Peter Kropotkin Writes from Vancouver to James Mavor

2022 Anniversaries in the History of Canadian Science and Technology

First posted Thursday, September 8, 2022 / Yom chamishi, 12 Elul, 5782

By David Orenstein, Emeritus, Danforth CTI, Toronto

On Wednesday, August 8, 1897, exactly 125 years ago – a century and a quarter – Peter Kropotkin wrote a handwritten, one sheet, letter to his friend Janes Mavor, in Toronto:

Recto :



“Very best thanks for letters – I was so happy to get news from home… [I]n reply to my first from Canada. Sophia and Sasha… very pleased with… sea side [stay], and going to Brussels, to stay with Rectus.

“Very best thanks for the cheques. I will do it perhaps here, but I think there will be no difficulty to cash the cheques. Victoria proved to be an awfully expensive place, and our party gave a dinner to [George Mercer] Dawson and [A. P. Coleman].

“Just now we landed from Victoria, and are going to see (on our way restaurants we went from train to [?] )


and we leave at 2 o’clock for Agassiz.

“Dr. [William] Saunders persuaded us to go with him to Agassiz and next to Lord Aberdeen’s ranch, saying that the Pretir [?] is quite a new type of Land which we did not see and is interesting now [?] in more aspects than one.

“… I begin my independent journey from Revelstoke only whence they go to Kootenay and I to Calgary.”

Kropotkin’s next letter to Mavor, would be sent from Calgary on Sunday, September 12, 1897, that would be 124 years and 361 days ago. By contrast it was 125 and 5 days ago that Kropotkin wrote his previous letter to Mavor, from Glacier House in Glacier, B.C., on Thursday, September 3, 1897.

But that’s another story!



The Kropotkin-Mavor Correspondence is to be found at the Thomas Fisher Rare Books Library at the University of Toronto. It’s in the manuscript collection MSS 119, where Box 10B is “Peter Kropotkin”. Our letters are in File #5.

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