First Canadian Keeper of the Hudson’s Bay Company archives passes away

In a beautiful tribute to the late Shirlee Anne Smith, who died April 17 in Winnipeg, Canada’s History describes the former archivist of the Hudson’s Bay Company as a “tireless champion of Canadian and Manitoban history.”

“She was the first Canadian Keeper of the Hudson’s Bay Company Archives, a collection consisting of three centuries’ worth of Hudson’s Bay Company records that together tell the history of the exploration and development of Canada’s northwest.”

Ms. Smith spent almost her entire career working directly or indirectly for the Hudson’s Bay Company. According to her obituary, she was posted in 1973 to London, England to oversee the transfer of the company’s archives — twenty tons of records — to Winnipeg.

In 1984, she was inducted into the Order of Canada, six years before she resigned as Keeper, in recognition of her “exceptional contributions to heritage and archives, her tireless counsel to scholars and students of Canadian fur trade history, and her invaluable assistance to academic research and publishing.”

Articles by Ms. Smith, including one about Sir George Simpson, governor of the Hudson’s Bay Company, can be found on The Canadian Encyclopedia.

Shirlee Anne Smith left us with quite a legacy to Canadian history.

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