Fonds RC0138 - Charles Hamilton Mitchell fonds

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Charles Hamilton Mitchell fonds

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  • 1914-1959 (Creation)

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Physical description

1 m of textual records, graphic material and cartographic material
117 photographs

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Name of creator


Biographical history

Charles Hamilton Mitchell was a noted civil engineer and decorated World War I intelligence officer. He was born in Petrolia, Ontario in 1872 to the Reverend George A. Mitchell and Agnes Mitchell (nee Beckett). He had a brother, P. H. Mitchell, with whom he later went into business. Mitchell was educated primarily at the School of Practical Science at the University of Toronto. After his graduation in 1894, he worked as a city and consulting engineer in hydraulic and hydro-electric power plant design and construction until 1906. In 1901 he married Myra Ethlyn Stanton. They had one son, Donald Russell Mitchell, who died in infancy.

In 1899 Mitchell joined the Canadian Militia as a Lieutenant. He served in the 44th Lincoln and Welland Regiment and the Corps of Guides prior to the outbreak of World War I. From 1914 to 1915, he served as an intelligence officer in the 1st Division under Lord Byng. He continued to occupy increasingly senior intelligence roles in the Canadian Corps (1915-16); in France (2nd Army, 1916-1917); and in Italy (British Forces HQ, 1917-1918). He received numerous decorations, including a DSO, CMG, CB, VD, Legion of Honour (France), Order of Leopold (Belgium), Croix de Guerre (Belgium), Order of the Crown of Italy, and the Order of Bath. In 1918 he was promoted to the rank of Brigadier General and became a senior intelligence officer at the War Office in London.

In 1919, Mitchell returned to the Canadian Army. Shortly thereafter he was appointed Dean of Engineering at the University of Toronto’s Faculty of Applied Science and Engineering. He continued to serve both in this role and as an influential consulting engineer until his death in 1941. At the time of his death he was reportedly newly involved in World War II intelligence work.

Custodial history

Scope and content

The fonds consists of two accruals which have been combined. It contains primarily material dating from or related to Mitchell’s World War I military service. The bulk of the material includes correspondence to family, friends, and associates during the period of the war, and memorabilia collected during Mitchell’s travels as an intelligence officer. The latter includes intelligence related material, such as maps, orders, reports and dispatches.

Mitchell himself organized much of his correspondence and memorabilia into nine letter books and four scrapbooks. Letter books largely contain personal letters to family members and scrapbooks contain military memorabilia such as cards and army ephemera, as well as photographs, some correspondence, and intelligence material, often pertaining to the country in which Mitchell was serving at the time.

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Physical condition

Immediate source of acquisition

The first accrual (45-2011) was acquired in November 2011; the second accrual (19-2012) in May 2012, both from Stephen Traviss.


Mitchell himself organized much of his correspondence and memorabilia into nine letter books and four scrapbooks, and in some cases provided approximate date ranges or sequential numbers for this material. As there are gaps in these sequences, the archivist has organized the books chronologically as far as possible. Loose material inserted between the front and back covers of the letter and scrapbooks appeared to be unrelated to the date range or theme of the books and was removed by the archivist. It has been arranged in files along with other loose material which arrived in disarray. The main file groups include correspondence, news clippings, photographs, World War I memorabilia, and memorabilia related to Mitchell’s personal and professional life.

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There are no access restrictions.

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Further accruals are not expected.

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