Interpreting the Collections
Sir William Logan, 1869
Sir William Edmond Logan (1798-1875) has been recognized consistently, from
his own day to ours, as Canada's first great scientist. He founded the Geological
Survey of Canada, which has been of inestimable value to the country for over
160 years. He was knighted by Queen Victoria in 1856, causing national celebrations. His fame rests on the geological maps, publications, and exhibits that his Survey produced, but the original source materials that made these accomplishments possible have never received the attention they deserve. Logan's field notebooks and personal journals are dispersed over several archives; now, for the first time, they are reunited thanks to the collaboration of Library and Archives Canada and its partner institutions -- McGill University Archives, the National Library of Wales, Natural Resources Canada and the Toronto Public Library.
William Logan's notebook
The documents available through this digital portal begin with Logan's first
geological observations in North America -- made between 1840 and 1841 -- and
go on to cover his early years of fieldwork for the Geological Survey of Canada,
two decades of official reports, the thousand-page Geology of Canada (1863)
and several important early geological maps. Together, these materials show how
a small group of scientists were able to explore, measure, and map the Province
of Canada (which was then limited to southern Ontario and Quebec). The way Logan
and his colleagues presented their geological knowledge to Canadians, and to the
world, changed perceptions of this land forever.