Collection RC0916 - Dr. William G. Bensen Fur Trade Collection of Robert D.W. Band

Title and statement of responsibility area

Title proper

Dr. William G. Bensen Fur Trade Collection of Robert D.W. Band

General material designation

  • Textual record

Parallel title

Other title information

Title statements of responsibility

Title notes

Level of description


Reference code


Edition area

Edition statement

Edition statement of responsibility

Class of material specific details area

Statement of scale (cartographic)

Statement of projection (cartographic)

Statement of coordinates (cartographic)

Statement of scale (architectural)

Issuing jurisdiction and denomination (philatelic)

Dates of creation area


  • 1689 - 1892 (Creation)

Physical description area

Physical description

0.75 m of textual records
7 cm supplementary material

Publisher's series area

Title proper of publisher's series

Parallel titles of publisher's series

Other title information of publisher's series

Statement of responsibility relating to publisher's series

Numbering within publisher's series

Note on publisher's series

Archival description area

Custodial history

This collection was assembled gradually over the lifetime of Robert D. W. Band, a noted collector of Canadiana, fur trade material, and military realia. After his passing in 2013, the core of his collection pertaining to the Fur Trade was listed for sale in the disposition of his estate. The collection was purchased by Wynn Bensen, with the intent of donating it to McMaster, in memory of her husband Dr. William George Bensen, MD, FRCPC.

Scope and content

99 items relating to the fur trade in French and British Canada from the 17th to 19th centuries. Some items (e.g. exchanges of correspondence) comprise multiple components. The collection includes correspondence, voyageur contracts, diaries, court proceedings, account books, indentures, bills of exchange, company money, and other documents pertinent to the exercise of the fur trade.

This remarkable collection includes extensive personal and official documentation relating to the exercise of the fur trade in the territory which would eventually become Canada. Included are significant letters (from James McGill, George Simpson, and Catherine Fraser, among others), personal diaries, legal indentures, court papers (especially pertaining to lawsuits), account books, indictments, voyageur contracts, and more. Of particular note are extensive materials relating to the business of several significant fur trading concerns, including both major players like the North West Company and Hudson’s Bay Company and smaller firms like McTavish Frobisher Co., McTavish, McGillvrays and Co., &c. The collection also contains a substantial body of documentation relating to the Anglo-French Cornud family, which was heavily involved in the fur trade.

The collection also contains unlisted supplementary material prepared by Robert D. W. Band and his estate, including transcriptions, facsimiles, handwritten notes, and bibliographic information.

Notes area

Physical condition

Concise condition notes for each item may be found in the catalogue.

Immediate source of acquisition

The collection was acquired from Wynn Bensen in 2018.


Items have been maintained in the intellectual order of the original sale listing from the disposition of Robert D. W. Band's estate.

Language of material

  • English
  • French

Script of material

Location of originals

Availability of other formats

Restrictions on access

The collection is undergoing item-by-item conservation work. Some items may be unavailable for access owing to their condition.

Terms governing use, reproduction, and publication

All material in the Fur Trade collection is in the public domain.

Finding aids

Online catalogue.

This catalogue was prepared by Myron Groover in 2019-20, based on an original sale listing of the collection provided by Gord Russell of Alexander Books. The invaluable assistance of conservator Audrie Schell, who prepared detailed item-level conservation and content notes on each item, is gratefully acknowledged.

Associated materials

Related materials


Further accruals are not expected.

Alternative identifier(s)

Standard number area

Standard number

Access points

Place access points

Name access points

Genre access points

Control area

Description record identifier

Institution identifier

Rules or conventions


Level of detail

Dates of creation, revision and deletion

2020-02-07, M. Groover.

Language of description

Script of description


Accession area