Fonds MG 459 - Donald Smith fonds

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Donald Smith fonds

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MG 459

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  • 1860-1952 (Creation)

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Physical description

2.86 m of textual records
15 cm of images

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Biographical history

Donald B. Smith has co-edited such books as The New Provinces, Alberta and Saskatchewan, 1905-1980 (with the late Howard Palmer), and Centennial City: Calgary 1894-1994. His popular articles have appeared in a variety of local and national publications including Alberta History, The Beaver, the Globe and Mail, and the Calgary Herald. With Douglas Francis and Richard Jones, he published the popular two volume history text, Origins, and Destinies, and the single-volume history of Canada, titled Journeys. He has also published Calgary's Grand Story, a history of twentieth century Calgary from the vantage point of two heritage buildings in the city, the Lougheed Building and Grand Theatre, both constructed in 1911/1912.
Born in Toronto in 1946, Dr. Smith was raised in Oakville, Ontario. He obtained his BA and PhD at the University of Toronto, and his M.A. at the Université Laval. He taught Canadian History at the University of Calgary from 1974 to 2009, focusing on
Canadian history in general, and on Aboriginal History, Quebec, and the Canadian North in particular. His research has primarily been in the field of Aboriginal History, combined with a strong interest in Alberta history.

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Scope and content

This collection relates to the writing and research of Honoré Jaxon: Prairie Visionary. This book completes Donald Smith’s “Prairie Imposters” popular history trilogy concerning three prominent figures who all pretended an Aboriginal ancestry they did not, in fact, possess – Honoré Jaxon, Grey Owl, and Long Lance. The material includes photocopies of material from various sources including other archives. Unless indicated titles were supplied by author/donor.
William Henry Jackson, also known as Honoré Joseph Jaxon, Louis Riel’s secretary in
1884/85 immediately before the North-West Rebellion, labour leader (b in Toronto 13
May 1861; d in New York C, NY 10 Jan 1952). After his family moved from Ontario to Prince Albert, Sask, Will Jackson joined them, abandoning his Classics course at the University of Toronto. Having completed 3 years there, he was one of the best-educated men in the area. He became secretary of the local farmers' union, and in this capacity he met Riel in the summer of 1884. Sympathetic to the Métis cause, he went to live at Batoche, Sask, to serve as Riel's secretary, converted to Roman Catholicism and later accepted Riel's new religion. After the failure of the rebellion, or “resistance,” Jackson was tried and committed to the lunatic asylum at Fort Garry, Man. Escaping 2 months later, he walked to the American border and eventually settled in Chicago, Ill. As Honoré Joseph Jaxon he worked as a union organizer for over 2 decades. "Riel's Secretary" moved to New York after WWI, where he died (Canadian Encyclopedia Online).

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Restrictions on access

All correspondence obtained from private sources is restricted, as is any correspondence with Jaxon’s family. Restrictions are noted in bold below. All restrictions apply until December 31, 2030; prior to that researchers must contact the donor for access permission. Please consult archivist for files marked RESTRICTED.

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7 August 2011: Donald Smith donated an additional 1 cm of material in three folders which was accessioned into the collection. The three folders are as follows:
1.4.35. Wood, Enoch. Methodist Missionary Superintendent. Contact with
Jackson family 1963, 1871, 1875.
2.1.34. Important New Information about Honoré – after the book came out.
October 2007.
2.1.35. Reviews of Honoré Jaxon: Prairie Visionary.
Additional accessions in 2015 and 2017.

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