The work of archivists, librarians and other specialists at Library and Archives Canada (LAC) ensures that Canadians and all researchers can explore a wide range of documents, books and other materials relating to the life and times of Sir John A. Macdonald. Some of these items, such as portrait photographs of Macdonald, are familiar and frequently reproduced. However, many historical treasures remain to be discovered in the rich LAC collection. The Sir John A. Macdonald Web exhibition showcases many of these rare and fascinating items, from the red leather notebook in which Macdonald's father recorded his son's birth date to advertisements that have used Macdonald's image to sell products.
The following sections introduce some of the important Macdonald resources at LAC:
In Papers, you can read about the John A. Macdonald fonds, a collection of 270,000 pages that records Macdonald's role in the building of Canada, as well as his relationships with family, friends, politicians and the Canadian public.
In Photographs, you will learn about the famous images of Macdonald contained among the 26 million photographic pieces at LAC. You can also learn how LAC cares for its photographic collection and pick up tips on how to preserve your own collection of photographs.
Books and Published Materials showcases LAC's rare publications from the Confederation era, including the arguments for and against the union of Canadian provinces, and unique items such as the beautiful hand-painted book that was created to celebrate Macdonald's 40th year in politics.
Art displays some of LAC's rare political cartoons and campaign posters from the early days of the Dominion of Canada. As well, you can study watercolour paintings by Lady Agnes Macdonald, many of which have been rarely seen.
In Ephemera, you can examine and read about some of the more unusual items among the Macdonald holdings at LAC, such as telegrams, sales receipts, vintage Confederation-era trading cards and 20th-century campaign buttons. You can also find sheet music written for Sir John, as well as Lady Agnes Macdonald's diary and other personal items that the Macdonald family filed away or held onto as keepsakes.
Each of these sections includes galleries offering an opportunity to explore the life and times of Sir John A. Macdonald. You can also learn about what happens behind the scenes at LAC, in support of its mandate to collect and preserve Canada's rich documentary heritage and make it accessible to Canadians everywhere.