Hudson’s Bay Company Makes Major Donation Of Archival Records To Province Of Manitoba

by NationTalk on November 22, 2007976 Views

November 22, 2007

A donation to the Province of Manitoba of new archival records from the Hudson’s Bay Company was received today by Premier Gary Doer.

The donation will join the unique collection recently inscribed on the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization’s (UNESCO) Memory of the World Register. The UNESCO Memory of the World Register identifies and lists the most significant documentary heritage collections in the world.“These archives are a unique and valuable resource in which we find pieces of our country’s history, its land and its people,” said Doer. “With this new donation, the Hudson’s Bay Company has demonstrated its continuing commitment to the further development of its archives. This donation enriches the collection as a whole and ensures that Hbc’s contribution to Canadian history will continue to be preserved.”

The archives, which are housed in Winnipeg, trace the Hudson’s Bay Company from its inception in 1670 through the development of the fur trade, North American exploration and settlement and the growth of the company’s Canadian retail, wholesale, property and natural resources business into the 20th century. Today’s donation includes 1,395 feet (425 metres) of records, mostly from the 20th century, and is the first major addition of archival records to the Hudson’s Bay Company archives since the original donation in 1994.

“We are proud of our history at Hbc and of our contribution to the preservation and promotion of Canada’s history,” said Jerry Zucker, governor and CEO, Hbc. “We have entrusted our historical legacy to the Province of Manitoba and we are pleased to continue this partnership with today’s donation of archival records.”

This donation extends the continuity of the Hbc’s archival record and provides documentation of Hbc’s administration and business activities through the 20th century including its transition from a British company to a Canadian company. These records document Hbc’s ongoing social, economic and cultural impact on Canada’s history and follow the changing nature of the Canadian economy and the rise of the retail sector.

The records will be of interest to academics, students, genealogists and other researchers from around the world increasingly interested in the history of the 20th century. The appraiser of the 2007 donation noted the research value is outstanding and the documents provide insight into all aspects of the operation of the company.

The archives of Hbc were transferred by the company from London to the Archives of Manitoba in 1974 for safekeeping and first made accessible to the public in 1975. In 1994, Hbc formally donated its archives to the Province of Manitoba. Out of the tax savings generated by this donation, Hbc created the Hudson’s Bay Company History Foundation. The foundation funds and supports the operations of the Hudson’s Bay Company archives as a division of the Archives of Manitoba. The partnership between Hbc and the Archives of Manitoba has supported the preservation of the records of this unique historical company and made possible their continuing availability to local, national and international clientele.

In 2006, 2,670 researchers used the Hbc archives onsite. Tours were provided to a further 1,020 people, mostly school and university groups. Through mail and Internet, an additional1,200 questions were answered and 1,170 microfilm reels were loaned to support research in other institutions.

Also in 2006, the Hbc archives were used in the writing of numerous books or theses, articles and film/video/DVD productions. The archives contributed to nine exhibitions in Winnipeg, Ottawa, Timmins, London, Prince Edward Island, Minnesota, New Hampshire, France and Australia.

Additional information can be found at the Archives of Manitoba Hudson’s Bay Company archives website at

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