Authors and Sources


The Printed Word, 18th and 19th Centuries (Volume II, Plate 51; Concise Plate 31)
JOHN H. WADLAND Canadian Studies Program, Trent University
MARGARET HOBBS Women's Studies Program, Trent University

The authors are deeply indebted to John Wiseman, Fernand Harvey, and George Parker for their assistance in the preparation of this plate. 


Newspapers by County, 1891 (Map)
Newspapers, 1891 (Map)
Numbers of Newspapers Published, 1813-1891 (Graph)

This map identifies communities in which newspapers survived until 1891. Almost invariably the most independent newspapers were those based in major urban centres, not because their occupants were more intelligent but because they constituted the densest consumer market. As time passed, the symbiotic relationship between advertising and circulation strengthened. Advertisements consumed between one-third and two-thirds of the space in any given newspaper; by 1900 big-city dailies generated 75% of their revenues from advertisements. In 1891 there were 101 dailies in Canada, of which 36 were Conservative, 35 Liberal, and 30 Independent.

  • Beaulieu, Andre, and Jean Hamelin. La presse québécoise des origines à nos jours. Québec: Les Presses de 1'Université Laval, 1973-9, Vols 1-4
  • Boylann, Heather, compiler. Checklist and Historical Directory of Prince Edward Island Newspapers, 1787-1986. Charlottetown: Provincial Archives of Prince Edward Island, 1987
  • The Canadian Newspaper Directory. Montréal: McKim, 1892 Ellison, Suzanne, compiler. Historical Directory of Newfoundland and Labrador Newspapers, 1807-1987. St John's: Memorial University of Newfoundland, Library, 1988
  • Gilchrist, J.Brian, ed and compiler. Inventory of Ontario Newspapers, 1793-1986. Toronto: Micromedia, 1987
  • Harper, J. Russell, Historical Directory of New Brunswick Newspapers and Periodicals. Fredericton: University of New Brunswick, 1961
  • MacDonald, Christine. Historical Directory of Saskatchewan Newspapers, 1878-1983. Regina and Saskatoon: Saskatchewan Archives Board, 1984
  • Manitoba Library Association. Manitoba Newspaper Checklist with Library Holdings, 1859-1986. Winnipeg: Manitoba Library Association, 1986
  • Smith, Ruell. Canadian Newspapers in the University of British Columbia Library. Vancouver: University of British Columbia Library, 1974
  • Strathern, Gloria. Alberta Newspapers, 1880-1982: An Historical Directory. Edmonton: University of Alberta Press, 1988
  • Tratt, Gertrude E.N. A Surrey and Listing of Nova Scotia Newspapers, 1752-1957. Halifax: Dalhousie University Libraries and Dalhousie University School of Library Services, 1979

    Public Libraries, 1779-1891 (Graph)
    Major Libraries, 1891 (Graph)
    Montreal Collective Libraries, 1659-1900 (Graph)

    The public library as we understand it did not exist before the end of the 19th century. The first public-access libraries in Canada date from the Québec Library of 1779. We call such institutions collective libraries because they served groups of people who had need of specific books. They might be owned jointly by shareholders who formed an association with the express purpose of organizing a library, or they might be established as adjuncts to professional bodies, such as a bar association or medical society, or they might be subscription libraries supported by membership fees and bequests. The immediate precursor of the public library was the Mechanics' Institute. Mechanics' Institutes originated in Britain in 1823 as voluntary educational associations of apprentices and labourers looking for ways to expand their skills in an increasingly technical world. The York Mechanics' Institute was established in 1830. Two years later the York Typographical Society, predecessor of the oldest trade union in Canada, was founded. Presumably the printing and allied trades would have been moving forces in the creation of the Institutes. Their workers were both literate and highly skilled in the increasingly technical sphere of communication. By 1895, when provincial legislation effectively converted them into public libraries, there were in Ontario approximately 300 Mechanics' Institutes, of which over 30% contained more than 1,000 volumes each.

    Parish libraries in rural Québec reflected ultramontane pressure to oppose the Instituts canadiens. The first Institut canadien was founded in Montréal in 1844 and was emulated in over 50 centres thereafter. The Instituts were havens for intellectual discussion and animated political debate and often maintained libraries containing a rich array of secular, often controversial, publications, including newspapers. When the Church triumphed, stamping out most of the Instituts by 1885, the library of the Montréal Institut canadien was amalgamated with the famous Mercantile Library after being purchased by the Fraser Institute. In 1891 the Fraser Institute could circulate 30 000 volumes. In the 19th century 165 libraries (21 of them parish libraries) were founded in Montréal alone. Although few were large and few survived intact into the 20th century, their holdings were gradually consolidated and continued to serve the community. For example, the Cabinet de lecture paroissial de Montréal (1857) absorbed the ultramontane-inspired (Euvre des bons livres (1844), and together they constituted the backbone of the Bibliothèque Saint-Sulpice (1915), which evolved into the Bibliotheque nationale du Quebec (1967). On our maps neither parish nor Sunday school libraries have been included, but it should not be assumed that they were always small or that their titles were invariably sectarian. Only the principal libraries of the universities and classical colleges appear in our analysis. The latter are particularly important; Yvan Lamonde has shown that between 1856 and 1881 they contained almost 50% of the volumes held by all educational institutions in Québec, including universities, academies, écoles normales, and écoles modèles. Were it possible to map all school, township, parish, convent, semi¬nary, Sunday school, trade union, hospital, personal, business, and traveling libraries across the country, one would be struck at once by the extraordinary number of institutions housing books and by their widespread distribution. Still, urban centres contained the largest and most cosmopolitan collections, while the population remained predominantly rural.

  • Bain, James. 'Public Libraries in the Dominion of Canada.' In Weston Flint, ed. Statistics of Public Libraries in the United States and Canada. Office of Education, Circular of Information no. 7. Washington: Government Printing Office, 1893. Pp 205-13
  • Bain, James. The Public Libraries of Canada.' In J. Castell Hopkins, ed. Canada: An Encyclopedia of the Country. Toronto: Liscott, 1899. Vol 5, pp 207-11
  • Bow, Eric C. The Public Library Movement in Nineteenth Century Ontario.' Ontario Library Revieu* 66 (Mar1982): 1-16
  • Bruce, Lome. 'Public Libraries in Ontario, 1882-1920.' Ontario History 77 (June 1985): 123-49
  • Canada. Dominion Bureau of Statistics. Annual Survey of Education in Canada, 1928. Ottawa, 1930
  • Coughlin, Violet L. Larger Units of Public Library Service in Canada: With Particular Reference to the Provinces of Prince Edward Island, Nova Scotia and New Brunswick. Metuchen, NJ: Scarecrow Press, 1968. Pp. 28-39
  • Curtis, Bruce. '"Littery Merritt," "Useful Knowledge" and the Organization of Town¬ship Libraries in Canada West, 1840-1860.' Ontario History 78 (Dec 1986): 265-311
  • Greer, Allan. ‘The Pattern of Literacy in Quebec, 1745-1899.' Histoire sociale / Social History 11 (1978): 295-335
  • Lamonde, Yvan. Les bibliothèques de collectivités à Montréal (17 e-19 e siècles). Montreal: Bibliothèque nationale du Québec, 1979
  • Lamonde, Yvan, ed. L'imprimé au Quebéc: aspects historiques (18e-20e siècles). Quebec; Institut québécois de recherche sur la culture, 1983
  • Ontario. Department of Education. Special Report of the Minister of Education on the Mechanics' Institutes. Toronto: Robinson, 1881
  • Payne, Michael, and Gregory Thomas. 'Literacy, Literature and Librarians in the Fur Trade.' Beaver no. 313 (Spring 1983): 44-53
  • Rhees, William J. Manual of' Public Libraries, Institutions and Societies in the United States and British Provinces of North America. Philadelphia: Lippincott, 1859
  • Ryder, Dorothy. ‘The Red River Public Library, June 1822.' Papers of the Bibliographical Society of Canada 22 (1983):16-55

    Further Readings

  • Bain, James. 'Canadian Libraries' Library Journal 25 (Aug 1900): 7-10
  • Beaven, Brian P.N. 'Partnership, Patronage and the Press in Ontario, 1880-1914: Myths and Realities.'Canadian Historical Review 64 (Sep 1983): 317-51
  • Benn, Carl. ‘The Upper Canadian Press, 1773-1815.' Ontario History 70 (1978): 91-114 Bernatchez, Ginette. 'La societe littéraire et historique de Québec, 1824-1890.' Revue d'histoire de I'Amérique française 35 (1981): 179-92
  • Blanchard, Jim. 'Anatomy of Failure: Ontario Mechanics' Institutes, 1835-1895.' Canadian Library Journal 38 (Dec 1981): 393-8
  • The Canadian Book of Printing; How Printing Came to Canada and the Story of the Graphic Arts, Told Mainly in Pictures. Toronto : Toronto Public Libraries, 1940
  • Canadian Library Journal. Special issue on library history 38 (Dec 1981) de Bonville, Jean. La presse québécoise de 1884. a 1914 : genèse d'un media de masse. Québec: Les Presses de 1'Université Laval, 1988
  • Daily newspaper circulation, 1872-1900, Rutherford, Paul. A Victorian Authority: The Daily Press in Late Nineteenth Century Canada. Toronto: Toronto University of Toronto Press, 1982 P 5
  • Fauteaux, Aegidius. The Introduction of Printing into Canada. Montréal: Rolland,1930 Garry, Lorraine Spencer, and Carl Garry. Canadian Libraries in Their Changing Environment. Downsview: Centre for Continuing Education, 1977
  • Growth of specialized journals, 1885-1893. Canada, Department of Agriculture. The Statistical Year Book of Canada, 1894. Ottawa, 1895. P 1029
  • Gundy, H. Pearson. Book Publishing and Publishers in Canada before 1900. Toronto: Bibliographical Society of Canada, 1965
  • Gundy, H. Pearson. Early Printers and Printing in the Canadas. Toronto: Bibliographical Society of Canada, 1965
  • Hardy, E.A. The Public Library: Its Place in Our Educational System. Toronto: Briggs, 1912
  • Hayne, David M. 'Quebec Library History: A Survey.' Canadian Library journal 38(Dec 1981): 355-61
  • Hulse, Elizabeth. A Dictionary of Toronto Printers, Publishers, Booksellers and the Allied Trades, 1798-1900. Toronto: Anson-Cartwright, 1982
  • Kesterton, W.H. A History of Journalism in Canada. Toronto: McClelland and Stewart, 1967
  • Klinck, Carl F., ed. Literary History of Canada. 2nd ed. 3 vols. Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 1976
  • Lamonde, Yvan. 'Social Origins of the Public Library in Montreal' Canadian Library Journal, 38 (Dec 1918), 363-70
  • Literary Production in Québec, 1800-1899. Tellier, Sylvie. Chronologie littéaire du Québec. Québec. Institute québecois de recherche sur la culture, 1982
  • Lovell's Province of Ontario Directory of 1871. Montreal : Lovell, 1871
  • Loveridge, D.M. A Historical Directory of Manitoba Newspapers, 1859-1978. Winnipeg: University of Manitoba Press, 1981
  • McNally, Peter F., ed. Readings in Canadian Library History. Ottawa: Canadian Library Association, 1986
  • Morton, Elizabeth H. 'Library History of Canada: A Panoramic Survey.' Library History Review 1 (Dec 1974): 65-98; 2 (Mar 1974); 82-106
  • Printed materials in Upper Canada Imprints, 1801-1840. Fleming, Patricia Lockhart. Upper Canadian Imprints, 1801-1841. Toronto University of Toronto Press, 1988
  • Rowell's American Newspaper Directory: Containing a Description of All the Newspapers and Periodicals Published in the United States and Territories, Dominion of Canada and Newfoundland, and of the Towns and Cities in Which They Are Published, Together with a Statement or Estimate of the Average Number of Copies Printed by Each Publication Catalogued. 40 vols. New York: Rowell, 1869-1908
  • Sharing the Role, 1857. The Canadian Directory for 1857-58. Montréal: Lovell, 1857. Pp 1140-5
  • Tod, Dorothea, and Audrey Cordingley. 'A Bibliography of Canadian Literary Periodicals, 1789-1900.' Transactions of the Royal Society of Canada. 3rd series. 26, section 2 (1932): 87-96
  • Tremaine, Marie. Early Printing in Canada. Toronto: Golden Dog Press, 1934 Wallace, W. Stewart. The Ryerson Imprint: A Checklist of the Books and Pamphlets Published by the Ryerson Press since the Foundation of the House in 1829. Toronto: Ryerson Press, 1954
  • Wiseman, John A. 'Phoenix in Flight: Ontario Mechanics' Institutes, 1880-1920.' Canadian Library Journal 38 (Dec 1981): 401-5
  • Wiseman, John A. 'Silent Companions: The Dissemination of Books and Periodicals in Nineteenth Century Ontario.' Publishing History 12 (1982): 17-50