Collection P0030 - Thomas D’Arcy McGee collection

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Thomas D’Arcy McGee collection

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  • Textual record
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  • Object

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  • 1844-1968 (Creation)
    McGee, Thomas D'Arcy

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Physical description

32 cm of textual records
10 objects
10 photographs : b&w

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Name of creator

(April 13, 1825-April 7, 1868)

Biographical history

Thomas D'Arcy McGee was born in Carlingford, Ireland April 13, 1825. He was the fifth child of James McGee and Dorcas Catherine Morgan. He received his early education in County Wexford, Ireland. In 1842 he moved to the U.S. He stayed briefly with an aunt in Rhode Island, and then moved to Boston where he edited the newspaper The Pilot. In 1845 he returned to Ireland and edited the Irish nationalist paper Nation. In Ireland, McGee was linked to the Rebellion of 1848 and was forced to flee to the U.S. For the next nine years he edited newspapers. He founded and edited the New York Nation (1848-1850). McGee then founded the American Celt which he based successively in Boston (1850), Buffalo (1852), and New York (1853). In the spring of 1857 he was invited to Montreal by prominent members of the Irish Catholic community. He moved to Montreal in 1857 and for two years edited the paper New Era (1857-1858). He studied law at McGill University, graduating in 1861.

McGee's political thought was influenced by his experience with the Irish nationalists' cause. McGee called for a new nationality in Canada, which meant the federation of British North America, a transcontinental railway, settlement in the West, and a distinctive literature. In November of 1858 at a St. Patrick's Society meeting McGee was nominated to represent the riding of Montreal West in the upcoming election. McGee won. McGee allied himself with George Brown's Reform party. When Brown's government failed in the elections of 1861, McGee shifted his alliance toward the Conservatives.

D'Arcy McGee was married to Mary Theresa Caffrey in Ireland on July 13, 1847. The couple had five daughters - Martha Dorcas, Euphrasia (Fasa), Rose, Agnes (Peggy), a fifth (name unknown), and one son, Thomas Patrick Bede. Only Agnes and Euphrasia outlived their father. Thomas D'Arcy McGee was assassinated April 7, 1868.

Custodial history

The Thomas D'Arcy McGee Collection was originally part of the collection held in the D'Arcy McGee Room at the Georges Vanier Library, Concordia University Libraries. The correspondence in this collection was donated to Concordia University by Agnes Clara McGee through Dr. Emmet Mullaly. A few other items were donated by McGee's niece in 1965. The collection was transferred from Concordia University's Records Management and Archives Department to Concordia University Libraries' Special Collections February 16, 2016, March 23, 2016, March 29, 2016, and April 13, 2016.

Scope and content

The collection provides information on Thomas D'Arcy McGee's history and his relation with his family.

It consists mainly of documents copied from a variety of archival sources by Timothy Slattery for The Assassination of D'Arcy McGee, published in 1968.

The collection includes about 50 original letters exchanged between Thomas D'Arcy McGee and members of his family. The collection includes several photographs, including a portrait of McGee by William Notman. The collection is also composed of newspaper clippings and objects.

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Reproduction for scholarly purposes is permitted.
Use of material in a publication may only be done with permission of the copyright owner.

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Associated materials

Published materials in the D'Arcy McGee Collection may be found in Concordia University Libraries Special Collections.


No further accruals expected.


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