The government of Nova Scotia unanimously passed a motion by Joseph Howe in 1857 to appoint a Commissioner of Public Records.
Thomas Beamish Akins was appointed the first Commissioner (i.e. archivist) to collect valuable historical records relating to Nova Scotia “to be examined, preserved, and arranged.” Akins held the position until his death on 6 May 1891 by which time he had collected 500 volumes of documents and amassed 3,000 books.
The Akins library collection in Nova Scotia Archives is always prefixed with the letters AK; his manuscripts are Record Group 1, the backbone of the early government records of the province.
On 6 December 1890, Akins made his will in which he itemizes numerous bequests including his personal books, pamphlets and manuscripts. Akins left his land, dwelling house on Brunswick Street, and furniture to James Farquhar, a Halifax broker, and to J. Johnstone Hunt, barrister-at-law.
Date: 6 December 1890
Reference: Akins Papers Nova Scotia Archives MG 1 Vol. 1504 no. 25
Nova Scotia Archives — https://archives.novascotia.ca/builtheritage/archives/
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