• Grade 11-12 students
  • College students


  • History
  • Literature


  • Canadian literary history (XIXth century) 
  • History of Quebec 
  • Primary and secondary sources in history
  • XIXth century social history


  • The reading of archival documents (in French)
  • Research on the Internet and/or in the library
  • Criticism of sources
  • Selection and analysis of information
  • Composition of short historical texts


Between 1 to 4 hours
(Depending on the activities the teacher selects. Time for the activity can be separated between home and the classroom).






  1. Students must explore the LHSQ’s virtual library and find a text on the Society’s history.
    - Website: http://transactions.morrin.org/index_f.htm
    - The text: Turcotte, Louis-Philippe, «Histoire de la Société Littéraire et Historique de Québec» in Transactions, New Series, No. 13 Published by the Literary and Historical Society of Quebec (1879).
  2. Afterwards, with the help of a 5 page text differentiating primary and secondary sources, students must make a critical analysis of the document.



Students are asked to explore the document and answer eight questions. The student is asked, on three occasions, to carry out complementary research in order to write a short text of 150 to 250 words 


In order to allow students to research a specific question, four subjects are suggested. The teacher could propose one of the activities to the students, or he/she could allow them to choose one of the four questions themselves. The allotted time for this activity, and the expected results, is left to the teacher’s discretion.







  • Bancroft, Laura Isobel, The Literary and Historical Society of Quebec: An Historical Outline Written from the Sociological Point of View, Master, Université Laval, 1950.
  • Bernatchez, Ginette, «La société littéraire et historique de Québec», Revue d’histoire de l’Amérique française, 35, no 2, septembre 1981, pages 179 à 192.
  • The Canadian Encyclopedia: http://www.thecanadianencyclopedia.com/index.cfm?PgNm=TCE&Params=A1ARTA0004700
  • Lemire, Maurice, La vie littéraire au Québec, tome II, 1806-1839 «le projet national des Canadiens», Sainte-Foy, PUL, 1992.
  • Chapter on «Les pratiques associatives», pages 111 to 133.
  • Lemire, Maurice, La vie littéraire au Québec, tome III, 1840-1869 «Un peuple sans histoire ni littérature», Sainte-Foy, PUL, 1996.
  • Chapter on «Le discours d’appropriation du pays», pages 251 to 256.
  • Morrin Centre : http://www.morrin.org/pages/home.php
  • Rajotte, Pierre, «Les associations littéraires au Québec (1870-1895). De la dépendance à l’autonomie» in Revue d’histoire de l’Amérique française, 32, no 2, winter 1997, pages 375 to 400
  • «Les associations littéraires» in Histoire du livre et de l’imprimé au Canada, edited by Yvan Lamonde, Patricia Fleming and Fiona A. Black, 499-504. Montréal : Les presses de l’Université de Montréal, 2005. 
  • Wikipedia : http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Literary_and_Historical_Society_of_Quebec









Copyright – Morrin Centre - 2008




Between 1824 and 1924, the Literary and Historical Society of Quebec (LHSQ) published hundreds of works, primarily republishing archival documents and literary, scientific or historical conferences, all of which were offered to members of the Society. These works were a testimony to the increase in cultural and intellectual activity in the country. They present research undergone in the 19th century regarding science, history and literature as well as the reprinting of primary sources dealing with the beginnings of Canada.

This activity was conceived to allow students to discover Canada’s first learned society, which began in the 19th century and continues its activities to this day. This activity constitutes an introduction to the literary and historical life of Quebec in the 19th century.

1.Search the virtual library in order to find at least one document pertaining to the history of the Literary and Historical Society of Quebec (LHSQ).

You can have a look at the document entitled ‘‘Defining Primary and Secondary Sources’’, published by Michael Eamon on the Library and Archives Canada, to assist you for questions 2 and 3. [http://www.collectionscanada.gc.ca/education/008-3010-e.html].  

2. In your opinion, is this document a primary or secondary source? Justify your answer.

3. In order to judge the quality and relevance of the text, answer the following key questions: ‘‘What’’, ‘‘Who’’, ‘‘When’’, ‘‘Where’’ and ‘‘Why’’. 



Questions based on the reading of the text «Histoire de la Société Littéraire et Historique de Québec» by Louis-Philippe Turcotte. In order to facilitate the acquisition of information we suggest numbering the text’s paragraphs from 1 to 77. 

1. While reading paragraphs 3 and 7, indicate the date when the LHSQ was founded.

2. Who initiated the founding of the LHSQ?

3. What was the LHSQ’s goal in the beginning?

4. Au paragraphe 11, on mentionne des publications effectuées par la LHSQ. Quel titre portent-elles ?

5. In your opinion, where women admitted into the Society? Begin your research by reading paragraphs 11, 12, 13 and undergoing additional research. Your text (to be annexed to these questions) should number between 150 and 250 words.

6. Paragraph 27 mentions the publication of the 2nd volume of the Transactions, which includes a text by Joseph Perrault on education in Lower Canada. Find Joseph-François Perrault’s text in the virtual library and note its title as well as the internet link to find it.

7. Paragraphs 29, 30 and 31 discuss the Abbot Jean Holmes. What exactly does Abbot Holmes do for the benefit of the Literary and Historical Society? What was the use of these undertakings in the 19th century? Your text (to be annexed to the questions) should be between 150 and 250 words.

8. At paragraph 59 the author broaches the work of James MacPherson LeMoine in the following terms: ‘‘je vous dirais combien M. LeMoine a travaillé à mettre plus d’union entre les deux populations, combien il a réussi à faire connaître notre histoire à la race anglaise’’. Do a short biographical research on M. LeMoine to explain Louis-Philippe Turcotte’s extract. Your text (to be annexed to the questions) should be between 150 and 250 words.



In order to give you an in-depth look at one of the themes broached by Louis-Philippe Turcotte’s text, we suggest four activities. Choose one of the questions and follow the instructions accordingly. 

While the LHSQ was Canada’s first learned society, numerous other institutions of this type were founded afterwards. Choose one of these societies and write a short text to present it. Your text should be between 275 and 400 words, approximately 20 to 30 lines. Paragraphs 14, 15, 16, 17, 73 and 76 are particularly useful for this research.


At paragraph 19 we learn that the royal charter created by the LHSQ lists the founding members of the LHSQ. Each student must choose an individual from the list and present a short biography on that individual. The biography should be the equivalent of a page, with a picture of the chosen individual, if possible. Once the presentations have been done (the presentation format is left to your discretion: text, poster, oral presentation, website, a play…) discuss the socio-economic profile of the LHSQ’s members. 


Paragraph 27 mentions the publication of the 2nd volume of the Transactions, which includes a text by Joseph Perrault on education in Lower-Canada. In the introduction to his text he mentions that ‘‘je me suis cru appelé, nommément, à entrer en lice sur cet important objet, qui m'occupe depuis plus de vingt ans, et sur lequel j'ai déjà émis mon opinion’’. Who is Joseph-François Perrault to claim having been implicated for over 20 years in education? Do a short research in order to write a text between 275 and 400 words, approximately 20 to 30 lines.


At paragraph 43 the author mentions that in the middle of the 19th century ‘‘se distinguaient une phalange d’écrivains sérieux’’, and he names five: Christie, Garneau, Parent, Chauveau and Crémazie. Divide the class into five groups. Each group will choose one of the writers and present a biography of that writer to the entire class. Once the presentations are done a general portrait of the literature of the time should begin to emerge. 


Copyright – Morrin Centre - 2008