William Pittman Lett

FCOA supports a proposal to name the new City Archives after William Pittman Lett (1819-1891). He was an all-round citizen whose civic duties, as well as his community service and private pastimes, mark him as a fitting choice. In 1855 Lett was invited to become the first City Clerk of the newly-named municipality of Ottawa. It was a post he held for 36 years, until declining health forced him to retire in 1891. The Lett Building, as so proposed, would be housing some of his own work when it comes to corporate records.

Lett also chronicled Ottawa’s development in poetry and journalism, including pamphlets on local history such as The City of Ottawa and its Surroundings and The Transition of Bytown to Ottawa 1827-1877 and poetry, such as the oft-cited Recollections of Bytown and its Old Inhabitants. As well, Lett was active in the volunteer fire brigade, his church and other organizations. A display about Lett in the foyer of the new Archives would serve as a vivid welcome to visitors, and as an effective teaching tool to introduce the various sorts of municipal and personal materials that lie ahead in the Archives proper.

[Photo taken from City of Ottawa Archives CA 11982.]