The Brockville campus library of St. Lawrence College (SLC) is now home to a collection of local history books, thanks to a donation from Elmer Strong, who grew up nearby in the Ottawa Valley and now lives in Kingston.
The Elmer Strong Community Collection is Eastern Ontario’s single largest collection of community history books. For amateur genealogists and historians, it’s a snapshot not only into the history of the area, but the way our ancestors lived and the communities they built and called home.
The books – many rare because so few were published – provide a snapshot of the people and the industries that played a part in the development of Eastern Ontario. Strong had a particular interest in forestry – one of his first projects was an oral history of interviews with the last of the log drivers – and he amassed the collection over many decades.
“I am very pleased that the College was able to keep the entire collection together and to make it available to the community,” Mr. Strong said. “I hope it will create a better understanding of the early life of Eastern Ontario and will be a great resource for those with an interest in our communities and the people who built them.”
When it came time to find a new home for his books, he approached the College and it was decided that Brockville would be the most accessible place for them to call home. The books went into storage over the summer while the campus library was being renovated, but now have a front-and-centre home.
“Having this book collection on the Brockville campus enriches our library, not only for our students, but for our community at large. Anyone can come and enjoy this unique collection,” said Doug Roughton, Dean of the SLC Brockville campus.
Community members are welcome to view the books during library hours. The books are reference and may not be signed out.