Two weeks ago we received an amazing collection of items from a member of the Banting family! It consists of three boxes and one envelope that contain books, photographs, letters, and so much more. I’ve been slowly making my way through all of the items and I thought I’d share with you a few of my favourites so far!
Dear Dr. Banting Letters
Within one of the boxes are a collection of letters written to Dr. Banting in the years following his discovery of insulin. These letters were written by individuals with Type 1 diabetes that wanted to express their gratitude to Banting for his discovery. The above letter was written 96 years ago last week. Francis Day wrote that he had gained 10 pounds and was “feeling a million times better” since beginning his insulin treatment. These letters emphasize the importance of this discovery to those living with diabetes at the time and complement similar letters written by guests who visit the museum.
The new collection includes a variety of photographs throughout the lives of Banting and his family members. The photo above is of Marion Robertson, Banting’s first wife, on their wedding day in 1924. We only have one other photograph of Banting’s first wedding in our collection so this is an incredible addition! Not to mention her beautiful bouquet!
The boxes include many books owned by Banting and his family. Lots of the books have handwritten notes within the front covers. My favourite is the Baby Book filled out by Marion Robertson Banting about her and Frederick Banting’s son, William. Note on the page pictured above that Marion changed “Mr.” to “Dr.”. The book also mentions that William first said the word “Dada” on November 5th 1929. There are even pieces of hair from William’s first haircut in an envelope taped to the inside back cover.
The acquisition includes numerous articles and speeches written by Banting. The above speech about Diabetes and Insulin was delivered in Stockholm in 1925. He signed the top right corner “To my dear wife. -Fred”.
These items only scratch the surface of the treasures in this new collection. We are excited to share more of the items with you through future social media posts, blogs, and exhibitions. Stay tuned!
This post was written by Rachel Delle Palme, Graduate Research Assistant at
Banting House NHSC. Rachel is currently completing her M.A. in Public History at