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Volume 3, Number 1, January-February 2007

Banner: Library and Archives Canada - e-Newsletter

Stories of Love... Well Documented


The collections of Library and Archives Canada are filled with fabulous romantic treasures! A number of these gems, such as manuscripts including love letters and musical works, have been digitized and made accessible on our website.

With Saint Valentine's Day drawing near, we invite you to come online and listen to countless love songs from the past. Visit our Virtual Gramophone site, which has been expanding since 1998, and click on Podcasting to access songs grouped by theme in the Gallery of Podcasts.

All recordings that are accessible on the Virtual Gramophone site date from the 1900s to the 1940s. Superstars of classical and popular music are featured, as is a variety of styles and genres, including opera, folk, love songs, musicals and show tunes.


Among the classical vocalists is Emma Albani (1847-1930), the first Canadian opera singer to attain international stardom; the mezzo-soprano Éva Gauthier (1885-1958) of Ottawa, first classical singer to perform the songs of American composer George Gershwin; and baritone Joseph Saucier (1869-1941), the first French Canadian to make a recording (ca. 1904).

Popular music is equally represented, with the talented Alexandre Desmarteaux (ca. 1880-1926), an actor who loved to punctuate his songs with laughter; Rose Ouellette or "La Poune" (1903-1996), star of the stage, radio, television and movie screen; and Mary Travers Bolduc or "La Bolduc" (1894-1941) who delighted in mixing romance with everyday humour.

Continuing the romantic theme, Library and Archives Canada will launch a website in 2008 on love and marriage. Excerpts from personal diaries, civil and church records, newspaper clippings, photographs and artwork will illustrate how the rituals of love and marriage became part of 19th-century mores in Canada.

Library and Archives Canada is pleased to share these treasures of romance and wishes you a Happy Saint Valentine's Day!

The Virtual Gramophone

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