Fonds P103 - William Henry Drummond Family Fonds

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William Henry Drummond Family Fonds

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  • Source of title proper: Based on the documents in the fonds.

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  • 1874 - 1958 (Creation)
    Drummond, William Henry, 1854-1907

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Physical description

75 cm of textual records and photographs.

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Biographical history

William Henry Drummond, dialect poet and physician, was born April 13, 1854, at Currawn House, near Mohill, County Leitrim, Ireland, the son of George Drummond (originally Drumm), offer of the Royal Irish Constabulary, and of Elizabeth Morris Soden. In 1856, the Drummond family moved to Tawley near the "Three Sisters" mountains and the Bay of Donegal, where they lived at Tawley Manor House. Drummond's three brothers, John, George, and Tom, were born here. Paddy McNulty, the teacher at the village school, became Drummond's life-long friend. At this time, Drummond learned the art of finishing which he practised throughout his life.

The family moved to Montreal in 1864. Drummond attended the High School of Montreal, but left at age fifteen to study telegraphy. His work as a telegrapher brought him into contact with the habitant farmers and woodsmen whose broken English he was to imitate in his poetry. Drummond entered McGill in 1878 to study Medicine but failed his second year. He received his M.D. from Bishop's Medical School in 1884. After a short period in Knowlton, Quebec, Drummond set up practice in Montreal. At this time, he became interested in the breeding of Irish Terriers. In 1894, he married May Isabel Harvey of Savanna la Mar, Jamaica. His book, The Habitant, was published in 1897 with an introduction by Louis Frechette. Drummond died in 1907 as a result of a stroke while assisting in a smallpox outbreak at Cobalt, Ontario, where he owned mining property.

Custodial history

The fonds was first left on loan in the custody of the Osler Library, 26 April 1948, by Moira, daughter of W.H. Drummond. Permanent rights were granted to the Osler Library, 8 May 1968, by Surgeon-Commander D.D. Craig, R.N., widower of Moira Drummond Craig. Old accession number 439.

Scope and content

Papers consist of personal correspondence, including substantial family correspondence, diaries, journals, engagement books, ledgers, menus, manuscript poems, galley proofs, lecture notes, scrapbooks, and photographs. It includes correspondence, 1874-1935; a diary of Drummond's trip to Great Britain, 1902; dinner menus, 1902-1903; engagement books, 1902-1906; galley proofs, 1905-1911; Journal of Impressions kept at Savanna la Mar, Jamaica, Windsor and Montreal, 1903-1911; lecture notes taken at McGill, 1878-1882; ledgers containing financial entries and patients' accounts during Drummond's practice in Knowlton and Montreal, 1885-1889; notebooks containing manuscripts poems, drafts and clippings, 1894-1909; scrapbooks related to literary topics, including clippings about Drummond's public readings, and book reviews, 1854-1907 and scrapbooks related to Drummond's dogs, 1890-1907. There are also some papers of Mrs. W.H. Drummond, including a typescript of her Life of W.H. Drummond; and diaries recording her trips to United States and Canada, 1892, 1903.

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Physical condition

Immediate source of acquisition


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  • English

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The documents are in English.

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

Finding aids

Complete inventory list available online.

Associated materials

McCord Museum in Montreal has other W. H. Drummond archives.

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