Rare Books and Special Collections houses a significant amount of archival material relating to the commercial fur trade of the 18th and 19th centuries. 16 individual fonds and collections drawn from this thematic grouping are now full-text searchable using handwritten text recognition (HTR). These collections include records documenting the finance, accounting, and administration of the North West Company, and illuminate the kinship networks that solidified wealth and political power amongst its senior management and major shareholders.
Use the search bar on the right to search both the full-text of this material and the metadata associated with it. When searching and browsing, bear in mind that HTR technology does not resolve the inaccuracies, biases, and exclusions of the original material. For example, First Nations peoples are generally referred to by exonyms (Cree instead of Nehiyawak, e.g.) within the collection. Similarly, place names are recorded as they were understood by Europeans. Although we continue to add more culturally-appropriate terminology to the metadata associated with this collection, it is still advisable to try different variations of terms.
Other tips for searching the collection:
If you’re searching for words in French and not getting any results, try removing accents from the search keywords.
Within the collection, first names and titles are often abbreviated (Capt. for captain, Jas. for James, Wm. for William) and so it may be more effective to search for a surname, if it is known.
Refer to this guide created by Quartex to learn more about HTR technology and how to use it.