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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

  • P761/B Henri Gaspard Le Moine
    • 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 supplied 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 supplied 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
    • 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 supplied title proper: Title based on the contents of the record.
      Language: The document is in English.

  • P761/D Photographs

 

Last update: August 30, 2017