Additional financial records exist past this date into the early 1970s due to the trusts administered by McConnell’s legacies. The nature of the records is reflected in the following series: 1) Correspondence; 2) Scrapbooks, Journals and Address books; 3) Personal and Family records; 4) Philanthropy; 5) High society; and 6) Business Commitments. The records in Series 4 and 5 are further subdivided into subseries: Philanthropy and Fundraising (Hospitals and Health Care; Higher Education; War Efforts); Business Commitments (Promotion; Commercial Trust Co.; Montreal Star; St. Lawrence Sugar Refineries; Property Holdings).

Notes area

Physical condition

Immediate source of acquisition


The majority of the material is intellectually organized thematically or by originating function such as the business or fundraising records. Arrangement of the material was originally performed by Dr. Fong following his research into McConnell. All correspondence was compiled into bundles by Dr. Fong.

Language of material

  • English

Script of material

Language and script note

All material is in English.

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Restrictions on access

The following material is restricted from public access until further notice: Containers 11,12,13 (Files 226-333) and Containers 15,16,17 (Files 353-358). Please refer to the Senior Archivist for more information.

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