Fonds F3107 - Royal Gagnon family fonds

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Royal Gagnon family fonds


  • 1862-1972 (Creation)

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Extent and medium

3 m of textual records
2,797 photographs

Context area

Name of creator

Biographical history

Joseph Royal, 1837-1902, was born in Quebec and studied as a lawyer. He moved to Manitoba in 1870, served as Lieutenant-Governor of the North-West Territories from 1888 to 1893, and then returned to eastern Canada. In 1857 he married Agnes Bruyere and they had several children including Emma Royal.

Severe Gagnon, 1845-1909, was born in Quebec, and studied law before joining the North-West Mounted Police in 1874. He was stationed at Fort Saskatchewan, Battleford (during the 1885 Riel Rebellion), Regina and Prince Albert before he took sick leave in 1900. In 1888 he married Emma Blanche Royal, 1866-1947, who was born in Montreal. They had a son, Henri Gagnon.

Henri Gagnon, 1892-1947, was born in the NWMP barracks in Regina. He was educated in Montreal, joined the military in 1911 and served overseas during the First World War as Commanding Officer of the 69th Battalion (French-Canadians). In 1919 he married Helen Johnston in Scotland, and they had one child, Suzanne Gagnon. He joined the Royal North-West Mounted Police in 1920 and over his 27 year career was stationed in Regina, Vancouver, Fort Smith, Montreal and Quebec. In 1943 he was promoted to Superintendent of the RCMP and in 1946 to Deputy Commissioner. He was expected to become Commissioner but died before taking up this post.

Helen Johnston Gagnon, 1901-1984, was born in Scotland. In 1919 she married Henri Gagnon, who was stationed in Scotland at the end of the First World War, and the couple returned to Canada shortly after. They had one daughter, Suzanne Gagnon.

Suzanne Gagnon, 1921-1999, was born in Regina, and educated in Quebec City and Winnipeg. She served in the Women's Royal Canadian Naval Service during the Second World War before obtaining a BA from McGill University. She married William McIlhagga in 1965.

Archival history

Immediate source of acquisition or transfer

Purchased, 2012. The material was purchased via an agent from Ron Nault, the natural son of Suzanne, who was adopted at birth by the Naults.

Content and structure area

Scope and content

The fonds consists primarily of Mounted Police records including Severe Gagnon's diary of the March West; and Henri Gagnon's police diaries and notebooks, especially while posted at Fort Smith. The fonds also consists of Henri's First World War records; family correspondence between Emma, Henry, Helen and Suzanne; Emma's diaries and scrapbook about her father Joseph Royal; articles and tributes on Henri's death; Helen's papers related to her Scottish family; Suzanne's school records and university notes; Suzanne's WRCNS memorabilia and Quebec Conference scrapbook; and extensive photographs of family members, Mounted Police groups and activities, Fort Smith and northern Canada. Includes Louis Schmidt's Riel Rebellion documents collected by Joseph Royal; and Cortlandt Starnes' photographs of the Hudson Bay and Churchill area.

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Conditions governing access

No restrictions on access.

Conditions governing reproduction

Language of material

    Script of material

      Language and script notes

      The material is in both English and French. Most of Henri Gagnon's diaries, notebooks and letters are in French, while his official Mounted Police documents are in English. Suzanne's letters to her family are in both languages. Emma's papers are primarily in French, with some letters in English.

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      Digital content is available

      Related units of description

      Many Royal Gagnon family and Mounted Police artifacts are held in the Cultural History collections at Glenbow.

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      Notes area


      Title based on contents of records.

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