Fonds ID5249 - James Hannay

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James Hannay

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  • Textual record

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  • 1853-1909 (Creation)
    Hannay, James

Physical description

40 cm of textual records

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Biographical history

James Hannay was born in Richibucto, New Brunswick, in 1842. He was the son of Rev. James Hannay, a Presbyterian minister. James received his early education in Scotland where his father returned in 1845. In the late 1850s, James returned to New Brunswick, finishing his formal education at Saint John Grammar school. Following a brief connection with the dry goods business of John Boyd and Thomas Wilder Daniel, James was articled to his uncle, David Shank Kerr. He became an attorney in 1866, was called to the bar in 1867, and became official reporter for the Supreme Court until 1873. James married Margaret Ross (daughter of Elias T. Ross) of Saint John and they had no children.

When James was young, he wrote poetry under the nom de plume of "Saladin" for several Saint John newspapers. Supporting his student years with writing for the "Saint John Press", he began steady employment in 1872 as a journalist. In 1875, he circulated a petition which eventually brought about the establishment of a one-room library which later became the Saint John Free Public Library. He worked with John Livingstone and accompanied him to Montreal where James was an editor with the "Montreal Herald". He then went to New York City serving in several capacities on the "Brooklyn Eagle". In 1888, James returned to Saint John and headed the editorial staff of the "Gazette," and in 1893 he became editor-in-chief with the "Saint John Telegraph Journal," where he remained until 1900.

Acadia University granted him an honourary doctorate of civil law in recognition of his contribution of popularizing New Brunswick history. In his retirement, James wrote biographies of Sir Samuel Leonard Tilley, Lemuel Allan Wilmot, and a history of the War of 1812. His major retirement project was a two volume "History of New Brunswick", published in 1909. James Hannay died on January 12, 1910.

Sources: Dictionary of Canadian Biography, vol. 13; Drummie, Thomas F., "Telegraph Journal and Evening Times-Globe"

Custodial history

Information about the custody of these records prior to acquisition is incomplete.

Scope and content

Fonds consists of correspondence, writings and research materials belonging to Hannay. The correspondence includes letters to and from W.O. Raymond, W.F. Ganong, Charles G. D. Roberts, and Joseph Howe, 1857-1909. There are copies of Royal Navy reports on Bay of Fundy fishery, 1853, and typescripts of writings by Hannay, including articles clipped from newspapers, 1870-1909.

Research notes and background material included the original of a "Report to British cabinet on the Railway between Halifax and Quebec," 1857, and handwritten notes on the Tilley family, 1889.

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Immediate source of acquisition

Records donated by Hannay in 1963


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  • English

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No restrictions

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Some bound volumes contain mould, faded ink

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