Letter book series

Custodial History: 

The Letter books in this series comprise accessions 2013-112 and 2014-017.  Accession 2013-112 was transferred from Bishophurst by the Right Reverend Dr. Stephen Andrews to Algoma University in October 2013.  Accession 2014-017 was transferred January 23-24, 2014.

Start Date: 
1875
Description Level: 
Geographic Access: 
Access Restriction: 

No restrictions on access.

End Date: 
1904
Repro Restriction: 

Some restrictions on reproduction due to fragility of the materials.

Date Range: 
1875-1904
Physical Description: 

.5 m of textual records

10 v., ca. 8000 p.

Arrangement: 
Series is arranged chronologically.
Scope Content: 

Letter book coversSeries comprises the letter books of the Rev. Edward F. Wilson and Rev. George Ley King, first and four principals of the Shingwauk Indian Residential School.  Includes copies of Wilson and King's outgoing correspondence.  The letter books represent unique documentation of the early years of the Shingwauk School and are comprised of over 6,400 pages of correspondence. The letters contained within these books vary in scope from details about daily life at the school, to reflections on Canadian Indian Policy, to fundraising from the school, and publishing endeavours.

The letters are of particular relevance for understanding the social, political and intellectual network in which residential schools operated. The correspondence includes communication not only with Indian Department officials, missionaries and alumni but also local Christian congregations throughout eastern Canada, anthropologists such as Horatio Hale and Franz Boaz, administrators at other Residential Schools, and Indigenous community members. 

Notes: 

The letter books in this series were digitized with funding from the National Heritage Digitization Strategy fund in 2019. The letter books can also viewed on the Internet Archive as PDF flip books.

Repository: 
aua

Letter book

Geographic Access: 
Language: 
Description Level: 
Start Date: 
1878
End Date: 
1879
Date Range: 
1878-1879
Image: 
Physical Description: 

3.7 cm of textual record.

1 v., 488 p.

Notes: 

Condition: Fragile, binding almost non-existant, some loose pages

Subject tags: Anishinaabemowin, apprenticeship, blacksmithing, bootmaking, building activities, curriculum, Diocese of Algoma activities, donations, farming, funding, funding problems, fundraising, Government contacts, Government funding, Indigenous languages, industries, missionary work, Ojibwe language, printing, religion, runaway students, school governance, staffing, student clothing, student death, student health, student progress, student recruitment, student retention, student support, student work, teaching, tinsmithing

Notes: The letters in this book are from Edward F. Wilson to a number of different people, including church staff and officials, Indian Agents, Government officials such as the Superintendent General of Indian Affairs (Sir John A. Macdonald) and the Minister of the Interior (David Mills and then Sir John A. Macdonald), donors, Shingwauk and Wawanosh staff, his family, and Indigenous community members. The information is mostly focused on funding for the two Homes, especially funding towards student support. Also prominent is information about student recruitment and retention i.e. agreement forms and consequences for running away or not returning after holidays. The Algoma Missionary News and The Peace Pipe are frequently mentioned as Wilson was editor and writer for both magazines and published them both at the print shop on Shingwauk property. Building activities are discussed as the Wawanosh Home was in the process of being finished. Individual student information is often mentioned in passing, especially to the students supporters, and includes their daily activities, health, perceived religious feelings, and more. There are a few letters in the book written by students which Wilson forwarded onto the recipients.

Sketches: Boys' clothing drawing page 237

Anishinaabemowin Letters: page 162, page 175-176, page 276

To view a PDF flipbook version of the book on the Internet Archive, click here, or scroll down for a downloadable version.

rec_shelfloc: 
2013-112-001
Repository: 
Algoma University Archive
Container Number: 
001

Letter book

Geographic Access: 
Language: 
Creator: 

Edward F. Wilson

Description Level: 
Start Date: 
1881
End Date: 
1882
Date Range: 
1881-1882
Image: 
Physical Description: 

3.8 cm of textual record.

1 v., 509 p.

Notes: 

Condition: Missing the outside cover, but binding is still in good condition, page 15 ripped in half and very delicate

Subject tags: Algoma Missionary News, Anishinaabemowin, apprenticeship, Bishop Fauquier Memorial Chapel, blacksmithing, bootmaking, building activities, carpentry, church societies, college, curriculum, Department of Indian Affairs, Diocese of Algoma activities, donations, farming, finances, funding, funding problems, fundraising, government contacts, government funding, government policy, Indian Agents, Indigenous communities, Indigenous languages, ministry, missionary work, Mohawk Institute, official visits, Ojibwe language, printing, public opinion, religion, runaway students, school governance, school reports, school rules, school supplies, sewing, staffing, student activities, student clothing, student death, student families, student health, student occupation, student recruitment, student retention, student support, student uniforms, teaching, trades, Wawanosh

The letters in this book are from Edward F. Wilson to a number of different people, including church staff and officials, Indian Agents, Government officials, donors, Shingwauk and Wawanosh staff, his family, and Indigenous community members. The letters cover a variety of topics including school finances (student support and general funding), student recruitment and retention, staffing, and public opinion. In contrast to previous years, the school finances were doing well. Public misunderstanding about what the donated money was being used for led to a slew of rumours and a slight decrease in favourable public opinion, including among native communities, some of whom were hesitant to send their children. Information about students is common throughout the letters such as what trades they were learning, how they were doing with their school work, their health, ex-students occupations (or attendance at college), and students families. Shingwauk had a number of dignitaries visit during these years including the Governor General and the Marquis of Lorne. Diocesan activities are a frequent topic in the second half of the book as Bishop Fauquier died in Dec of 1881 and Wilson took over many of his duties temporarily before the new Bishop was elected. Student health is prominent in the letters since there was a typhoid fever outbreak and multiple students passed away from that and other illnesses, including one of Wilson’s favourites, William Sahguhcheway. This led to a decrease in the amount of students registered in 1882. 

Anishinaabemowin letters: pages 21, 22, 107-108

To view a PDF flipbook version of the book on the Internet Archive, click here, or scroll down for a downloadable version.

 

rec_shelfloc: 
2013-112-002
Repository: 
Algoma University Archive
Container Number: 
002

Letter book

Language: 
Creator: 

Edward F. Wilson

Description Level: 
Start Date: 
1885
End Date: 
1887
Date Range: 
1885-1887
Image: 
Physical Description: 

4.5 cm of textual record.

1 v., 714 p.

Notes: 

Subject tags: blacksmith; building maintenance; building additions; carpentry; curriculum; donations; forms of income at the school; farming; female students; funding; fundraising; government contacts; health; Indigenous languages; languages; male students; maps; professional relationships; professional travel; religion; sponsorships; special projects; staffing; student behaviour; student clothing; student diet; student health; student travel; student work;  

Notes: The letterbook kept by Edward F. Wilson contains a wide assortment of letters addressed primarily to professional contacts. The contents of the letters mainly discuss varying details of the Shingwauk Home and few details of the Wawanosh Home. They are mostly concerned with financial details of the school. This includes asking for additional funds from the Indian Department of Affairs, sponsorship letters to varying individuals, potential prospects, fundraising efforts and potential funding options. Accompanied with these letters that concern financial specifics are student details that support the need for more funding. These include, student attendance and enrollment numbers, curriculum, student behaviour, health of the students, diets of the students, the travel of students from their homes to the school and the industries where students spend their time. In addition, the letters also suggested the use of additional funds for maintenance, building additions, and new projects at the school.

Geographic areas mentioned: Calgary, AB; British Columbia; Chicago, Illinois; Winnipeg, Manitoba; London, Ontario; Sarnia, Ontario; Toronto, Ontario;  Carlisle, Pennsylvania; Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; Quebec; Hampton, Virginia;

Sketches/Drawn Images: Boys’ Clothing Drawing (PG 138, PG 678), Drawing of Wawanosh Home (PG 336),  Drawing of unknown building (PG 337), Drawing/plan of Shingwauk Hospital (PG 377), Drawing of Chapel plan (PG 396), Portage Map of Rat Portage in Northwestern Ontario (PG 441)

To view a PDF flipbook version of the book on the Internet Archive, click here, or scroll down for a downloadable version.

rec_shelfloc: 
2013-112-003
Repository: 
Algoma University Archive
Container Number: 
003

Letter book

Language: 
Creator: 

Edward F. Wilson

Description Level: 
Start Date: 
1887
End Date: 
1888
Date Range: 
1887-1888
Image: 
Physical Description: 

4.3 cm of textual records.

1 v., 711 p.

Notes: 

Condition: fair

Subject tags: Algoma Missionary News, American Indian Boarding Schools, Anishinaabemowin, apprenticeship, Blackfoot language, blacksmithing, bootmaking, building activities, carpentry, church societies, curriculum, Department of Indian Affairs, Diocese of Algoma activities, donations, Elkhorn Indian Home, farming, finances, funding, funding problems, fundraising, government contacts, government funding, government policy, Indian Agents, Indian Residential School System, Indigenous communities, Indigenous cultures, Indigenous languages, missionary work, Our Forest Children, physical punishment, public opinion, publications, Queen Victoria's Golden Jubilee, religion, religious rivalries, school expansion, school governance, school inspections, school repairs, school reports, school supplies, sewing, staffing, student activities, student clothing, student death, student diet, student families, student health, student occupation, student recruitment, student retention, student support, student uniforms, tailoring, The Canadian Indian, trades, waggon making, Wawanosh 

The letters in this book are from Edward F. Wilson to a number of different people, including church staff and officials, Indian Agents, Government officials, donors, Shingwauk and Wawanosh staff, his family, and Indigenous community members. Many letters relate to the national Indian Residential School System. Wilson came up with plans to build multiple homes including in Sarnia, Banff, and Elkhorn (where he did build the Washkada Indian Home), and to further expand Shingwauk. In these letters about the wider system, Wilson talks about government funding and religious affiliations of the schools. He makes a lot of comparisons between the Canadian system and the American system, especially when it comes to government involvement and public opinion. Wilson was concerned particularly with the thought that the government favoured Roman Catholic schools, and felt that Roman Catholic influence on Indigenous communities was a huge problem that needed to be solved. There are a number of letters related to the school’s involvement in the Queen’s Golden Jubilee celebration in Montreal. Wilson travelled with approximately 30 students in order to demonstrate the work being done at the school, and then continued on to visit Ottawa with the children in order to fundraise. He then planned to do the same type of demonstration in England to increase interest in the Homes and therefore funding, but this fell through and never happened. Near the end of the book many of the letters deal with Indigenous cultures and Indigenous languages as Wilson was interested in learning about them in order to compare with Ojibwe culture and language and to write ethnology reports for the Smithsonian and British association. Other prominent topics include student activities, staffing, and school publications. 

Blackfoot language letter on page 461

To view a PDF flipbook version of the book on the Internet Archive, click here, or scroll down for a downloadable version.

 

rec_shelfloc: 
2013-112-004
Repository: 
Algoma University Archive
Container Number: 
004

Letter book

Language: 
Creator: 

Edward F. Wilson

Description Level: 
Start Date: 
1896
End Date: 
1898
Date Range: 
1896-1898
Image: 
Physical Description: 

4.6 cm of textual record.

1 v., 1000 p.

Notes: 

Subject tags: Algoma Missionary News, apprenticeship, carpentry, church societies, college, conpulsory education, curriculum, day schools, Department of Indian Affairs, Diocese of Algoma activities, donations, farming, finances, funding, funding problems, government contacts, government funding, government policy, Indian Agents, Indian Residential School System, Indigenous communities, Indigenous culture, missionary work, public school system, runaway students, school governance, school inspections, school repairs, school reports, school rules, school supplies, staffing, student activities, student clothing, student discharge, student families, student health, student holidays, student occupation, student progress, student recruitment, student retention, student support, tailoring, trades, Wawanosh

The letters in this book are from George Ley King to a number of different people, including church staff and officials, members of the Women’s Auxiliary (part of the Anglican Church), Indian Agents, Government officials such as the Superintendent General of Indian Affairs (Hayter Reed), donors, and Indigenous community members. The information is mostly focused on finances for the two Homes, especially funding towards student support, and student retention and recruitment. Finances were extremely low after Edward F. Wilson left in 1893 with many supporters giving up their donations, and King was having a hard time increasing support and trying to keep the school out of debt. The majority of students at the school during this time were unsupported. At this point in time, the government was much more involved in the management of the school, and King was required to write monthly reports detailing student health, whether any pupils were admitted or discharged, and any notable student progress or school events. Despite being more involved in the management, the government seemed to be less involved in the funding of the school and refused to increase the per capita grant for student support. King was still trying to collect funding to build a New Wawanosh, but as with general funding the money was slow to come in. Many letters deal with donations of toys, books, games, candies, and more as Christmas gifts for the students. King wrote more letters to student families discussing their health, progress, and whether they were eligible to go home for holidays or be discharged.

To view a PDF flipbook version of the book on the Internet Archive, click here, or scroll down for a downloadable version.

rec_shelfloc: 
2013-112-005
Repository: 
Algoma University Archive
Container Number: 
005

Letter book

Geographic Access: 
Language: 
Creator: 

Rev. Edward F. Wilson

Description Level: 
Start Date: 
1876
End Date: 
1878
Date Range: 
1876-1878
Image: 
Physical Description: 

3.5 cm of textual records.

1 v., 499 p.

Notes: 

Condition: book in in good shape, no loose pages

Subject tags: Algoma Missionary News, Anishinaabemowin, apprenticeship, assimilation, blacksmithing, bootmaking, building activities, carpentry, church societies, compulsory education, curriculum, Department of Indian Affairs, Diocese of Algoma activities, donations, farming, finances, funding, funding problems, fundraising, government contacts, government funding, government policy, Indian Agents, Indigenous languages, industries, inspections, missionary work, Ojibwe language, printing, religion, religious rivalries, runaway students, school governance, school reports, school rules, school supplies, sewing staffing, student activities, student clothing, student death, student families, student health, student occupation, student progress, student recruitment, student retention, student support, student work, tailoring, teaching, tinsmithing, trades, Wawanosh Home for Indian Girls

The letters in this book are from Edward F. Wilson to a number of different people, including church staff and officials, Indian Agents, Government officials such as the Superintendent General of Indian Affairs (Sir John A. Macdonald) and the Minister of the Interior (David Mills and then Sir John A. Macdonald), donors, Shingwauk and Wawanosh staff, his family, and Indigenous community members. The information is mostly focused on finances for the two Homes, especially funding towards student support. Wilson was in the process of building Wawanosh during these two years, so many of the letters deal with the building, funding, and staffing activities required to get the school set up. Information about individual students is also prominent, as Wilson includes information about their health, families, and activities inside and outside school when writing to student supporters. Student recruitment and retention i.e. agreement forms and consequences for running away or not returning after holidays are discussed often as Wilson was setting up the process for receiving students and keeping them at the institutions. There are a few letters in the book written by students which Wilson forwarded onto the recipients. Missionary work and funding tours feature in many letters, and students were often involved in these activities. 

Sketch of uniforms on page 116

To view a PDF flipbook version of the book on the Internet Archive, click here, or scroll down for a downloadable version. 

 

rec_shelfloc: 
2014-017-001
Repository: 
Algoma University Archive
Container Number: 
001

Letter book

Geographic Access: 
Language: 
Creator: 

Rev. Edward F. Wilson

Description Level: 
Start Date: 
1878
End Date: 
1881
Date Range: 
1878-1881
Image: 
Physical Description: 

3.5 cm of textual records.

1 v., 493 p.

Notes: 

Condition: Some loose pages at the beginning and end of the book, slight water damage at the end, pages 493-512 removed by Wilson but no missing letters

Subject tags: Algoma Missionary News, Anishinaabemowin, apprenticeship, Bishop Fauquier Memorial Chapel, blacksmithing, bootmaking, building activities, carpentry, church societies, college, curriculum, Department of Indian Affairs, Diocese of Algoma activities, donations, farming, finances, funding, funding problems, fundraising, government contacts, government funding, Indian Agents, Indigenous communities, Indigenous languages, industries, masonry, ministry, missionary work, Ojibwe language, printing, religion, school closure, school reports, school supplies, staffing, student activities, student clothing, student death, student families, student health, student occupation, student recruitment, student retention, student support, student uniforms, tailoring, teaching, tinsmithing, trades, Wawanosh

The letters in this book are from Edward F. Wilson to a number of different people, including church staff and officials, Indian Agents, Government officials, donors, Shingwauk and Wawanosh staff, his family, and Indigenous community members. The information is mostly focused on finances for the two Homes, especially funding towards student support. Funding problems are discussed a great deal as it seems that many supporters either completely abandoned their support or were very behind. There was a slew of staff change over during these years, so many letters are related to staff duties and hiring staff. Building activities continue to feature prominently as the school was being expanded and Wilson was beginning plans for the Chapel. Many letters related to missionary work and Diocesan activities as Wilson helped to set up the Neepigon Mission near Red Rock on the Nipigon River. Wilson became ill in March of 1880, and consequently the school was closed for 5 months of the spring and summer, and then only open in a limited capacity through that winter, further contributing to funding problems. 

Anishinaabemowin letters: Pages 1, 7, 9, 44, and 128

To view a PDF flipbook version of the book on the Internet Archive, click here, or scroll down for a downloadable version.

 

rec_shelfloc: 
2014-017-001
Repository: 
Algoma University Archive
Container Number: 
001

Letter book

Geographic Access: 
Language: 
Creator: 

Rev. Edward F. Wilson

Description Level: 
Start Date: 
1883
End Date: 
1885
Date Range: 
1883-1885
Image: 
Physical Description: 

3.5 cm of textual records.

1 v., 499 p.

Notes: 

Subject tags: Algoma Missionary News, Anishinaabemowin, apprenticeship, Bishop Fauquier Memorial Chapel, bootmaking, carpentry, church societies, college, curriculum, Department of Indian Affairs, Diocese of Algoma activities, donations, farming, finances, funding, funding problems, fundraising, government contacts, government funding, government policy, Indian Agents, Indigenous communities, Indigenous languages, insurance, ministry, missionary work, Mohawk Institute, Muncey Institute, North-West Rebellion, Ojibwe language, printing, public opinion, publications, religion, religious rivalries, runaway students, sash and door factory, school inspections, school reports, school supplies, staffing, student activities, student clothing, student death, student families, student health, student occupation, student recruitment, student retention, student support, tailoring, teaching, tinsmithing, trades, Wawanosh

The letters in this book are from Edward F. Wilson to a number of different people, including church staff and officials, Indian Agents, Government officials, donors, Shingwauk and Wawanosh staff, his family, and Indigenous community members. The majority of the letters relate either to Diocesan activities or the finances of Shingwauk and Wawanosh. Wilson acted as the Bishop’s commissary while the Bishop was away in England, and so performed many of his duties, including the appointment of a day school teacher at Garden River, and the appointment of ministers in various locations around the Diocese. During these years a sash and door factory was opened and staffed by the boys, and it took orders for work from outside the school which often created a lot of issues. Although the building of the Bishop Fauquier Memorial Chapel was complete, there were a lot of problems with the donation of the stained glass windows, as well as funding for furnishing the chapel. Near the end are many letters where Wilson discusses his personal feelings about the job and mulls over the possibility of leaving his position as principal. Student activities, student recruitment and retention, school staffing, and school supplies are also frequent topics. The North-West Rebellion took place in 1885 near the end of the letter book, and Wilson wrote a number of letters detailing his opinions on the rebellion, the situation of Indigenous communities out West, and about his plans to build a new Residential School out West as a solution.

Anishinaabemowin letters: Pages 270-271

To view a PDF flipbook version of the book on the Internet Archive, click here, or scroll down for a downloadable version.

rec_shelfloc: 
2014-017-001
Repository: 
Algoma University Archive
Container Number: 
001

Letter book

Geographic Access: 
Language: 
Creator: 

Rev. George Ley King

Description Level: 
Start Date: 
1895
End Date: 
1896
Date Range: 
1895-1896
Image: 
Physical Description: 

4.5 cm of textual records.

1 v., 1000p.

Notes: 

Condition: Binding in good condition, a few of the index pages are loose

Subject tags: Algoma Missionary News, apprenticeship, bootmaking, carpentry, church societies, compulsory education, curriculum, Department of Indian Affairs, donations, farming, finances, funding, funding problems, fundraising, government contacts, government funding, government policy, government regulations, Indian Agents, Indigenous communities, insurance, physical punishment, public opinion, public school education, runaway students, school closure, school governance, school inspections, school repairs, school reports, school rules, school supplies, staffing, statistics, student activities, student clothing, student death, student discharge, student families, student health, student holidays, student occupation, student recruitment, student retention, student support, student uniforms, trades, Wawanosh

The letters in this book are from George Ley King to a number of different people, including church staff and officials, members of the Women’s Auxiliary (part of the Anglican Church), Indian Agents, Government officials such as the Superintendent General of Indian Affairs (Hayter Reed), donors, and Indigenous community members. The information is mostly focused on finances for the two Homes, especially funding towards student support, and student retention and recruitment. Finances were extremely low after Edward F. Wilson left in 1893 with many supporters giving up their donations, and King was having a hard time increasing support. The majority of students at the school during this time were unsupported. At this point in time, the government was much more involved in the management of the school, and King was required to write monthly reports detailing student health, whether any pupils were admitted or discharged, and any notable student progress or school events. Despite being more involved in the management, the government seemed to be less involved in the funding of the school and refused to increase the per capita grant for student support. They did however give the school special grants for repairs and for the installation of a hot water heating system. Students ran away frequently or failed to return after summer holidays or other leave and many of the letters relate to the enforcement of compulsory education regulations in order to bring the students back. Clothing is also a common topic as there was a low supply, but the Women’s Auxiliary often donated clothing as well as other items like books, toys, and candies. Many of the letters also deal with the fact that the school could not accept female students since Wawanosh had been closed in 1894 due to disrepair, and the plan King had for building a New Wawanosh on the Shingwauk site.

To view a PDF flipbook version of the book on the Internet Archive, click here, or scroll down for a downloadable version.

rec_shelfloc: 
2014-017-002
Repository: 
Algoma University Archive
Container Number: 
002

Letter book

Geographic Access: 
Language: 
Creator: 

Rev. George Ley King

Description Level: 
Start Date: 
1898
End Date: 
1904
Date Range: 
1898-1904
Image: 
Physical Description: 

3.5 cm of textual records.

1 v., 458 p.

Notes: 

Condition: binding in good condition, a few loose pages at the beginning of the book

Subject tags: apprenticeship, building activities, carpentry, church societies, Department of Indian Affairs, donations, farming, finances, funding, funding problems, fundraising, government contacts, government funding, government meetings, government policy, Indian Agents, Indian Residential School System, Indigneous communities, local events, public school system, runaway students, school inspections, school repairs, school reports, school supplies, statistics, student activities, student clothing, studnt discharge, student families, student health, student holidays, student occupation, student progress, student recruitment, student retention, student support, student uniforms, tailoring, trades, Wawanosh

The letters in this book are from George Ley King to a number of different people, including church staff and officials, members of the Women’s Auxiliary (part of the Anglican Church), Indian Agents, Government officials such as the Deputy Superintendent General of Indian Affairs (Hayter Reed), donors, and Indigenous community members. The majority of the letters deals with school finances, especially support for students. Finances were extremely low after Edward F. Wilson left in 1893 with many supporters giving up their donations, and King was having a hard time increasing support and trying to keep the school out of debt. The majority of students at the school during this time were unsupported. Despite the lack of funds, the school was a maximum capacity and King constantly had to refuse applications for new students who wanted to be admitted. He tried to get government funding to expand the dormitory in order to take on more male students but was unsuccessful. King did succeeded in collecting enough money to build the expansion to the school which became the New Wawanosh and allowed the school to take on female students again. While the majority of letters are from 1898-1904, there is one letter from 1905, one letter from 1907, and one letter from 1908. The letter from 1908 is a letter King received from the Indian Department, rather than one he sent to them.

To view a PDF flipbook version of the book on the Internet Archive, click here, or scroll down for a downloadable version.

rec_shelfloc: 
2014-017-002
Repository: 
Algoma University Archive
Container Number: 
002