Friday, 31 March 2017

Angels in the Archives

This week's blog highlights a group of strong, caring, and dedicated women:  nurses. We at the Archives have struggled, unfortunately, to find stories about women in our collection, since the large majority of our records are about cardinals, archbishops, and priests. Of course, these men had their own sisters, mothers, aunts, cousins, and friends, some of whom became nurses, and we would be remiss if we did not mention the religious sisters who have also been instrumental in the field. We are happy to feature a number of records about the different organizations and people involved in this time-honoured and noble profession.

Jean A. Mitchell, Director of Special Registration District 5 of the Registered Nurses' Association of Ontario, wrote to then-Archbishop McGuigan asking his permission to send a letter to clergy in the district requesting that all graduate nurses register with the Provincial Civilian Defense Committee in case their services are needed in an emergency:

Letter from Jean A. Mitchell to Abp. McGuigan, March 31, 1942
and the form letter from Jean A. Mitchell requesting all graduate nurses to register, March 26, 1942

SW GC01.74a-b
Second World War fonds

McGuigan was pleased to help Miss Mitchell and provided her with a directory that included contact information for clergy in all districts. One reason McGuigan may have been so accommodating is due to personal experience. In his introduction of Cardinal McGuigan at the 1946 Congress of the Catholic Canadian Nurses Association, Rev. Louis-Emile Hudon, Moral Director of Nurses at Quebec, mentioned one Alice McGuigan, sister to the Cardinal, who was a lieutenant/nursing sister in the Canadian Army Medical Corps:

"Three months ago, just on March 27th, two women, ... the first one was Reverend Mother St. George, dean of Studies at St. Louis College, Montreal and the other one was Lieutenant Alice McGuigan of the Canadian Army Medical Corps, were at St. Michael's Cathedral in the joy to see, for the first time, their brother so loved, the Cardinal James Charles McGuigan. ...
Yes, dear Sisters, dear Nurses, one sister of Our Cardinal in Toronto is a member of the large family of all Catholic Nurses of Canada and we are very glad to receive this evening your Eminence in our Congress, because in your life and in your own family the problems of the Nurses were well known."

June 30, 1946

OC30 HF01
Other Collections - Catholic Nurses' Association of Canada - General Correspondence (1946-1963)

The Sisters of St. Joseph founded St. Michael's Hospital in 1892. Until 1974, when nursing programs began to be offered at community colleges, students were trained at the hospital's Training School for Nurses. Students attended classes and lectures regularly:

Lectures and class schedule, 1910-11
St. Michael's Hospital Training School for Nurses

Religious Orders Series, Sisters of St. Joseph

The first graduating class, which was in 1894 after two years of study, consisted of seven students. The number of graduates increased yearly. In 1929, 53 students were honoured at the graduation ceremony:

Invitation to the School of Nursing graduation exercises,
June 5, 1929

Religious Orders Series, Sisters of St. Joseph

The St. Elizabeth Visiting Nurses' Association (now called Saint Elizabeth) was founded in 1908. Nurses would, as the name indicates, visit patients at their homes in Toronto. A record was kept of the number of new patients, the number of visits made, the number of non-Catholic patients and visits, the number of calls during the day or night, the types of cases (obstetrical, medical, surgical, operations, chronic), and the number of babies born:

Record of the work of the St. Elizabeth Visiting Nurses for the year 1920

MN AE26.10
Archbishop McNeil fonds

Margaret C. Macdonald was a Canadian nurse who, during her thirty-year career, served in the Spanish-American War, the Second Boer War, and World War I. When war was declared in 1914, Macdonald was appointed Matron-in-Chief of the Canadian Army Medical Corps (CAMC) and became the first woman promoted to the rank of Major in the British Empire. On June 12, 1920, Macdonald was the guest of honour at a Catholic Women's League luncheon in Toronto. She expressed her delight and fear to Archbishop McNeil about the invitation:

Ottawa 19th May 1920

My dear Archbishop, your very kind note has filled me with pleasure and a wholesome degree of fear as well. I am much flattered at the suggestion of being the guest of honour at so large a gathering, especially one purely Catholic in character. Saturday, June 12th would best suit me. I shall do my very best to meet your wishes in the matter of an outline of our work overseas etc. If the Secretary of the C.W.L. will send me a formal invitation, I shall have no difficulty in obtaining the necessary permission to attend. The military authorities are strict on that point.
I am sure you will be interested to learn that St. F.X. has recognized the work of the army nursing service by conferring upon me the honorary degree of L.L.D. I went down for the commencement exercises -- had the pleasure of again meeting Rev. Mother St. Martin who is, with nuns and pupils, one of the most popular of superiors.
Looking forward to seeing you in June and with many thanks. I realize I am indebted to you for the privilege of this luncheon.
Believe me your Grace, 
very faithfully,
Margaret C. Macdonald
My correct designation is as follows
Miss M.C. Macdonald R.R.C. L.L.D.
      Matron-in-Chief C.A.M.C.
It is not considered proper to use the title of Major as my rank is only relative. M.C.M.

MN AH09.55
Archbishop McNeil fonds

The Archives is fortunate to have a copy of Macdonald's speech, "Echoes of the Great War," from the luncheon, including hand-written corrections. This is the first page, where she began to describe her experience with nurses during World War I:

To one whose work had long been almost entirely for and with men, the prospect of going to a war in charge of a party of one hundred odd women promised to be more alarming than novel -- so alarming, in fact, that my first step was one of protest. I declared by incompetency to assume responsibility for, what then seemed, so enormous a number of nurses. Instead of assurance or sympathy I was reminded of a soldier's first duty -- obedience. Denied a crumb of comfort, I took up my new duties with the same degree of liking one has for a cold plunge. However, long before the hundred odd had developed into a Corps of twenty-five hundred odd, confidence had succeeded fear, and novelty was swallowed up by a positive greed.
The more I knew of nurses the more of them I wanted to know. To gather all into the ranks of the elect of war became my hobby. An organization that expands gradually is easy of control. One grows along with it and finds that one thousand are quite as readily administered as on hundred; two thousand as two hundred and so on. In the Army, and for the reason that everything -- almost one's mind -- is governed by rule, difficulties of administration are perhaps not so frequently encountered. Still, with all the regulations in the world, there are bound to arise circumstances to which no rule applies. A law must be created to suit the occasion. Then comes in that indispensable quality possessed by nine-tenths of our Canadian women -- initiative.

FW GC01.108
First World War fonds

It is perhaps unnecessary to state that nurses' work is very serious, sometimes meaning the difference between life and death. From time to time, however, they have had to deal with certain policies that some may find odd. But rules are rules! Dr. O'Reilly at the Toronto General Hospital made this very clear to Archbishop Lynch:

Dr. O'Reilly regrets that some visitors have again violated the rules regarding singing &c in the Wards & begs to state that orders have been given to all nurses to strictly enforce all regulations relating to visitors & readers. Dr. O'Reilly thanks His Grace for the friendly letter & wishes Him all the compliments of the season, & feels sure that the present year will be free from all annoyances, which some mis-guided people have caused in the past in the Wards of the Hospital.
T. G. H. Jany 2/86

L AE04.28
Archbishop Lynch fonds

Thank you to all nurses for your courage and compassion. Your work is appreciated, and your stories will not be forgotten.

Friday, 24 March 2017

The Shot Heard Round the City

On March 25th, 1880, news quickly spread through the city that George Brown, politician and editor of the Globe had been shot in his office on King Street. A former employee, George Bennett, who was distressed by legal trouble and unemployment and under the influence of alcohol scuffled with Brown when the newspaperman gave an unfavourable reply to his request. When the assailant pulled his pistol, Brown was able to overpower him push his arm down. A shot was fired, and instead of hitting his chest, the bullet passed through Brown's thigh.

The next day, the Globe explained, "The shock to the community was very great. The news spread so rapidly that in a few minutes it had travelled over not merely the whole extent of the city, but - as return telegraphic despatches showed - over the whole Province, and far beyond its confines. Within half an hour from the firing of the shot, urgent messages began to come in from Ottawa and elsewhere asking for a correct statement of the facts, and a trustworthy account of Mr. Brown's condition. Amongst these was one from Rideau Hall, which showed that the perturbation caused by the incident had reached even the vice-regal residence."

Despite their many disagreements, Archbishop Lynch must have sent a message to Brown when he heard the news, because in the Archives we have the reply:

My dear Archbishop,

I have had read to me your very kind note of congratulations on my narrow escape from assassination and I have asked my little daughter to write you a little note expressing my heart-felt appreciation of your Grace's kindly sympathy. Congratulations is indeed the only word applicable to the case, coupled with hearty gratitude to the Almighty for preservation from so imminent a danger. 

The wound caused by the bullet passing through my limb is a very simple affair. I am getting on as comfortably as could be desired and hope to be astir again very soon.

Believe me
my dear Archbishop
Truly Yours 
Geo. Brown
Per G.E.B.

Lambton Lodge
26th March

L AE12.85
Archbishop Lynch Fonds

Despite his hopes, Brown was not soon again astir. At first he seemed to be on the mend, but his wound became infected. Even with the best available care, he died six weeks later on May 9th, 1880. The loss of the prominent statesman and publisher was keenly felt, and funeral was attended by dignitaries from across Canada. The streets were packed for his final walk from his home at the corner of Beverly and Baldwin Streets to the Toronto Necropolis cemetery.

For more information about George Brown and his family, check out the Archives of Ontario's online exhibit, Meet the Browns: A Confederation Family. Using this exhibit we were able to determine that the penmanship in the letter above probably belongs to Catherine Elizabeth, Brown's younger daughter.

Friday, 17 March 2017

A Real Work of Arch

In December 1841, the diocese of Toronto was created out of the Archdiocese of Kingston. It remained a diocese for over 28 years. During that time, the diocese had three bishops, including John Joseph Lynch, who became the third Bishop of Toronto in April 1860 after the resignation of Bishop de Charbonnel. On March 18, 1870, at Vatican Council I, Pope Pius IX raised the See of Toronto to metropolitan status, making it an archdiocese and thereby elevating Lynch to first Archbishop of Toronto. To celebrate this anniversary, this week's blog features some documents relating to these two special events.

Lynch had written to a couple of cardinals in 1865 about why Toronto should be raised to a metropolitan see. A few years later, he wrote to Pope Pius IX requesting the same:

Letter from (at that time) Bishop Lynch to Pope Pius IX, written in Latin,
September 21, 1868

L RC50.18
Archbishop Lynch fonds

Bishops from a number of dioceses also appealed together to the Holy See for the See of Toronto be raised to metropolitan status:

Copy of a letter from the bishops of Montreal, Ottawa, Hamilton, [unknown], Toronto, and Sandwich
to the Holy See, written in Latin,
January 29, 1870

L RC52.06
Archbishop Lynch fonds

We thought it would be fun to share the beautiful full-page watermark on the second page of the bishops' letter:

L RC52.06
Archbishop Lynch fonds

It is unclear how much influence, if any, the letters from Bishop Lynch and others had on the pope's decision to raise the See of Toronto to metropolitan dignity, but it became official with this papal bull:

March 18, 1870

L RC52.09
Archbishop Lynch fonds

Here is the papal bull of Lynch's nomination as first Archbishop of Toronto:

March 18, 1870

L RC52.10
Archbishop Lynch fonds

Archbishop Lynch wrote a pastoral letter while in Rome regarding the erection of the Archiepiscopal See (Archdiocese) of Toronto:

First page of Abp. Lynch's pastoral letter,
April 6, 1870

L AA11.05(a)
Archbishop Lynch fonds

Archbishop Lynch's official induction was in September 1870. He sent a copy of the letter below to the Prime Minister, the Premier of Ontario, and the Lieutenant Governor of Ontario to inform them of the news:

St. Michael's Palace
Sept. 15, 1870

I have the honor to inform you that his Holiness Pope Pius IX has been pleased to elevate me to the dignity of Archbishop of the See of Toronto. This however will cause no modification with regard to the Roman C.[atholic] Episcopal Corporation for the diocese.
I have the honor to be
Your Excellencies
Most obt. servt.

Copies of the above were sent to Sir John A. Macdonald, Hon. J. S. Macdonald, Hon. W. P. Howland, Lieut. Gov.

L AH15.07
Archbishop Lynch fonds

Lynch received a reply from Hon. W. P. Howland, congratulating him on his promotion:

Government House
Toronto. 16th September 1870

My Lord Archbishop
I have the honor to acknowledge your Grace's letter of the 15th inst. acquainting me that His Holiness Pope Pius IX has been pleased to elevate you to the dignity of Archbishop of the See of Toronto, upon which event permits me to render to Your Grace my hearty congratulations.
I have the honor to remain Your Grace's most obedient servant
W. P. Howland
Lt. Governor

L AH15.02
Archbishop Lynch fonds

Lynch remained Archbishop until his death on May 12, 1888, and is buried in the garden of St. Michael's Cathedral in Toronto.

The Archdiocese of Toronto is having a year-long celebration of its 175th anniversary with many activities. For more information, please see the media release.

Friday, 10 March 2017

Mr. Watson, come here. I want to see you.

These days we mostly use our phones for Facebook, Candy Crush, and cat videos, but that wasn't always so. The telephone's development had a profound impact on the way we interact with each other. On March 10th, 1876, Alexander Graham Bell wrote in his journal about the first successful telephone conversation, which took place in Brantford, Ontario.
"Mr. Watson was stationed in one room with the Receiving Instrument. He pressed one ear closely against S and closed his other ear with his hand. The Transmitting Instrument was placed in another room and the doors of both rooms were closed.
"I then shouted into M the following sentence: "Mr. Watson - Come here - I want to see you." To my delight he came and declared that he had heard and understood what I said. 
"I asked him to repeat the words. He answered, "you said Mr. Watson - come here - I want to see you." We then exchanged places and I listened at S while Mr. Watson read a few passages from a book into the mouth piece M. It was certainly the case that articulate sounds proceeded from S. The effect was loud but indistinct and muffled. If I had read beforehand the passage given by Mr. Watson I should have recognized every word. As it was I could not make out the sense - but an occasional word here and there was quite distinct. I made out "to" "and" "out" and "further", and finally, the sentence "Mr Bell do you understand what I say? DO -YOU-UNDER-STAND-WHAT-I-SAY" came quite clearly and intelligibly." 

By 1877 private telephone lines were being sold to the public. An August 13th, 1877 ad in the Globe explained,
"The SPEAKING TELEPHONE of Prof. Alexander Graham Bell has now attained to such simplicity and cheapness, as renders it universally available for public, private, social, or business communications. It needs no battery, and has no moving machinery, and no skill is required, except to speak plainly and listen attentively. The instrument is neat and portable, and an ornament to any room or office.
"The Telephone conveys the quality of the voice, so that the person speaking can be recognized at the other end of the line. It enables the manufacturer to talk with his factory superintendent, the main office with the branch office, the house with the store, the country residence with the stables or any part of the grounds, the mouth of the mine with its remotest workings, or, in short, any given point with any other point, although many miles apart
"The yearly cost to the lessee for a set of Telephones - one at each end of his line - is twenty dollars. The Proprietors keep the instruments in repair, without charge, and the lessee has no expense in working them." 

A review of the year 1878 published in the Globe on January 1st, 1879 had this to say:
"Wonderful improvements have been made in the telephone and phonograph, both of them inventions of the year before last, but dating their usefulness from 1878 ... The telephone is coming into extensive use in all the large cities."

A directory of Toronto's telephone subscribers was first published on April 1st, 1879.

Here in the archives, the earliest records we have of a telephone line date from 1887. The Bell Telephone Company of Canada charged thirty dollars per year to rent a "telephone apparatus" at St. John's Grove, where Bishop Lynch lived.

Bell Telephone Company telephone apparatus rent receipt.

L AN01b

July 26th, 1887
Archbishop Lynch Fonds

In November of that year, the house paid $1.20 for long distance calls to Peterborough, St. Catharines, Pickering and Bradford.

Long distance bill.

L AN01b

November 1st, 1887
Archbishop Lynch Fonds

You can read more about the development of the telephone in Toronto here, here, here and here.

Bonus: A report of a dinner at the University of Toronto in the June 11th, 1879 issue of the Globe included an eerily accurate speech about the future of universities:
"With the wonderful advancement that science was making, the time would no doubt come when the whole Dominion would be taught by a University located among the Rocky Mountains, with connections by telephone from Vancouver Island to Cape Breton. (Laughter.) ... Then the tranquil professor would quietly sit in his study and teach the classes who sat around their telephones in far distant cities. The student also by means of the phonograph might have the words of the lecturer continually in his ear, even after the worthy old gentleman had passed away."

Friday, 3 March 2017

"Alone we can do so little; together we can do so much." – Helen Keller

On this date 130 years ago, Anne Sullivan began teaching Helen Keller. Helen was six years old. She had lost her sight and hearing due to a severe illness at just 19 months old. Anne worked with Helen for nearly 50 years. It is a story of perseverance, determination, and friendship. Over time, Helen learned to read, write, and speak. She graduated from college and became an author, public speaker, and activist. Without Anne  and, therefore, without education  it is unlikely that Helen would have flourished as she did. This week's blog features a few items in ARCAT's collection about the religious and academic education of people who are blind and/or deaf in the Archdiocese of Toronto.

The Ontario Institution for the Education of the Deaf and Dumb (renamed Ontario School for the Deaf in 1913 and currently Sir James Whitney School for the Deaf) opened in Belleville in October 1870. Its principal, Wesley "Willie" J. Palmer, was eager to recruit students. He sent Archbishop Lynch a circular about the new school and was hoping to spread the word as far as possible:

Belleville, January 20th, 1871

Rev & Dear Sir.
I beg leave to call your attention to the enclosed circular which I am sending out to many clergymen and prominent citizens of the Province. I would be pleased to send you about 50 copies if you would distribute them among the clergy in your diocese. I am not acquainted with the Bishop of Kingston. Could I take the liberty of sending him some of these circulars? The school is opening quite favorably. I expect to be in Toronto within a month accompanied by some of my pupils to give an exhibition before the members of the Legislature and Citizens showing our method of instruction &c. Do you think the pupils I spoke to you about will be sent to our Institution? I would be glad to have them here as soon as possible. Please let me hear from you at your earliest convenience. I have the honor to be 
Your obedient Servant
W. J. Palmer, Principal

L AE10.03
Archbishop Lynch fonds

Circular re: recruitment for the new Ontario Institution for the Education of the Deaf and Dumb
(shortened to Ontario Institution for the Deaf and Dumb on letterhead)

L AE10.02
Archbishop Lynch fonds

Paul Denys, a teacher at the Ontario Institution for the Deaf and Dumb, provided Archbishop Lynch with an update on the progress of the Catholic students at the school:

"I take much pleasure every now and then in informing Your Grace of the number of Catholic children in the Institution, of their progress and doings. ... I have now under my care 33 Catholic pupils -- 21 boys and 12 girls -- eight of whom will have the 
happiness of being confirmed tomorrow in the church, along with a number of the speaking children."

January 8, 1879

L AE10.13
Archbishop Lynch fonds

The Ontario School for the Blind (now W. Ross Macdonald School) was founded in March 1872 in Brantford as the Ontario Institution for the Education of the Blind. Over the years, prospective teachers would write to the current archbishop for help in obtaining teaching positions:

Collegiate Institute
Barrie, July 3, 1884

Most Rev. J. J. Lynch D.D.
Archbp of Toronto

Your Grace:
I take the liberty in soliciting your kind assistance in procuring for me a position which has become vacant in the Blind Institute of Brantford through the resignation of Mr. Shannon[,] a Catholic teacher of the Inst. The salary being in the neighborhood of five hundred dollars a year with board[,] room and other advantages[,] I consider the situation more lucrative than the average High School position. I enclose Your Grace a copy of my Testimonials. Knowing well the interest Your Grace has always taken in promoting the welfare of Catholic young men, I feel certain that if this request be practically within Your Grace's province[,] you will kindly accede to it.
I Remain
With profound esteem
Your Grace's obt servt--
Thomas O'Hagan

L AE10.10
Archbishop Lynch fonds

Periodically, the archbishop would also recommend individuals for vacancies:

Letter from C. W. James to Abp. McNeil,
September 13, 1916

MN AH05.81
Archbishop McNeil fonds

Groups in the United States provided assistance to the Archdiocese regarding the education of people who are blind and/or deaf:

Letter from Rev. William F. Jenks to Abp. McGuigan,
May 18, 1948

MG DA34.50(a)
Archbishop McGuigan fonds

Letter from M. A. Warnier to Abp. McGuigan,
October 7, 1948

MG SO11.04a
Archbishop McGuigan fonds

The International Catholic Deaf Association was founded in Toronto in 1949. In July 1956, a group of priests at the International Catholic Deaf Convention in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, prepared this statement concerning the religious education of Catholic deaf children:

"The Religious Education of Catholic Deaf Children"

ED SC04.36
Education fonds

St. Bernadette's Family Resource Centre is a member of Catholic Charities of the Archdiocese of Toronto that provides assistance to children, youth, and adults with developmental and/or physical challenges, including blindness.

Silent Voice, also a member agency of Catholic Charities, raises awareness of and addresses the difficulties faced by the Deaf community. Click here for a list of signed or interpreted Catholic masses in Ontario. Click here to see the four masses that are located in the Archdiocese of Toronto.