Morrin Centre Cultural Centre, Quebec City
44, chaussée des Écossais, Québec, QC, G1R 4H3
418-694-9147 ext 227
Jessica Kelly-Rhéaume, Library Manager
418-694-9147 ext 229
The Literary and Historical Society of Quebec, Canada’s first learned society, was founded by the Earl of Dalhousie, Governor of Lower Canada, in 1824 in Quebec City. Today, the society has evolved into the Morrin Cultural Centre and includes Quebec City’s English-language library.
The original aims of the Literary and Historical Society of Quebec were diverse. It gathered historical documents about Canada, republished many rare manuscripts and encouraged research in all fields of knowledge. Over the years, the society played a part in creating new institutions that would eventually take over some of its traditional roles. For example, the society helped to save what was left of the historic battlefield on the Plains of Abraham, and it participated in the creation of the Historic Sites and Monuments Board of Canada.
In the late 1800s, the Morrin Centre’s library incorporated the collection of the Quebec Library, the oldest subscription library in Canada, founded in 1779. The current collection includes a number of old volumes, some of which date to the 16th century, rare historical books and manuscripts and many articles published by the society between 1824 and 1924.
Iron Bars and Bookshelves: A History of the Morrin Centre, tells the story of the former prison in which the cultural centre is housed, and the history of the Literary and Historical Society of Quebec. Published in 2016, it was written by Louisa Blair, Patrick Donovan and Donald Fyson. Louisa Blair is author of The Anglos: The Hidden Face of Quebec City 1608-1850, Patrick Donovan is a doctoral student in history at Université Laval and Donald Fyson, a professor at Université Laval, has published extensively on the history of crime, justice, and the law in Canada and Quebec.
The Morrin Centre does not have any research tools designed specifically for genealogists, but staff are willing to help genealogists find other historical resources. Upon request, members can access the centre’s historical collection for on-site consultation. The documents in this collection are listed in the library’s online catalogue, http://www.morrin.org/en/explore-the-library/library-catalogue/. For further details, contact the library manager (see above).
An individual membership costs $45 a year. See www.morrin.org/en/support-morrin-centre/become-a-member/. To learn more, visit the Centre’s website at www.morrin.org/en/. The website includes 25 short biographies of individuals who were important in the organization’s history. See “Prisoners, Students and Thinkers,” http://www.morrin.org/en/prisonniers-eleves-et-penseurs