A Growing Family - Meet the Browns: A Confederation Family-Ontario 150

George and Anne welcomed the birth of their first child, Margaret (“Maggie”) in 1864, followed by Catherine Edith (“Oda”) in 1866 and George Mackenzie (“Ginney”) in 1869.

Margaret “Maggie” Brown, ca. 1860s
Click to see a larger image

Margaret “Maggie” Brown,
ca. 1860s
George Brown family fonds
F 21-10-0-4
Archives of Ontario, I0073619

Catherine Edith “Oda” Brown, ca. 1860s
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Catherine Edith “Oda” Brown, ca. 1860s
George Brown family fonds
F 21-10-0-18
Archives of Ontario, I0073665

George Mackenzie “Ginney” Brown, ca. 1870s
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George Mackenzie “Ginney” Brown, ca. 1870s
George Brown family fonds
F 21-10-0-8
Archives of Ontario, I0073661

Letters reveal details of the family’s private life. George’s public image may have been that of a stern politician and serious publisher, but letters to family show his warmth, humour, and love.

In this letter, George confesses to Anne how much he misses his family while away on political matters.

Letter from George Brown to
Anne Brown, 18 June 1864
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Letter from George Brown to Anne Brown,
29 February 1864
George Brown papers
MG 24 B 40, volume 5, pages 859-862
Library and Archives Canada, I-89401-001
[Page 1]

Letter from George Brown to
Anne Brown, 18 June 1864
Click to see a larger image

Letter from George Brown to Anne Brown,
29 February 1864
George Brown papers
MG 24 B 40, volume 5, pages 859-862
Library and Archives Canada, I-89401-002, I-89401-003
[Page 2 & 3]

Letter from George Brown to Anne Brown, 29 February 1864
Click to see a larger image

Letter from George Brown to Anne Brown,
29 February 1864
George Brown papers
MG 24 B 40, volume 5, pages 859-862
Library and Archives Canada, I-89401-004, I-89401-005
[Page 4 & 5]

Letter from George Brown to Anne Brown, 29 February 1864
Click to see a larger image

Letter from George Brown to Anne Brown,
29 February 1864
George Brown papers
MG 24 B 40, volume 5, pages 859-862
Library and Archives Canada, I-89401-006
[Page 6]


“Twenty times a day I fancy myself by your side with our baby on your knee … [and]  then come thoughts of the country [and] public duty, the newspaper and so I give a great grumph [and] turn away from the subject.”

-George to Anne, 29 February 1864

When Anne and George were away, the Brown children often wrote letters to them. These records give us a glimpse into their daily lives, from experiencing their surroundings to completing their schoolwork!

Letter from Catherine “Oda” Brown to Anne Brown, 2 May [ca. 1870s]
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Letter from Catherine “Oda” Brown to Anne Brown, 2 May [ca. 1870s]
George Brown family fonds
F 21-2-5-11
Archives of Ontario, I0073527 (right side)
[Page 1]

Letter from Catherine “Oda” Brown to Anne Brown, 2 May [ca. 1870s]
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Letter from Catherine “Oda” Brown to Anne Brown, 2 May [ca. 1870s]
George Brown family fonds
F 21-2-5-11
Archives of Ontario, I0073528
[Page 2 & 3 ]

Letter from Catherine “Oda” Brown to Anne Brown, 2 May [ca. 1870s]
Click to see a larger image

Letter from Catherine “Oda” Brown to Anne Brown, 2 May [ca. 1870s]
George Brown family fonds
F 21-2-5-11
Archives of Ontario, I0073527 (left side)
[Page 4]




“Mrs. John Cawthra wants us to go there to tea to-morrow evening and as the company is to be very select Miss Ash says we may go.”

-Oda to Anne, 2 May [ca. 1870s]

Letter from Anne Brown to Catherine “Oda” Brown, 2 April [1874]
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Letter from Anne Brown to Catherine “Oda” Brown, 2 April [1874]
George Brown family fonds
F 21-2-5-1
Archives of Ontario, F21-2-5-1_003
[Page 1]

Letter from Anne Brown to Catherine “Oda” Brown, 2 April [1874]
Click to see a larger image

Letter from Anne Brown to Catherine “Oda” Brown, 2 April [1874]
George Brown family fonds
F 21-2-5-1
Archives of Ontario, F21-2-5-1_004, F21-2-5-1_005
[Page 2 & 3]

Letter from Anne Brown to Catherine “Oda” Brown, 2 April [1874]
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Letter from Anne Brown to Catherine “Oda” Brown, 2 April [1874]
George Brown family fonds
F 21-2-5-1
Archives of Ontario, F21-2-5-1_006
[Page 4]




“There are a great many beautiful buildings [and] gardens here [in Washington]. I am sure you [would] all like to see them – some day when you [and] Maddie are a little older [and] Ginney a big gentleman …”

-Anne to Oda, 2 April [1874]

Letter from Margaret “Maggie” Brown to George Brown, 1 December 1875
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Letter from Margaret “Maggie” Brown to George Brown, 1 December 1875
George Brown family fonds
F 21-1-2-1
Archives of Ontario, F21-1-2-1_004
[Page 1 ]

Letter from Margaret “Maggie” Brown to George Brown, 1 December 1875
Click to see a larger image

Letter from Margaret “Maggie” Brown to George Brown, 1 December 1875
George Brown family fonds
F 21-1-2-1
Archives of Ontario, F21-1-2-1_005, F21-1-2-1_006
[Page 2 & 3]




“I am afraid you will think I have quite forgotten to write to you but the truth is that Edith [Oda] says Saturday is her day, and Thursday mine, and when Thursday does come, the minute I get home from school I sit down to begin I am of course interrupted by the dinner bell and after that we have to go out, then learn our lessons, and then it is too late for the post.”

-Maggie to George, 1 December 1875

Letter from George Brown to George “Ginney” Brown, 18 August 1875
Click to see a larger image

Letter from George Brown to George “Ginney” Brown, 18 August 1875
George Brown papers
MG 24 B 40, Volume 10, page 2304
Library and Archives Canada, I-89399-001




“No letter from my own dear little boy – but, never mind, there will be, some of these days. You must learn quick and write one with your very own hand to Papa.”

-George to Ginney, 18 August 1875

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