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James P. Whitney Papers

An inventory of the collection at Syracuse University

Overview of the Collection

Creator: Whitney, James Pliny, Sir, 1843-1914.
Title: James P. Whitney Papers
Inclusive Dates: 1897-1904
Quantity: 0.5 linear ft.
Abstract: Canadian member of Parliament. Collection contains correspondence.
Language: The majority of the material is in English and some is in French.
Repository: Special Collections Research Center,
Syracuse University Libraries
222 Waverly Avenue
Syracuse, NY 13244-2010

Biographical History

Sir James Pliny Whitney (1842 or 1843-1914) was a Canadian attorney and Member of Parliament, and sixth Premier of Ontario from 1905 to 1914.

Whitney was born in Williamsburgh Township to a blacksmith-farmer. He advanced in school and attended the Cornwall Grammar School as well as joined the local volunteer militia. After finishing school he began work at the law office of John Sandfield Macdonald and John Ban Maclennan. Macdonald became Whitney's tutor in law and politics.

After joining the Ontario legislature in 1888, he eventually became leader of the Conservative Party in 1896, turning its reputation around from narrow-minded to forward-looking. In the 1905 Premier election, Whitney led the the Tories to their first victory in 33 years. Whitney's government laid the basis for Ontario's industrial development, passed significant temperance and workmen's compensation legislation, and banned the teaching of French in schools beyond the first three years. After suffering a heart attack in 1913 he never fully recovered and eventually died 7 weeks in the start of World War I.

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Scope and Contents of the Collection

The James P. Whitney Papers contain correspondence.

Correspondence consists of incoming material related to business, law, and politics.

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Arrangement of the Collection

Correspondence is arranged chronologically with undated or unidentifiable material at the end.

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Access Restrictions

The majority of our archival and manuscript collections are housed offsite and require advanced notice for retrieval. Researchers are encouraged to contact us in advance concerning the collection material they wish to access for their research.

Use Restrictions

Written permission must be obtained from SCRC and all relevant rights holders before publishing quotations, excerpts or images from any materials in this collection.

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Subject Headings


Whitney, James Pliny, Sir, 1843-1914.


Prime ministers -- Ontario.


Ontario -- History.
Ontario -- Politics and government.

Genres and Forms




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Administrative Information

Preferred Citation

Preferred citation for this material is as follows:

James P. Whitney Papers,
Special Collections Research Center,
Syracuse University Libraries

Acquisition Information

Unspecified, circa 1964.

Finding Aid Information

Created by: MRC
Date: 31 Oct 2010
Revision history: 20 Feb 2019 - processed (KD)

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Box 1 Incoming 1897, 1898, 1901, 1904, undated (22 folders)

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