The Winslow Papers at the University of New Brunswick
The first historian to make extensive use of the Winslow manuscripts was the Rev. W. O. Raymond who published his transcriptions and biographical notes in 1901. Raymond's edition contained 650 letters and documents, roughly one-quarter of the estimated 2,500 items in the collection which covers the period 1695 to 1866. As Raymond noted in his preface, the papers "shed much light upon the attitude of the Loyalists in the American Revolution and the circumstances that attended their settlement in the maritime provinces at the close of the war." (Winslow Papers AD 1776-1826.)
Through the efforts of Lord Beaverbrook, the vast Winslow collection came to UNB in 1956. The papers were re-organized into chronological order and secured in cases, made in England, to art historian J. Russell Harper's specifications.
Over the next 20 years, as time permitted, preliminary indexing was done by author and date, and a shelf list (inventory) was prepared. However, little information about the content of each manuscript was recorded. In 1983, local historian Barry Grant was hired to index the papers more fully using microfilm copies and photostats. This significant achievement was completed in three years, providing researchers with an approach to subjects long-buried.
In 1983, Harold Holland, paper conservator at the Provincial Archives of New Brunswick, produced his "Conservation study of the Winslow Papers" which provided the impetus for UNB to request funding for the restoration of the papers. Kenelm and Marjorie Winslow (of Brockville, ON) graciously financed the extensive treatment which was undertaken by staff at the Provincial Archives and completed in 1992.
Barry Grant's card index was converted to electronic format to permit the creation of a searchable database. After the completion of the restoration project, which included the use of mylar sleeves to protect the documents, it was then possible to scan (or digitize) each page when this new technology became available in the library. Each of 13,000 images of letters, documents, and letter-books was then linked to the appropriate database record.
The Electronic Edition of the Winslow Papers showcases this unique New Brunswick resource and represents the culmination of 50 years' commitment by the University of New Brunswick to the Winslow legacy.