Collection RC0710 - Thomas D'Arcy McGee collection

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Thomas D'Arcy McGee collection

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  • 1858-1925 (Creation)

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Physical description

4 cm of textual records

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Name of creator


Biographical history

Thomas D'Arcy McGee, journalist, politician, and poet, was born on 13 April 1825 in Carlingford, County Louth, Ireland. He left for New England for the first time in 1842. It was not until 1857, after a return to Ireland and a further sojourn in the United States, that he moved to Montreal. In December 1857 he was elected to represent Montreal in the Legislative Assembly. By 1867 the Irish Republican Brotherhood, more popularly known as the Fenians, were on the rise. McGee opposed them because of their support of republicans and their plans to invade British North America. McGee lost his support in the Irish community and was on the verge of withdrawing from politics when he was assassinated in Ottawa on 7 April 1868. An Irish immigrant, Patrick James Whelan, was convicted of the crime and executed on 11 February 1869. In addition to his journalism and speeches, McGee wrote A Popular History of Ireland (1863), which is considered to be his best work, and poetry which was collected and published after his death.

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Scope and content

The collection consists of 23 letters from McGee to John O'Donohoe (1824-1902), a senator.The McGee collection also contains the research materials of J. Alexander Wallace, M.P., who wrote a Master's thesis on McGee at McMaster University in 1916. The materials include: correspondence, interview notes with John M. McGee, half-brother of Thomas D'Arcy McGee, typed copy of a letter from McGee to A. M. Sullivan, editor, Nation, Dublin, 25 June 1866, and research notes concerning McGee and Whelan. (Note: There are letters from O'Donohoe in the Patrick Francis Cronin collection.)

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Collection was donated by John Wallace in 1978.


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Further accruals are not expected.

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