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Le Moine Family Fonds (P761)

Extract from Henri Gaspard Lemoine (1848-1934) diary (detail), 1870-1871. Gift of Anthony Le Moine, Le Moine Family Fonds P761, M2013.96.1.9 © McCord Museum

A young man at the ball

"It's three o'clock in the morning. I just got home from the Benedict's Ball[.] Emma was able to go, she was charming, merry, cheerful, it was fun. I danced the first dance with her, then asked her to join me in a lively dance, but she turned me down because we had quarrelled about just such a dance at the last ball." (Monday, February 20, 1871)

What did young men in the 19th century do in their leisure time? The diaries of Henri Gaspard Le Moine give us an idea.

Like many young, sociable people, Henri Gaspard Le Moine attended at least seven balls between October 1870 and February 1871. Ever since the French regime, the period of winter leading up to Lent has been the ideal time for entertainments of all kinds, particularly dances. Everyone dances: young and old, city dwellers and country dwellers, farmers and bourgeois.

The young Quebec City student carefully glued his dance cards into his diary. These cards listed the dances scheduled for the evening, along with the names of his partners, one of whom was his fiancée, Emma Renaud. Was it for reasons of piety that Emma declined to participate in one of the "lively dances" (these included the waltz, polka and galop) prohibited by the Catholic clergy? Or was it just another demonstration of the strong character of this young woman, whose first name filled the pages of Henri Gaspard's diaries between 1867 and 1872 -- the year they married? These personal writings offer a particularly spirited account of how a young man of the Quebec bourgeoisie spent his days in the latter half of the 19th century.


P761 Le Moine Family Fonds. - 1849-1955. - 29 cm of textual records. - 967 photographs.

Biographical Sketch

The Le Moine family's association with the history of Canada dates back to the French regime. One of its most celebrated members was Seigneur Charles Le Moyne, an influential politician and military man, and the first Baron of Longueuil.

ALEXANDRE OLIVIER LE MOINE (1818-1883), a notary established in Quebec City, was the husband of Julie Henriette Emelie Massue (1828-1905) and the father of HENRI GASPARD LE MOINE (1848-1934). Le Moine, fils, left Quebec City at the age of 11 to pursue his education in the classics at Collège Sainte-Marie de Montréal [1859-1864]. He completed his final two years of philosophy in another Jesuit institution, St. John's College, Fordham, New York [1865-1866]. Returning to Quebec City in 1866 to study law at Université Laval [1867-1868], he was admitted to the Quebec City Chambre des notaires in 1869 and began his career as a notary. On September 17, 1872, he married Leocadie Emma Renaud (1852-1897), the daughter of successful merchant Jean-Baptiste Renaud. In 1879, he joined his father-in-law in managing "J.B. Renaud and Co.," a business located on St. Paul Street, in Quebec City. The couple had five children, only three of whom reached adulthood.

Following Emma Renaud's death in 1897, in 1901 Henri Gaspard married Margaret Revell (1869-1965) in Philadelphia. The couple had one son, JEAN GASPARD MARICOURT (also known as Jack or John) LE MOINE (1906-1990). Following his mother's death, Jack Le Moine inherited a share of the family fortune, which was divided among several heirs. He spent most of his leisure time sailing the St. Lawrence River and various Quebec lakes.

Scope and Content

This archival fonds chronicles the activities of the Le Moine family from the mid-19th to the mid-20th century. It is composed primarily of documents associated with three family members from different generations: Alexandre Olivier Le Moine (1810-1883), Henri Gaspard Le Moine (1848-1934) and John Gaspard Maricourt (Jack) Le Moine (1906-1990).

The fonds contains an account book with a chronological list of the contracts awarded to notary Alexandre Olivier Le Moine between 1852 and 1855, along with the income earned from each contract. The client information recorded in the book suggests that Alexandre O. Le Moine's work focussed mainly on settling estates after a death.

The diaries of Henri Gaspard Le Moine offer a rich, detailed portrait of the young man's daily life over the years. One notebook records his school, family and social activities between 1861 and 1862, when the adolescent was a boarder at Collège Sainte-Marie de Montréal. Having returned to his hometown in 1866, the law student began writing a more personal journal, recording his thoughts, questions and hopes, describing the world around him through his friendships and social activities. In particular, these diaries document his love for Emma Renaud, whom he married in 1872 when he stopped writing in his notebook.

In addition, three journals describe John G. M. Le Moine's hunting, fishing and boating activities on the St. Lawrence River and various Quebec lakes, between 1917 and 1945. They complement the fonds' photo albums, which illustrate the same trips. These accounts chronicle the daily activities of John G. M. Le Moine (also known as Jack): life on board the yacht, the tasks involved in maintaining the ship, the names of the guests accompanying him, the places visited, the animals and fish caught as well as the weapons and equipment used. These documents paint a portrait of a man from the bourgeoisie with no financial worries.

The fonds also includes photographs of Le Moine family members collected in various albums. One of them is signed, as follows: "Emma LeMoine from her affectionate cousin Edward/Xmas 1860." It is composed of portraits the size of calling cards, several drawings, and poems collected by Marie Sophia Emma Le Moine (Montreal, 1848 -- Ottawa, about 1930). Another album, put together by Henri Gaspard Le Moine, contains portraits of his classmates from St. John's College, Fordham, New York. Two other albums, compiled by John G. M. Le Moine, document his annual hunting and fishing trips to various places in Quebec and elsewhere. These photographs depict a lifestyle reserved for a wealthy social class, free from financial obligations.

Physical condition: The album and notebook bindings are worn, but structurally sound. The diaries also exhibit some visual signs of deterioration that are typical of iron gall ink.


The fonds is divided into the following series:

  • P761/A Alexandre Olivier Le Moine. - [1852-1868]. - 1 cm of textual records.
  • Scope and Content: This series chronicles the activities of notary Alexandre Olivier Le Moine in the mid-19th century. It contains an account book with the title "D. Pilots Funds" written by hand on the cover, which records monthly statements of account for the period November 1852 to December 1855. For each day, the book lists the names of clients and the income associated with each one. The identification of their social status (often widow or child) could indicate that Alexandre Olivier Le Moine's work involved settling estates after a death.

    There are several press clippings inserted into the book. Some are glued in and almost completely cover the first pages. It is possible to make out accounting entries underneath these clippings, entries that are likely similar to those previously mentioned, but for the preceding months. Most of the press clippings focus on the world of finance (the financial performance of companies, like the National Bank, and stock prices) or municipal politics. One article in particular discusses the issues surrounding a draft amendment to the Quebec City Charter. The clippings also address other topics. For example, there is a story about the Quebec Yacht Club annual regatta and the texts of lectures delivered at the Institut canadien -- one by M. F. Langelier, about Spiritualism and table turning, and another by Abbé Chandonnet, about Rome. Finally, the account book contains a printed sheet dated March 18, 1868, listing the resolutions adopted at the Quebec Marine and Fire Insurance Company shareholders' meeting.

    Source of title proper: Based on the creator of the document.

    Language: The document is in English and French, but primarily in English.


  • P761/B Henri Gaspard Le Moine. - 1861-1872. - 22 cm of textual records
  • Scope and Content: This series documents the life and interests of Henri Gaspard Le Moine, in the second half of the 19th century. It is composed primarily of diaries recounting the young man's daily life over the years.

    The first journal covers the period from November 1, 1861, to July 8, 1862. Young Henri Gaspard, at that time a boarder at Collège Sainte-Marie de Montréal, provides a rich, detailed portrait of his life as a 13- and 14-year-old boy in Montreal. Every day, the young man notes the outdoor temperature, his leisure pursuits (billiards, lacrosse), school work, and participation in boarding school life. He also records his outings into the city -- usually when his parents come to visit -- which lead him to places like the Bonsecours Market, stores, Saint Lawrence Hall and the Port of Montreal to admire the ships. With the passage of time, however, his daily entries become shorter and more succinct. Sometimes, he just records the weather, followed by a simple rundown of the day's activities (wake up, study, breakfast, class, recess, etc.) and a note about any out-of-the-ordinary events. At the back of the diary, the young man lists the names of students, priests, and general school rules.

    The following eight journals cover a period of five years, from October 21, 1867 to August 25, 1872, a time when the young man had returned to live in his home town of Quebec City. During this period, he continued his education by studying law at Université Laval, and then began his professional life. He notably worked for the merchant Jean-Baptiste Renaud (who later became his partner at the head of J.B. Renaud and Co.). More personal than the diary covering his years as a boarder, these eight journals focus largely on his love for Jean-Baptiste Renaud's daughter Emma, whom he sees almost daily at parties, dances and for walks. He also talks about his friendships, social activities, and the questions that concern young people his age, who are starting to get married. At times, the young man expresses confusion about the dating game and the various rules about romantic relationships he is learning. His relationship with Emma, whom he eventually marries in 1872, is tinged with anxiety stemming from the fact that their engagement is still unconfirmed and marked by misunderstandings and quarrels that sometimes leave him sad and miserable.

    In addition to the diaries, there are two other notebooks, also handwritten by Henri Gaspard, but with different content. The first one, entitled "Album de G. Lemoine," was probably created during the 1870s and is a collection of riddles and short texts compiled by the young man, most of which seem to describe magic tricks. Cutout images of medieval monuments have been inserted into the pages of the notebook. The second notebook, which is undated, contains mathematical exercises. Finally, the series is completed by a scrapbook containing numerous press clippings.

    Source of title proper: Based on the creator of the documents.

    Language: The documents are in French and English, but primarily in French. .

    • M2013.96.1.2 Diary of Henri Gaspard Le Moine. - 1861-1862. - 1 textual record ; 20.3 × 16.4 cm.
      Digitized document

    • Scope and Content: This Henri Gaspard Le Moine diary records the young man's daily activities between 1861 and 1862, when he was a boarder at Collège Sainte-Marie de Montréal. In it, he notes the daily weather, his school activities, leisure pursuits and outings into the city. In this notebook, Henri Gaspard recounts the life of a 13- or 14-year-old boy in Montreal.

      Source of title proper: Title based on the type of document.

    • Language: The document is in French.

    • M2013.96.1.9 Diary of Henri Gaspard Le Moine, October 15, 1870, to April 26, 1871. - 1870-1871. - 1 textual record ; 20 X 16 cm.
      Digitized document

    • Scope and Content: This document is one in a series of diaries by Henri Gaspard Le Moine, recording the young man's daily life over the years. This notebook details his activities between October 15, 1870, and April 26, 1871, when he was studying law and hoping to become a notary. He records all his personal, professional and social activities, as well as his thoughts, which primarily concern his relationship with Emma Renaud.

    • Source of title proper: Title based on the type of document.

    • Language: The document is in French and English, but primarily in French.

  • P761/C John Gaspard Maricourt (Jack) Le Moine. - 1917-1945. - 6 cm of textual records.
  • Scope and Content: This series chronicles the activities of John Gaspard Maricourt "Jack" Le Moine during the first half of the 20th century. It contains three journals describing his hunting, fishing and boating activities on the St. Lawrence River and various Quebec lakes.

    The first of the three journals chronicles the hunting, fishing and sport-shooting trips he took from 1917 to 1935. It begins with a review of his catches over the years, which include partridge, sandpiper, golden plover, trout, duck, and even a seal. His first story recounts an expedition to Les Pélerins archipelago ("The Pilgrims") in 1917. Over the next decade, Le Moine returned to this destination another 44 times, notably aboard the Stella Maris and Alouette I, whose home port was Notre-Dame-du-Portage, near Rivière-du-Loup. He also visited Kamouraska, Saint-Siméon, Tadoussac, Saint-Joachim and Saguenay. Among his regular companions were his cousin Chase, Tommy Casgrain, Charlie Généreux, Meredith and Billy Mills, Gordon and Jack Dewar, Jack Home, Fortunat Jolicoeur and Paul Rémillard. His accounts are sometimes illustrated with hand-drawn maps.

    In 1927, John G. M. Le Moine bought the ship Bikera, which he renamed Alouette II. The occasion was marked by a short ceremony, followed by an excursion with several guests to the Sainte-Pétronille lighthouse. This event is recounted in the second journal, covering the years 1928 to 1935 and dedicated exclusively to outings on board this boat, which was berthed at the Royal St. Lawrence Yacht Club in Montreal. Alouette II primarily plied the waters of the St. Lawrence River, stopping at Isle-aux-Coudres, Tadoussac, Trois-Rivières, Batiscan, Kamouraska and, once again, Les Pélerins archipelago, in addition to venturing up the Saguenay River to Chicoutimi. In his journal, John G. M. Le Moine recorded the names of his guests, the route and the various stages of his expeditions, the sailing conditions (temperature, tides, wind direction), the various tasks involved in maintaining the boat, activities on board and during trips ashore (meals, sunning, swimming), any game hunted or fished and the weapons used.

    John G. M. Le Moine sold Alouette II in 1936, but continued to sail on the St. Lawrence and various lakes in the Eastern Townships in other sailboats: The Hobo (1937-1938) and Little Lulu (1939-1945). A third journal chronicles the hunting and fishing trips taken during this period. These accounts are sometimes illustrated with funny drawings about hunting.

    These documents paint a portrait of the leisure pursuits of a man from the Quebec bourgeoisie with no financial worries. Over the years, however, this notion of leisure gradually became a well-established way of life, illustrating John G. M. Le Moine's true passion for nature, sailing, hunting and fishing.

    Source of title proper: Based on the creator of the documents.

    Language: The documents are in English.

    • M2013.96.1.14 Hunting and fishing journal of John (Jack) Le Moine. - 1917-1935. - 1 textual record ; 26.5 x 21 cm.
      Digitized document

    • Scope and Content: This journal contains accounts of the hunting, fishing and sport-shooting trips taken by John (Jack) Le Moine from 1917 to 1935. It records the details of the expeditions, the names of the guests who accompanied him, and the boating conditions. Le Moine also drew maps of the areas he travelled in, notably the Les Pèlerins archipelago (near Rivière-du-Loup).

      Source of title proper: Title based on the contents of the record.

    • Language: The document is in English.

  • P761/D Photographs

 

Last update: March 29, 2019