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MSS SC 52, MSS SC 53, MSS SC 79, MSS SC 80

Title: Manitoba Free Press fonds

Dates: 1900-1916

Extent: 5 cm of textual records

Administrative History: The Manitoba Free Press began publication in 1872. By 1900, the Free Press was owned by Clifford Sifton and edited by John Dafoe. The paper's prominence continued to grow and by the 1920s had become, along with the Winnipeg Tribune, one of Manitoba's leading daily newspapers. Reflecting the gradual shift of the Manitoban population from rural to urban, the Manitoba Free Press became the Winnipeg Free Press in 1931. Throughout the next half-decade the Free Press and the Tribune battled for readership throughout Winnipeg and Manitoba. However, in 1980 the Tribune folded, and for a few years the Free Press became the only daily newspaper in Winnipeg. In 1982 the Winnipeg Sun was established but the Free Press remained Winnipeg's dominant daily newspaper. The Winnipeg Free Press Library functions as an in-house research center for its journalists and contains newspaper clipping files arranged by subject, Statistics Canada reports, microfilm copies of the Winnipeg Free Press, and a variety of newspapers and magazines.

Custodial History: The fonds was formerly classified as four separate fonds but combined in 2002 to reflect their common provenance. Former fonds MSS SC 52 entitled the Winnipeg Free Press Collection, and fonds MSS SC 53 entitled A Collection of Papers Related to Manitoba Politics and Government were donated by the Winnipeg Free Press to the University of Manitoba Archives & Special Collection, ca.1980. Winnipeg Free Press librarian Esme Langer donated fonds MSS SC 79, entitled Documents relating to an abortive agreement for building a railroad from Minnesota and fonds MSS SC 80, entitled Dafoe, John W. – Libel charge against, in 1982. It is unknown how the Free Press acquired the fonds. While these four former fonds have been combined to form one fonds, they can still be found at their original retrieval numbers.

Scope and Content: The fonds consists of six files. The first file, formerly classified as MSS SC 52 consists of a variety of historical writings about Manitoba as well as correspondence between Brandon Sun editor C.W. Litchfield and Winnipeg reporter J. Fahey. The following three files were formerly classified as MSS SC 53 and contain papers and correspondence primarily pertaining to Manitoba politics and government during the first decade of the 20th century. Also included is a memorial from the legislature of the Province of Manitoba respecting the extension of the boundaries of the province. The fifth file, formerly classified as MSS SC 79, consists of correspondence between James P. MacDonald, MacDonald's lawyer Alex Arthur, Winnipeg grain merchant George Leary, Manitoba Premier R.P. Roblin, and former premier Thomas Greenway concerning the construction of a railroad between Northeastern Minnesota and Winnipeg. This series also includes a contract between J.P. Macdonald and George Leary and Manitoba Free Press clippings on the railroad. The last file, MSS SC 80, consists of a libel case against Manitoba Free Press editor John W. Dafoe concerning the Free Press's reporting of illegal payment of funds during the Boyne Marsh Drainage of September 1900.

Source of Supplied Title: Title based on provenance of fonds.

Restrictions: Open to all researchers.

Finding Aid: Printed finding aids are available for MSS SC 52 and MSS SC 53.