Lawrence Johnstone Burpee

Fonds number:
Title: Lawrence Johnstone Burpee
Dates of Material:
Inclusive 1900–[1947?]
3 cm of textual records
Biographical sketch

Lawrence Johnstone Burpee (1873–1946) was a historian, a civil servant, a librarian and a writer. He was born in Halifax, Nova Scotia, the son of Lewis Johnstone Burpee and Alice de Mill. In 1899 he married Maud Hanington. They had three sons and two daughters, Lawrence Hanington, Mrs. John Lowe, Margaret, Edward and Arthur. He died in Oxford, England.

Burpee was educated partly at home and at public and private schools. In 1890 he entered the Canadian federal Civil Service to serve as private secretary to three successive Ministers of Justice. From 1905 to 1912 he was Librarian of the Carnegie Public Library in Ottawa. From 1912 until his death, he was Canadian Secretary of the International Joint Commission.

Burpee was one of the founding members of the Canadian Historical Association; National President of the Canadian Authors’ Association; editor of the Canadian Geographical Journal; founding member of the Board of Directors of the Canadian Writers’ Foundation; Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada (1911), Honorary Secretary (1926–1935), and President (1936–1937). He received the Medaille de Vermeil award from the Académie Française for work in Canadian history and the Tyrrell Gold Medal from the Royal Society of Canada.

Burpee published extensively in the areas of Canadian bibliography, geography and history. His publications include: A Bibliography of Canadian Fiction (1904, co-editor: L.E. Horning), Canadian Life in Town and Country (1905, co-author: H.J. Morgan), A Little Book of Canadian Essays (1909), A Century of Canadian Sonnets (1910), An Index and Dictionary of Canadian History (1911, co-editor: Arthur G. Doughty), Humour of the North (1912), Sandford Fleming, Empire Builder (1915), An Historical Atlas of Canada (1927, editor), Journals of LaVerendrye (1927, editor).

See: Encyclopedia Canadiana, Vol. 2, p. 143; and the Canadian Encyclopedia, p. 242.

Custodial history

The custodial history is unknown.

Scope and content

The fonds consists of 53 letters, 1 annotated article by Lawrence Burpee, and 1 article about Lawrence Burpee by Pelham Edgar. The majority of the letters were written by Burpee to the Arthur H. Clark Company and concern the publication of the book series "Fur Traders of the North".

Source of supplied title

Title based on contents of the fonds.


The fonds is stored in 3 boxes.

Immediate source of acquisition

The immediate source of acquisition is unknown.

Accession 2018.15 was purchased from Lord Durham Rare Books in 2018.

Accession 2021.05 was purchased from Lord Durham Rare Books in December 2021.

Access restrictions

Restrictions on access: No restrictions on access.

Finding aids

File list available

Related material

Related material found in the Lawrence Johnston Burpee fonds in Library and Archives Canada, Ottawa (reference number: MAINS23427; previously R2313-0-8-E and MG30-D39).


No further accruals are expected.

Access points

Provenance access point: Burpee, Lawrence J. (Lawrence Johnstone), 1873–1946
Names as subject access point: Burpee, Lawrence J. (Lawrence Johnstone), 1873–1946; Edgar, Pelham, 1871–1948

The following resources are online:

Internet Archive