File O'Donnell_JH - O'Donnell, John Harrison

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O'Donnell, John Harrison

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CA UMCMA O'Donnell_JH

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(7 Apr 1838- 26 Oct 1912)

Biographical history

Education: MD(VictoriaU, Toronto)1881; Honorary MD,CM(Trinity Coll Tor)1888
Positions: Taught Sanitary Sci 1893-1902; Arrested by Riel 1869; signed warrant for Riel’s arrest 1873; Speaker of the House-Legislative Council 1871; Mbr, Univ Council 1877; Helped found WGH; Pres WGH Med Staff -1882

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Scope and content

The John Harrison O’Donnell files contain the following materials:
Folder 1
0. Obits: Wpg Trib Oct 26 1912 & Oct 28, 1912, Mb Free Press Oct 28, 1912 (3pp)

1. Biographical material: (39pp total)


  • “John Harrison O’Donnell” handwritten, no author, nd (gift-see 2 below); copy (4+4pp) (pp1-8)
  • “John Harrison O’Donnell” typed carbon copy, no author, nd (gift-see 2 below) + copy (5+5pp) (pp9-18)
  • Photocopy of pages from notebook compiled by ?Miss Ruth Monk (original in file 21.10.3) (2pp) (pp19-20)
  • Biography from Bryce, G: History of Manitoba: its resources and people. 1906; p.428-29 (3pp) (pp21-23)
  • Mitchell, Ross: “John Harrison O’Donnell, M.D.” WCQ 20: 63-71 1967; Pioneers and early citizens of Manitoba 1971; Medicine in Manitoba 1955 p.53-4; Can J Surg 10:399-402 Oct 1967; Bryce, G: “John Harrison O’Donnell” History of Manitoba 1906 p.428-429 (5+1+1+1bk of 4pp) (pp24-31)
  • Copy of biography from Scholfield’s Story of Manitoba 1913:667-668 (2pp) (pp32-34)
  • “Granddaughter tells tales of Red River’s first MD” WFP August 31, 1968 (1p - 2copies) (p36)
  • “Old Timers’ big banquet” typed copy of newspaper article? nd;
  • “20 Years Ago Today” MMB #102, 1930 (2pp) (pp37-38)
  • Typed note with quotes from “Strange Empire” re JHO’D (1 card) (p39)

2. Letters Fyles, Waugh, Kerr, Henderson re gift of papers from the family (See folder #2 for list) (15pp)

3. "An early invitation to the British Medical Assoc" MMB 393:2-3 1929 (1p)

4. "Doctors as politicians in Manitoba's '''early History" MMB v108:28-29 1930 (1p)

5. "John Harrison O'Donnell, a Life in Flash Lights" Presentation and notes by A. Naimark 2003 (16pp)

6. Chart showing connection to Oliver Sayles Waugh (1p)

7. "Reforming the Senate - Manitoba abolished its upper chamber in 1876" WREB News 23 Nov 2007 (6pp)

8. A Naimark's powerpoint presentation on JHO'D for 125th Anniversary Symposium (3pp)

9. 1st Superintendent Wpg Gen'l Hosp WFP 12 May 1938 (1p)

10. 1st Inventory sheets and listing of contents of two folders (4pp)
See also:


  • O’Donnell Manitoba as I saw it in Manitoba Authors in NJM Library
  • Mitchell’s “Early doctors in Manitoba” CMAJ 33:91, 1935; Generator (WGH) Jan 1967;
  • File 21.10.15 “Doctors as politicians ...” under JH O’Donnell” MMB 108:38-39, 1930;
  • Mitchell: “A good Samaritan” MMR 42: 107 1962;
  • HH Chown’s file Folder #3

Folder 2
N.B. Permission to copy required:
Gift items from Mrs. H. Waugh (see letters in Folder #1):
1. Financial statement, July 24, 1866 to W. Little, Cornwall Admin Battalion, signed by O’Donnell (1p)

2. Letter to the officers of the Royal Mail, Lake Superior from H. Swinford requesting assistance for Dr. JH O’Donnell, Oct 8, 1883 (1p)

3. Letter from Dr. W.J. Mayo to O’Donnell thanking him for his book, June 7, 1912 (1p+envelope)

4. Letter of resignation from 6th Hochelago Light Infantry, 13 Dec, 1866 (1p)

5. Letter of appointment as Coroner for the County of Provencher, Manitoba, 26 June 1871 + copy (1-16x13.75p folded in 2+ 3pp copy)

6. Letter of appointment as consulting physician and member of Medical Board, WGH, 27 June 1882 (1p)

7. “True copy” of letter of Tribute to O’Donnell (Surgeon of the Cornwall Admin Battalion) from Dr. SMW Smyth, Surgeon Major, Upper St. Lawrence District. Aug 29, 1866 (1p)

8. Typewritten list of Prisoners in Ft Garry confined by Riel & Assocs. (lists O’Donnell) 7 Dec 1869 (2pp)

9. Deed of Land (at Pt Douglas) between Emile and Suzanne Bourette and JH O’Donnell, 17 August 1874 2-7.5x9.5 pages originally formed one long page - very fragile)

10. Certificate of Entitlement to a Grant of Crown Land, 1 June 1903 (True copy?) + copy (2pp)

11. Certificate of membership in the Amer Public Health Assoc 25-28 Aug 1908 (1p)

12. Typewritten carbon copy of article by O’Donnell “Diseases found in the interior of the North-West of Canada: sanitary precautions and results” nd plus 1 copy (7pp+7pp)

13. Letter Geo Scott to JJ O'D 8 Oct 1883 (1p)

14. Copy of title page of O'Donnell's "Manitoba as I Saw It" (1p)

15. List of certificates held in Holder #7 in Archives Cupboard (1p)


  • M.D. Victoria College 1861
  • Upper Canada License to Practice Physic, Surgery & Midwifery 1862
  • Letter Patent re Office of President of the Legislative Council of Manitoba, 1875
  • Trinity College (Honorary?) Doctor of Medicine and Master of Surgery, 1888
  • Province of Ontario Land Allotment for serving in the 1866 Fenian Raid May 16, 1905

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