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Drummond Family Fonds (P015)

1808-1979. - 106 cm of textual records. - 1262 photographs.

Administrative History - Biographical Sketch:

George Alexander Drummond was born in Edinburgh on October 11, 1829. He was the son of entrepreneur George Drummond and Margaret Pringle. On completing his schooling in Edinburgh, he was offered a position in the company run by his brother-in-law, John Redpath (whose second wife was Jane Drummond). Redpath asked Drummond to move to Montreal and take over as the engineering manager of the sugar refinery he was building near Lachine Canal. In 1857, Drummond married Helen Redpath, John Redpath's daughter, which gave him family ties to the company. In 1862, when John Redpath retired, George Alexander Drummond, along with two of Redpath's sons (Peter and John James), was made a partner in the company John Redpath & Son. Although the partnership was dissolved five years later, Drummond remained a director of the company until it closed in 1876. Drummond had three sons with Helen Redpath: Maurice (d. 1904), Arthur (d. 1916) and Huntley (1864-1957).

Drummond took a keen interest in politics and government economic policies. After living in Europe for two years, he returned to Canada in 1878 and offered his advice to the Macdonald government on national policies to adopt. Under his impetus, measures favourable to the sugar business were brought in. He also became president of a new joint stock company, the Canada Sugar Refining Company Limited. In 1888, he was named to the Senate by the Macdonald government and was one of the more influential senators on business, finance and tax issues.

In the last few decades of the 19th century, George Alexander Drummond became one of the country's leading authorities on business matters, yet he continued to pursue his career as a businessman alongside his political activities. From 1864, he was a member of the Montreal Board of Trade (later serving as vice-president, and then president in the 1880s). In 1882, he was appointed a director of the Bank of Montreal. He served as vice-president of the bank from 1887 to 1896, and then as president from 1897 until his death in 1910. The influence of industrialists such as Drummond on the Bank of Montreal not only prompted the bank to adopt a range of measures in favour of commerce and industry, but also to expand its own operations, and it opened 110 branches between 1884 and 1910. Besides playing a very active role at the Bank of Montreal, Drummond also sat on the boards of a number of companies, including the Royal Trust Company, Canadian Pacific Railway, the Intercolonial Coal Mining Company and the Ogilvie Milling Company. He was also a member of various social clubs, such as the St. James Club in Montreal, the Rideau Club in Ottawa, the Reform Club in London and the Manhattan Club in New York.

George Alexander Drummond was the recipient of many honours in his later years. In 1904 he was named Knight Commander of the Order of St. Michael and St. George, and in 1908 Commander of the Royal Order of Victoria. In 1900 he and his wife (Lady Drummond, see below) were presented to Queen Victoria, and in 1901 they had the honour of being chosen to present jewels and medals to the Prince and Princess of Wales on the occasion of their visit to Canada. Drummond's personal fortune allowed him to lead a lavish lifestyle. He had several homes, raised purebreds, kept a private golf course (he became the first president of the Royal Canadian Golf Association in 1895) and had one of the finest art collections in Canada (he served as president of the Art Association of Montreal from 1896 to 1899). He also used his wealth to aid a number of charities. In 1894 he helped found the St. Margaret's Home for Incurables, and he served as a member of the Citizens' League, which sought to improve the living conditions of Montrealers.

In September 1884, Drummond, now a widower, married his second wife, Grace Julia Parker (born in 1861), herself a widow from a first marriage with Reverend George Hamilton, who died in 1880. Grace Julia Parker, who would come to be known as Lady Drummond, was the daughter of Alexander Davidson Parker of Montreal, and of Grace Gibson of Edinburgh. Biographical profiles of the time describe her as an elegant, distinguished woman of great personal charm and considerable eloquence. She served as director of the Woman's Historical Society. As Drummond's second wife, she was recognized for the charity work she did and as a voice who championed the rights of women. She served as the first president of the Montreal branch of the National Council of Women of Canada (from 1893 to 1899) and as president of the Women's Canadian Club of Montreal in 1907-1908. She helped set up the Montreal branch of the Victoria Order of Nurses in 1899, was a member of the advisory council of the Parks and Playgrounds Association of Montreal and took part in many philanthropic activities with her husband. In 1910 the couple established the Charity Organization of Montreal, of which Lady Drummond served as president from 1911 to 1919. During the First World War, she travelled to England to work for the Red Cross and for the Imperial Order of the Daughters of the Empire (IODE). She was awarded many honours in recognition of her humanitarian work, including the Médaille de la Reconnaissance de la France, the title of Lady of Justice of the Order of St. John of Jerusalem, British and Serbian Red Cross medals, and an honorary degree from McGill University for her philanthropic work, the first one to be awarded by McGill to a woman.

In 1908, suffering from heart problems, George Alexander Drummond retired to his estate of Huntlywood, in the western part of the island of Montreal. He passed away there on February 2, 1910. His wife lived for another 32 years and died in 1942 at the age of 81.

The Drummonds had two children: a son, Julian St. George (b. 1885), who died in infancy, and Guy Melfort Drummond, born in 1887. Guy Melfort earned a bachelor of arts degree from McGill University in 1909 and, like his father, showed a lively interest in political affairs. He pursued a military career and was made lieutenant in the 5th Regiment of the Royal Highlanders of Canada in 1912, and then captain in 1914. When the First World War broke out, he left Canada to serve on the European front, where he was killed at Ypres in 1915. At the time of his death, he was married to Mary Hendrie Braithwaite (1893-1972), daughter of Arthur Douglas Braithwaite and Marjorie Hendrie of Hamilton. In the early 1900s, Arthur D. Braithwaite was a senior director of the Bank of Montreal. When Guy Melfort Drummond died, his wife was expecting. In 1915 she gave birth to a boy, who was named Guy Melfort Drummond in memory of his deceased father. He became a pilot in the Royal Canadian Air Force and later had a career as a lawyer. He died without issue in 1987.

Patrick McGillycuddy Stoker, who donated this fonds, is the son of Tom Thornley McGillycuddy Stoker, who married Mary Hendrie Braithwaite, the widow of Guy Melfort Drummond, in 1919.

Scope and Content:

This fonds concerns the various members of the Drummond family of Montreal. It contains information on Sir George Alexander Drummond, his wife Julia Grace Parker (who later went by the name of Lady Drummond), their children Julian and Guy Melfort, and their grandson Guy Melfort Junior. The fonds also contains material on families related to the Drummonds, such as the Braithwaites, the Hendries and the Stokers. The fonds provides information about the activities, lives and careers of these people, their achievements, writings and the honours they received.

On the subject of George A. Drummond, the fonds chiefly contains documents attesting to the honours he was awarded over the years, including being made a Knight Commander of the Order of St. Michael and St. George (KCMG) and a Commander of the Royal Order of Victoria. There is also a commemorative book titled Gold Commemorative Medal and Address to Hon. George A. Drummond (1901), along with some letters he wrote, a collection of newspaper obituaries to him, and a prayer book that belonged to him.

Some of the documents in the fonds attest to the short life of Julian St. George Drummond (the first son of George A. and Grace Julia Drummond), who lived less than a year (1885-1886). There are two copies of his birth certificate, a newspaper notice and a condolence card. Also included are a few documents concerning Huntley Drummond, including a greetings card.

Guy Melfort Drummond II (Junior) is also documented in the fonds, which contains his baby book, some of his diplomas, a letter of reference, an invitation, correspondence, records of his service in the Royal Canadian Air Force, his admission to the bar, his appointment as Queen's Counsel and a birth certificate.

However, most of the documents in the fonds concern Grace Julia Parker and her deceased son, Guy Melfort Drummond I. Material regarding the latter includes his baptismal certificate of 1887, his report cards, transcripts, diplomas and degrees from his college and university education, officer commissions and a certificate of instruction from the Canadian Army. There is also the register of his wedding presents. Also included are a large number of letters, most of them addressed to his mother or his father. Many were written when he was travelling or during his military career, right up to the day he died: April 22, 1915. There are also numerous documents concerning his death, including official certificates, tributes, programs of religious services, newspaper articles and various other texts. In this regard, there are also letters about the identification and repatriation of his remains after the war. The fonds also includes documents on the Royal Highlanders of Canada and two scrapbooks of clippings on Guy M. Drummond's military service and the First World War (one of which has a copy of the poem In Flanders Fields signed by the author, John McCrae).

As for Lady Drummond, most of the many documents regarding her are letters (and telegrams) received from a wide variety of people, including Earl Grey and the Earl of Minto, and Wilfrid Laurier and Mackenzie King. Also included are two passports, numerous invitations to social events or events having to do with the British monarchy (coronations, royal visits, etc.) and documents relating to the Women's Canadian Club. Some of the documents also have a link with the career and death of her son, including letters of condolence, an account of the activities of Canadian soldiers in 1914-1918, brochures on the commemorations for soldiers who died in combat, etc. Lastly, the fonds contains a copy of Some Addresses by Julia Drummond (1907), which she dedicated to her son, as well as many recognition awards and various honours, including an honorary doctorate from McGill University and certificates for her work with the Canadian Red Cross.

The fonds also contains documents concerning related families, such as the Braithwaites, the Hendries and the Stokers. There is a scrapbook of clippings that was compiled by Marjorie Hendrie, Guy Drummond I's mother-in-law, a notebook containing a fraternal address for Arthur D. Braithwaite (husband of Marjorie Hendrie) on the occasion of his leaving Hamilton for Montreal in 1905, correspondence addressed to Mary Hendrie Braithwaite (wife of Guy Drummond I), documents on the Active Service Canteen in Toronto (that Mary Hendrie Braithwaite's sister was involved in) and on Burnside Hall, the ancestral residence of the Braithwaite family in England.

The fonds also contains material of a general nature about the Drummond family, including their Visitors' Book (in which family visitors were supposed to sign their names) and notes and books on the Drummond family genealogy. There are also a few miscellaneous documents, like archival material about Queen Elizabeth II's visit to the Redpath sugar refinery in Montreal, a scrapbook of clippings on the Boer War, notebooks from Bishop's College, a printed booklet on the Drummond family's art collection and a book titled Art and War.

Lastly, the fonds contains albums of photographs taken by Guy M. Drummond (Senior), an album of a trip to England and a cruise, and many prints of pictures of the Drummond family (many from the Notman Studios), including painted photographs, probably of Guy M. Drummond. Also included among the photographs are numerous pictures relating to the military during and after the First World War (such as the ossuary in Douaumont, France).

The fonds is divided into the following series:

  • P015/A: Drummond Family: General and Genealogical Information
  • P015/B: George A. Drummond
  • P015/C: Grace Julia Parker (Lady Drummond)
  • P015/D: Huntley Drummond
  • P015/E: Julian Drummond
  • P015/F: Guy Melfort Drummond (Senior)
  • P015/G: Guy Melfort Drummond (Junior)
  • P015/H: Hendrie, Braithwaite and Stoker Families
  • P015/I: Miscellaneous Documents
  • P015/J: Photographs