Mary Ann Shadd Cary fonds

Reference Code: Fonds - F 1409
Title: Mary Ann Shadd Cary fonds
Date of Creation: [Microfilmed 1986] (originally created 1851-1889)
Physical Description:

1 reel of microfilm (textual records)

Scope and Content:

Fonds consists of letters received by and, in some case, written by Mary Ann Shadd Cary during her time living in present day Ontario. It also includes business records and lecture notes, as well as copies of articles written by Shadd Cary on such topics as supporting integrated schools, fighting segregation and the political stance taken by Provincial Freeman editorial staff.

Included is correspondence between members of Shadd Cary's family including her husband Thomas Cary and her brother Isaac Shadd as well as correspondence with prominent African American abolitionists William Still and H. Ford Douglas and with abolitionist and co-founder of the Provincial Freeman, Rev. Samuel Ringgold Ward, among others.

Also included are records related to the Provincial Freeman, such as subscription receipts, book reviews, draft articles and poetry.

Administrative History or Biographical Sketch:

Mary Ann Shadd Cary (1823-1893) was an educator, abolitionist, author, journalist and lawyer in the United States and Canada. She was the first Black female newspaper publisher in Canada and a founder and editor of "The Provincial Freeman."

Click on the link(s) below for more information.

Shadd Cary, Mary Ann, 1823-1893

Finding Aid:

No online listing of this material is availalble.

Digital images of some material in this fonds are available through the Wikimedia Commons:

Click for External Link

Structure of Collection:

View how this material is structured within its collection. Select items to navigate through the different available levels of description, including online series, sub-series and listings.

Restrictions on Access:

No restrictions on access.

How to order these records:

Reading Rooms: To view this material, order using reference code F 1409 and barcode B948706.

Terms For Use and Reproduction:

Records are in the public domain. There are no restrictions on reproduction for research and private study. If you wish to use other than for research and private study any of this material, submit a Request for Permission to Publish, Exhibit or Broadcast Form.

Immediate Source of Acquisition: The fonds was donated to the Archives of Ontario in 2022 by Ed and Maxine Robbins.
Custodial History: In 1974, following the demolition of the former home of Shadd Cary in Chatham, Ontario, the records were discovered by Maxine and Ed Robbins in the resulting rubble. The material was loaned to the Archives of Ontario in 1986 for microfilming at which time the records were stabilized to ensure their long-term preservation. The original records were returned to the Robbins and remained in their custody until 2022 when they were donated to the archives.
Availability of Other Formats:

This material is available on self serve microfilm MS 483.


A researcher generated inventory for some of the material is available. Please see a Reference Archivist for more information.

Other/Former Codes:

Accession Number: 12944