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Description found in Archives

Card indexes (J20) [textual record]. 


[ca. 1904]-1949

Place of creation

No place, unknown, or undetermined

61.3 m of textual records.

Scope and content

Series consists of card indexes created in the Prime Ministers Office (PMO), as well as some additional miscellaneous indexes created by William Lyon Mackenzie King. The PMO card index is a letter by letter index of official correspondence received by King while he was Prime Minister. The cards provide an overview of the breadth of correspondence handled by the PMO, ranging from secret correspondence with foreign governments to the everyday trials and tribulations of ordinary Canadians. They also represent the original order of the PMO correspondence which was subsequently altered during the writing of the King biography. There is an incomplete subject index for 1924, personal (nominal) indexes for the years 1935-1938 and personal and subject indexes for the years 1939-1948. Correspondence was entered onto the cards according to date of receipt and contains the name of the correspondent, a brief description of the letter's contents and the original PMO file number. In addition, the correspondence on a particular subject is arranged by its importance to the PMO, such as 'unacknowledged', 'general', 'for WLMK's signature', 'secret', and 'personal'. However, not every letter was included in the index, nor was every letter cross-referenced between the personal and subject indexes. The file lists which explain the filing classification system are available in Volume 310. The PMO cards provide a letter by letter index to correspondence which remains in Prime Minister's Office correspondence series (J2). Researchers will need to record the file number and date on the card index, then locate the correct file number/date in the J2 finding aid. However, researchers should note that material was subsequently removed or destroyed from the PMO files and therefore a significant proportion of items (particularly in subject areas of interest to the biographers) and even some files will not be found. The card index will not assist researchers in locating material that has been removed from the PMO files, however, if a letter was subsequently placed in the Primary Series correspondence (J1), its location can be cross-referenced through the Prime Minister's Fonds website (or CD-Rom version). The card indexes are also cumbersome to use for a general search. A separate index was created for each year, thus several volumes of index cards would have to be consulted if a research topic spans a broad period of time. In addition to the PMO index, there are thirteen other indexes which were created by King. There are separate indexes for addresses, birthday acknowledgements, engagements, speeches,and other events/areas King wanted to record. Another index was created for war records for the years 1939 and 1940. Subsequent war correspondence was maintained within the PMO index.

Textual records
90: Open
from 1 to 310
90: Open
Archival reference no.
Former archival reference no.

Textual records Finding aid is a file list, MSS0502-J20. MSS0502 (Electronic)