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Archival description
Thomas Forsyth McIlwraith fonds Series
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Correspondence (Author)

Series consists of correspondence from colleagues and other individuals relating to McIlwraith’s research, teaching, and publishing. Included within the series is correspondence from Margaret Mead, letters related to his research on the Nuxalk Nation, as well as communication regarding a C.B.C. radio script with which he was involved.

Correspondence (Chronological)

Series consists of professional correspondence received from various individuals, governmental bodies, and organizations. Also included is a letter addressed to James Loudon, President of University College, written 1890’s.

Personal and biographical

Series consist of records documenting McIlwraith’s personal life and includes certificates from the Washington Academy of Sciences and other organizations, correspondence, and a will.

Correspondence (Administrative)

Series consists of correspondence related to McIlwraith’s administrative roles and includes his teaching activity. Material includes students records, recommendations, and exams; correspondence related to UofT’s Department of Anthropology, and between various departments at the university; as well as the former Department of Indian Affairs.

Subject Files

Series consists of subject files related to a broad range of organizations, groups, and activities. Material includes records related to the Royal Ontario Museum, the Canadian Social Sciences Research Council, various archaeological digs, UofT’s Department of Anthology field research, and African language cards.

Academic Lectures

Series consists of lectures delivered by McIlwraith while teaching at Cambridge University and the University of Toronto. Lectures cover a range of topics within anthropology and are directed to first-year students, third-year medical students, as well as including some graduate-level seminars.

Public Lectures and Addresses

Series consists of notes for public lectures and addresses given by McIlwraith. Included in the series is a listing of these lectures which have each been assigned a number. Subjects include cultural practices of indigenous communities in North America, particularly Ontario and British Columbia (predominantly unidentified), evolution, human biology, folk-lore, and anthropology as a field.

Unpublished Manuscripts (Cambridge University)

Series consists of unpublished manuscripts written by McIlwraith during his time at Cambridge University. Titles focus on various African traditions and include The Influence of Egypt on African Death Ceremonies and On the Bola in Central Africa.

Unpublished Manuscripts (University of Toronto)

Series consists of unpublished manuscripts written by McIlwraith during his time at the University of Toronto. Included are manuscripts tied to his research on the Nuxalk Nation, as well as titles such as the Disposal of the Dead in the Islands of the South Pacific and The History of Anthropology in Canada.

Book Reviews

Series consists of published book reviews written by McIlwaith. These include Songs of the Copper Eskimos, by Helen H. Roberts and Diamond Jenness, and The American Indian, by Hyatt Verrill”. For articles that are not listed by title, see Appendix B.

Collected Articles and Manuscripts

Series consists of published articles collected by T. F. McIlwraith, however not authored by him. These articles include a review of his book Bella Coola Indians by Andre Gschaedler. For the articles that are not listed by title, see Appendix B.

"The Bella Coola Indians"

Series consists of records related to McIlwraith’s research and writing for his book The Bella Coola Indians, published in 1948. Material includes multiple versions of the book’s manuscript, McIlwraith’s field notes, photographs taken and collected, as well as vocabulary cards and printing plates.


Series consists of maps collected and referenced by McIlwraith in both his education and research. Maps in this series include annotated maps of Africa, Union Steamship Company maps, Blueprints from Canadian Pacific Railway, and maps identifying locations of Indigenous communities in Canada.

Artwork, photographs, and artifact

Series consists of artwork, photographs, printing plates, and an artifact collected by McIlwraith. Material covers a range of subjects and media types. Photographs include images of archaeological digs and sites, collected images such as a cabinet card of a meeting of the Six Nation Chiefs (August 1871) and images of artifacts, as well as postcards and informal snapshots. Series also includes artwork: Inuit drawings identified with the Canadian Northern Survey Department, a series of string figure drawings made by Abel Moses and Margaret Shanoush, as well as some additional collected drawings. Finally there is one carved stone artifact that remains unidentified as to its origins or purpose.


Series consists of published articles and obituaries written by McIlwraith. Articles cover various areas of anthropology and ethnology, and include titles such as Among British Columbia Indians, and Certain Beliefs of the Bella Coola Indians Concerning Animals. For the articles that are not listed by title, see Appendix B. This series excludes book reviews which are contained in Series 15.