Collections and Research

Shared Emotions

Uncovering the sentiments buried in archival documents

Anyone who has ever read archival documents like letters and diaries knows that these witnesses of the past can be full of emotion. Such documents may convey feelings, sensations, attitudes, values and ideologies, aspects that are often ignored by the traditional indexing process (tagging documents using keywords) and thus difficult to track down in historical records.

The goal of the Shared Emotions project is to make it easier for researchers and members of the public to locate elements associated with the history of sensibilities. By developing and implementing an innovative procedure to index emotional themes, the McCord Museum hopes to showcase one of the strengths of its Textual Archives collection, a corpus that contains numerous personal documents illustrating the social, cultural, emotional and intimate dimensions of life in Montreal.

  • Excerpt from a scrapbook created by Katherine Mary Cuthbert Skelton (1901-1972) (detail), about 1934. Gift of Dr. Wendy C. Weaver, Cuthbert Family Fonds P105, M2009.31.64 © McCord Museum
  • Letter by Léontine Poutré to Hercule Martin, November 16, 1924. Gift of Marthe and Patrick McDonald, Léontine Poutré and Hercule Martin Fonds P748, M2012.58.1.3 © McCord Museum
  • <i>Complainte des personnes qui se sont noyé dans le fleuve saint laurent en l’année 1819</i> (detail), Anonymous, about 1820. Gift of Mr. Peter Williamson, Robillard Family Fonds P106, P106/C.1 © McCord Museum
  • Excerpt from Monique Meloche autograph book (detail), 1940-1944. Gift of Monique Meloche, Meloche Family Fonds P556, M2000.89.35.2 © McCord Museum
  • Letter by Louis-Antoine Dessaulles to Fanny Leman (detail), August 1st, 1864. Dessaulles, Papineau, Leman and Béique Families Fonds P010, P010/A9,5.1 © McCord Museum
  • Excerpt from a scrapbook created by Gilberte Christin (1906-1977) (detail), 1918-1921. Gift of Cardaillac Family, Gilberte Christin de Cardaillac Fonds P573, M2001.8.2 © McCord Museum
  • <i>The Lost Treasure (A Psychological Sketch)</i>, Essay by Dr. Thomas Joseph Workman Burgess, extract from Pen and Pencil Club scrapbook (detail), February 22, 1896. Transfer from McGill University, Pen and Pencil Club of Montreal Fonds P139, M966.176.103D © McCord Museum

Building on the digitization projects carried out at the Museum over the past few years, this initiative has enhanced the descriptions and indexing of digitized archives to make them more accessible and easier to find on the Web.

With the financial support of Library and Archives Canada, our team has written up detailed descriptions of 100 groups of archival records from 29 different fonds and collections. In addition, some 200 individual items have been described and indexed, and 48 of the most compelling ones have undergone a participatory transcription process, making these handwritten documents easier to locate and read.

To better illustrate the benefits of this project and share the discoveries made en route, in the coming year the Museum will post 12 articles highlighting various topics associated with the history of sensibilities on its Website.

Dessaulles, Papineau, Leman and Béique Families Fonds P010 1737-2003
Racey Family Fonds P057 1802-1964
Cuthbert Family Fonds P105 1648-1971
Robillard Family Fonds P106 1739-1943
Clarence A. Gagnon Fonds P116 1904-1978
Hélène Baillargeon-Côté Fonds P132 1960-1989
Pen and Pencil Club of Montreal Fonds P139 1890-1966
The Montreal Thistle Curling Club Fonds P148 1843-1995
John Wardrop Ross Fonds P217 1899-1951
Recipes and Food Collection C265 1749-2000
Meloche Family Fonds P556 1867-1966
Gilberte Christin de Cardaillac Fonds P573 1906-1978
Fashion, Fabrics and Clothing Collection C609 1826-2008
Guerin Family Fonds P610 1780-1961
Fonds Louis-Alexandre Taschereau P632 1883-1885
Caverhill Family Fonds P645 1761, 1817-1970
Louis-Joseph Cartier Family Fondsr P660 1797-1996
Honoré Beaugrand Fonds P675 1593-1959
Casgrain, Forget and Berthelot Families Fonds P683 1801-2005
Murielle Mailloux Fonds P687 1934-1969
Jean-Claude Poitras Fonds P689 1949-2006
Leclère (Leclerc) Family Fonds P731 1750-1949
Grignon and Guèvremont Families Fonds P747 1892-1974
Léontine Poutré and Hercule Martin Fonds P748 1847-1982
The Westmount Thespians Fonds P751 1922-2001
Des Rivières and Taschereau Families Fonds P752 1839-1972
Jérémie Tremblay and Mariette Bergeron Fonds P757 1930-2016
Le Moine Family Fonds P761 1849-1955
Willie Eckstein Fonds P767 1877, 1900-1990

Archives and documentation centre

Open to the public Tuesday to Thursday from 9:30 a.m. to noon, and from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. (closed on legal holidays)

By appointment only:
514-861-6701 ext. 1249
reference@mccord-stewart.ca

Not to be missed!

This project has been made possible in part by the Government of Canada.
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