Archibald McKeller MacMechan was born in 1862 in Ontario. In 1889, he was appointed professor of English language and literature at Dalhousie University, Halifax. Following the Halifax Explosion of 1917, he was requested by authorities to prepare an official history of the explosion and was given the title of director of the Halifax Disaster Record Office, 1917-1918. MacMechan authored several books and wrote numerous articles, essays, and poems for newspapers and magazines. He died 7 August 1933.
The Halifax Disaster Record Office material kept by MacMechan was originally stored with the records of the Halifax Relief Commission, which were discovered at its former headquarters in the fall of 1982, and transferred to the Nova Scotia Archives. These MacMechan materials were then separated from the Relief Commission records and added to the existing MacMechan material.
Records consists of materials created and accumulated by MacMechan in the course of his employment at the Halifax Disaster Record Office, 1917-1918, including correspondence, copies of reports, memoranda, journals containing typed notes and press clippings, and personal reminiscences detailing events of the Halifax Explosion, including damages, injuries, and medical and relief activities. Much of the material was used in MacMechan's history of the explosion. Also contains draft manuscripts of MacMechan's history and related correspondence.