Acquired as a gift from Jane and Robert Coppenrath in 2005. The documents were collected by the Coppenraths during the 1970s and 1980s. Item MSG 1108-52 was added to the Collection in 2013 by Jane Coppenrath.
The Coppenrath Collection of Voyageurs Contracts for the North West Company partners contains 52 contracts for the period from approximately 1800 to 1821. These document the terms of engagement for men going into the North West . Voyageur contracts are of particular interest for study of the fur trade, Canada's first major industry, because they document the conditions of employment for many of the journeymen ("engagés") involved in the trade, both those who worked on the Ottawa River and those who "wintered" in the North West. The contracts are dated from 1800 to 1821 with printed forms from before 1800 being used in some cases. A significant number of outfitters are included namely the firm of McTavish, McGillivrays & Co. with various partners including John Ogilvy and Thomas Thain, Pierre de Rocheblave and earlier partnership -- McTavish, Frobisher & Co. As well, there are contracts with lesser known outfitters. These contracts provide not only the names of the "engagés" but usually their place of residence and the conditions and terms of their employment.