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Pearson’s Opinions

When:
May 31, 2021 @ 8:00 pm
2021-05-31T20:00:00-04:00
2021-05-31T20:15:00-04:00
Where:
WEBINAR
Cost:
Free. Visitors welcome. Registration link below.
Pearson's Opinions @ WEBINAR | Toronto | Ontario | Canada

WHAT ONE MAN’S PREOCCUPATION WITH DEATH CAN TELL US ABOUT EARLY TORONTO

On 15 December 1853, William Henry Pearson took up a new and oddly macabre hobby. In a new notebook, he wrote out the title: “Dates of the decease of those who are my friends, or with whom I was slightly acquainted.” For 67 years, Pearson would record the names, ages, occupations, causes and date of death, and his own recollections of 4,200 individuals, nearly all who lived in or had a connection to Toronto. Pearson’s notebooks are imbued with his own thoughts and interests, especially after 1860 when he started including his own written remarks for each individual. Pearson would describe how he knew the recently departed, passed judgement based on them through the lens of his staunch Methodist faith, and recorded both gossip and fact. Pearson’s notebooks—now online—are a significant historical resource, especially from the 1850s and 1860s when records for Toronto are scarce, as well as a fascinating personalized account of the residents of Toronto over six decades.

Speaker: Danielle Van Wagner is a Special Collections Librarian and Archivist at the Thomas Fisher Rare Book Library at the University of Toronto. She holds a BA in European Studies and an MA in Art and Visual Culture from the University of Guelph and a Master of Information in Archives and Records Management from the University of Toronto. Danielle is also an avid genealogist and researcher who enjoys finding and solving historical mysteries.

Click here to register in advance for the presentation. (The AGM has a separate sign in.)

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