This fonds consists of a two-volume biography of Eliza Jane (Hughes) McAlpine, 1854-1938, written by her grandson, Wallace McAlpine, fifty years after her death. The biography contains the Hughes family history from the Napoleonic era, follows Eliza's parents to Canada in the 1840's, describes the marriages of her siblings, and gives a fine sense of life in Durham County in the early years of Canada's nationhood. Eliza's battle with spinal meningitis is recounted. The volumes trace the events, joys, and sorrows of the sizeable Hughes family, the accomplishments of Eliza's husband, Dr. John McAlpine, and the experiences with horses and subsequently automobiles. The extraordinary impact of Hardy's "Tess of the D'Urbervilles" is described. The famous Sir Sam Hughes was Eliza's brother and some of his exploits are described. Eliza's tour of Europe is described as it took place just before the outbreak of World War I. Lt. A.A. MacLeod's story is told. There is an account of Lt. Col. Cyril D.H. McAlpine's fateful expedition in the Arctic; a biographical sketch of J.W.L. Foster who painted a portrait of Eliza; an account of M.P. Tom Stinson's visits with Eliza; Eliza's disgust with Vicki Baum; her pleasure in talking with Chief Paudash; and finally her death and its aftermath. The volumes provide a wide, varied sketch of the times in which the events transpire.
Attached to the pages within the volumes are approximately 30 photographs, most of which are portraits, and are both in black and white, and colour.