Susanna Moodie and Catharine Parr Traill are two of Canada's most important 19th-century writers. Born in England only 23 months apart, the two sisters became professional writers before they married. In 1832 they emigrated with their Scottish husbands to Canada, settling in the backwoods of what is now Ontario, near present-day Lakefield. They recorded and interpreted their experiences as pioneers in books for which they remain famous to this day for example, Catharine Parr Traill's The Backwoods of Canada (1836) and Canadian Crusoes (1852), and Susanna Moodie's Roughing It in the Bush (1852) and Life in the Clearings (1853). They continued to live and write in Canada until their deaths Susanna's in 1885 and Catharine's in 1899.
This website is designed to help readers and students enter into the worlds of these two remarkable sisters. First, it conveniently brings together important collections held by both the National Library of Canada and the National Archives of Canada. Secondly, it provides the reader with reliable information about Susanna, Catharine, their lives and their writing careers. Thirdly, it makes available some of their surviving letters and selections from their books. Using original photographs and other illustrations, the site seeks to make the worlds of Susanna and Catharine in England and in Canada come alive for today's readers and aims to provide them with material for further research and study.