Robert McVicar collection

Scope and Content

The collection comprises of papers by McVicar which include correspondence which mentions the Hudson's Bay company and the British Naval Exploring Expedition, 1825-1827 (leader John Franklin)

Administrative / Biographical History

Robert McVicar [MacVicar, McVicker] was born circa 1799, probably at Bowmore, Isle of Islay in Scotland. Between 1812 and 1814, he served with the Hudson's Bay Company as a clerk at York Factory, later spending fourteen years in the Saskatchewan and Athabasca region.

Between 1819 and 1823, he spent his first winter command at Fort Resolution on Great Slave Lake, later becoming a chief trader following the amalgamation of the fur-trading companies in 1821. He assisted the British Naval Exploring Expedition [first Arctic Land expedition], 1819-1822 (leader John Franklin) and the British Naval Exploring Expedition [second Arctic Land expedition], 1825-1827 (leader John Franklin), by purchasing and collecting supplies.

In 1827, McVicar transferred to the Montreal Department, retiring from the Hudson's Bay Company in 1830 and settling as a farmer in the Lac-des-Deux-Montagnes region. Forced to seek employment due to dwindling resources, McVicar was appointed inspector of clergy reserves for the Western District, later serving as land agent and postmaster in the Lake Superior region, a post he held until 1863. He died in 1864 at Thunder Bay in Canada.


The collection is on microfilm.

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 Arctic, exploration and development c500 BC to 1915, an encyclopaedia by Clive Holland Garland Publishing, London (1994) ISBN number 0824076486 and Exploring Polar Frontiers, a historical encyclopaedia by William Mills San Diego and Oxford, 2003 and 'McVicar (MacVicar, McVicker), Robert' by Elizabeth Arthur in Dictionary of Canadian Biography volume 9 ed. Francess G Halpenny, University of Toronto Press, Toronto (1976) SPRI Library Shelf 92(08)[pub.1966-]

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

Corporate Names