Item 96-1012 - Grasses from Stony Lake gathered and mounted by Cath'e Parr Traill

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Grasses from Stony Lake gathered and mounted by Cath'e Parr Traill

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  • Multiple media

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  • Source of title proper: Title based on the title of the grasses scrapbook.

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  • July 1893-Sept. 1893 (Creation)
    Traill, Catharine Parr

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1 item

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Biographical history

Catharine Parr Traill was born in Rotherhithe near London, England 9 January 1802 as Catharine Parr Strickland. She was the fifth child of Thomas and Elizabeth Strickland. She was sister to Eliza, Jane Margaret, Susanna (later Susanna Moodie), Samuel and Agnes. In 1832 she married Lt. Thomas Traill. She emigrated with her husband to Upper Canada when the opportunity provided itself and they settled near the Otonabee River near Peterborough, Upper Canada. Together they had nine children. Catharine wrote a number of works on pioneer life in Upper Canada such as The Backwoods of Canada (1834), Canadian Crusoes (1853), The Female Emigrants Guide (1854), Canadian Wild Flowers (1868) and Studies of Plant Life in Canada (1885). She also kept a journal and in it she wrote down ideas and sketches for future writings. The Old Doctor (1985) was probably written between 1835 and 1840 when John Hutchinson, a native of Kirkcaldy, Scotland, was practising medicine in Peterborough, Upper Canada. Before emigrating Catharine had published a number of children's books and stories in England. Catharine Parr Traill died 29 August 1899. (Taken from: Forest and Other Gleanings. Ottawa, University of Ottawa Press, 1994.)

Custodial history

This scrapbook was created by Catharine Parr Traill and given to her friend James Fletcher, a botanist at the Plant Research Institute of the Central Experimental Farm in Ottawa, Ontario. His successor, William G. Dore, found the scrapbook at the Central Experimental Farm. Eventually through her friendship with W.G. Dore, Jean Murray-Cole acquired the scrapbook and in 1971 donated it to Trent University Archives. (Taken from: Blythe, Mollie. "History as Storytelling: Mrs. Traill's Scrapbook of Stoney Lake Grasses." The Peterborough Review. Vol. 1, No. 1. 1994).

The additional framed mosses were donated to Trent University in 1965 from an unknown source and held at Traill College before being placed in the Archives in 2008.

Scope and content

The grasses scrapbook was compiled by Catharine Parr Traill for her friend James Fletcher and given to him 12 January 1894. The inside cover has the following inscriptions: "Grasses from Stony Lake gathered and mounted by Cathe Parr Traill - Aged 92 years." These specimens are from the Island of Minne Wa-Wa and Otter Island. July-September 1893" and "With Mrs.Traill's kind wishes to her much valued and esteemed friend James Fletcher F.S.L.S. & etc. January 12th, 1894". The scrapbook consists of 20 pages, 18 of which have pressed grasses, from the Stoney Lake area of the Island of Minne Wa-Wa and Otter Island, glued onto them. Also included in the scrapbook is a specimen list of the grasses and a photocopy of an article, entitled "Grasses from Stony Lake Gathered and Mounted by Cathe Parr Traill - Aged 92 Years". The article was written by William G. Dore and published in The Ontario Naturalist in 1966.

The framed mosses were gathered by Catharine Parr Traill in the Stoney Lake area. Prior to the Archives receiving this addition, the pages were taken apart, mounted and framed in two frames each containing three pages of mosses; one medium frame containing "Sedges & grass, with mosses, from the bank below the garden at Westove. Gathered and arranged for Katie. With Grandmother's dear love. Oct. 24th, 1889"; and one small frame with Traill's autograph.

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Physical condition

The grasses scrapbook is very fragile, the pages being acidic and the grasses becoming loose, and has been dismantled; each page has been encapsulated in mylar. Prior to being dismantled, the cover and pages were photographed by Jane Boyko, research assistant; the prints and negatives are housed in the Archivist's office.

Immediate source of acquisition

The grasses scrapbook was donated by Jean Murray Cole. The framed items were received from Traill College.


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Restrictions on access

Do not handle the grasses scrapbook. Archives staff will lay the pages on tables for viewing. (Note: the grasses are mounted on one side of each page only).

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Associated materials

Associated material located at Library and Archives Canada, the Bodleian Library in Oxfordshire, England; the Ipswich Branch of the Suffolk Record Office in Suffolk, England and the Scottish Records Office in Lothian, Scotland.

For related records see: 69-001, 74-003, 77-010, 82-022, 86-011, 83-1021, 86-1000, 93-1004, 93-1013, 94-007, 95-004 and 96-008.

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Located in Large Materials Cabinet - Drawer 34.

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