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1856-1931 Outstanding Archive of Diaries and Mementos, Following Three  Generations of the Notable Robinson Family of Peterborough and Haileybury,  Ontario

1856-1931 Outstanding Archive of Diaries and Mementos, Following Three Generations of the Notable Robinson Family of Peterborough and Haileybury, Ontario

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1856-1931 Outstanding Archive of Diaries and Mementos, Following Three Generations of the Notable Robinson Family of Peterborough and Haileybury, Ontario

by Arthur H. A. Robinson

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  • Signed
Good with no dust jacket
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Cochrane, Alberta, Canada
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About This Item

Ontario, Canada. Good with no dust jacket. Softcover. On offer is a most unique collection of eleven diaries as well as family photographs, mementos and records of Arthur H. A. Robinson, a noted Canadian Mining Engineer, during the heyday of the great mining discoveries in northern Ontario. The diaries allow the reader to follow the Robinson family for 75 years, beginning with an 1850s-60s diary kept by Arthur H. A. Robinsons father before Arthur was born, moving on to 27 years of diaries kept by Arthur himself from age 13 to 40. Finally, the collection concludes with two diaries written by Arthurs son, from age 14 through his time at Queens University in Kingston, Ontario. Arthur H. A. Robinson was born in 1873 in Peterborough, Ontario. He studied engineering and graduated as a mining engineer. He was employed as an Inspector of Mines with the Government of Canada. Research indicates that he also did work for the Government of Ontarios Bureau of Mines. He was married and he and his wife raised a family in Peterborough. His work took him to Ottawa and to Haileybury, ON, the site of the world-famous Haileybury School of Mines. Robinson got involved with mining exploration in Ontario at the very beginning of the great boom in mineral production in northern Ontario. He authored or contributed to many reports and books on aspects of the mining industry. The first diary in the collection belonged to Arthur H. A. Robinson's father. The book is dated for 1850 but dates have been crossed out and entries for 1856 and 1864 have been entered. From context, his father worked in business. These entries are full of references to local people and events. An excerpt from Arthur's father's diary follows: "... Heard of great fires in Otonabee. Heard that Harden and someone else had been burned out. Port Hope and Peterboro Cricket match. Port Hope beat. Very hot all day" [July 21, 1856]. One entry references a very prominent and important local settler named Captain Charles Rubidge RN, who was a noted Royal Navy officer during the Napoleonic Wars, an early settler in the Peterborough area and a man of considerable influence in the community. This excerpt follows: "Capt. Rubidge sent for me early to be at office at 9: 30. Met Capt. R at Eastland Corner, got the keys and went to the office, opened the windows and lit fire. Capt. R dismissed Walter [ ]. Wishes to appoint me at @200.00 P An" [Apr 9, 1864]. Robinson's first and second diaries are journals he kept when he was 13 and 14 years old. They describe his life as a schoolboy and paint a fine picture of growing up in this small, late-19th century city. An excerpt of Robinson's teen diary follows: "Rather cold and snowing and very windy. Received my stamps from F. P. Vincent. I gave half to Walter Squires for which he had paid me 5 [cents] last Friday. Was at school. Today. Got a ride home with Bob. Got 25 stamps I did not have before and now have 325 different kinds. Long kept all in who fetched their lunch to find out who rang the school bell...." [Feb 11, 1887]. In 1901, at the age of 24, Robinson set off with a friend to northern Ontario. He was leading a mineral exploration party. This journal is entitled "Expedition to Long Lake" and covers the time period from May to August, 1901. There are 65 lakes in Ontario sharing this name but context confirms that this is near Jackfish, a now-abandoned ghost town on the north shore of Lake Superior. Over the coming years, much of Arthur's life would be spent in the wilderness areas of northern Ontario. Included in the journal are some fine line drawings of scenery and detailed maps of the area. An excerpt from the 1901 journal follows: "Fine and bright. Wrote home and to camp for the boys to take out tomorrow. Kim [in] his glory. Got the boys to build a table on which he set everything out himself. Then gathered us around it for the great event pouring out cocoa & soup himself in fair and equitable portions. Menu[: ] Celery soup, Boiled pike with cream sauce, Sea biscuits, Fried ham, Apple sauce, Almonds, Filberts, Raisins, Gooderham and Worts 93 [Canadian Whiskey]" [May 26, 1901]. By 1907, Arthur is married and is living with his wife Lily in Haileybury in northern Ontario. During the Cobalt Silver Rush of 1903, Haileybury became a 'bedroom community' to the newly formed town of Cobalt and served the needs of the many miners and, most famously, many mine owners and managers. Interestingly, Haileybury had its own hockey team that was part of the National Hockey League (NHL). After only 1 year however, it was purchased and moved to Montreal, becoming the fabled Montreal Canadiens. Arthur's entries in his 1907-10 and 1910-12 journals describe his work in surveying and visiting various mining projects throughout the region. By 1913, he is working in Ottawa at the Department of Mines. An excerpt from his 1913 journal follows: "Fine, cold and raw with [ ] in morning, in office all day til 4 PM. Over to C. M. I meeting at Chateau Laurier and met [ ] and D[ ]. Had dinner with them at the King George then home." [Mar 5, 1913]. 1914 and 1915 see him traveling across northern Ontario visiting and inspecting various mine sites. Travel was by train and these trips would see him gone from home for weeks at a time. Arthur's journals end after 1915. Finally, we reach the journals of Arthur's son, Arthur D. Robinson Jr. At the time of his son's first journal, in 1922, the Robinson family is living now in Peterborough and, from context, Arthur Jr. Is about 14 years old. The journal records his days from May through October. They are filled with the important things that matter to young boys sports, fishing and spending time with a small group of friends. The final diary is a 5-year diary that was also kept by Arthur Jr. It covers the years 1928 through 1931. Many of his entries deal with his day-to-day life at Queens University. He following in his father's footsteps, working in the mines in northern Ontario during his summers. In addition to these 11 journals and diaries, there is an extensive collection of photographs. Many are annotated with names and locations. They show this family in a variety of settings including northern lodges, fishing trips, etc. They include many family pictures including Arthur H. A. Robinson's brother Melville who tragically drowned in 1935 about the age of 23. The collection also includes a 108 page notebook on Italian art which is approximately 40% complete. There is no name on this notebook but it may have belonged to Ruth B. Robinson, Arthur H. A. Robinson's youngest child. She studied at the University of Toronto, she worked for the New York State Children's Aid Society. Returning to Canada, she worked for Sick Children's Hospital before finishing her career at the University of Toronto. Under the title "Evolution of Italian Art", the notebook contains brief biographical sketches of famous Italian painters extending from Cavalini in 1250 through the Renaissance. The final book is a volume of Frank Leslie's Lady's Journal. Frank Leslie was a very skilled and inventive engraver who built a publishing empire in the United States. He revolutionized the engraving business. This volume is undated. However, as each volume had a unique cover illustration, more detailed research should be able to pin-point the issue. The volume contains hundred of carefully illustrated examples of women's fashions from the period. Finally, there are 2 small leather wallets. One contains a change purse while the other would most likely have been used for business cards or folded currency. This is a superb collection. What makes it so valuable is that it tracks members of the same family through 3 generations spanning 3/4 of a century. The Peterborough community where the Robinsons lived is a close-knit community and for a genealogist, this collection of diaries and annotated photographs is a terrific resource. For historians, they add details and colour to the early 20th century mining boom in northern Ontario. This was a time when people were just coming to the realization of the fabulous mineral resources of that region resources which power the Canadian economy to this day. For local historians, the photographs give a wonderful look into the lives of these people nearly a century ago. Taken together, this is an outstanding family history archive. This archive includes diaries from 1856, 1864, 1886-1887, 1887, 1901, 1907-1910, 1910-1912, 1913, 1914, 1915, 1922, 1928-1931. Diaries range in length from 112 pages to 365 pages. All but three of the diaries are 100% complete. The other three are 80% complete or greater. The vast majority of the diaries are in Good condition. The covers of four diaries are in Fair condition. ; Manuscripts; 8vo 8" - 9" tall; Signed by Author .


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Katz Fine Manuscripts Inc. CA (CA)
Bookseller's Inventory #
1856-1931 Outstanding Archive of Diaries and Mementos, Following Three Generations of the Notable Robinson Family of Peterborough and Haileybury, Ontario
Arthur H. A. Robinson
Book Condition
Used - Good with no dust jacket
Quantity Available
Place of Publication
Ontario, Canada
Date Published
0.00 lbs
Haileybury School Of Mines, Montreal Canadiens, Family Business, CANADIAN, Mining, Canadiana, prominent Canadians
Bookseller catalogs
19th Century Diary; 19th Century Manuscript; 20th Century Manuscript; 20th Century Diary;

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About the Seller

Katz Fine Manuscripts Inc.

Seller rating:
This seller has earned a 5 of 5 Stars rating from Biblio customers.
Biblio member since 2009
Cochrane, Alberta

About Katz Fine Manuscripts Inc.

Katz Fine Manuscripts Inc. (formerly M. Benjamin Katz Fine Books/Rare Manuscripts) is based out of both Ontario and Alberta, Canada. We do business by appointment, and have had an online presence selling fine books and rare manuscripts since 1999. Specializing in handwritten, historically significant books, manuscripts, diaries, documents and ephemera. A member of The Manuscript Societyeach treasure on offer is guaranteed authentic and as represented for life. Worldwide clientele includes esteemed collections and public, private and university libraries on both sides of the Atlantic and Pacific. Always buying collections and estates.

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