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Mount Allison University Libraries | Music Library
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Pages through the Ages: A History of Mount Allison's Libraries & Archives: Special Collections

A virtual exhibit of Mount Allison's early libraries and the faculty members who established and supported them.

Special Collections


Winthrop Pickard Bell Collection of Acadiana


The Winthrop Pickard Bell Collection of Acadiana was established in 1967 in memory of Winthrop Pickard Bell (1884-1965), a proud graduate of Mount Allison University (BA ’04, MA ’07).

A lifelong scholar, Winthrop Pickard Bell had a variety of research interests, including the families and settlements of  Acadia (New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, Prince Edward Island, and eastern Maine).  When he left his personal library to Mount Allison in his will, the approximately 700 works in this research area were separated in order to create a special collection.

On the recommendation of University Librarian Eleanor Magee, it was decided that the Collection would focus particularly on “historic Acadia…from the Gaspe to the region of the Penobscot and Kennebec rivers, and includes all provinces of Nova Scotia, Prince Edward Island and New Brunswick, and part of the state of Maine.” [1] This decision has led to a truly unique collection.  When the second edition of the Winthrop Pickard Bell Collection of Acadiana catalogue was published in 1987, then Special Collections Librarian Margaret Fancy noted that “the Bell collection is unlike collections at provincial archives and museums in that it is not limited by provincial boundaries. Many historical and cultural patterns are common to all three Maritime provinces, so a collection of this nature is a valuable Maritimes Studies resource.” [2]

The emphasis of the Collection is pre-twentieth century, and all subjects relating to Acadia are collected. The majority of the Collection is in the English language, although there are works in French and other languages.

The Acadiana Collection has grown tremendously since Winthrop Pickard Bell first donated his personal library. The Collection currently has over 14,000 items, in all formats, several languages, and covering all subject areas. An active acquisitions programme is made possible through support from the endowment fund for the W. P. Bell Chair in Maritime Studies. The Collection is fully searchable through the online catalogue, and items may be used within the library.

 

Winthrop Pickard Bell

Winthrop Pickard Bell was born May 12, 1884 in Halifax, Nova Scotia the son of Andrew Mackinlay Bell (1847-1918) and Mary Emerancy (Pickard) Bell (1847-1918).  By the time of his death on April 4, 1965, he had established his name as a philosopher, businessman, historian, and philanthropist.

Dr.  Bell received a Bachelor of Arts Degree with Honours in Mathematics from Mount Allison in 1904, followed by a Master’s degree in 1907.  He went on to graduate studies at Harvard and Cambridge Universities, and the University of Leipzig.  He received his doctoral degree, magna cum laude, from Georg-August-Universität in Göttingen, Germany in 1914 where he studied under Prof. Edmund Husserl, the leader of the German phenomenological movement.   Accused of being an enemy of the state, Bell spent World War I interned at the Ruhleben Prison Camp near Berlin, Germany . 

After returning to Canada Dr. Bell alternated scholarly roles, at both the University of Toronto and Harvard University and independently, with participation in his brother Ralph’s many business ventures.  In 1948 he began a four-year term on the Board of Regents of Mount Allison University and was very actively involved in the work of his alma mater.  

Bell had a keen interest in Maritimes genealogy and history, publishing The “Foreign Protestants” and the Settlement of Nova Scotia in 1961 and A Genealogical Study the following year.  He was later recognized by the Canadian Historical Association and received a certificate of merit from the American Association for State and Local History for the first work.

After his death in 1965, Dr. Bell donated his personal library to Mount Allison.   His collection of Acadiana titles, covering a variety of subjects pertaining to Canada’s  Maritime Provinces (New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, and Prince Edward Island) and eastern Maine, formed the basis for a new Special Collection which has been developed extensively over the last four decades.  Financial support from the Winthrop Pickard Bell Chair of Maritime Studies endowment enables continued acquisitions of important regional materials.  Today the Winthrop Pickard Bell Collection of Acadiana is a fine collection of record, drawing researchers from around the globe and all walks of life. Other works from Dr. Bell’s collection were added to the library’s main holdings.  A review is currently underway, with the intent to gather these titles together to ensure their continued availability. 

 

For more information on specialized collections, please see the Mount Allison Libraries' Special Collections site. Visit the Winthrop Pickard Bell Virtual Exhibition to learn more.

 

Notes


Original text from the Winthrop Pickard Bell fonds finding aid by David Mawhinney, 2005; revised by Elizabeth Millar, 2010. Image of Winthrop Pickard Bell taken from the Mount Allison Archives, Picture Collection, 2007.07/1059.

[1] Lynne Owen, “Bell Collection of Acadiana, Mount Allison University,” APLA Bulletin 35 (Mar. 1971): 6-7.

[2] “Extensive Catalogue of Acadiana Collection Completed,” Sackville Tribune-Post 3 March 1987: 13.

Mary Mellish Archibald Memorial Library Collection


From 1900 to 1907, the librarian of the Ladies' College Library was alumnus Raymond Clare Archibald who was also teaching mathematics and was head of the violin department. Beginning in 1905, he began to develop a special section in the Ladies' College library. He named it the Mary Mellish Archibald Memorial Library (MMAML) in honour of his mother, a former Ladies’ College Vice-Principal who died in 1901. His purpose was to build a collection that would supplement the classical and theological emphasis of the University’s library collection, with books and journals of interest to those studying music, art, household science, and modern literature at the Ladies’ College. He focused on English and American poetry and drama and related subjects. In addition, he purchased early and rare sound recordings of authors reading their works, and of musicians and actors performing. His interest in folk-lore produced an excellent collection of folk songs, children’s and students’ songs, as well as a reference collection of folklore texts and journals. The MMAML also contained a unique selection of magnetic tapes and disks from which the voices of poets and dramatists could be heard. Archibald acquired, catalogued, and interpreted these materials, often during his summer break from teaching responsibilities.

The history of his alma mater was another interest of Dr. Archibald’s, and through personal initiative he sought to collect and compile a collection of original records that would document the history of the Mount Allison institutions. These records of the documentary heritage of the institutions were preserved and guarded in the storage area of the MMAML. This collection of materials subsequently became the core of the Mount Allison University Archives which was established during the 1969-1970 academic year.

The MMAML was located in the Ladies' College until 1927 when it was moved to the new Memorial Library and given its own quarters. At this time there were 1,000 volumes and 117 recordings (Record, Spring 1970). By the time Archibald died in 1955, the collection included 23,000 volumes, 2,700 records, and 70,000 songs.

The MMAML was moved once more when the Ralph Pickard Bell Library opened in 1970, where it remains housed as part of the libraries' Special Collections. The Collection currently contains materials relating to folk music, folklore, ballad literature, folk life, art song and college songs. The focus of the older material is largely English-language publications pertaining to these subjects in Canada, the British Isles and the United States. More recently, folklore and folk life resources from around the world have been added. The Collection currently holds over 12,000 volumes, with extensive back runs of journal titles. The rare items of the Collection (approximately 2,000 titles) are stored in the Rare Book Room, the journals are shelved on the ground floor of the Library, and all other print materials are housed in the Mary Mellish Room which is an open-access collection on the third floor of the R.P. Bell Library. Rare items may be used within the library. The Collection is supported by an endowment which Dr. Archibald began in 1905.

 

Mary Mellish Archibald

Mary Mellish was born in Pownal, Prince Edward Island in January 1849. She came to study at Mount Allison Wesleyan Academy, Female Branch and graduated in 1867 with a Mistress of Liberal Arts (MLA). She returned to this institution, renamed the Mount Allison Wesleyan Female Academy, in 1869 as a teacher and was preceptress until failing health forced her to resign in 1873. She married Abram N. Archibald on December 14, 1874, and their son Raymond Clare Archibald was born at South Branch, Stewiacke, Nova Scotia on October 7, 1875. After her husband’s death in 1883, she returned to teaching and was re-appointed as the Preceptress of the Mount Allison Wesleyan Ladies’ Academy in 1885. She served in that capacity, (re-named Vice-Principal of the Mount Allison Ladies’ College in 1897), until her untimely death from pneumonia in New York City on January 9, 1901.

 

Raymond Clare Archibald

Raymond Clare Archibald was born at South Branch, Stewiacke, Nova Scotia on 7 October 1875. He was the son of Abram Newcomb Archibald (1849-1883) and Mary (Mellish) Archibald (1849-1901). Dr. Archibald attended the Mount Allison Wesleyan Academy from 1885-1889, and the University of Mount Allison College from 1889-1894.  He received a Bachelor of Arts degree with first class honours in Mathematics, and a teacher’s diploma in violin from the Mount Allison Ladies’ College.  During the 1894-1895 academic year he taught Mathematics at the Ladies’ College, and earned an artist’s violin diploma.

In 1895 Dr. Archibald began studies in Mathematics and Astronomy at Harvard University, and graduated with a BA in 1896 and an MA in 1897.   He then attended the University of Berlin (1898-1899), and the University of Strasbourg (1899-1900) where he was the first English speaking student to receive a Ph.D. in Mathematics.

Upon his return to Canada Dr. Archibald served as Professor of Mathematics, Librarian, and Head of the Violin Department at the Mount Allison Ladies’ College from 1900-1907.  During these years he encouraged and aided students with the publishing of Allisonia (1903-1912), and assembled materials pertaining to Mount Allison including complete sets of institutional publications such as the academic catalogues and The Argosy.

Dr. Archibald next served as Professor of Mathematics and Head of the Department at Acadia University (1907-1908), and in 1908 joined the faculty at Brown University where he taught the history of mathematics until his retirement in 1943.  While at Brown he also helped develop one of the finest mathematical libraries in the United States at that time.  He received honorary degrees from the University of Padua (1922) and Mount Allison University (1923).

Between 1905 and his death in1955 Dr. Archibald founded and developed the Mary Mellish Archibald Memorial Library (MMAML) at Mount Allison.  At the time of his death the collection included 23,000 volumes, 2,700 records, and 70,000 songs. The MMAML also contained a unique selection of magnetic tapes and disks from which the voices of poets and dramatists could be heard. He acquired, catalogued, and interpreted these materials, often during his summer break from teaching responsibilities.

The history of his alma mater was another interest of Dr. Archibald’s, and through personal initiative he sought to collect and compile a collection of original records that would document the history of the Mount Allison institutions. These records of the documentary heritage of the institutions were preserved and guarded in the storage area of the MMAML. This collection of materials subsequently became the core of the Mount Allison University Archives which was established during the 1969-1970 academic year.

Notes


Image of Mary Mellish Archibald taken from the Mount Allison University Archives, Picture Collection, 2007.07/1028.

Edgar and Dorothy Davidson Collection of Canadiana


The Edgar and Dorothy Davidson Collection of Canadiana is a treasure of nearly six hundred rare first-edition books and early imprints spanning the seventeenth to the nineteenth centuries.  The Davidsons had a keen interest in the early history of Canada, and donated their private collection to Mount Allison in 1969 when they established the Edgar and Dorothy Davidson Chair in Canadian Studies.

The Collection covers five main subject areas: French and French influence; English and English influence; Arctic exploration; the Western Frontier; and early Canadian imprints.  Works by Lescarbot, Champlain, Vancouver, Franklin and Palliser are a few of the vivid accounts of Canadian exploration and settlement.  There are personal testimonies of battles, ethnographies of Native peoples, early histories of the country, scientific and religious treaties, and fascinating examples of government boosterism and propaganda.

Edgar Davidson was born in Germany, and came to Canada as a young man in the 1920s.  Educated at Macdonald College and Queen’s University, Dr. Davidson was a distinguished student.  Once he began his teaching career, he served the school system as teacher, vice-principal, principal, and co-ordinator of educational development plans for the Protestant School Board of Greater Montreal.  In recognition of his exceptional contributions to his profession, Dr. Davidson was made an honorary life member of the Provincial Association of Protestant Teachers, and was awarded the Scholastic Order of Merit for Great Distinction by the Government of Quebec.  For his wartime service in the Intelligence Branch of the Canadian Navy he was awarded a membership in the Order of the British Empire.  Dr. Davidson received an honorary degree from Mount Allison in 1969.

Dorothy Davidson was born in Joliette, Quebec, and graduated magna cum laude from McGill University with a Bachelor of Arts degree.  An accomplished musician, she studied in Montreal, New York, and London.  Dr. Davidson was the first woman to be elected to the Board of Governors of the Mechanics Institute of Montreal, and served on the executive of a number of charitable organizations.  In recognition of her philanthropic work, Dr. Davidson received an honorary degree from Mount Allison in 1969.

The catalogue for the Collection is available in print format in the reference collection of the main library at Z1365. R34 1991 as well as online. Materials may be used within the library with permission of the University Librarian.

 

For more information on specialized collections, please see the Mount Allison Libraries' Special Collections site.

 

Notes


Original text from The Edgar and Dorothy Davidson Collection of Canadiana at Mount Allison University Bibliography promotional sheet, 1991; and the Honorary Degree citations for Edgar Davidson and Dorothy Davidson,  1969; revised by Elizabeth Millar, August 2010.

Image is the title page of the catalogue of The Edgar and Dorothy Davidson Collection of Canadiana

Macpherson Family Collection of Newfoundlandia


The Macpherson Family Collection of Newfoundlandiana was donated by friend of Mount Allison Mr. Cluny Macpherson, his wife Dawne (MTA ’85) and their two daughters Stephane Macpherson Léger (MTA ’91) and Suzanne Macpherson  (MTA ’89) in memory of Dr. Cluny Macpherson, the Honourable Harold Macpherson, and the Honourable Campbell  Macpherson. 

The Collection contains over 400 books, pamphlets and scrapbooks on the history, politics, economics, and society of Newfoundland from as early as the 1620s to the late 1960s.  Accessible through the online catalogue, Macpherson Collection materials may be consulted within the library.

The distinguished medical career of Lieutenant-Colonel Dr. Cluny Macpherson (1879-1966) took him from Dr. Wilfred Grenfell’s Mission in Battle Harbour, Labrador, to private practice in St. John’s, to First World War service overseas with the Newfoundland Regiment, where his invention of the gas mask was a vital contribution to the Allied war effort.  Following his return to Newfoundland, Dr. Macpherson took on leading roles in the provincial, national, and international medical profession.

The Honourable Harold Macpherson (1884-1963) was a prominent Newfoundland businessman and director of many Canadian corporations.  He was a member of the Legislative Council (Upper House) of Newfoundland from 1930-1934, and served on Mount Allison’s Board of Regents.  Mr. Macpherson was a noted dog breeder, becoming one of the world’s best authorities on the Newfoundland breed and credited with saving it from extinction.  In recognition of his varied and extensive contributions and achievements, he received an honorary degree from Mount Allison in 1955.

The Honourable Campbell Macpherson (1907-1973) joined his St. John’s family business, The Royal Stores, in 1925, becoming its president in 1963 upon the death of his uncle, Harold Macpherson.  He was awarded the Order of the British Empire “for services as Civil Aide de Camp to Governors of Newfoundland” [1] in 1949, and served as Newfoundland’s Lieutenant-Governor from 1957-1963.  Mr. Macpherson also served on Mount Allison’s Board of Regents, and received an honorary degree in 1962.

 

For more information on specialized collections, please see the Mount Allison Libraries' Special Collections site.

 

Notes


[1] “Macpherson, Hon. Campbell Leonard,” The Canadian Who’s Who 8 (1958-60): 700.