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A. & W. MacKinlay, Limited collection


Held at: University of Pennsylvania: Kislak Center for Special Collections, Rare Books and Manuscripts [Contact Us]3420 Walnut Street, Philadelphia, PA 19104-6206

This is a finding aid. It is a description of archival material held at the University of Pennsylvania: Kislak Center for Special Collections, Rare Books and Manuscripts. Unless otherwise noted, the materials described below are physically available in their reading room, and not digitally available through the web.

Overview and metadata sections

Andrew MacKinlay (1800-1867) was born in Scotland, but spent most of his life in Halifax, Nova Scotia, where he enjoyed a successful career as a businessman and philanthropist. Around 1826, MacKinlay opened a book and stationary store in Halifax, which became A. & W. MacKinlay when Andrew's brother, William, joined the business the following year. The company expanded and came to describe itself in printed materials as "Publishers, Booksellers, Stationers, and Blank Book Manufacturers." Over the course of the company's existence, A. & W. MacKinlay, Limited sold books, paper products, and writing implements; printed school texts, blank books, religious works, and books pertaining to agriculture, botany, and politics; published locally written books; and produced educational maps. In 1862, MacKinlay, Limited produced a map of Nova Scotia which was considered, at the time, the finest example of its kind. The company was in existence until at least 1929. Andrew MacKinlay was also a dedicated promoter of education, community development and "the welfare of the young and handicapped," serving on the boards of multiple charitable organizations.


Lois K. Kernaghan, "MacKINLAY, ANDREW," in Dictionary of Canadian Biography, vol. 9, University of Toronto/Université Laval, 2003–, accessed November 27, 2017,

Antiquariat Daša Pahor. "GOLD RUSH NOVA SCOTIA: Mackinlay's Map of the Province of Nova Scotia." Accessed November 27, 2017.

This collection contains documents dating from 1880 to 1924, which relate to the business dealings of A. & W. MacKinlay, Limited, a bookselling company based in Halifax, Nova Scotia. The bulk of the collection consists of invoices charged by A. & W. MacKinlay, mostly for stationary materials. These bills fall into two categories: those dating from 1880 to 1883 which were charged to H. & A. Locke, a business based in the town of Lockeport; and those dating from 1900 to 1910 which were charged to D. Y. Stewart & Son, a general store in St. Peters. The only papers documenting A. & W. MacKinlay's transactions with other business entities are invoices charged to the Bras D'Or Gazette (October 1, 1901), P. S. Mahoney (February 28, 1905), and A. A. Morrison (October 24, 1905). An additional invoice charged to D. Y. Stewart & Son in 1907, not by MacKinlay but by the McAlpine Publishing Company, is also included. Some brief notes accounting for stock shortages or shipment delays have been kept in this file, alongside the invoices to which they correspond.

Any longer business correspondence is in a separate file, which consists of six letters to D. Y. Stewart & Son (1897-1907), one postcard to L. C. Dayton & Sons (1924), and a cancelled check made out to A. A. Morrison by MacKinlay, Limited in 1914. The letters and the invoices record regular business conducted between D.Y. Stewart & Son and A. & W. MacKinlay, Limited.

This collection contains two ledger books which were printed and sold by A. & W. MacKinlay, but which contain handwritten financial accounts for two unidentified businesses. The first one appears to be a general store in Loch Katrine, Nova Scotia with records kept for the year 1905. There are earlier references to the 1880s in this volume. The second ledger appears to be a butcher shop or meat market in Pictou, Nova Scotia, and dates from 1921 to 1922. This volume records the amount of pork, steak, beef, sausage, suet, liver, and lamb which was purchased by customers. While the volumes were clearly collected because they were produced by A. & W. MacKinlay, Limited, researchers more generally interested in early 20th century business in Nova Scotia may find these two volumes to be of value.

Sold by Lord Durham Rare Books, 2017.

University of Pennsylvania: Kislak Center for Special Collections, Rare Books and Manuscripts
Finding Aid Author
Rive Cadwallader
Finding Aid Date
2017 November 27
Access Restrictions

This collection is open for research use.

Use Restrictions

Copyright restrictions may exist. For most library holdings, the Trustees of the University of Pennsylvania do not hold copyright. It is the responsibility of the requester to seek permission from the holder of the copyright to reproduce material from the Kislak Center for Special Collections, Rare Books and Manuscripts.

Collection Inventory

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Invoices charged to H. & A. Locke, 1880-1883.
Box 1 Folder 1
Invoices charged largely to D. Y. Stewart & Son, 1900-1910.
Box 1 Folder 2
Business correspondence and cancelled check , 1897-1924.
Box 1 Folder 3
Ledger book from a general store in Loch Katrine , 1905.
Box 1 Folder 4
Ledger book, possibly from a butcher shop or meat market, probably in Pictou, Nova Scotia, 1921-1922.
Box 1 Folder 5

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