Archives and Research Library
of the New Brunswick Museum
When Gord returned from his trip to town,
he came into the house carrying a box. We gathered around him as he opened
the package, removed a radio and placed it on the kitchen table. He plugged
the cord into the nearby electrical outlet and simply by pushing one of the
buttons, music from Wheeling West Virginia commenced to play. With a push
of the next button, CHSJ was on the air. This was certainly different from
the large floor model cabinet radio with its wire antenna that stretched
from the living room window to a pole on the woodshed roof. To get a station
to “come in” on that radio, Mum would turn the dial very slowly until she
heard a voice. This new technology certainly made the “tuning” to a station
much easier and faster.
Today, the searching of the material found in the Archives and Research
Library of the New Brunswick Museum has been made much simpler and faster.
You can just sit in front of the computer at home and push buttons which
in today’s world we call computer keys and instantly you have information
on the computer screen. From the museum website at www.nbm-mnb.ca/, click on “Collections”
then "Archives & Research Library". Now select "Search Archives
Many of the “fonds” or collections contain biographical information which
is followed by an inventory of the items. Searches can be done by keyword
or name of the collection.
I was interested in finding out about pharmacies in Saint John. The information
that I found gave me not only the name "William Hawker: Father of Canadian
Pharmacy 1840-1937" but biographical information stating he had
been born at Barrington, England on March 27, 1840 and apprenticed
as a printer but decided instead to enlist in the British army in November
1857 where he received training in medicine. His battalion the 15th foot was
ordered to Saint John in 1861, he was a surgeon-lieutenant by that time. In
1862 was transferred to the Fredericton hospital and there married, on November
13, 1862 Lovedy Thomasine Dale, the daughter of Henry Dale of Cornwall,
England. He retired from the army and moved back to Saint John opening
a pharmacy in 1866 on Prince William Street. He produced a line of various
remedies that would be purchased by the Canadian Drug Company. For the family
researcher, the names and spouses of his children are included plus another
fonds that holds an unpublished manuscript by Elizabeth McMullin, a descendant
of William Hawker. Mention is also made of the Grand balloon ascension
under the auspices of the Hawker Medicine Co.
The Saint John Harmonic Society fonds consists of a minute book from 1854-1857
The Merritt family fonds of 1778-1957 take up 3.98 metres of space - probably
lots of interesting material there.
The Sylvester Z Earle papers provide a list of subscribers to the Hampton
Ferry Bridge of 1835-1839 .
In the Canada Customs, port of Saint John, personnel ledger of 1918 to1940,
you will find the annual listing of information on employees' date of first
service, office of appointment, salary at which appointed, date of birth,
place of birth, marital status, ethnic origin, religion and current salary.
The Saint John Board of School Trustees Records of 1877 to 1948 includes
census and enumeration; monthly returns by teachers; work books; truancy
reports; account books; question papers, and Principal's Association minute
On my next visit to the Archives and Research Library on Douglas Avenue
in Saint John, I plan to ask to see the George J. Dibblee (1800-1877) Papers
with the sketch of C.M. Abell's Improved Farm Gate.
The archival collections of the New Brunswick Museum consist of business
records, personal papers and ephemera relating to the economic, social, legal,
military, religious and political aspects of life in New Brunswick, with
a nineteenth century emphasis.
The library database has been accessible on the New Brunswick Museum website
for several months, and a search can be done by author, title or subject.
If you are looking for ancestors in Kings County – a search brings up 20
The online access to both of these databases has been made possible by
funding from the New Brunswick Environmental Trust Fund.
By the way, these 2 databases are also available for searching at the
Archives and Research Library of the New Brunswick Museum, 277 Douglas Ave,
Saint John, where staff are available to provide assistance. The hours of
operation are Tuesday to Friday, 10:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.
For more information, phone (506) 643-2322, Fax (506) 643-2360 or e-mail