Diaries of William Lyon Mackenzie King, 1893 to 1950

The diaries of William Lyon Mackenzie King provide a unique view of Canadian and world events through his thoughts and actions from his time as a student, to high-ranking civil servant to Canada’s longest serving prime minister.

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Search the database

  • Go to Collection Search and click on Advanced Search
  • In the All these words box, enter any keyword that is relevant to your research topic
  • In the Database box, select "Diaries of W.L. Mackenzie King”
  • Optional: For Date, enter a specific year or time period
  • Optional: For Exact date, enter a specific date
  • Click the Search button

Access the records

Individual records and available digitized images are in the database.

About the records

The database provides access to 30,000 pages of typed and transcribed text.

Mackenzie King kept a daily diary (MG26-J13) - with a few exceptions - from 1893 to 1950 a few days before his death.

Mackenzie King wrote his diaries by hand until the beginning of 1938. Afterwards, he dictated his diaries nightly to his secretary. After his death, portions of the earlier diaries were transcribed. It is these transcribed pages, along with the originally typed pages, that are searchable through the database. Note that the transcriptions are abridged and do not follow the written texts exactly.

Preservation and limitations of the records

The diaries were preserved on microfiche by the University of Toronto Press and were distributed to select libraries and archives during the 1960s.

The microfiche version of the diaries were scanned by Library and Archives Canada and are available in Collection Search. Some images will be harder to read due to the condition of the original microfiche from which they were scanned.

The original diaries were not fully indexed because of character abnormalities, misspellings and abbreviations in the text. Not every incidence of a specific keyword or phrase can be found because of their handwritten nature of the source.

Related resources at Library and Archives Canada

For more information, please see the record description for the William Lyon Mackenzie Kings fonds