History of the Archives

In 1972, the Shawville-Clarendon-Thorne Historical Records Project, funded by the Opportunities for Youth program of the federal government, collected interviews by the people in the Shawville area for Shawville’s centennial year, 1873. These interviews and other documents were stored in the Town Hall Library.

The library was growing and so were the quantity of documents, so at a Pontiac Historical Society meeting, Pearl McCleary suggested that we needed a separate building for the archival material. Venetia Crawford agreed and, together with Annie Gamble, the Society’s president, the seed for an archives was sown.

In 1985, the Pontiac Archives’s first site was at the home of Pearl McCleary, where she and Venetia Crawford indexed the documents that were found in the Town Hall collection. That same year, we received a grant from Quebec Cultural Affairs to help in finding a suitable location. After searching all over the county without success, Sharron Halligan, principal of Pontiac Elementary Schools, invited us to meet the School Board, who offered us the library classroom at Campbell’s Bay Elementary School, which became our first official home. Elsie Sparrow joined the team in 1986. The Pontiac Archives moved to Campbell’s Bay, opening January 5, 1987, with the official opening on March 23.

Yearly grants from Quebec Cultural Affairs until 1989 enabled us to become well established. The Archives continued through four subsequent moves, all with the help of volunteers.

The first two moves, arranged by Geneviève Cahill, were in the Social Planning Building on Elsie Street in Campbell’s Bay; from there we moved to Donald Paul’s building on Centre Street in Shawville.

Finally, in 2004 we moved to our beautiful new site on Main Street in Shawville, which is provided by the Municipalities of Clarendon and Shawville.

The support of the Quebec National Archives in Hull under Pierre-Louis Lapointe, local politicians, and donations of many organizations and individuals have all contributed to the success of the Pontiac Archives, which is presently run entirely by volunteers.