Manuscript Collection MS COLL 00078 2B Annex - John Elmsley Papers

Identity area

Reference code

CA OTUTF MS COLL 00078 2B Annex


John Elmsley Papers


  • 1801-1863 (Creation)

Level of description

Manuscript Collection

Extent and medium

10 boxes and items (1 metre)

Context area

Name of creator


Biographical history

John Elmsley was born on May 19, 1801 in York, Upper Canada, the son of Chief Justice John Elmsley, the second Chief Justic of Upper Canada. Although born into one of Upper Canada's most prominent Anglican families, he converted to Catholicism in 1833 upon his marriage to Charlotte Sherwood, a Catholic. After his conversion, which was seen an incredibly shocking event at the time, he went on to co-found the College of St. Michael, and pledged his personal fortunes as mortgage security to permit St. Michael's Cathedral's consecration in 1848. He died in 1863 and is buried in the Cathedral crypt under St. Michael's statue, with his heart buried under St. Basil's Church at St. Michaels College on the grounds of U of T.

Archival history

Immediate source of acquisition or transfer

Gift from Nina Elmsley, 1962.

Content and structure area

Scope and content

The collection consists of personal family letters of the Elmsley and Bradshaw families, along with a family memoir (written in 1842), John Elmsley's diaries (1831 and 1851), Mary Bradshaw's letterbooks (1871 and 1877), along with family trees, documents, verses and printed matter.

Appraisal, destruction and scheduling


System of arrangement

Conditions of access and use area

Conditions governing access

Material may be requested in person at the Fisher Library Reference Desk, or in advance using our online stack retrieval request form:

Conditions governing reproduction

Language of material

  • English

Script of material

Language and script notes

Physical characteristics and technical requirements

Finding aids

Uploaded finding aid

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Existence and location of originals

Existence and location of copies

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Notes area

Alternative identifier(s)

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Description identifier

Institution identifier

Thomas Fisher Rare Book Library, University of Toronto

Rules and/or conventions used




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