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300 Years Later

Recently my friends over at the Hudson’s Bay Company Archives (HBCA) showed me an amazing piece of HBC history, the first post journal for York Factory.  They had selected it for their latest Spotlight feature on their website as the journal was celebrating its 300th anniversary on September 11.  You can check out this interesting feature here to learn more about James Knight’s first year at York Factory, and be sure to check out their Spotlight archive to read up on previous features from the HBCA.

I was pretty excited to head into their vault when they told me about the journal, I couldn’t believe I’d get to see a document that was written 300 years ago.  The journal did not disappoint, not only is it filled with James Knight’s observations and detailed accounts of daily life at York Factory, but it is also absolutely beautiful to look at.

Click on the image below to take a closer look:

York Factory Post Journal, September 1714 (HBCA-B239-a-1-001)

York Factory Post Journal, September 1714
(HBCA-B239-a-1-001)

Of course I could sound old by saying ‘nobody writes like that anymore’ but it’s the truth, nobody writes like this!  My calligraphy class in grade 4 did not teach me that we could also doodle in the flourishes of the lettering.  I could not stop looking at the little faces, birds, dragons, and fish that appear on the page.  It’s a work of art!

The post journals are an excellent resource, I’m always astounded by the information they contain.  You never know what you’ll find reported, and I promise that even if you don’t find exactly what you’re looking for, you’ll still read some interesting tidbits along the way.

I often save up my research queries so I can spend a full day pouring through the records.  The staff is incredibly friendly and helpful, and I honestly just love a quiet day of archival research to break-up my weekly routine.

For more information on the HBCA check out their website.

 

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Amelia Fay

Curator of HBC Collection

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Amelia Fay joined The Manitoba Museum in September 2013. She received her BA in Anthropology from the University of Manitoba, an MA in Archaeology from Memorial University of Newfoundland (MUN), and is currently finishing her Doctoral degree from MUN. Amelia’s research has focused on Inuit-European contact along the Labrador coast, and her interests are continually expanding to explore Aboriginal-European contact throughout Canada during the fur trade era.

Amelia’s job as Curator of the Hudson’s Bay Company Museum Collection involves building the collection, responding to public inquiries, preparing exhibits, and conducting her own research. Her research interests centre on the interactions between Europeans (including HBC employees) and Aboriginal peoples as they negotiated space, material culture, and their daily activities. Amelia’s goal is to showcase this amazing collection, and highlight the important role that Aboriginal people played in the establishment of the Hudson’s Bay Company.