Fonds 1998-132 - Don Messer

Original Digitized Content not accessible

Title and statement of responsibility area

Title proper

Don Messer

General material designation

    Parallel title

    Other title information

    Title statements of responsibility

    Title notes

    Level of description


    Reference code


    Edition area

    Edition statement

    Edition statement of responsibility

    Class of material specific details area

    Statement of scale (cartographic)

    Statement of projection (cartographic)

    Statement of coordinates (cartographic)

    Statement of scale (architectural)

    Issuing jurisdiction and denomination (philatelic)

    Dates of creation area


    • 1883-1973 (Creation)
      Messer, Don, 1909-1973

    Physical description area

    Physical description

    9.02 m of textual records and other material

    Publisher's series area

    Title proper of publisher's series

    Parallel titles of publisher's series

    Other title information of publisher's series

    Statement of responsibility relating to publisher's series

    Numbering within publisher's series

    Note on publisher's series

    Archival description area

    Name of creator


    Biographical history

    Donald Charles Frederick Messer, fiddler, music director and music writer, was born in Tweedside, N.B., 9 May 1909. Educated in New Brunswick, Messer studied violin in Boston, Mass. Messer began his career as a professional musician by playing in bands for dances and by 1929 was performing on radio CFBO, Saint John, N.B. By 1934 his band, the New Brunswick Lumberjacks, was being broadcast from CHSJ, Saint John. In 1938 Messer took part of his group to Charlottetown and formed Don Messer and the Islanders, later called Don Messer and His Islanders, heard nationally three times a week on CBC radio (from CFCY Charlottetown, PEI) between 1944 to 1958. The group also recorded for the record labels Apex, MCA, Rodeo and its affiliates; by 1952 it had released over sixty audio discs, 78 rpms and LPs. The group was featured on CBC television in Halifax on the Don Messer Show, later called Don Messer's Jubilee, from 1959 to 1969, becoming the most popular old-time musical group in Canada in the mid-twentieth century. Messer's group also periodically toured parts of Canada, including Festival Canada's centennial trip in 1967, which lasted three months and included sixty-one centres. After cancellation of Don Messer's Jubilee in 1969, a syndicated version was broadcast from CHCH-TV Hamilton. Messer died 26 March 1973 in Halifax.

    Custodial history

    Held on deposit at the Public Archives of Nova Scotia for twenty-five years before it was formally donated in 1999.

    Scope and content

    Consists of textual records, sound recordings and photographs, created and accumulated by Messer during the course of his career from the 1920s until his death. In addition to documenting Messer's career, the fonds also contains a major music library documenting the musical tradition of rural North America, as Messer actively acquired musical scores and recordings from musicians, composers and folklorists throughout North America and Europe. Also includes one film.

    Notes area

    Physical condition

    Includes: 506 audio discs, 98 audio reels, 15 audio cassettes, 373 photographs and 3 rolls of 16 mm cinefilm (69 min.)

    Immediate source of acquisition

    Donated by Dawn Attis, Elmsdale, Nova Scotia.


    Language of material

      Script of material

        Location of originals

        Availability of other formats

        Restrictions on access

        Terms governing use, reproduction, and publication

        Donor retains all copyright and reproduction and distribution rights to material created and authored by Don Messer. Works created by other parties might be subject to restrictions under the Copyright Act.

        Finding aids

        Series level descriptions available above.

        Website available.

        Associated materials

        Recordings of Don Messer's Jubilee in CBC Atlantic Region.


        Alternative identifier(s)

        Standard number

        Standard number

        Access points

        Subject access points

        Place access points

        Name access points

        Genre access points

        Control area


        Digitized Content (External URI) rights area

        Digitized Content (Reference) rights area

        Digitized Content (Thumbnail) rights area

        Accession area