Cape Breton's Magazine fonds

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Cape Breton's Magazine fonds

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SMI Accessions 1981-042 at Ar1243-Ar1259, 1983-013 at Ar3425-Ar3533, 1986-014, 1987-012 at Ar5532-Ar5739, 1987-075 at Ac181-Ac506, Ar5901-Ar5944, 1988-007 at Ac507-Ac580, 1998-113, 2009-050.

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Issuing jurisdiction and denomination (philatelic)

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  • 1967 - 1998 (Creation)
    Cape Breton's Magazine

Physical description area

Physical description

  • ca. 1098 audio cassettes
  • 208 audio reels

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Name of creator


Administrative history

Founded in 1972, Cape Breton's Magazine is "devoted to the history, natural history, and future of Cape Breton Island". Its founder, publisher, and editor, Ronald Caplan, moved to Wreck Cove, Cape Breton from the United States in 1971. Inspired by Eliot Wigginston's Foxfire books in which American school children collected stories from older people, Caplan began to record stories told to him by Cape Bretoners and published them largely unedited and uncensored. The magazine soon became an ongoing publishing project, based primarily on oral history compiled from taped interviews. Since the magazine's founding there have been, in addition to the regular issues, five books of compilations, two full-length plays, and five short radio plays based on the interviews. It has been used widely in classrooms, and has been the impetus for several other Canadian regional magazines and popular books. Over the years, the magazine has received numerous awards for its contribution to the cultural and heritage education and oral history of Cape Breton.

Custodial history

Scope and content

Fonds consists of audio cassettes and tape reels containing interviews, folklore, and music compiled by Ronald Caplan in the course of research for articles appearing in Cape Breton's Magazine. Most recordings are conversations with older citizens of Cape Breton, many of whom are now deceased. Under the general subject of Cape Breton history and culture, the topics include industrial history, trains and train wrecks, Mi'kmaq life, traditional songs, Sydney Steel, coal mining, musicians, community histories, Acadian culture, fisheries, labour history, supernatural tales, coal miners, hockey and other sports, shipwrecks, Gaelic traditions, reminiscences of immigrants, environmentalists, and the Canso Causeway.

Notes area

Physical condition

Audio cassettes from the 1998 accession are discoloured from exposure to smoke.

Immediate source of acquisition

Donated periodically by Ronald Caplan between 1981 and 1998.


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Restrictions on access

Access is restricted for the 1981-1988 accessions until 31 December 2013 and for the 1998 accession until 31 December 2023.

Terms governing use, reproduction, and publication

Researchers wishing to consult, duplicate, or re-use material must obtain written permission from Ronald Caplan.

Finding aids

Item list collection, arranged alphabetically by informant's name, available. Also includes the magazine's guide to issues 1-50 which is sorted by topic and a computer-generated list sorted by informant name.

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Further accruals are expected.

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