“I Am Pleased with the Lambton Loot”: Arthur George Doughty and the Making of the Durham Papers

  • Jarett Henderson


This article uses Antoinette Burton’s concept of the “archive story” to explore Arthur George Doughty’s making of the Durham Papers. It resurrects Doughty’s “archive story” from the archives of the very institution that he worked tirelessly to create to argue that archivists – the individuals who collect, arrange, and describe the materials that historians rely on to write their histories – also make history. Doughty’s interest in Lord Durham’s administration, and the twenty years he spent collecting the documents that became the Durham Papers, secured a place in the vaults of the Public Archives of Canada for one of Canada’s most controversial Governors General and established Durham’s 1838 mission to British North America as a “milepost moment” in the annals of Canadian national history.


Cet article se sert du concept de « l’histoire d’archives » (« archive story »), élaboré par Antoinette Burton, pour explorer comment Arthur George Doughty a constitué la collection des Durham Papers. Il fait revivre « l’histoire d’archives » de Doughty, qui avait été reléguée aux archives de l’institution même qu’il avait tant oeuvré pour fonder. Cette histoire de Doughty montre que les archivistes, ces gens qui acquièrent, classent et décrivent les matériaux dont les historiens se servent pour écrire leurs ouvrages, façonnent eux aussi l’histoire. L’intérêt que portait Doughty pour l’administration de Lord Durham et les vingt ans de travail qu’il a consacré à l’acquisition des documents qui ont constitué la collection des Durham Papers ont fait en sorte que les voûtes des Archives publiques du Canada purent accueillir la collection d’un des gouverneurs généraux les plus controversés au Canada, tout en démontrant que la mission de Durham dans l’Amérique du Nord britannique en 1838 fut un moment important dans les annales de l’histoire nationale canadienne.

Author Biography

Jarett Henderson

Jarett Henderson completed his doctorate in history at York University in 2010. His dissertation examined Lord Durham’s 1838 administration of Lower Canada within the global framework of nineteenth-century reform move-ments. He is particularly interested in the personal, political, and affective ties that bound those in the British North American colonies to other sites of imperial expansion in the long-nineteenth century. His article on Arthur Doughty is part of a larger project that examines Doughty’s archival work in the early twentieth century and the effects it had, and continues to have, upon understandings of the history of Canada between 1760 and 1885. He has taught Canadian history at the University of Manitoba, where, in 2004 he completed his MA in history, and at York University. Currently teaching pre-Confederation Canadian history at Trent University in Oshawa, Jarett is revis-ing his dissertation for publication.

How to Cite
Henderson, Jarett. 2010. “‘I Am Pleased With the Lambton Loot’: Arthur George Doughty and the Making of the Durham Papers”. Archivaria 70 (October), 153-76. https://www.archivaria.ca/index.php/archivaria/article/view/13297.