Father Louis Babel collection

Scope and Content

The collection comprises of a map of Part of Quebec and Labrador. This map was the result of four trips undertaken by Babel in 1866, 1867, 1868 and 1870.

Administrative / Biographical History

Louis-Franois [Louis] Babel was born on 23 June 1826 in Veyrier, Switzerland. After attending school in Fribourg and Melan, Switzerland, he entered the noviciate of Notre-Dame-de-l'Osier in France in 1847. Making his final vows in 1848, he undertook theological studies, first in Marseilles, and later in Maryvale, England. In 1851, Babel was ordained as a priest in Ottawa, Canada. From 1851 until 1911 he worked as a Missionary Oblate of Mary Immaculate among the Indians of the north shore of the St. Lawrence River and of interior Labrador. His linguistic skills proved invaluable in his missionary work and he was the author of a French-Montagnais dictionary.

A meticulous scientific observer and explorer, Babel was the first to report iron ore in what was to become New Quebec. In 1873, his detailed scientific data was used by the Quebec Department of Crown Lands as the basis for a large map, the first one to describe the interior of Labrador. He died on 1 March 1912 at Pointe-Bleue in Quebec, Canada. A township in the Saguenay region and a mountain in the region of Lac Pletipi are named for him.


The collection is arranged chronologically

Access Information

By appointment.

Some materials deposited at the Institute are NOT owned by the Institute. In such cases the archivist will advise about any requirements imposed by the owner. These may include seeking permission to read, extended closure, or other specific conditions.


Anyone wishing to consult material should ensure they note the entire MS reference and the name of the originator.

The term holograph is used when the item is wholly in the handwriting of the author. The term autograph is used when the author has signed the item.

Descriptions compiled by N. Boneham, Assistant Archivist with assistance from R. Stancombe and reference to 'Babel, Louis' by Romuald Boucher in Dictionary of Canadian Biography volume 14 edited by Ramsay Cook, University of Toronto Press, Toronto (1998)

Other Finding Aids

Clive Holland Manuscripts in the Scott Polar Research Institute, Cambridge, England - a catalogue, Garland Publishing New York and London (1982) ISBN 0824093941.

Additional finding aids are available at the Institute.

Conditions Governing Use

Copying material by photography, electrostat, or scanning device by readers is prohibited. The Institute may be able to provide copies of some documents on request for lodgement in publicly available repositories. This is subject to conservation requirements, copyright law, and payment of fees.

Copyright restrictions apply to most material. The copyright may lie outside the Institute and, if so, it is necessary for the reader to seek appropriate permission to consult, copy, or publish any such material. (The Institute does not seek this permission on behalf of readers). Written permission to publish material subject to the Institute's copyright must be obtained from the Director. Details of conditions and fees may be had from the Archivist.


Further accessions possible