Sir John A. Macdonald: Rare and intriguing treasures from the vaults of Library and Archives Canada

Sir John A. Macdonald  

Library and Archives Canada (LAC) holds Canada’s most comprehensive collection of material related to the life, times and continuing appeal of Sir John A. Macdonald (1815–1891)—charismatic visionary, architect of Canadian Confederation and Canada’s first prime minister.

This exhibition brings together a small selection of original documents, art and ephemera from historical and modern periods.  Acquired over the years, and from a variety of sources, these unique records document the public face, private life, and enduring power of one of Canada’s most iconic cultural figures.

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Photo Gallery

Earliest known portrait of Sir John A. Macdonald

Earliest known portrait of Sir John A. Macdonald
By an unknown artist, ca. 1842—43, Oil on canvas
Library and Archives Canada, e010935956

Caricature portrait by Sir John A. Macdonald’s “favourite” critic

Caricature portrait by Sir John A. Macdonald’s “favourite” critic
By J.W. Bengough for Grip, 1887, Colour lithograph on wove paper
Library and Archives Canada, e010930930

Sir John A. Macdonald playing baseball, from an early set of advertising “baseball cards”

Sir John A. Macdonald playing baseball, from an early set of advertising “baseball cards”
By an unknown artist for the Bain Wagon Company, ca. 1885, Colour lithograph on wove paper
Library and Archives Canada, e011055952

 
Draft of the British North America Act in Sir John A. Macdonald’s handwriting (first page)

Draft of the British North America Act in Sir John A. Macdonald’s handwriting (first page)
By Sir John A. Macdonald with later annotations by Sir Joseph Pope, ca. 1866–67
Ink on paper
Library and Archives Canada, e011081134

School book used by Sir John A. Macdonald at age 12

School book used by Sir John A. Macdonald at age 12
Ink on paper, January 13, 1827
Library and Archives Canada, e011157850

Marriage advice requested of Sir John A. Macdonald

Marriage advice requested of Sir John A. Macdonald
By William B. Thompson, 1889 Ink on paper
Library and Archives Canada, e011156784

 
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