Hudson’s Bay Company Archival records
Documentary heritage submitted by Canada and recommended for inscription on the Memory of the World Register in 2007.
The Hudson’s Bay Company Archival records spanning the years 1670 to 1920, are being selected for inclusion on UNESCO’s Memory of the World registry for the following reasons: 1920 was the 250th Anniversary of the Hudson’s Bay Company, so this seems to be an appropriate cut off date, since the Company continues to operate and their archives are not finite; it was in 1920 when in commemorating its anniversary the Company began to focus on its history and develop its archives. Additionally, this date allows for the inclusion of the French Government Business which can be considered HBC’s last imperial enterprise. From then it began increasingly to focus on Canada and on its retail business. This was a long process but by the 1990s the HBC had become a department store company much like any other, apart from its remarkable past.
The creation and preservation of documents was inherent in the corporate life of the Hudson’s Bay Company resulting in a documentary record as full as possible of its activities over time. The HBC’s exemplary behaviour in this regard is why such an enormous collection of records was amassed, providing a rich resource that enables the study of the development of one company over a long period of time and its role in the development of Canada as a country. This along with its multi-national scope in carrying out its business activities over three centuries makes its records internationally significant.