Katherine Ballentine Coutts diary, January 8, 1906
The University of Calgary Library Special Collections

Katherine Ballentine Coutts begins her diary by noting her intention to write "- as much as possible - a little to record of each day's doings and happenings." She also gives us a wistful reminder of how fragile such documents are by letting the reader know that she has destroyed diaries written at an earlier time.

In very honest terms she acknowledges that the records may not have been of much loss but nevertheless her decision has caused her regret.

Readers at the end of this century can celebrate that some text survives while we too regret the destruction of an archival record which would have proved interesting reading.

Katherine Ballentine Coutts was born in Greensville in the county of Wentworth, Ontario, in 1855. In the Thamesville [Ontario] Herald, noting her death in 1929, the following remarks are included: "She was a woman of high literary attainments and was among those who formed the local Art and Culture Society....She was a great lover of the best in poetry and those who came under her influence were made to realize its beauty also....She was an early advocate of political rights for women, and was an active member of both the Kent county and Ontario Historical Societies." One of Katherine Ballentine Coutts' children was George Ballentine Coutts.

Born in Ontario, George Coutts was educated at the University of Toronto and came to Calgary in 1909. In 1910 he and George Burroughs formed the legal publishing firm Burroughs & Co., which was sold to Carswell & Co. in 1927. Coutts remained western manager until retiring in 1963. He was an active member of the Ranchmen's Club. During his tenure as president, the Club commissioned three portraits of Indians from Nicholas de Grandmaison and Coutts had the artist paint his own portrait as well. Coutts' substantial collection of books was donated to the University of Calgary Libraries following his death. Later, his family donated his portrait to the Libraries.
[Written by Jan Roseneder]

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