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Fonds Level Description

Accession Number: 75-013


William Lyon Mackenzie King diaries fonds. -- Microfilmed 1965. -- 223 microfiches.

Biography / History

William Lyon Mackenzie King, Prime Minister of Canada (1921-1925, 1926-1930, and 1935-1948), was born in Berlin (now Kitchener), Ontario, on December 17, 1874, the son of John King and the grandson of William Lyon Mackenzie. He was educated at the University of Toronto (B.A., 1895; M.A., 1897) and did post-graduate work in sociology at Harvard University (M.A. 1898; Ph.D. 1909). In 1900 he was invited by Sir William Mulock to become Canada's first Deputy Minister of Labour; and in 1909 he was persuaded by Sir Wilfrid Laurier to enter politics, was elected to represent Waterloo in the Canadian House of Commons, and became Canada's first Minister of Labour not holding a separate portfolio. In 1919 he was chosen to succeed Laurier as leader of the Liberal party; and in 1921 he was elected to represent North York in the House of Commons, and became Prime Minister of Canada and Minister for External Affairs. When King retired in 1948, he had held office longer than any previous prime minister in the British Commonwealth. He died, unmarried, near Ottawa, Ontario, on July 22, 1950. (taken from "The Macmillan Dictionary of Canadian Biography" fourth edition. 1978.)

Custodial History

The diaries are in the custody of the National Archives of Canada and were transferred to microfiche with the co-operation and permission of the Archives by University of Toronto Press. Trent University Archives purchased a copy of the microfiche from the National Archives of Canada.

Scope and Content

This fonds consists of microfiche copies of manuscript diaries written by King covering his university education, entry into the civil service, achievements as Minister of Labour and his election in 1919 as Leader of the Liberal Party, the Liberal victory of 1921 and the King-Byng controversy. The manuscripts are contained in consecutively numbered fiches. Typewritten transcripts of the diaries are included in a second series of microfiches. Also included are various private typewritten diaries relating to international relations and industrial relations. An index accompanies the microfiches. The records in this fonds range from 1893 to 1931.


Title based on the creator of the diaries.

The microfiches were purchased from the National Archives of Canada.

The unit is divided into two parts: the manuscript diaries (fiches 1-217, in envelopes 1-217), and transcripts (fiches 1-275, in envelopes 218-486).

The original diaries are located in the National Archives of Canada.

Restrictions: N

Associated material located at the National Archives of Canada.

Additions to the fonds: 81-004 - Diaries from 1932 to 1949.

For related records see: 77-1011, 83-1016 and 91-1008.

Microfiche. Set 12

Researchers are advised to begin the study of these documents with the transcripts, as the original manuscripts are difficult to read.