The Life, Events, and Players in the North-West is comprised of several smaller collections within Bruce Peel Special Collections that contain materials related to the history and culture of the north-west of what would become Canada.
The Frontiersmen Collection is organized by country—Canada, England, Australia, New Zealand, and India—and includes correspondence, financial and legal records, meeting minutes, newsletters, and a variety of military forms, as well as photographs, maps, banners, and medals. It is home to the official Charter Certificate for the founding of the Legion of Frontiersmen Canadian Division, whose headquarters are located in Edmonton. The highlight of the collection is a group of nine field diaries penned by Roger Pocock dated 1905-1917. This collection is closely related to several others housed in Bruce Peel Special Collections, specifically the Sir Samuel Benfield Steele Family Archive which includes Pocock's papers. It continues to grow thanks to ongoing donations.
This collection offers an expansive view of the experiences of Chinese immigrants to Canada, particularly in the Prairie Provinces. While many narratives of Chinese immigration to Canada focus on the construction of the CPR, the emphasis here is on the numerous and diverse roles that Chinese immigrants played in Canada's history. This collection explores the Chinese experience through immigration, entrepreneurship, schooling, and other elements of daily life. Among other things, it is made up of photographs, scrapbooks, business documents, personal correspondence, immigration records, magazines, books, phonograph records, and event programs. A great deal of credit is due to Helen Kwan Yee Cheung, who encouraged donations from the local Chinese community thus helping to build a uniquely community-based collection.
This archival collection is composed of textual and graphic materials related to the Hudson's Bay Company, the fur trade in Canada, and early European settlement in Canada. The collection includes correspondence between high-ranking employees at Hudson's Bay Company fur trade posts, personal correspondence between settlers or Hudson's Bay Company employees and their families, and Hudson's Bay Company reports, proclamations, contracts, and others records. The involvement of Indigenous peoples in the Canadian fur trade is also described throughout this collection. With a few exceptions, most items within the collection were created during the early- to mid-1800s.
The collection contains correspondence, field notes, and receipts that pertain to Robert Bell. This collection is organized into two series. The correspondence in Series 1 are arranged by name of correspondent. Most correspondence are incoming letters to Dr Bell sent to the Geological survey headquarters in Montreal, Quebec, from locations across Canada . The field notes in Series 2 are arranged chronologically.
This archival collection contains a variety of documents pertaining to the fur trade and other political events in Canada between the years 1676 and 1933. Specifically, it contains printed material regarding the formation of the colony of British Columbia and its incorporation into Canada, as well as manuscripts that describe agreements and treaties made between the governments of the United States and Britain. The archive includes a wide range of business documents, including promissory notes, warrants, and other legal documents relating to payments and goods. It also contains a selection of Voyageur Contracts and documents pertaining to the Hudson's Bay Company and the North West Company.
The collection consists of fishing-related ephemeral material such as brochures, maps, photographs, two photo albums, magazine clippings, catalogues, typed speeches, menus, and anglers' ticket books. The majority of the items are from various locations in Canada or the United States of America. Non-North American items include four brochures from New Zealand, and several miscellaneous items from the United Kingdom. Most of the ephemera are from the mid-twentieth century, but the dates are as early as 1909 and as late as 2000. Many of the items in this collection also cover outdoor recreational activities popular at their time of creation.
The Prairie Ephemera collection consists of a wide range of photographic and manuscript materials related to the social, economic, and cultural development of the Prairie Provinces. The photographic collection – which consists of both individual images and albums – is highly varied. Scenes of farm and urban life are both well represented. The textual materials are equally diverse, including letters, diaries, meeting minutes, political campaign materials, song books, stock certificates, performance programs and advertisements, among other things. These materials include first hand accounts from homesteaders and visitors to the region discussing the nature of Prairie life in the pioneer period and through the 20th Century.
The RCMP Book Collection of S/Sgt. Al Lund is comprised of books, comics, magazines, and print ephemera that document the history of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police. Over the course of fifty years, distinguished Staff Sergeant (retired) of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, Alert Henry (Al) Lund amassed the largest ever collection of Mountie books and serials. His collection was donated to the University of Alberta Libraries in tranches beginning in 2008, and all of the rare materials are now housed at Bruce Peel Special Collections. An exhibition catalogue showing highlights from the Lund Collection was published by the University of Alberta Libraries in 2017. Mounties on the Cover is a visually stunning catalogue that offers a sample of the thousands of cover illustrations of Mounties that were published. The catalogue for this exhibition can be purchased through University of Alberta Press or Indigo or in person in the Peel library for $25 (cash only).
The collection consists of a sampling of dime novels from ten novel series. Two series (the Deadwood Dick Library and Beadle's Frontier Series) are complete runs. A few issues have multiple copies. The detective story is the predominant genre in this collection, represented by significant holdings of issues from the Old Sleuth Library, the Nick Carter Library and the Secret Service series. Western adventure and romance stories are also well-represented in Beadle's Frontier Series. Despite the age and acidic paper of the dime novels, their condition ranges from Fair to Very Good, with the covers of only a few copies ripped, torn, or missing altogether. Novels are stored individually in 9 x 12 inch envelopes.
The Roger Pocock Archive comprises records created by or about Roger Pocock. Records created and collected by Pocock were done so over the course of his life and reflect his travels, occupations, and correspondence. These records include his scrapbooks, diaries, letters, contracts, clippings, published materials, photographs, and postcards. Records about Pocock were mostly created posthumously and include biographies and documents about the Legion of Frontiersmen. The archive is arranged into three series: Personal Papers, Published/Printed Materials, and Photographs and Postcards.