Geographical Map of New France Made by Mr. de Champlain of Saintonge, Ordinary Captain for the King’s Navy

New France was born more than four centuries ago as a result of the determination and talents of Samuel de Champlain (1574–1635), a native of Saintonge, France. Champlain embarked for Canada from Honfleur on March 15, 1603, and reached Tadoussac after a 40-day Atlantic crossing. He first explored some 50–60 kilometers up the Saguenay River. He then traveled up the Saint Lawrence River to a location near present-day Montreal, collecting information from the Indians about the geography of the land he sought to explore. In the summer of 1608 he started building the Habitation de Québec, the trading post that became Quebec City. This created a base for the French to settle on the continent and explore inland. Upon his return to France, Champlain went to the royal court to present his plans for a North American colony. He offered the king a few tokens from his time in Canada: a porcupine hair belt, two small birds, and a fish head. Presented here is the magnificent map of the country that Champlain showed to the king. He showed the same map to the Count of Soissons to obtain his approval for his plans. In 1612 Champlain had the map engraved for inclusion in his account of his travels, which was published by Jean Berjon the following year. Oriented to the magnetic north (that of the compass) rather than the geographical north (indicated by the oblique line across the map), the map highlights the places Champlain visited, including the coasts of Newfoundland and Acadia (present-day Nova Scotia) and the Saint Lawrence River and its main tributaries. To the west, the Ottawa River—also known as Rivière des Algonquins (Algonquin River)—appears on the map. It was reconnoitered by a young French explorer and interpreter, Nicolas de Vignau. In the far west are two lakes, drawn based on the information gathered from the Indians, connected by a sault de au (old French for “waterfall”), i.e., Niagara Falls. The first known mentions of a few names appear on the map, for example Percé, Cap-Chat (labeled Cap de Chate, named after Aymar de Chaste, lieutenant-general of New France in 1603), the Batiscan River, Lake Champlain, and Lake Saint-Pierre. The map also indicates the areas inhabited by different Native American tribes at the time: the Iroquois south of Lake Champlain, the Montagnais on the south bank of the Saint Lawrence River, the Algonquins on the Ottawa River, the Etchemin and Souriquois on the Atlantic coast, and the Hurons in the Great Lakes region. On the bottom border, as well as elsewhere on the map, are depictions of plants, fruit, vegetables and sea animals showing the untapped riches of this land that the French were claiming. Two Native American couples also are portrayed in poses typical of the time.

History of the Métis Nation in Western Canada

Histoire de la nation métisse dans l'Ouest canadien (History of the Métis nation in western Canada) presents the history of a people, born out of a unique cultural mix and a fierce fight for survival. Canada’s Métis people developed as the mixed-race descendants of Native American women and European colonists who traveled to Canada from France, and later from Britain, to explore and to trade. The Europeans were eager to tap into the wealth of the great Canadian West, and much of the work focuses on the tensions caused by the frantic expansion of the whites to the west and the integration of the prairie provinces into the Canadian confederation. These tensions led to the uprisings organized by Métis rebel Louis Riel (1844–85), who later became one of the founders of modern Canada. The book is in three parts, plus a conclusion. Part one covers the formation of the Métis nation out of white and Indian elements. Part two deals with the life and history of the Métis nation. Part three is much the longest, and covers the “martyrdom” of the Métis nation in the insurrection of 1885. The author, Auguste-Henri de Trémaudan (1874–1929), was a Canadian lawyer, journalist, editor, and man of letters who produced biographies, histories, and works on Canadian historical subjects. He died before he could complete this work. The Union Nationale Métisse Saint-Joseph du Manitoba wrote a final chapter based on notes and drafts left by Trémaudan, which is published as an appendix. The book contains an extensive bibliography.

Labrador and Anticosti. Travel Journal, History, Topography, Canadian and Acadian Fishermen, Montagnais Indians

Labrador et Anticosti. Journal de voyage, histoire, topographie, pêcheurs canadiens et acadiens, indiens montagnais (Labrador and Anticosti. Travel journal, history, topography, Canadian and Acadian Fishermen, Montagnais Indians) is the account, illustrated by many photographs, of a two-month journey in the region known today as Côte-Nord, undertaken by churchman and naturalist Victor-Alphonse Huard (1853–1929) in 1895. This vast area is located in Quebec, a few hundred kilometers northeast of Quebec City. During his travels, Huard developed relationships with elders, lighthouse keepers, missionaries, and other people he met that allowed him to write the histories of the communities with which he came into contact. Huard also devoted a large section of his book to the life of the Innu, a Native American people also known as Montagnais, who have lived in the area for thousands of years. The book offers technical descriptions of cod, salmon, herring, and sea-bass fishing, as well as game hunting, and offers a unique perspective on the populations and economic activities of this peripheral region. The book contains a detailed table of contents and a fold-out map of the region of Labrador and Anticosti. Huard was a Roman Catholic priest, professor, school administrator, naturalist, author, editor, and museum curator. As a scholar he was known primarily as a natural scientist who wrote numerous books and articles in entomology and other fields.

Montreal Winter Carnival, February, 1887

Presented here is the official program of the Montreal Winter Carnival of 1887. Adorned with the first coat of arms of the city of Montreal, the program is a fine example of Victorian visual culture with its somewhat crowded yet elegant design, gold embellishments and floral motifs, and a shadow image of people wearing snowshoes, with the Ice Palace in the background. The program is a testament to the expansion of winter sports in Montreal, from curling to the toboggan to the still relatively new game of ice hockey. The first winter carnival in Montreal took place in 1883. The success of this winter sports celebration was also the inspiration for similar initiatives in other North American cities, such as Saint Paul, Minnesota, which began a winter carnival in 1886, and Quebec City, which did so in 1894. The four-page program, in English, lists the schedule of events for the morning, afternoon, and evening over a six-day period, Monday to Saturday, February 7‒12. Among the activities listed are the opening of the toboggan slides, skating tournaments, an appearance by a team of Esquimaux dogs and driver, a grand ball at the Windsor Hotel, and a concluding annual dinner with presentation of prizes, followed by a “grand pyrotechnic display” at the Ice Castle. The program notes the presence of “electric illumination,” still a novelty at that time.

Montreal 5th Annual Winter Carnival and Ice Palace Fete, 1889

This chromolithograph advertises the Montreal Winter Carnival of 1889. It features a man on snowshoes holding a banner. The carnival is billed as “a frosty frolic.” In the background can be seen the Ice Palace, a prominent feature of the carnivals, with fireworks in the sky overhead and people tobogganing, skiing, and skating in the foreground. Purchased in 2007 by the National Library and Archives of Quebec at an auction in New York City, this remarkable poster is a graphic testimony to the large publicity effort that took place prior to the winter carnival. American transportation and media companies were eager to gain publicity and profits from the event, as were local public figures, business people, city officials, and sports clubs. A great example of the technical skills possessed by American Bank Note Company, the poster advertises the small, 56-kilometer Concord Railroad in New Hampshire. The Montreal Winter Carnival changed the way winter was perceived in Quebec. It sought to attract visitors to the city in the heart of the winter, a season they had otherwise avoided. From 1883 to 1889, five such carnivals were organized. A smallpox epidemic caused a break in 1886 and the withdrawal of financing by the train companies caused a cancellation in 1888. Highly publicized, the carnival was attended by a large number of American tourists. Special trains were chartered for the event and discount train tickets were offered.

Freshwater Fish of Canada

André-Napoléon Montpetit (1840–98) was an author, a journalist, and the father of economist and professor Édouard Montpetit. An avid angling enthusiast, Montpetit showed exceptional talent for observing fish, their behaviors, and their habitats. This work, which is specific to Quebec, illustrates the author’s rich empirical knowledge as well as his familiarity with the works about fish of European and North American naturalists. Elegantly written, the book was praised both by fishermen and naturalists alike. It includes fine prints, several of which are in color, and an index. The book begins with an introductory chapter that discusses such topics as size and shape, spawning and reproduction, the different parts of the body, respiration and circulation of the blood, and even such topics as whether fish can make sounds and their level of intelligence. This is followed by chapters on the various freshwater fishes of Canada, including bream, carp, eel, perch, sturgeon, salmon, trout, and many others. Throughout, the book provides advice on how to catch the various types of fish, including the bait, lures, lines, hooks, nets, and methods to be used.

A Wandering Canadian

Engraved on a wax cylinder around 1905, this rendition by Joseph Saucier (1869‒1941) and an accompanying orchestra is one of the oldest known recordings of Un Canadien errant (A wandering Canadian), a folk song written in 1842 by Antoine Gérin-Lajoie and sung to the tune of J’ai fait une maîtresse (I have found a mistress). With the Lower Canada Rebellion of 1837‒38 as its theme, the song became one of the most popular songs of the late 1800s in French Canada. It has been recorded on many occasions ever since. This phonograph cylinder is part of the collection of Jean-Jacques Schira. The precursor to the disc record, the phonographic cylinder was the earliest medium for audio recording and listening. Born in Montreal, Saucier was a Canadian baritone and choirmaster who trained as a pianist with his father before choosing to pursue a career as a singer.  He performed as a soloist at different churches in Canada and with the Montreal Symphony Orchestra, studied voice in Paris, and performed to audiences in France, Britain, and the United States. He was the organist and choirmaster at St.-Louis du Mile-End Church in Montréal and later choirmaster at St.-Louis-de-France Church. He is believed to have been the first French Canadian singer to make a recording in Canada, which he did circa 1904, at around the time this recording was made.

Montreal, Old and New: Entertaining, Convincing, Fascinating. A Unique Guide for the Managing Editor

Montreal, Old and New: Entertaining, Convincing, Fascinating. A Unique Guide for the Managing Editor is a tribute to the city of Montreal, which in 1915, when the book was published, was the sixth largest city on the North American continent. A large series of construction projects had just been completed that year in the part of the city now known as Vieux-Montréal (Old Montreal). The impressive new office buildings gave the city a very modern look. The book offers more than 1,000 print and photographic images of Montreal buildings and public figures. Much of the book is taken up by photographs and short biographies of the city’s leading citizens. The book has ten chapters, which cover such topics as the founding and early history of the city; Montreal as an “imperial” city of great economic and commercial importance to Canada; the history of the city’s important streets and thoroughfares; the commercial development of the city; the Montreal of 100 years earlier; religious and social life; Montreal’s educational system; the City of Maisonneuve (a relatively new municipality located to the east of the city); musical and dramatic life; and the learned professions in the city.

Hergé’s Signature on La Compagnie Paquet’s Guest Book

Shown here is Hergé’s signature in La Compagnie Paquet’s guest book. Hergé is the pen name of Georges Rémi (1907–83), the Belgian cartoonist who created the character Tintin and was the author of Les Aventures de Tintin (The adventures of Tintin) series of comic books. Founded in 1850 by Zéphirin Paquet, La Compagnie Paquet was one of Quebec’s most successful retail businesses of the 20th century. During its 131 years of operation, the company was led by four generations of Paquet and Laurin. In the 1950s, it employed more than 800 people in its store on Saint-Joseph Street in the neighborhood of Saint-Roch, at its shipping facility, and at its various branches. The company sold a bit of everything: dry goods, bedding, clothing and accessories, furniture, grocery, hardware, and so forth. Much like other companies, La Compagnie Paquet kept a guest book for visitors who took part in special events. Hergé’s visit for a book-signing event in the spring of 1965 was undoubtedly one of the most memorable of those events.

Map of Quebec City

Plan de la ville de Québec (Map of Quebec City) is a hand-drawn map created in 1727, which shows the Upper Town of Quebec City within and outside the city walls, and the Lower Town, near the confluence of the Saint Lawrence River and the Saint Charles River with its tidal flats. A compass wind rose is situated in the Saint Lawrence, on the left side of the map, and the map is oriented with north to the right. It was drawn by Gaspard-Joseph Chaussegros de Léry (1682–1756), who, as the king’s chief engineer, had been commissioned to develop the city and build fortifications around it. The map shows a future citadel and a new wall to the west, as well as plans for expansion of the Lower Town. The legend identifies by letters and numbers existing structures and those the engineer proposed, such as the castle and Saint-Louis Fort, as well as the Royale, Dauphine, and Vaudreuil artillery batteries. The map also shows the Royale, Dauphine, and Cap Diamant redoubts, the potash hill (present-day Côte de la Potasse), the king’s warehouses, the gunpowder warehouses, the quartermaster’s palace, the bishop’s palace, Notre-Dame Cathedral, the Recollects’ church, the Jesuit church and school, the seminary, the Ursuline monastery, and the Hotel-Dieu (hospital) with the Augustinian Monastery. Also marked are the church in Lower Town (Notre-Dame-des-Victoires), and “filles de la congrégation” (an establishment that housed young French immigrant girls until they married), the proposed citadel, the existing wall and fortification of the citadel, as well as the proposed new wall. The existing and future building works are drawn using distinct colors, red for the former, and yellow for the latter. Originally established in 1608 by the French explorer Samuel de Champlain on the same site as a fort built by Jacques Cartier in 1535, Quebec City became the capital of New France. It is one of the oldest cities in Canada and, indeed, within all of North America. It is the only North American city to have retained all of its fortifications, including its outer wall. Scale is indicated in toises, an old French unit measuring about 1.95 meters.