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Moodie, Strickland, Vickers, Ewing family fonds. - 1821-1949. - 2.5 m of textual record and other material.

Biographical Sketch

Portrait of Suzanna Strickland Moodie

Watercolour portrait of Suzanna Strickland Moodie.

Susanna Moodie (née Strickland) was born near Suffolk, England in 1803, one of six Strickland daughters, five of whom became writers. Susanna began writing at an early age, mainly about heroic historical figures and stories for children and adolescents. She immigrated to Canada in the spring of 1832 with her husband, Lt. John Wedderburn Dunbar Moodie, where they settled on a land-grant north of present-day Lakefield, Ontario in 1834. She wrote serialized fiction for the Literary Garland magazine and co-edited with her husband the Victoria Magazine (1847-1848). She is best known for Roughing It in the Bush: Or, Life in Canada (1852), her autobiographical account of the difficult adaptation from England to Canada which has become an enduring classic in Canadian literature of immigration and settlement.

The Moodie, Strickland, Vickers, Ewing family fonds was acquired from the estate of Patrick Hamilton Ewing, the great-great-grandson of Susanna and J.W. Dunbar Moodie. After a career in London, England, and an active role in the Resistance Movement during the war, Patrick Hamilton Ewing settled in New York State. Upon the death of his grandmother, Ethel Vickers Ewing, the collection of family papers that Ethel had inherited from her mother, Catherine Moodie Vickers (eldest daughter of Susanna Moodie), was shipped to Ewing's home and stored undisturbed in his attic. After Ewing's death in 1986, the collection was offered to the National Library of Canada.

Photo of Suzanna and J.W. Dunbar Moodie and family

Photo of Suzanna and J.W. Dunbar Moodie and family.

Scope and Content

The fonds contains correspondence (171 letters) mainly from the Strickland sisters to family members in Canada; from Donald Moodie to his brother and letters exchanged between Susanna and J.W. Dunbar Moodie; manuscripts of Susanna and J.W. Dunbar Moodie; original watercolours by Susanna and one portrait of Susanna; photographs; clippings and memorabilia. The collection concerns principally Susanna Strickland Moodie, John Wedderburn Dunbar Moodie and their families.

Immediate Source of Acquisition: acquired from the Estate of Patrick Hamilton Ewing in 1987 and 1992. [1987-07, 1992-13]

Language: material in the fonds is in English.

Restrictions: access to fragile originals is limited.

Finding Aid: finding aid available.

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