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The Simcoe Collection Fonds F 47


The Simcoe family fonds documents the lives of several members of the Simcoe family in the United Kingdom and Canada. They have been divided into five sous-fonds relating to the work of John Graves Simcoe, Elizabeth Posthuma (nee Gwillim) Simcoe, their son Francis Gwillim Simcoe, the eldest daughter, Eliza Simcoe and a general section covering various other members of their extended family.

  • The John Graves Simcoe sous-fonds includes documentation of his service in the British army in North America and England, his five years as the first Lieutenant-Governor of Upper Canada and his unofficial pursuits as a land owner.

  • Elizabeth Simcoe's activities are documented through a number of diaries, journals and personal accounts of her life. Her correspondence with relatives and friends is also available. Mrs. Simcoe's skill as an artist and draft person are well documented through the watercolours and maps found in the Reading Room of the Archives.

  • Francis Gwillim Simcoe is represented by a single series of correspondence and a journal documenting his military service in the early 19th century.

  • The Simcoe's eldest daughter Elizabeth, Eliza, maintained a correspondence with her friends and relatives that is well documented in an additional series.

  • The final section consists of miscellaneous documents relating to a variety of Simcoe ancestors and descendants.

Dates of Creation

- 1665-[195-?]; predominant 1750-[195-?]

Physical Description

4.5 m of textual records
100 maps
595 drawings and watercolours
3 photographs

Restrictions on Access

No restrictions on access.

Terms For Use and Reproduction

Copyright varies. See Inventory F 47. Where reproductions exist, they must be consulted for research and reference. Permission to use original documents must be obtained from an archivist. Reproduction of maps, drawings, and watercolours may be restricted due to conservation problems. Please consult the reference archivist. Reproduction of textual records on microfilm are subject to no restrictions.

Custodial History


The Simcoe Family papers were held by descendants of John Graves Simcoe until their final transfer to Ontario in the late 1940s. The eldest daughter, Eliza, of John and Elizabeth Simcoe, retained possession of the material until her death in 1865. Between 1859 and 1861, a portion of the records were loaned to the Canadian Library of Parliament for arrangement and partial copying.

On the death of Eliza, the records passed to the children of the Reverend Henry Addington Simcoe, Eliza's only surviving brother. At this time part of the records came into the possession of the Vowler family and the Coles family, each through marriage to a daughter or grand daughter of Henry Addington Simcoe, Elizabeth Simcoe Vowler and Lidia Simcoe Coles. The latter may have been the daughter of John K. Simcoe, R.N., one of Henry Addington Simcoe's children. Dr. S. McLaughlan purchased the records held by the Coles family in the late 1940s and donated the whole to the Library of the University of Toronto.

In 1951 the University and the Department of Archives and Records opened negotiations to transfer the custody of non-University records to the province. In 1952, an agreement was signed in which the Simcoe Papers, plus three other fonds, would be transferred to the Archives of Ontario.

In 1993, a small quantity of correspondence from Elizabeth Simcoe was accessioned (24765). This material has been incorporated into the listing for Series F 47-9, Correspondence. ; The Archives of Ontario acquired a quantity of Simcoe Family records and artifacts in the spring of 1993. These include items that had been on long term loan to the Devon Record Office and items that had remained in the physical possession of Simcoe's heirs. The series which include materials from this accession include descriptions of the units and their numbers.

For more information consult the Archives Descriptive Database.