Collections and Research

Jodocus Hondius the Elder, Nosce Te Ipsum [Know thyself] (detail), 1590. 1979.523, McCord Stewart Museum


The Archives collection is composed of 850 sets of documents, most of which are archival fonds related to individuals, families or organizations, or special collections organized around a theme or type of document. Totalling over 340 linear metres, these archives cover the entire history of Canada, but focus more particularly on that of Montreal and Montrealers during the 19th and 20th centuries.
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List of main fonds and collections

The textual records include personal, administrative, financial and legal documents, such as correspondence, diaries, minutes, books of account, contracts, publications, maps, plans and ephemera like dance cards, advertisements and menus.

Initially focussed on the history of events and figures of importance to Montreal and Canada, the collection now concentrates on acquisitions that illustrate social history: family history, commerce and industry, armed conflicts, amateur sports clubs, artistic and charitable associations, cultural events like Expo 67, fashion, the arts, and so on.

The Stewart Museum’s collection of archives contains 16 linear metres of textual archives and over 1,000 cartographic records, most of them collected by the Museum’s founder, David M. Stewart. It documents multiple aspects of Quebec and Canadian history dating back to New France in the broader context of Atlantic history, as many documents also cover European history, notably that of France and England. Military history is also very well represented, with fonds documenting organizations like the Royal Regiment Canadian Artillery and the Victoria Rifles of Canada.

  • Site Map of Expo 67, George E. Porcell Enterprises Inc., 1966. C146/A,6.2 © McCord Stewart Museum
  • Samuel de Champlain, <i>Les voyages du Sieur de Champlain, Xaintongeois, capitaine ordinaire pour le Roy, en la marine</i>, 1613. HC-1613, McCord Stewart Museum
  • Jodocus Hondius the Elder, <i>Nosce Te Ipsum [Know thyself]</i> (detail), 1590. 1979.523, McCord Stewart Museum
  • Stock book for the hardware store of Arthur Webster, 1820-1821. Gift of Mrs. Helen Day Cooper, M2012.103, McCord Stewart Museum
  • Guillaume Delisle, <i>Hémisphère septentrional pour voir plus distinctement les terres arctiques</i>, 1714. 1979.261, McCord Stewart Museum
  • Sir George Back’s travel journal, 1833-1835. Gift of Reverend Norman Pares and David Ross McCord, M2634, McCord Stewart Museum
  • Thomas Molson's notebook, 1820-1824. Gift of Miss Mabel Molson, Molson Family Fonds P046, M19113, McCord Stewart Museum
  • Last wishes of Louis Riel, expressed to Reverend Father Alexis André, November 16, 1885. Gift of Brian McGreevy, Louis Riel Collection C209, M20193, McCord Stewart Museum
  • 1911-1912 Program for Le Canadien de St-Henri Snowshoe Club. Gift of Mrs. Irene Jensen, P163/B.01 © McCord Stewart Museum

Rare books

The McCord Museum’s rare book collection features nearly 2,500 volumes and brochures published from the 17th to the 20th centuries. Dating primarily from the 19th and early 20th centuries, the collection is largely composed of the personal libraries of David Ross McCord and William Notman.

The other volumes, most of which were published in Canada, complement the Museum’s various collections. For example, there are books on the history of Canada and Montreal, directories and almanacs, tourist booklets, art books, books written in First Nations languages, explorers’ travel accounts, children’s books, books about magic, military censuses and plan books.

These writings are not only reference documents for collections research, they are also artefacts, available for consultation and displayed as part of exhibitions and other dissemination projects.

The Stewart Museum’s rare book collection comprises over 1,500 antiquarian books published in Europe and Canada, dating from the 15th to the 19th centuries. This collection is evidence of the importance that David M. Stewart attached to written materials, both handwritten and printed, in the teaching of history.

  • F. Mesplet et C. Berger, <i>Règlement de la confrérie de l'adoration perpétuelle du S. Sacrement et de la bonne mort</i>, 1776. Gift of David Ross McCord. M242, McCord Stewart Museum
  • Samuel de Champlain, <i>Les voyages du Sieur de Champlain, Xaintongeois, capitaine ordinaire pour le Roy, en la marine</i>, 1613. HC-1613, McCord Stewart Stewart Museum
  • Jacques Grasset de Saint-Sauveur, <i>Moeurs, loix et costumes des sauvages de la Baye d'Hudson</i>, about 1796. Gift of  Dr. J. lawrence Hutchison. M2004.117.20, McCord Stewart Museum
  • Mi’kmaq Ideographic Prayer Book, 1921. Gift of Jérôme Rousseau. M2010.19.23, McCord Stewart Museum
  • François Du Creux, <i>Historiae Canadensis, sev Novae-Franciae Libri Decem, Ad Annum usque Christi</i>, 1664. Gift of Ward C. Pitfield. M11712, McCord Stewart Museum
  • <i>Diseases of the Nervous System, and How to Cure Them : Paine's Celery Compound</i>, Wells & Richardson Co., 1896. RB-0695, McCord Stewart Museum
  • J. Bell, Gallery of Fine Arts, <i>La Belle Assemblée or, Bell's Court and Fashionable Magazine, addressed particulary to The Ladies</i>, vol. I part II, 1806. M2011X.6.33, McCord Stewart Museum

Mathieu Lapointe

Mathieu joined the McCord Museum team in 2018. As a specialist in Montreal history and Quebec culture and ideologies, Mathieu has taken a particular interest in citizen movements, moralizing rhetoric, and public inquiries in 20th century Montreal.

Meet curator Mathieu Lapointe learn more about his expertise and his work.

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Not to be missed!

Not to be missed!