Title and statement of responsibility area
Julian Armstrong Fonds
General material designation
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- Source of title proper: Title based on creator of fonds.
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Dates of creation area
- Armstrong, Julian
Physical description area
2.8 m of textual records and graphic materials
2 computer disks ; 9 x 9 in
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Archival description area
Name of creator
Julian Armstrong is a Canadian food writer and long-time journalist with the Montreal Gazette. During her career, she has extensively researched and written about Quebec's foodways and culinary history. Armstrong was born in Toronto and grew up in the city's Annex neighbourhood. She graduated from the Bishop Strachan School and then from the University of Toronto with a degree in history. During the 1950s, she worked briefly at the Toronto Star newspaper before moving to Montreal and taking a job at the Montreal Gazette, in what was then known as the women's department. Armstrong married Montreal lawyer Robert O'Brien in 1957. After taking a local cooking class, she began writing about food one day a week for the Gazette. She worked as food editor at the Montreal Star from 1964 until the newspaper folded in 1979. In 1986, while a food editor with the Montreal Gazette, Armstrong began to travel around Quebec, speaking with local chefs, home cooks, and food producers, and learning around the region's culinary heritage and practice. These culinary travels served as the basis for two books: Made in Quebec: A culinary journey, published in 2014, and A taste of Quebec, published in 1990 with an updated edition in 2001. She has received numerous journalism awards and is a founding member of the Association of Food Journalists and the association Taste Canada (previously known as the Cuisine Canada culinary alliance).
Scope and content
The fonds represents over forty years of Julian Armstrong's career as a food writer and journalist. The fonds contains primarily textual records created and accumulated by Armstrong during her research into the culinary history and traditions of Quebec while a food editor with the Montreal Gazette. Series 1 consists of food research files arranged by Armstrong according to geographic location or subject. Generally, the files are arranged by Quebec town or region, but some are devoted to food research topics related particularly to Quebec, such as "tourtières". The second subseries is arranged by specific foodstuffs, such as "Maple Syrup Pie" or "Bread," or food-related topics such as chefs and restaurants, or nutritional or diet topics. Series 2 contains notebooks of Armstrong's notes taken during travels primarily in Quebec's regions with observations, interview notes, tasting notes, and information such as food prices. The notebooks begin in 1986, dating from when she began her travels in Quebec for her food reporting. Series 3 contains records related to Armstrong's publications and speaking engagements. Series 4 consists of documents created through Armstrong's participation in culinary associations such as Cuisine Canada and in various cooking contests. Series 5 contains notebooks kept by Armstrong between 1969 and 1995 tracking food prices at particular regional grocery stores, organized by food product.
Series 1: Food research files
Series 2: Notebooks
Series 3: Publications and presentations
Series 4: Associations and events
Series 5: Food price records
Immediate source of acquisition
Donated by Julian Armstrong, summer 2018
Arranged chiefly by creator.
Language of material
Script of material
Location of originals
Availability of other formats
Restrictions on access
Series 2 in particular contains identifiable personal information and may be subject to access restrictions; other series may also contain information subject to access restrictions under privacy legislation.
Terms governing use, reproduction, and publication
Julian Armstrong O'Brien Collection (C716), McCord Museum.