World War I

R.J. Inglis, Civil and Military Tailors

R.J. Inglis Limited was a popular tailor and retailer established in 1875 with offices in Montreal, Quebec, and Winnipeg, Manitoba. The firm made, repaired, and altered civilian and military clothing, and also sold and customized military equipment, such as sword scabbards and uniform badges.

Call to Arms - the French-Canadian response

This booklet analyzes the French-Canadian response to the issue of enlistment, particularly in the wake of the Military Service Act of 1917. The author focuses specifically on the different responses between French- and English-speaking Canadians.

View PDF: PDF icon Call to Arms

"In good standing under the Military Service Act"

This certificate was carried by Canadian men as proof that they had not evaded or avoided their obligations under the Military Service Act.

A Highlander's Christmas Greetings

The 134th Battalion, Canadian Expeditionary Force, was raised by Toronto's 48th Highlanders. It never saw action as a unit but was broken up to provide reinforcements to other battalions.

View PDF: PDF icon xmascard48h.pdf

Why I am enlisting

Presenting a speech advocating enlistment, this booklet also contains three letters on the issue written by Prime Minister Robert Borden, Sir Wilfrid Laurier, and Sir Sam Hughes.

The Senate debates conscription

Part of a series covering the conscription debate in the Canadian Senate, this booklet presents the opinions of the Right Honourable Napoléon Belcourt, a Toronto-born lawyer who had represented the city of Ottawa as a member of parliament.

French-Canadian volunteers

Including a speech given by Major Olivar Asselin at a dinner meeting of the Comité France-Amérique in June 1915, this booklet addresses Asselin's work in recruiting French Canadians for the war effort.

Selling postcards to soldiers

Printing companies that had used templates to make "local" postcards for tourists found they could use the same templates during the First World War, substituting a unit name in place of the city.

Women in uniform

During the First World War, it was quite common for women to pose for photographs while wearing a uniform that belonged to a loved one.

"The girls in the Red Cross tea shop"

These women, all of whom are identified on the back of the photograph, served snacks to soldiers at a tea shop run by the Canadian Red Cross Society in Hamilton, Ontario.

A patriotic card game

This postcard took the traditional card game Nap (or Napoleon), a simplified version of whist, and gave it patriotic overtones.

A send-off in Kingston

Before leaving for overseas, the 21st Battalion organized a week-long public celebration, with parades, sports, and games, for the people of Kingston and area.

Military badges as postcard art

Battalion badges were an important element of a unit's identity during the First World War, and proved to be a lucrative product for enterprising printers.

Crafts from the front

Silk postcards were very popular souvenirs for soldiers during the First World War, and provided an important source of income for French and Belgian handicraft workers.

A poetic voice from the front

This may be the original version of a booklet that ex-soldiers sold after the First World War to raise money - Private Nixon's "Verses Written in the Trenches" is a later version.

View PDF: PDF icon Audette.pdf

Veterans return to France

Tourist official in the city of Tours, France, prepared this guide to the local sights for ex-soldiers and their families who visited the area during the Vimy Pilgrimage in 1936.

View PDF: PDF icon Amboise.pdf

Marking the beginning of the Great War

Just a few months after the signing of the Treaty of Versailles that ended the First World War, the citizens of Hamilton, Ontario, assembled to give thanks on the fifth anniversary of the beginning of the war.

View PDF: PDF icon Hamilton 1919.pdf

Dundas Methodists remember

Methodist Church superintendent Rev. S.D. Chown was on hand as the congregation in Dundas, Ontario, dedicated its war memorial plaque in 1920.

O Valiant Hearts

"O Valiant Hearts" was one of the most popular hymns to emerge from the First World War. This printed copy was distributed to members of the congregation of Wellington Street Methodist Church in London, Ontario, on the occasion of the unveiling of their war memorial.

Letters from the front

There was a strong demand for soldiers' writings during the First World War. This collection of letters by "A whole-hearted, manly boy" to his family in Fort William, Ontario, was one of the more popular such books.