Manuscript Collection MS COLL 00106 - William Kingsford Papers

Identity area

Reference code



William Kingsford Papers


  • 1887-1895 (Creation)

Level of description

Manuscript Collection

Extent and medium

1 box

Context area

Name of creator


Biographical history

William Kingsford, born in 1819 in the parish of St Lawrence Jewry, London, England, was a soldier, surveyor, journalist, publisher, civil engineer, businessman, office holder and author. He was educated at Nicholas Wanostracht's school in Camberwell, and in 1836 he enlisted in the 1st Dragoon Guards. He came with his regiment to Canada in 1837, and in 1840 was offered a commission, but preferred to obtain his discharge. In 1841, he entered the office of the city surveyor of Montreal, and in due course he qualified as a civil engineer. In 1873, he was appointed by the Canadian government to be the engineer in charge of the harbours of the Great Lakes and the St. Lawrence, but was dismissed in 1879. He devoted the rest of his life to historical research and wrote several volumes on the history of Canada. He died in 1898.

Archival history

Immediate source of acquisition or transfer

Gift of Julia Javis, 1961.

Content and structure area

Scope and content

The collection consists of letters from William Kingsford to James Bain, Librarian of the Toronto Public Library, discussing matters arising out of Kingsford's researches into Canadian history and early Canadian printing. It also includes two letters from Douglas Brymmer addressed to Bain.

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

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Finding aids

Uploaded finding aid

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Description identifier

Institution identifier

Thomas Fisher Rare Book Library, University of Toronto

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