The very year that Evans began his press witnessed the birth in France of Emile Jean Baptiste Marie Grouard (1840 1931). As a missionary Father of the Catholic Oblates order, Grouard installed a Stanhope press at Lac La Biche, north of Edmonton, on the western rim of Ruperts Land, where he produced the Province of Albertas first imprint, Histoire sainte en montagnais (1878), as well as numerous works in various native languages using syllabic type. Father Grouards press moved with him around the territory, and served in several locations.
Other missionary presses were later in operation at various sites, but the next wave of prairie publishing came in form of secular job-printers and would-be newspaper proprietors. The Nor wester began publication at Fort Garry [Winnipeg] in 1859. It was succeeded by papers such as the Manitoban (1871 72), Le Métis (St- Boniface, 1871 81, renamed Le Manitoba (1881 1925), and the Manitoba [later Winnipeg] Free Press (1872 ).
Further west, Patrick Laurie (1833 1903) established the first press in the future province of Saskatchewan, and began publishing the Saskatchewan Herald at Battleford in 1878. With the coming of the railway, Regina was named the territorial capital in 1883, began to eclipse Battleford, and was soon equipped with its own newspaper press, The Regina Leader (1883 ). A similar secular enterprise began in Alberta with Frank Oliver s establishment of the Edmonton Bulletin (1880 1951), which was soon followed by the Fort McLeod Gazette (1882 1907), The Calgary Herald, Mining and Range Advocate and General Advertiser (1883 ), the Prince Albert Times (1883 ), the Brandon Sun (1883 ), the Portage-la-Prairie Liberal (1885 ), and the Lethbridge News (1886 1910?).
Because these prairie newspapers scarcely paid their own way, their job-printing proprietors took whatever commercial work came along, consisting primarily of commercial stationery, business forms, advertising ephemera, and the occasional government contract for official publications. The earliest magazine to appear in the region was the short-lived Canadian North-West (Winnipeg, 1880), and this genre too remained uncommon until the last decade of the nineteenth century, and local examples, both then and later, were seldom commercial successes.
Despite the occasional commission to print a literary work, such as J.C. Majors account in verse of The Red River Expedition (Winnipeg, 1870 / (Peel #308), the first literary publication to be produced in the Northwest, Mrs M.A. Nicholls Lays from the West, by Stella (Winnipeg, 1884 / Peel #762), Rowes An Old Womans Story (Regina, 1886 / Peel #965), the first literary publication in Saskatchewan, or Leader publisher Nicholas Flood Davins Eos: An Epic of the Dawn and Other Poems (Regina, 1889 / Peel #1101), book production on the prairies remained extremely limited until quite recent times. The centres of book production remained far away, in Canadas eastern cities and abroad, and the prairie market was supplied almost totally by imports. The History of the Book in Canada project will find little to chronicle or celebrate from the era prior to World War II in Canadas three so-called prairie provinces, unless all publishing formats are included within its scope. Indeed, the era prior to WW II gave little if any indication of the explosion of post- war writing and (especially small press) publishing that was to follow. ( McMurtrie, 1933; Haworth, 1969; Peel, 1973, 1974A, 1975; Parker, 1985; Fetherling, 1990; Distad, 1996)
As a rough measure of the order of magnitude of prairie province publishing, from the early settlement period to the present day, the following totals have been derived from Albertas NEOS catalogue database for publications bearing imprints of these urban centres:
No effort has been made to disentangle the various formats of monographic and serial publication, or to segregate and enumerate them by such things as language. Moreover, this sample doubtless contains a degree of duplication, and omits the newspapers and ephemeral publications produced in small- town printing offices across the length and breadth of the prairies. The relatively high number of imprints recorded for the three provincial capitals undoubtedly reflects significant numbers of provincial government publications.
II. Bibliographic Control of Prairie Publications
The pioneer and doyen of prairie bibliographers is Mr Bruce B. Peel, whoseA Bibliography of the Prairie Provinces to 1953 (Toronto, 1956; 2nd ed. 1973) was preceded by his published enumerations of Saskatchewan Imprints before 1900 (Saskatchewan History, 6:3 [Autumn 1953]: 91-94) and Alberta Imprints before 1900 (Alberta Historical Review, 3:3 [Summer 1955]: 41-46). In preparation for the publication of a third edition of his Prairie Provinces bibliography, Mr Peel has gathered well over 1,000 additional entries to supplement the more than 4,400 listed in the second edition. Peels bibliography includes a large number of works about the prairie Provinces that were published elsewhere, many of them abroad.
A similar breadth of scope is provided in Gloria M. Stratherns Alberta, 1954 1979: A Provincial Bibliography (1982), a continuation of Peel for a single province, which adds a further 3,500 entries. Similar provincial coverage had already been provided for Saskatchewan and Manitoba, ( Arora,1980, 1993; Morley, 1970) as well as for the cities of Edmonton and Winnipeg (Sloane et al., 1974; Rek, 1991). Still broader geographic coverage is provided in two general bibliographies dealing with the American and Canadian West as well as with the Canadian West exclusively (Smith (1979; Artibise, 1978). Notices of still more specialized bibliographies of the prairie provinces may be found in the Bibliography of Canadian Bibliographies, 3rd ed. (Ingles, 1994). While virtually all of these bibliographies include books, there is considerable variation over the inclusion of other genres, such as serials, theses, government documents, maps, musical scores, newspapers, and audio visual formats.
One of the most troublesome formats to document, as well as to locate, is the newspaper. Excellent historical bibliographies exist for the newspapers of Alberta and Manitoba; Saskatchewan has been less-well-served ( Strathern , 1988; Loveridge, 1981; MacDonald, 1984).
Modern imprints have, of course, been admirably well-covered and controlled since the inception of the National Library of Canadas official bibliography, Canadiana (1951 ).
III. Collectors and Libraries
While the Governors and Chief Factors of the Hudsons Bay Company may have resisted the efforts of the missionaries to render the native population either literate or Christian, their own employees were another matter, and the literate among them constituted a significant market for the consumption, reading, and collecting of books long before the first permanent settlers arrived on the prairies. The letterbooks of the Company are filled with comments on books and periodicals, and requests for their supply or exchange among western outposts. Company employees, doubtless anticipating the enforced idleness of long, cold, bleak winters, not infrequently brought books with them, not only practical works, but also works of literature, biography, history, and even philosophy. Once situate they were even able to augment their holdings by means of orders placed through the London headquarters. Some considerable personal collections were thus assembled. Joseph Colen possessed a personal collection of more than 1,400 volumes at York Factory in the 1790s, and upon the death of Company surveyor Peter Fidler, in 1822, he bequeathed a collection perhaps as large as 2,000 volumes to the Red River Settlement. Of this library, enormous for its day and place, 280 volumes remain in the Manitoba Legislative Library. Other notable book collectors among the Companys servants included explorers David Thompson and Samuel Hearn.
Most Company posts developed small libraries, presumably based on the books left behind by departing staff. However, by the middle of the nineteenth century, formal subscription libraries had been established at a number of posts, such as York and Moose Factories, Norway House, Fort Chipewyan, and Fort Simpson in the Mackenzie District, which by 1901 boasted a collection in excess of 2,000 volumes. These central, subscription libraries served to circulate books to other company posts in their respective districts, and thanks to the reliability of the fur trades transportation network, they could be remarkably up to date. Thus, the soldier-surveyor John Henry Lefroy was astonished to find a copy of the architect John Claudius Loudons Cyclopedia of Villa and Farm Architecture at Fort Simpson in 1844, only a year after it was published. Indeed, the Company began to offer further encouragement, by waiving the transportation costs for books, whether they were personal orders, or destined for trading post libraries. Company employees would often, in turn, place orders with the London office on behalf of others. One such order survives from 1834, when one William Drever, a carpenter working at York Factory, ordered nine books, including five handbooks on building, cabinet making, finishing and the like, as well as several works of fiction.
A later book collector of note, whose personal library has been maintained intact in the Bruce Peel Special Collections Library at the University of Alberta in Edmonton, was Alexander Cameron Rutherford (1858 1941), who served from 1905 to 1910 as the first Premier (as well as Treasurer and Minister of Education) of the newly created Province of Alberta. Whereas the trading post libraries and personal collections of fur trade personnel appear to have leaned heavily toward the practical and the literary, while being almost bereft of either works of theology or the literature of travel and exploration in the West, Rutherfords tastes as a collector ran heavily toward those classic works of discovery, exploration, and travel that are still among the most highly prized by collectors and dealers.
Much work remains to be done collating and analysing surviving records of the content of early collections on the prairies, including archival evidence in the form of orders, invoices, bills of lading, and other fugitive references, since the survival of catalogues of such libraries, let alone of intact collections themselves is exceptional. (Cole, 1981; Payne & Thomas, 1983; Angel, 1980; Castling, 1981; Lindsay, 1986)
The building of the Canadian Pacific Railway opened up the West for serious settlement. In the five years from 1881 to 1886 the population of Winnipeg (incorporated in 1873) nearly tripled, from just under 8,000 to more than 20,000. With such a growing concentration of population, demand soon arose for library resources, and the pattern of library development in Winnipeg already nicely chronicled might well serve as a paradigm for other cities on the prairies. The Manitoba Historical and Scientific Society was founded in 1879, and soon formed a small research library and museum. In 1880 the Society moved to establish a second, subscription library, open to members of the public upon an annual payment of $5 per family (or a single payment of $50 for lifetime memberships). This public library had a limited range of appeal, primarily to the middle class, and by 1893 it recorded only 223 subscriptions. The reading needs of the working class were met by a library established by the CPR in its shops, which featured a subscription rate of only 10¢ a month, or a dollar a year, as well as by small libraries maintained by labour organisations such as the local chapter of the Knights of Labour. However, agitation for a free public library began as early as 1882, and continued until 1902, when a Carnegie grant of $75,000 was received, and the resulting library building opened in 1905. ( Budnick, 1981; Artibise, 1975)
IV. Book Selling and Distributing
The official name adopted by the publishers of the Nor wester in 1859 The Red River Printing and Bookselling Establishment implies a logical diversification to cope with the uncertainties of newspaper publishing and job printing on the frontier. As Winnipeg, the Gateway to the prairies, grew in size, other firms of stationers and booksellers were established. Donaldsons dominated the Winnipeg trade in the 1870s, and from 1885 until the end of the century, under the proprietorship of Alexander Taylor (d. 1899), a former employee, it grew into a retail bookstore of national prominence. Competitors were not lacking, however, such as S.R. Parsons, an active supporter of Winnipegs early library movement, and W.D. Russell, whose firm was already a decade old in 1890, when he went into partnership with Lisgar Lang. The firm of Russell & Lang dominated the citys book trade in the new century.
Mr James C. Linton opened his bookstore in Calgary in 1884, and in Regina the Canada Drug and Book Company was established in 1896, which in turn grew into a wholesaling and retailing chain that lasted in business until 1976 (a neat four-score-and-ten years).
Mention has already been made of the role of the Hudsons Bay Company as a purveyor of new books, and the Bay remains Canadas (and especially the prairies ) first and oldest continuously operating retail chain. Over the years the Bay as well as other department store chains, such as Eaton s, Woodwards, and even the lowly Army & Navy stores have been major vendors of books, and provided significant competition to the independent booksellers even before the appearance of national chains devoted exclusively to the retailing of books, viz: Classics, Coles, and W.H. Smith (now all merged to form Chapters). While not historically the case, each major prairie city now enjoys a healthy second-hand and antiquarian book trade, some few members of which have achieved a national prominence.
V. Publishing and Publishers
The prairies best-known and most celebrated bookman is without a doubt Edmontons Mel Hurtig, who opened his now legendary bookstore in 1956, entered the publishing field in a modest way in 1967, and by 1972 had created Canadas only trade publishing house with a national scope to be located outside of the Toronto-Montreal axis. Before the demise of his publishing firm in 1991 a tale too-well-known to bear repeating here Hurtig had produced a legacy of fine books, including the celebrated Canadian Encyclopedia (adult and childrens, available in both English- and
French-language editions). Hurtigs firm was unique in one other way, insofar as his papers and records have been preserved in the University of Alberta Archives; most defunct publishing and bookselling businesses can only be studied by means of surviving public tax records and through fugitive advertisements. (The records of Winnipegs Turnstone Press are on deposit in the University of Manitoba Archives.)
As is true for the rest of Canada, governments remain the largest publishers on the prairies, however, the last three decades have witnessed an efflorescence of prairie publishing ventures, albeit all of them modest in scale. On the academic side, university presses were formally established at the universities of Manitoba, Saskatchewan, Alberta, and Calgary, though their production has been modest, and more than one now appears moribund.
On the other hand, there has been a virtual explosion of small prairie presses, with a topical and/or regional focus. This movement may be traced to a fateful decision by the publishing department of the Saskatchewan Wheat Pool, which produced and distributed each week 155,000 copies of the specialty newspaper, The Western Producer, to publish Grant MacEwan s Fifty Mighty Men (1958), a collection of prairie biographical sketches reprinted from The Western Producer. Over the next two decades fifty further titles focusing on the Canadian West appeared under the imprint of Western Producer Prairie Books, quite a few of them written by the prolific MacEwan . The Pools book division was expanded still further in 1975, and its output increased. Regrettably, the recent demise of this imprint brought down the curtain on the most prolific of prairie publishers.
Despite this loss, numerous other small presses have been active on the prairies. Some sense of their output may be seen by once again having recourse to Albertas NEOS database for a rough count of catalogue records by publisher:
* The actual output of Lone Pine and Reidmore are not accurately reflected
in this sample.
Perhaps the biggest success in the history of prairie publishing is Harlequin Books, founded as a mass-market paperback house in Winnipeg in 1949, whose golden history has been chronicled in at least two popular, book-length histories.(Parker, 1985; Budnick, 1981; Distad, 1996; Tratt , 1974; Gutteridge, 1976; Daniel, 1978; Boultbee, 1995; Melanson, 1988)
VI. Ethnic Language Publishing
In addition to English- and French-language publishing, the prairies have been home during much of the twentieth century to a vigorous ethnic language publishing industry, ranging from a native language press (primarily newspapers) to a variety of European languages, for example, among Manitoba s large Icelandic immigrant community. German speakers are widespread across the prairies, and the Ukrainian language is flourishing, even among third- and fourth-generation children of immigrants. This has for some time been a fruitful area of research. Dr Jars Balan of Edmonton has enumerated post-World War II Ukrainian literary publications, and is compiling a bibliography of Ukrainian-language dramas produced in Canada among the immigrant community. ( Balan, 1987; Bogusis, 1981; Gregorovich, 1991; Slavutych, 1986) VII. Sectarian Publishing
Publishing on the prairies began with nineteenth-century missionaries, and the various religious confessions continue to play a role in western publishing. Exacting record keepers that they have always been, the Catholic order of Oblates have left a trail of archival records (not to mention libraries) that stretches from Ottawa to Alberta, where they are split between The Alberta Provincial Museum in Edmonton, the Foyer Grandin in St Albert, and Peace River.
The Orthodox tradition is equally strong on the prairies, if of more recent vintage. However, not to be overlooked are the publishing activities of smaller groups, such as the Mormon community, centred around Cardston in southwestern Alberta, or even such idiosyncratic and restricted efforts at publishing as the scribed sermon books of the Hutterite colonies, where traditional texts are preserved in that most traditional way, by being copied in manuscript by each succeeding generation! Mr David Goa of the Alberta Provincial Museum is the ranking authority on these aforementioned sectarian presses. While, on Protestant mission records, and publications in native syllabics, much work has been done by the Rev Mr Gerald Hutchinson ( U.C.C. ), of the Rundle Mission at Pigeon Lake, Alberta, as well, of course, as the well-known work of Bruce Peel (University of Alberta) and Joyce Banks (formerly of the National Library).
The prairies have long produced a disproportionate share of Canada s writers and authors, who, even when they did not join in the outbound diaspora, were long content to see their works published in the east or, better still, in London and/or New York City. In recent years efforts by prairie institutions to collect the papers and manuscripts of Canadian authors have met with some considerable success. Indeed, the particularly aggressive acquisitions program of the University of Calgary succeeded in gathering in a considerable number of such collections, many of them by authors with no particular prairie, let alone Alberta affinities. Thus, while a number of locations can boast of at least modest holdings of literary papers e.g. those of both Eli Mandel and Henry Kreisel are to be found at the University of Manitoba the University of Calgary has treasures that will prove invaluable in producing the non-prairie sections of the history of the book. Calgarys list of authors held is at once a rich and impressive one, for it includes: Constance Beresford-Howe, Clark Blaise, Michael Cook, Joanna Glass, Robert Kroetsch, Hugh MacLennan, Miriam Mandel, W.O. Mitchell, Brian Moore, Alice Munro, Alden Nowlan, Sharon Pollock, Mordecai Richler, Gwen Ringwood , Aretha Van Herk, and Rudy Wiebe . (Separate guides have been published for each of Calgarys authors papers collections. See also Alberta Culture, 1979, 1984; Connections 2, 1983; Holt, 1992; McLeod, 1974; Robinson, 1977; Saskatchewan Books, 1990)
Bibliography: Works Cited by Author and Date
Alberta Culture (1979): Alberta Novelists (Edmonton).
----- (1984): Alberta Authors and their Books for Children and Young Adults (Edmonton).
Angel (1980): Michael Angel, Clio in the Wilderness: or, Everyday Reading Habits of the Honourable Company of Merchant Adventurers Trading into Hudsons Bay, Manitoba Library Association Bulletin 10:3 (June, 1980): 14-19.
Arora, Ved (1980): The Saskatchewan Bibliography [1905 78] (Regina).
----- (1993): First Supplement (Regina).
Artibise, Alan (1975): Winnipeg: A Social History of Urban Growth, 1874 1914 (Montreal).
----- (1978): Western Canada since 1870: A Select Bibliography and Guide (Vancouver).
Balan, Jars (1987): Yarmarok : Ukrainian Writing in Canada since the Second World War (Edmonton).
Banks, Joyce (1983): The Printing of the Cree Bible, Papers/Cahiers of the Bibliographic Society of Canada 22: 12-24.
----- (1995): The Church Missionary Society and the Rossville Mission Press, Papers/Cahiers of the Bibliographic Society of Canada 32:1 (Spring): 31-44.
Boultbee, Paul (1995): Vain Dream to Main Stream: The Growth of the Red Deer College Press, Papers/Cahiers of the Bibliographic Society of Canada 33:1 (Spring): 51-66.
Budnick, Carol (1981): Books to the People of Winnipeg, Canadian Library Journal 38:6 (December): 417-421.
Castling, Leslie (1981): Peter Fidlers Books, Manitoba Library Association Bulletin 11:4 (September): 47-48.
Cole, J. M. (1981): Keeping the Mind Alive: Literary Leanings in the Fur Trade, Journal of Canadian Studies / Revue détudes canadiennes 16:2 (Summer/ été ): 87-93.
Connections 2 (1983): Connections 2: Writers and the Land (Winnipeg).
Daniel, Lorne (1978): Prairie Publishing: A Community Grows, Canadian Forum (October-November): 31-32.
Distad, Merrill (1996): Canada. In J. Don Vann and Rosemary Van Arsdel, eds., The Periodicals of Queen Victorias Empire: An Exploration (Toronto), 61-174.
Fetherling, Douglas (1990): The Rise of the Canadian Newspaper (Toronto).
Gregorovich, Andrew (1991): Canadian Ethnic Press Bibliography (Toronto).
Gundy, H. Pearson (1965): Book Publishing and Publishers in Canada before 1900 (Toronto).
----- (1972): The Spread of Printing, Western Hemisphere: Canada (Amsterdam).
Gutteridge, Norma (1976): Publishing on the Prairies, Canadian Library Journal 33: 33- 37.
Haworth, Eric (1969): Imprint of a Nation (Toronto).
Holt, Faye (1992): Alberta Plays and Playwrights: Alberta Playwrights Network Catalogue (Calgary).
Ingles, Ernie B. (1994): Bibliography of Canadian Bibliographies, 3rd ed. (Toronto).
Lindsay, Debra (1986): Peter Fidlers Books: Philosophy and Science in Ruperts Land. In Peter F. McNally, ed., Readings in Canadian Library History (Ottawa): 209-29.
Loveridge, D. M. (1981): A Historical Directory of Manitoba Newspapers, 1859-1978 (Winnipeg). See also Anon., Manitoba Newspaper Checklist with Library Holdings, 1859- 1986 (Winnipeg, 1986).
MacDonald, Christine (1984): Historical Directory of Saskatchewan Newspapers, 1878 1983, Saskatchewan Archives Reference Series no. 4 (Regina).
McLeod, Gordon D. (1974): A Descriptive Bibliography of the Canadian Prairie Novel, 1871 1970. Ph.D. Thesis, University of Manitoba (Winnipeg).
McMurtrie, Douglas (1931): The First Printing in Manitoba (Chicago).
----- (1933): The First Printing in Alberta (Chicago).
Melanson, Holly (1988): Literary Presses in Canada, 1975 1985: A Checklist and Bibliography. Dalhousie School of Library and Information Studies, Occasional Papers #43 (Halifax).
Morley, Marjorie (1970): A Bibliography of Manitoba from Holdings in the Legislative Library of Manitoba, 3rd ed. (Winnipeg).
Parker, George (1985): The Beginnings of the Book Trade in Canada (Toronto).
Payne, Michael and Gregory Thomas (1983): Literacy, Literature and Libraries in the Fur Trade, The Beaver 313:4 (Spring): 44-53.
Peel, Bruce B. (1958): How the Bible Came to the Cree, Alberta Historical Review 6:2 (Spring): 15-19.
----- (1973): Bibliography of the Prairie Provinces to 1953 with Biographical Index, 2nd ed. (Toronto).
----- ( 1974A ): Early Printing in the Red River Settlement, 1859 1870, and Its Effect upon the Riel Rebellion (Winnipeg).
----- ( 1974B ): The Rossville Mission Press: The Invention of the Cree Syllabic Characters and the First Printing in Ruperts Land (Montreal).
----- (1975): Red River Broadsides, Amphora 19 (1): 6-12.
Private Presses (1983): The Canadian Private Presses in Print (Grimsby). See also Fine Printing: The Private Press in Canada, Catalogue of an Exhibition (Toronto, 1995).
Rek, Joseph (1991): Edmonton: An Annotated Bibliographjy of Holdings in the Canadiana Collection, Edmonton Public Library, 3rd ed. (Edmonton).
Robinson, Jill (1977): Seas of Earth: An Annotated Bibliography of Saskatchewan Literature as it Relates to the Environment (Regina).
Saskatchewan Books (1990): Saskatchewan Books! A Selected Annotated Bibliography of Saskatchewan Literature (Regina).
Slavutych, Yar (1986): An Annotated Bibliography of Ukrainian Literature in Canada: Canadian Book Publications, 1908 1985, 2nd ed. (Edmonton).
Sloane, D. Louise, et al. (1974): Winnipeg: A Centennial Bibliography (Winnipeg).
Smith, Dwight L. (1979): The American and Canadian West: A Bibliography. Clio Bibliography Series (Santa Barbara).
Strathern, Gloria (1982): Alberta, 1954-1979: A Provincial Bibliography (Edmonton).
----- (1988): Alberta Newspapers, 1880 1982: An Historical Directory (Edmonton).
Tratt, Grace (1974): Check List of Canadian Small Presses: English Language, Dalhousie University Libraries and School of Library Service Occasional Paper #6 (Halifax).