General description of the records (RAD)

Record Group 82
Accession 0000-0481


3.8 m. of textual records (including 6,617 index cards, approximately 3000 files, and printed matter) approximately 700 photographs (black and white prints)

Administrative History
In January 1942, with the approval of the McGill University Board of Governors, Principal and Vice-Chancellor F. Cyril James established the McGill University War Records office. The objective was to compile a thorough record of the contribution to the war effort by McGill faculty, students, and staff--past and present, in all branches of armed and civilian war services. In conjunction with the Office of the Principal and Vice-Chancellor, and the Graduates’ Society, the War Records office solicited information from individuals and families to create files concerning their participation in the war.

Associated with The McGill News for more than a decade at the outbreak of the Second World War, serving in succession as Associate Editor, Editor, Chairman of the Editorial Board, and Vice-Chairman of the Editorial Board, Robert Collier Fetherstonhaugh (1892-1949) was appointed Custodian of the McGill University War Records in January 1942. In the spring 1942 issue of The McGill News, he expressed his vision for the War Records office, writing that one day he hoped “McGill may possess war records not surpassed by those of any university in Canada, or, indeed, of any university elsewhere.” The material in this collection contains documents compiled by Fetherstonhaugh during the course of the Second World War, and in the period immediately following.

In May 1946, the War Records office ceased its information collection activities, and in the same year the University granted Fetherstonhaugh the honorary degree of LL.D. In 1947, Fetherstonhaugh published the book McGill University at War 1914-1918; 1939-1945, based on the records he had meticulously acquired and organized during the war years.

Scope and Content Note
The collection documents the involvement of McGill faculty, students, alumni, and staff during the Second World War. It contains information on 5568 men and women on active service, including 295 women. It also provides information on the 298 dead, 52 prisoners of war, and 629 recipients of medals.

The greater portion consists of folders, index cards, newspaper clippings, correspondence, and photographs of individual soldiers and civilians. Index cards, documents and photographs were created and accumulated by Fetherstonhaugh and placed in alphabetical order within specific categories. The collection contains four distinct series: index cards; textual documents, including newspaper clippings; correspondence and articles arranged by subject; and photographs. The first series contains subseries reflecting Fetherstonhaugh’s original subdivision categories.

The index cards are arranged in the following categories:

  • Subversive activities
  • Killed
  • Prisoners of war
  • University staff
  • Macdonald College
  • Army course
  • COTC
  • US
  • General list A-H
  • General list I-Mc
  • General list M-Z
  • Returned from active service
  • Photos in extension file
  • Photos on loan
  • Women
  • Civil

Other files in the collection include correspondence and newspaper clippings arranged by particular subjects; correspondence and newspaper clippings concerning the McGill War Memorial Campaign, 1947-1949; Fetherstonhaugh's account book of income and expenditures, and some vouchers, 1942-1946; McGill News articles, 1942-1946; correspondence, memoranda, invoices, reviews, and newspaper clippings, 1947-1948, concerning the book McGill University at War, 1914-1918; 1939-1945.

Custodial History
The material was collected by R.C. Fetherstonhaugh of the McGill War Records office. Documents collected by Fetherstonhaugh were originally kept in the office of Principal and Vice-Chancellor F. Cyril James. In 1947, the records were relocated to the McGill Library for storage. On January 29, 1966, the documents were transferred from the McGill Library to the McGill University Archives.


Restrictions on access
No restrictions on consultation.

Restrictions on reproduction
There are several factors relevant to reproduction uses of this material. Foremost, reproduction use is subject to copyright legislation as applicable. Most records may be reproduced for study and personal research purposes. The records are made available on the McGill Remembers website in the spirit of diffusion–to facilitate research, to encourage use in teaching and learning, and to foster an awareness of the historical content. Reproductions should be accompanied with citations and credit McGill University Archives as the source.

To obtain professional quality scans and for permission to reproduce/license materials, please contact Much of the material was created by the staff of McGill University: reproduction use of these materials is administrated by the McGill University Archives. However, the McGill University Archives is not in a position to authorize reproduction where the copyright status is not known, or the copyright holder is unlocatable.

Based on content of the collection