Federal identifier for the  National Library of Canada

Impressions: 250 Years of Printing in the Lives of Canadians


Introduction
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Children's Literature and Education
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Immigration and Transportation
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Household and Family
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Agriculture and Trades
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Judicial and Political
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Newspapers and Magazines
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Leisure and Literature
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Religion
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Health
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Book-Object
Household and Family

It was in the home that most books were used, and the most common was certainly the almanac, often hung by a string somewhere in the kitchen. Hundreds of different types of almanacs were published in Canada, and some will be seen throughout the different sections of this exhibition. Although religious, agricultural, medical or simply general information made up the majority of the text, it was the calendar pages that were the most used. Interleaved with blank pages and later lined pages for notes, these almanacs became daily journals. Nineteenth-century Canadians did not use the almanac to plan ahead, as the agenda is used today, but wrote what they did and when: almanacs recorded family histories, planting of crops, social events, letters sent, sales made and, of course, the weather. For those who used only the calendar pages, sheet almanacs or broadside calendars were published, showing all the information for the year on one sheet. They were the ancestors of our wall calendars.

When lists of householders were needed, for security, electoral, or business reasons, city directories appeared an early form of our telephone directory. These directories became yearly publications only in mid-century when advertisements by retailers paid for the cost of printing.

At the end of the 19th century, retailers such as T. Eaton & Co. printed catalogues to be distributed across the land, and it is often said that no family was without one. Cooking skills were rarely learned from books, but passed on from mother to daughter along with family recipes. Nevertheless, many almanacs contained recipes, and imported cookbooks became more and more popular as the food industry progressed. Some food companies produced their own cookbooks, using them as a form of advertising.
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The ancestor of our modern wall calendar was the sheet almanac or calendar. It contained much of the information found in almanacs and showed all twelve months at a glance. The evolution of the use of the calendar, from a record of past events, to an agenda, had begun. As the New Dominion Calendar for 1869 points out: "This calendar should be neatly mounted, by pasting on a board or canvas and hung where it may remain throughout the year."
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This calendar contains, on one sheet, much of the information also found in almanacs, including facts regarding the military, the courts of justice, the post office rates, etc. It was distributed to numerous sales outlets in the city.

The Montreal Calendar for 1840...
Montreal: J. Lovell, [1839].
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This calendar contains mainly information on the clergy.

Calendrier de Québec pour l'année 1854...
[Quebec]: Publié et à vendre chez Robert Middleton, [1853].
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An early illustrated calendar apparently printed as a supplement to the Canadian Messenger, the Montreal Weekly Witness, the Montreal Witness, the Dominion Monthly, and the Daily Witness.
The New Dominion Calendar for 1869.
The New Dominion Calendar for 1869.
Montreal: J. Dougall & Son, [1868].
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The first book of wholly Jewish content to be printed in Canada contains a table, with two Hebrew columns, listing the appropriate Torah readings for the year's Sabbaths.
A Jewish Calendar for Fifty Years...
Jacques Judah Lyons, 1813-1877 and Abraham De Sola, 1825-1882
A Jewish Calendar for Fifty Years...together with an Introductory Essay on the Jewish Calendar System.
Montreal: John Lovell, 1854.
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J-M.R. Le Jeune (1855-1930) was the editor of the newspaper Kamloops Wawa in Chinook jargon. This calendar was probably intended for subscribers. On the reverse, Father Le Jeune has written his grocery list.

Indian Calendar for 1907.
[Kamloops, B.C.?: Missionary Press?, 1906].
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Version française

Comments
Page 2
Household and Family (page 2 of 4)

Canada Copyright. The National Library of Canada. (Revised: 1999-04-23).