Fonds MG 14.195 - Morrison's Store, St. Peter's

Title and statement of responsibility area

Title proper

Morrison's Store, St. Peter's

General material designation

  • Textual record

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Fonds

Reference code

MG 14.195

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Issuing jurisdiction and denomination (philatelic)

Dates of creation area

Date(s)

  • 1883-1996 (Creation)
    Creator
    Morrison's General Store
    Place
    Morrison's Store

Physical description area

Physical description

1.1 m of textual records and other material.

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Archival description area

Name of creator

(1881-1996)

Administrative history

Morrison’s General Store in St. Peter’s, Richmond County, Cape Breton was founded by Alexander Allan (A.A.) Morrison in 1881. Originally established in a rented location on Main Street in St. Peter’s, A.A. Morrison later purchased a building across the street, where the store remained until its closure in 1996. A general merchandise store, Morrison’s offered a wide variety of goods to the people of St. Peter’s, which were purchased in bulk from several different wholesalers and delivered by way of train or boat. In 1925, A.A. bought out the neighbouring general store D.Y. Stewart & Sons, and combined the two units into a single operation.

During the 1920s, 1930s, and 1950s, Morrison’s periodically operated a branch store in Stirling, Richmond County, where the Mindamar Mine was located. In 1953 the company was incorporated, and became known as Morrison’s Stores Ltd. Following A.A.’s retirement circa 1940, the store was run by his son William D. Morrison, who served as President, and later by his grandchildren Catherine (Kay) MacDonald and Alex Morrison. The store regularly employed between 12-14 members of staff, many of whom served as employees for several decades. The store later became Morrison’s Home Hardware. After 115 years of operation, Morrison's was faced with many financial challenges enhanced by the appearance of larger retailers in the Port Hawkesbury area, and Morrison’s closed its doors in 1996. Morrison’s was a staple of the local landscape in St. Peter’s, and is fondly remembered by residents and former employees. Morrison’s store was demolished in 2002.

In addition to its role as a retail store, it is possible that Morrison’s General Store operated as a Canadian federal Department of Indian Affairs depot, under Superintendent Angus J. Boyd. Papers rescued from Morrison’s Home Hardware in 2001 indicate a retail relationship between the Department of Indian Affairs and the Store. More research is required to establish the historical relationship between the Department, Boyd and Morrison’s Stores Ltd.

Custodial history

The Beaton Institute was approached to arrange for the removal of potential archival documents from Morrison's Home Hardware in the summer of 2001. The building had been empty and unattended for several years and was slated for demolition the following year. Staff from the Beaton went to the store in the fall of 2001 and removed documents and ledgers of significance.

Scope and content

Fonds consists of administrative, personal, and miscellaneous papers from Morrison's General Store Ltd. in St. Peter's, Richmond County, Nova Scotia. The majority of the records are administrative and include operational purchase ledgers, payroll and inventory books. The materials also reflect store owner Alex A. Morrison's political activities such as voters' lists, election records and correspondence related to local politicians. Papers also include records related to the Department of Indian Affairs; it is possible that either Morrison's General Store or the D.Y. Stewart & Sons store served as a depot for agents who worked for Indian Affairs. A series of correspondence from A.J. Boyd as well as other Indian Agents in Cape Breton and mainland Nova Scotia are included in the records

Notes area

Physical condition

Immediate source of acquisition

Arrangement

Arrangement has been imposed by the Archivist. Records were salvaged after the organization had closed. The records were not in their original order and found in complete disarray.

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Some of the records within the fonds are restricted.

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Finding aids

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General note

This finding aid has been developed by Amy M. MacDonald and Anna A. MacNeil during the course of the 2011-2012 Beaton Institute Internship and by Kima Rae Hazelwood during the course of the 2020-2021 Beaton Institute Internship. In partnership with the Cape Breton University History Department, the internship opportunity is intended to provide students with practical experience working with primary source materials in an archival setting. While independent research is a feature as part of the internship project, the main project activities revolve around core archival functions. Relevant readings support these activities and include topics such as acquisition, accessioning, appraisal, arrangement, description, preservation and access. Beyond simply managing archival materials, students are expected to gain insight into why archives exist and operate, how their holdings reflect trends and biases in public history, and the challenges facing archives in a Web-dominated information age.

The main activities involved in the project included:
-Research and write administrative history and biographical sketches
-Appraise for general series and file arrangement
-Arrange and describe fonds according to RAD rules including fonds, series and file level descriptions
-Preservation activities such as condition assessment, removal of fasteners, re-house and foldering content
-Incorporate into existing manuscript group. Use available appraisal report as guide
-Enter data into electronic catalogue

Physical description

Fonds includes 1.1 m of textual records, 148 ledgers, 1 pamphlet, 8 postcards and 1 catalogue.

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