Fonds 2018.017 - Lester V. Macdonald fonds

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Lester V. Macdonald fonds

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  • Textual record

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  • ca. 1820s - 1980s, predominant 1950s -1970s (Creation)
    Macdonald, Lester V.
    Sherbrooke, NS

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Physical description

0.762 m of textual records and other material.

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Name of creator


Biographical history

Lester V. Macdonald was born on 31 December 1896 in Sherbrooke, Guysborough County, Nova Scotia. He was the son of William H. and Helen A. (Hattie) Macdonald. The early Sherbrooke settler and settlement official, Hugh McDonald, was his great-grandfather. After Lester V. Macdonald graduated from school with his senior matriculation, he began his working life in his father's blacksmith shop. When the First World War broke out, he served in the Royal Flying Corps as a mechanic, at one point stationed in Texas. After some education at Dalhousie University and industrial work in Boston in the 1920s, he returned to Sherbrooke in 1925 to establish Macdonald Garage and Equipment, which offered mechanic, plumbing and heating services, as well as car sales. Between 1931 and 1937, he was contracted to carry mail from Sherbrooke to Antigonish and from Sherbrooke to Sheet Harbour, a daily distance of 200 miles. He was involved in numerous community, labour, and religious organizations, including fraternal and temperance societies, the Royal Canadian Legion Branch 56, the St. Mary’s Amateur Athletics Association, and St. John’s United Church. He served as a stipendiary magistrate for the courts and was the deputy registrar of deeds. He was also involved in economic development initiatives as a member of the St. Mary’s District Development Association, where he lobbied government for greater community investment, particularly in the areas of natural resources and tourism. Lester was an active supporter of the Sherbrooke Village Restoration project, a large-scale community economic development initiative that proposed to restore a portion of the streetscape of Sherbrooke to that of a typical village of the mid-to-late 19th century. In 1970, he was appointed as one of the first members of the Sherbrooke Restoration Commission, the governing body of the living-history museum, on which he served as chair. Lester V. Macdonald was an avid local historian and genealogist. During the development of Sherbrooke Village Restoration, Nova Scotia Museum curators frequently relied upon his historical knowledge. He married Irvis Mae Pryde in 1927, and together they had four children.

Custodial history

Records were donated to Sherbrooke Village Restoration by relatives of Lester V. Macdonald in 1996. The records were transferred to the St. Mary's Genealogy Research Centre at Sherbrooke Village in 2018.

Scope and content

Fonds consists of ledgers pertaining to the operation of Macdonald Garage and Equipment, Sherbrooke (1927-1951), one accounts ledger for the 19th-century Sherbrooke merchant Alexander Macdonald that lists the names of numerous St. Mary's area residents along with their occupation, goods purchased, and payments made, either cash or in-kind (ca. 1850-1860). Reports, files, meeting minutes, and correspondence relating to the development of Sherbrooke Village Restoration and the work of the Sherbrooke Restoration Commission. Reports, files, meeting minutes, and correspondence relating to the work of the St. Mary's Development Association. Reports and correspondence relating to upgrading and training programs at St. Mary's Rural High School (1968-1970). Meeting minutes of first home and school association (1935-1937). Drafts of Sherbrooke Women's Institute's Tweedsmuir Village Book (ca.1947). Meeting minutes of the St. Mary's District Ratepayers Association (1966-1968). Miscellaneous newspaper clippings, genealogy research files, photocopied photographs and documents, as well as primary documents such as letters, deeds, and maps relating to the historic people, places, buildings, societies, religious institutions, industries, businesses, and events within the Municipality of the District of St. Mary's. Book of regulations and prizes for the Guysborough County exhibition (1889). Research notes and short histories of Sherbrooke and area written by Lester V. Macdonald, as well as other miscellaneous local history and genealogy files and correspondence pertaining to the St. Mary's River region. Some materials are copies of 19th and 20th century records. A small amount of personal material of Lester V. Macdonald, including collected ephemera, clippings, correspondence, and a wartime diary entry is included.

Fonds consists of the following series:
Series 1: Ledgers
Series 2: Correspondence and Files
Series 3: Reports and Compilations

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Physical condition

Some items are in fragile condition.

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  • English

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General note

Digital object: Deed, John Cumminger and others, for land for building court house in Sherbrooke (1858). Acc.# 2018.017. Lester V. Macdonald fonds, Ser. 2, # 12.3.

Accompanying material

There is a photograph of Lester Macdonald and his wife Irvis (Pryde) in the Frank W. Jordan fonds, D0003_P245.

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