Fonds 74-006 - James W. Curran fonds.

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James W. Curran fonds.

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  • Textual record

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  • 1938-1967 (Creation)
    Curran, James W.

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15 cm of textual records.

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Biographical history

James Watson Curran, newspaper editor and author, was born in Armagh, Ireland, on April 24, 1865. When he was eight years old, his family emigrated to Canada, eventually settling in Orillia, Ontario. The Curran family was in the newspaper business and James' father owned two newspapers, the Essex Chronicle and the Orillia News-Letter (1884). James became the first news editor of the latter. In 1890, James moved to Toronto to work first as a reporter for the Toronto Empire and then as city editor. In 1895, he moved on to Montreal to become the city editor for the Montreal Herald. Six years later, while passing through Sault Ste. Marie, he became so impressed with the city that he quit his job at the Herald and bought the Sault Ste. Marie Star, which at the time was a weekly newpaper. By 1912, Curran had turned the Star into a daily paper. Curran was also a promoter of Sault Ste. Marie as an author and his two books "Here Was Vinland" (1939), and "Wolves Don't Bite" (1940), are examples of his enthusiasm for the region. He married Edith Pratt and they had a number of children including Jane W. who married Judge H. Deyman. Curran died in Sault Ste. Marie on February 20, 1952 just before his 87th birthday.

Custodial history

This fonds remained within the custody of the Curran family until it was donated to Trent University.

Scope and content

This fonds consists of correspondence, copies of articles, and manuscripts relating to the book "Here Was Vinland" (Sault Ste. Marie, 1939). It also includes family papers and miscellanea. The correspondence includes letters from C.E. Brown, L. Burpee, Dr. T.P. Christennen, Dr. K. Christofferson, J.E. Dodd, A.J. Erikson, E. Greenaway, Judge A. McComber, the Smithsonian Institute, V. Stefannson, and others.

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Immediate source of acquisition

The fonds was donated by the Curran family in 1968.


The fonds is organized into 3 series - correspondence; articles and manuscripts; and family papers and miscellanea.

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For related records see: 87-014

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Box 1

Series A: correspondence


1 A - Correspondence nd; 5 Sept 1938 - 14 July 1940

2 B - Correspondence nd; 8 Oct 1938 - 27 Jan 1942

3 Brown, Charles E. Correspondence, 15 Dec 1938 - 6 March 1939

4 Burnett, E. K. Correspondence, 24 Feb 1939 - 31 March 1939

5 Burpee, L. T. Correspondence, 24 Aug 1938 - 14 Aug 1939

6 C - Correspondence nd; 11 Aug 1938 - 6 Aug 1941

7 Christensen, Dr. T. P. Correspondence 27 Aug 1938 - 13 Jan 1939

8 Christianson, M. Correspondence 20 Feb 1939 - 5 April 1939

9 Christofferson, Dr. K. Correspondence 31 Dec 1938 - 3 March 1939

10 Currelly, C. T. Correspondence nd; 17 Sept 1938 - 27 March 1939

11 D - Correspondence nd; 20 Oct 1938 - 1 Dec 1939

12 Dashiell, G. R. Correspondence 14 Nov 1939 - 17 Feb 1939

13 Dodd, J. E. Correspondence 16 Jan 1938 - 25 April 1939

14 E - Correspondence 7 Oct 1938 - 22 Dec 1939

15 Erickson, A. J. Correspondence 2 April 1937 - 9 Sept. 1939

16 F - Correspondence nd; 9 Sept. 1938 - 10 March 1942

17 G - Correspondence nd; 15 oct 1938 - 28 Feb 1939

18 Gell, Fletcher. A partner of Dodds, the discoverer of the Beardmore Norse relics. Correspondence nd; 9 Jan 1939 - 30 March 1939

19 Greenaway, E. Royal Ontario Museum representative. Correspondence 4 Nov 1938 - 22 Apr 1939

20 H - Contains W. P. Hepburn letter 13 December supporting Sir James Dunn's acquisition of the Sault Ste. Marie paper mill. Montagnais-English translations discussed with F H Hardy the Parliamentary librarian. Correspondence nd; 7 Jan 1938 - 25 June 1941

21 Holand, H. R. Discusses his Kensington stone book notes and their loss in a fire. Correspondence 3 Oct 1938 - 3 July 1940

22 Hunter, W. F. Correspondence 26 Oct 1939 - 15 June 1940

23 I - Discusses the mention in Bancoroft's history of a galley found in a swamp in Panama in Cortez's time containing gold coins of the Roman Caesar Augustus. Correspondence 9 April 1940

24 Irving, T. Correspondence 1 Sept 1938 - 10 Nov 1941

25 J - Diamond Jenness correspondence on Montagnais dictionaries and the Beardmore relics. 1 Nov 1938 - 27 July 1941

26 K - Correspondence 15 Sept 1938 - 7 Sept 1943

27 L - Lanctot expresses the opinion that a stone ball with cryptic symbols on it is likely more related to the French missionaries than to the Norse. Correspondence 16 Aug 1938 - 14 April 1942

28 M - Discussions of differences between Montagnais, Cree and Ojibway. Correspondence 4 Nov 1928 - 7 Aug 1941

29 MacKay, A. Office of the Hudson's Bay Co., Winnipeg. Correspondence 12 Sept. 1938 - 25 May 1939

30 McComber, Judge A. Lt. Bloch's antique Norse armour possibility of their being the armour found by Dodd. Correspondence nd; 20 Oct 1938 - 23 Feb. 1939

31 McKern W. C. Milwaukee Public Museum-copper Indian relics. Correspondence 27 Dec. 1938 - 11 May 1939

32 O - Norse flints used in Orkney Islands. Correspondence 14 Nov. 1939 - 8 Feb 1941

33 P - Three cornered trade between North America, Norse Greenland and Iceland in timber. Correspondence 24 Aug. 1938 - 26 Jan 1940

34 R - Correspondence 19 Oct 1938 - 10 Dec 1939

35 Rumley, Wm. J. Cape Robert relics. Correspondence 5 Nov. 1938 - 27 Jan 1939

36 S - Suspected Norse elements in Cree, Abnaki, Montagnais languages. Correspondence nd; 6 Sept 1938 - 20 April 1942

37 Smithsonian Institute. Discussion of old bronze axe found near Brantford of early European maufacture est 13th century. Correspondence 30 August 1938 - 24 Nov 1939

38 Stafford, N. H. Discussion of possible Norse battle axe found near Marquette, Michigan. Correspondence 9 March 1939 - 5May 1939

39 Stefansson, V. Discusses publication and naming of the book on Norse presence in Hudson Bay. Correspondence 22 Aug 1938 - 15 June 1939

40 T - Correspondence 21 Sept. 1938 - 9 July 1941

41 U - V - W - X - Y - Correspondence 1 July 1931 - 12 July 1941

42 Vasby, O. (Mrs.) Norse sword from Lake Michigan and spear from Sodus Bay. Correspondence nd; 18 March 1939 - 28 April 1939

Series B: articles, public addresses

43 How Hudson Bay Fits the Saga
Michigan Finds a Helmet-smashing Axe

44 Did the Norsemen Find the Mandans?
The Open Coast Tides in Hudson Strait.

45 Souriquois and Cheyenne
Northern Vinland Today

46 Marquette gives up a copper axe
Was America known before Lief came
Norsemen knew how to build fast ships

47 How this book came to be written; its scope
Prehistoric Indians and Copper tools

48 Norse case is given to jury
Where Norse relics have been found

49 Pointing to the Great Lakes Location
Some reasons for believing Vinland was in Great Lakes area
Can the birds help us find Vinland

50 Dates in the Viking Record
How Norsemen reached Vinland
Puzzling over the early Vinland tables

51 Norsemen and Eskimo hostile
Winconsin's Halberd is a puzzle
Province of Ontario Canada
Whence came the word Eskimo?
Algonquin dialects resemble each other
Cooper tools
Are our Indian axes after Norse models

52 Notes and clippings on published articles in newspapers. Clippings which are loose but credited as to source. They have been copied from many papers but most are from the Toronto Star and the Sault Star, some are from Scandinavian papers.

53 Public addresses, nd; 1889, 1938. Subjects discussed include the history of Sault Ste. Marie and Norse fights with the Indians and/or Eskimos and their preference for Red cloth in trade.

54 Collected articles, 1925 - 1939. Scrap-book containing clippings concerning the Sault, posters and copies of Curran's articles on the Norse published in the Sault Star.

55 Draft Manuscript for the book, Here Was Vinland: Iintroduction, illustrations, maps, credits.

56 Numerous book reviews of Here Was Vinland.

Series C: family papers, miscellanea

57 Photographs and Maps. n.d. and 1939. Photographs concerning the Norse and the discovery of the Sword and Shield by Dodds in the Beardmore area. Maps of the area are annotated with translations of the Indian place names.

58 Family papers n.d. and 1967. Regarding Currans' dealings with colleagues. Lists of books from father's library. Interview transcripts with Mrs. Dodds and her son Walter who was 22 years old.

59 Articles and other sources. Copies of articles by other scholars about the Norse in Greenland and Vinland. Cause of their extinction.

60 Miscellaneous manuscripts, letters and clippings. Subjects include; game conservation, notes on the "Flatey Jarbok" on the history of the Greenland settlement, on Drummond Island near the Sault. Ojibway word meanings, application for copyright of an unpublished work "Here Was Vinland". Affidavits of Walter Dodd that he found the Norse Sword, Axe on claim 48TB4895 on 24 May 1930, with his father JE DODD.

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