Alex Boutilier

Alex Boutilier

Alex D. Boutilier was born in Sydney Mines, Cape Breton and grew up in the shadow of Princess Colliery. His interest in history started as a teenager when he began doing research on his paternal family. His ancestors were among the Foreign Protestants, or Huguenots from Montbeliard, France who arrived in Halifax in 1752 and went on to found Lunenburg in 1753. He has a keen interest in the culture, customs, and traditions of diverse societies having travelled extensively throughout England and France visiting medieval churches, museums, archaeological sites, and ancient ruins. He has also toured all of the British and French fortifications in the Maritimes and eastern Canada. Alex believes that history is not fixed in time; that it is constantly changing as new information is uncovered/revealed.
His preferred authors include social historians, such as J.C. Furnas, cultural writers like Arthur Koestler, the literary critic, Harold Bloom, and his favourite playwright is the great bard, William Shakespeare. Alex loves studying, researching, and writing social history, which he finds highly informative and suggests it can be “unexpectedly hilarious” at times.
Alex studied at Saint Mary’s University and graduated with degrees in English and psychology, as well as an MA in Atlantic Canada Studies. From 1998 to 2005, he was an instructor for the Saint Mary’s Writing Centre. His first publication, The Citadel on Stage was based on detailed research done for his Master’s thesis. From 14th Colony to Confederation is the second in a trilogy. The third, Evolution of the Middle-Class in Nova Scotia is a work in progress and should be ready for publication in 2019. Alex’ lifelong occupation was in sales and marketing for several industrial corporations. He currently lives in Fall River, N. S. with his wife, Rosanne.

Kenneth Murray

  • Raised and schooled in Halifax
  • Graduated from Dalhousie University ( BSc 1967 MD 1972)
  • General Family Practice -Neil’s Harbour – 1972 to Present
  • Faculty – Dalhousie University Department of Family Medicine ( Medical Student Preceptor and Medical Resident Supervisor)
  • Interests – Kayaking, Hiking, Snowshoeing , Cross Country Skiing, Photography, Travel, Medical History

Hyacinth Simpson

Hyacinth Simpson

Dr. Hyacinth Simpson is an Associate Professor in the Department of English and the Yeates School of Graduate Studies at Ryerson University in Toronto where she specializes in Caribbean, postcolonial, and diasporic literatures. She has published numerous articles, book chapters, and reviews on Caribbean fiction and poetry, as well as on films and plays produced within the region and its diasporas. From 2005–2014, she was Editor of the peer-reviewed scholarly journal MaComére, which won the Horizon Award from the Council of Editors of Learned Journals in 2010. She is also creator, contributor, and editor of the digital humanities Caribbean poetry project Gardening in the Tropics, and is currently at work on a critical study of the Jamaican short story since Independence.

Journal of the Royal Nova Scotia Historical Society, Vol. 20, 2017



Mi’kmaw Politicism and the Origins of the Micmac Community Development Program, 1899–1957

Martha Walls

“after planting their few potatoes they wander about the Island”:
   The Mi’kmaq and British Agricultural Policies in Nineteenth-Century Nova Scotia

Courtney Mrazek

The Canadian Federal Government and the Politics of Disaster
Relief during Nova Scotia’s Great War

Barry Cahill

The Private Life of Jessie MacCallum, Diarist of Windsor & St. George, 1901–1910

Julian Gwyn

Research Notes

“Race prejudice unfortunately dies hard”:
    the 1929 proposal to return racial segregation to Halifax’s public schools

David Sutherland, with assistance from Judith Fingard and David States

Note: a data file listing the 332 petitioners, along with identifying detail, may be accessed via this link:
Access credentials required to open the file are printed in Vol. 20 of the Journal.

William Shires of Chester, Nova Scotia and London, England:
    the Nova Scotian roots of an early 19th century astronomer, instrument-designer and mathematician

David Bryden


Policy Regarding Genealogical Articles

Kenneth S. Paulsen

The Taint of Witchcraft, from Salem Massachusetts to Yarmouth Nova Scotia

Deborah Trask and Gwen G. Trask

Book Reviews

Jeffers Lennox: Homelands and Empires: Indigenous Spaces, Imperial Fictions, and
Competition for Territory in Northeastern North America, 1690–1763.

  Reviewed by Christopher Bilodeau

Sheila Johnson Kindred: Jane Austen’s Transatlantic Sister: The Life and Letters of
Fanny Palmer Austen

  Reviewed by Alison Shea

Ruth Holmes Whitehead: Black Loyalists: Southern Settlers of Nova Scotia’s First Free
Black Communities

  Reviewed by John Grant

Peter Ludlow: The Canny Scot: Archbishop James Morrison of Antigonish
  Reviewed by Robert Nicholas Bérard

David Sutherland

David Sutherland

A Fellow and Past President of the RNSHS, Dr. Sutherland has focused his academic career on the history of Halifax. His most recent publication is “We Harbor No Evil Design”: Rehabilitation Efforts After the Halifax Explosion of 1917 (Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 2017, for the Champlain Society).

Robert Bérard

Robert Berard

Robert Nicholas Bérard has taught history at the University of King’s College, Mount Saint incent University, and Dalhousie University and is currently Director of Graduate Education Programs at Mount Saint Vincent University. A graduate of Antioch College (Ohio), he holds the M.A. and Ph.D. in history from McMaster University in Hamilton, Ontario.

He has published articles in History of Education, the Journal for Contemporary History, Studia Monastica, the Bulletin of Canadian Studies, Acadiensis, Canadian Catholic Historical Association’s Historical Studies, the British Journal of Educational Studies the Dalhousie Law Journal, the Collections of the Royal Nova Scotia Historical Society, Vitae Scholasticae, and the New Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, as well as several book chapters.

He has for some time been working on a biographical study of the Most Rev. John T. McNally, Archbishop of Halifax from 1937 to 1952. He is a former president and member of the Executive of the Royal Nova Scotia Historical Society, co-editor of the Collections of the Royal Nova Scotia Historical Society, and has presented several papers before the Society.

John Boileau

John Boileau

John Boileau served in the Canadian Army for 37 years, retiring as a colonel in 1999. During his army career, he was stationed across Canada and in the United States, the United Kingdom, Germany and Cyprus, in various command, staff and training appointments. He is a graduate of the University of New Brunswick, the United States Army Armour Officer Advanced Course, the Canadian Forces Command and Staff College, the British Army Staff College and the British Royal College of Defence Studies. During his last five years of service he was Military Attaché at the Canadian High Commission, London, England, and was also accredited as Canada’s first Military Attaché to the Republic of Ireland.

In retirement, John commenced a second career as a writer and has authored hundreds of magazine and newspaper articles, as well as 13 books, including Samuel Cunard: Nova Scotia’s Master of the North Atlantic; Half-Hearted Enemies: Nova Scotia, New England and the War of 1812; Valiant Hearts: Atlantic Canada and the Victoria Cross; The Peaceful Revolution: 250 Years of Democracy in Nova Scotia; Halifax and The Royal Canadian Navy; Halifax and Titanic; Old Enough to Fight: Canada’s Boy Soldiers in the First World War and Too Young to Die: Canada’s Boy Soldiers, Sailors and Airmen in the Second World War. His latest book, 6/12/17: The Halifax Explosion was released earlier this year.

John is a serving Governor and Past Chairman of the Nova Scotia Division of the Canadian Corps of Commissionaires. He is also a director or member of several volunteer organizations and is the founding Chairman of the recently-formed Halifax Military Heritage Preservation Society. He has been the Honorary Colonel of the Halifax Rifles (RCAC) since 2010 and in that role is the 36 Canadian Brigade Group (Nova Scotia-Prince Edward Island) representative on the Honorary Colonels National Executive Council, as well as Vice Chairman of the Council. In December 2012, the Lieutenant-Governor of Nova Scotia presented John with the Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal for his contributions to the history and heritage of the province, and in October 2016 honoured him with a Vice-Regal Commendation to recognize his role in advising the Lieutenant Governor and his office on various commemorations and anniversaries relating to the War of 1812 and the First World War.

Mathias Rodorff

Mathias Rodorff

Mathias Rodorff studied modern history and social history at the University of Freiburg and media studies at the University of Basel (Switzerland) in a jointly delivered master degree program. He received his MA for his thesis entitled “The American Civil War in the editorials of the Globe (Toronto) and the Times (London).” In October 2013 he joined the PhD-program of the America Institute at LMU Munich. His dissertation “The American Civil War and the Canadian Confederation in Canada and Great Britain: Its Representation, Impacts and Repercussions in Liverpool, Halifax and Montreal (1856-1873)” is based on case studies. This project shall show how transatlantic processes interacted with local spaces in Great Britain, Atlantic and French Canada and how public sphere and communication was created during the 1850s-1870s.
This project is supervised in a joint degree by Michael Hochgeschwender (LMU Munich) and Jerry Bannister (Dalhousie University).

Since 2014, he participates in the three-year international partnership project, “Unrest, Violence, and the Search for Social Order in Canada, 1749-1876”, funded by the SSHRC.
In 2016 he was a fellow at the Gilder Lehrmann Center (GLC – Yale University) funded by the Bavarian American Academy in Munich. He also participated in the “Slavery and its Legacy Series” podcast-interviews of the GLC (Yale University) and introduced his research as a GLC visiting fellow, which investigates the paradox in Nova Scotian about debating the issues slavery and emancipation in the United States while ignoring issues of racism in Nova Scotia during the 1860s.

For the British Journal of Canadian Studies (BJCS) he has reviewed Siemerling “The Black Atlantic Reconsidered” (2016), Banack “God’s Province” and Korneski “Conflicted Colony” (2017).
He has presented several papers at the British Ass. for Canadian Studies (BACS, London 2015, 2016, 2017), SSHRC (UNB, Fredericton 2015, Saint Mary’s University, Halifax 2016), GLC (Yale University, New Haven 2016) and at the Canadian Historical Ass. (CHA) (Ryerson University, Toronto 2017).

Further fields of interests include studies of daily life, local and transatlantic identities, the relationship between rulers and ruled within the British Atlantic World during the long 19th century, and the power of memorials and popular culture in shaping collective memories in the United States, Canada, Great Britain, France and Germany.

Clary Croft

Clary Croft

Clary enjoys an eclectic career encompassing television, stage, film, radio, recordings and numerous publications. The Encyclopaedia of Music in Canada has recognized Clary’s contribution to Maritime folklore studies and his ongoing research into the traditional music of the Maritime provinces. He is best known for his continuing work with the collection of his late mentor, Dr. Helen Creighton.
Over his long career Clary has released several recordings and has written several books including a biography of Dr Creighton that has just been re-released in e-book form and his most recent title: Witchcraft: Tales, Beliefs and Superstitions from the Maritimes.
The Halifax Mail Star wrote -“… he is the acknowledged master of one of the richest repertoires in Canada.”

The Royal Nova Scotia Historical Society Autumn 2017 Lecture Series

Click here for a downloadable programme brochure.

September 20, 2017

Folklore – Is it relevant in the 21st century?”

Clary Croft

October 18, 2017

Title: TBA

Robert Berard

November 15, 2017

Title: TBA

Mathias Rodorff

December 13, 2017

“City’s Saviours: The Military Response to the Halifax Explosion”

Col John Boileau (Ret’d)