The Atlantic Canada Virtual Archives is part of a larger Atlantic Canada
Portal project under the direction of Dr Margaret Conrad, a Canada Research
Chair in Atlantic Canada Studies at the University of New Brunswick, Canada.
Dr Conrad, the UNB Electronic Text Centre and, UNB Libraries, have together
selected and presented collections that showcase primary sources on the
history and culture of Atlantic Canada.
The two collections in ACVA feature digital facsimiles of manuscripts with
corresponding diplomatic transcriptions. Texts are encoded in conformance
with the TEI Lite DTD; Web presentation is accomplished through locally
developed stylesheets. Information on digitizing the collections, including
text encoding, can be found in the “About” sections.
Please contact Dr Conrad or the project team with questions or comments.
Contact information is available at
The Edward Winslow Letters 1783-1785
This site includes a transcription of over 222 letters written primarily to
and from Loyalist Edward Winslow from 1783 to 1785. These letters are part
of a larger collection of Winslow Family Papers housed in the University of
New Brunswick Archives. Consisting of 2,323 items and 13,098 pages covering
the period from 1695 to 1866, the collection is one of the richest sources
extant on the history of colonial North America. The entire collection has
been imaged and a test version can be consulted online at
The Winslow Family Papers offer a wide window on the attitudes of elite
Loyalists - their family relationships, their political and social values,
their dreams and disappointments – and on the experiences of ordinary
Loyalist refugees and the
Aboriginal peoples, Acadians, New England Planters and British who had made
New Brunswick their home before the Loyalists arrived. The Winslow Family
Papers are especially rich in evidence relating to the Black Loyalists and
enslaved Blacks who formed a significant part of the Loyalist diaspora. The
Winslows were themselves
slave-owners and write about their enslaved servants.
The McQueen Family Letters
The McQueen Family Papers consists of over 1200 letters and other documents
(including diaries, account books, artwork, teaching licenses and
photographs) covering the period from 1866 to 1930. Rooted in Pictou County,
Nova Scotia, the McQueens were a highly mobile family and their letters
survive today as remarkable documents of Canadian social history. They speak
not only to the private lives and relationships of the writers but also
place the family in the larger context of Canada in the early years of
At the centre of the collection is the extensive correspondence among seven
McQueen children and their parents, beginning in the 1870s when the oldest
children left their rural Pictou County home to study and work. The letters
that the McQueens wrote to each other are intimate and lively, revealing
much about family strategies for survival in early industrializing Canada.
Five of the six daughters became school teachers, two of them moving to
British Columbia in the late 1880s to seek better paying positions. The only
surviving son sought his fortunes in New York where he initially had
contacts with the publisher George Munro. Whether married or single, living
near home or far away, they remained vigilant of each other's well-being.
Single children were especially conscious of their responsibility for the
financial stability of their parents and dependent siblings. As we read
through the over 1,000,000 words of text, a family narrative emerges that is
both unique and at the same time representative of the experiences of many
rural families in the second half of the nineteenth century.