The society meets monthly from September to May inclusive to hear and to discuss individual papers about personalities, places and events integral to the history of Nova Scotia at the Public Archives of Nova Scotia. Society lectures are open to the public and are completely free. Lectures are followed by refreshments.
Unless otherwise indicated, our meetings are 7:00 p.m. Wednesday evenings at the Public Archives of Nova Scotia, 6016 University Avenue, Halifax, Nova Scotia. Please note that the December lecture is held on the second Wednesday of the month.
Latest information on our upcoming lectures is here
Abstract: In 1914, James W. Johnstone, privileged son of a prominent Nova Scotia family, jumped to enlist in the fledgling Canadian Expeditionary Force. Over 17 months, from Valcartier to Belgium, he wrote nearly 70 letters to his sweetheart in Halifax. Her granddaughter is Heather McBriarty. In her lecture, McBriarty will share selections from the letters with context and comment.
Wednesday, December 9, 2020, 7:00 pm (AST), via Zoom
Colonel (Ret’d) John L. Orr CD Volunteer Researcher, Shearwater Aviation Museum
Abstract: Shearwater, located on the eastern shore of Halifax harbour, has made a major, although largely unrecognized, contribution to aviation in Canada. Since its inception in 1918, the air station has served under a variety of commands and services – hence the ‘Seven Flags’ in the title.
Abstract: The extent of emigration from Nova Scotia to the United States in the late nineteenth century is little-known and understudied. Canadian historians have been more attentive to the contemporary “demographic hemorrhage” that drained the Quebec countryside. Yet, proportionally, the United States exerted the same magnetic effect on predominantly English-speaking provinces as on Quebec. By comparing Quebec and Nova Scotia, Dr. Lacroix exposes outmigration as a nationwide problem whose local solutions were ultimately few, inconsistent, and ineffective.
Paul W. Bennett, Ed.D. Director, Schoolhouse Institute, Halifax, and author of Turning Points: 15 Pivotal Moments in Nova Scotia’s History (2019)
Abstract:The romance of Nova Scotia being shaped by the sea tends to dissolve when we confront the historical realities of the ‘hard slog’ of navigating the ups and downs, twists and turns that come with being the easternmost appendage of the Dominion. Since the 1860s, that history has been played out along the shifting axis of Canadian east-west development — and the Scottish Canadian tradition of ‘tartanism’ was supplanted by a more diverse, tolerant and accepting Maritime society and culture. This short lecture, based upon Turning Points (2019), will analyze the historiographical trends and seek to stimulate informed discussion.
Wednesday, Feb. 19, 2020, 7:00 pm, Nova Scotia Archives
Mr. Mathias Rodorff
Abstract: In Nova Scotia, the roads leading to Confederation were from the beginning marked by heated debates in the press, the legislature and at public meetings. Although, most people are familiar with the controversial role and achievements of the tribune of Nova Scotia, Joseph Howe, other highly influential persons like John G. Marshall or William Annand are almost forgotten.
Mathias Rodorff will discuss the contribution of William Annand, the owner of the strongest newspaper of Nova Scotia and premier of the Anti-Confederate government, and other members of the Annand family, who changed the debate culture and public sphere of Nova Scotia.
Wednesday, Jan. 15, 2020, 7:00 pm, Nova Scotia Archives
Dr. S. Karly Kehoe
Abstract: Apart from the Culloden battlefield, there are few landscapes more evocative in Jacobite memory than the Glenfinnan monument, a striking 18-metre high column upon which a lone ‘kilted Highlander’ sits to memorialize the spot where, in 1745, clans loyal to the Stuarts raised the Jacobite standard in support of Bonnie Prince Charlie. In 2018 alone, this site attracted over 350,000 visitors – few would have had any idea that it had been at the centre of a property deal in the early 1770s that linked the Western Highlands and Islands with Jamaica, Prince Edward Island and Nova Scotia. Research focused on uncovering the links between Black African enslavement in the Caribbean and the Scottish Highlands and Islands is well underway. What we do not yet understand is how these places were linked with or enabled Scottish Highland settlement in the Maritimes. This paper will explore the colonial privilege of the Highland Scots by linking Maritime settlement with Caribbean money.
Wednesday, Dec. 11, 2019, 7:00 pm, Nova Scotia Archives
Mr. Bob Sayer
Abstract: Laurent’s career that included being a hostage, leader of armed resistance, negotiator, peacemaker and Treaty signer makes him a towering figure. As an adolescent, he was a hostage in Boston, where his father was hanged. Head of the E’se’katik/ Mirligueche/ Lunenburg band, he became a leader of the Mi’kmaw forces based in the Baie Verte area. He is mentioned in various dispatches and minutes. Casteel, in his infamous survival story, features Laurent. Spokesman for his people, Laurent met with the Halifax Council and proposed partition in 1755. He fought in the Beausejour and other campaigns, and became prominent in the Mi’kmaw leaders’ debate and dispute about peace and war. Laurent appeared before the Halifax Council again in the French-Mi’kmaw “Scare” of 1762. He had signed the 1760 treaty that became a go-to document in later landmark provincial and Supreme Court decisions.
Wednesday, Nov. 20, 2019, 7:00 pm, Nova Scotia Archives
Ms. Stefanie R. Slaunwhite, PhD Candidate, University of New Brunswick
Abstract: In 1964, when Graham Creighton High School in Cherry Brook, Nova Scotia, opened its doors for integration, many of its feeder communities were relatively rural and isolated. Racial tensions emerged, creating a legacy of conflict. Graham Creighton was the predecessor to Cole Harbour District High School, which has received considerable attention in the media related to racial tensions. While racism was undoubtedly a contributing factor to tensions between the communities, it must be considered that integration at Graham Creighton was not simply an integration of two races; rather, it was an integration of several very distinct and relatively rural communities. This article examines the nuances of community and integration, considering factors such as class, socio-economics, and geography.
Wednesday, October 23, 2019, 7:00 pm, Nova Scotia Archives
Dr. Heidi MacDonald, University of New Brunswick
Abstract: This presentation highlights key moments in the women’s suffrage campaign in Nova Scotia, from the 1830s through the 1960s. It will examine the important roles played by groups such as the Women’s Christian Temperance Union, the Halifax Local Council of Women, and the Nova Scotia Equal Suffrage Association, as
well as individuals such as Eliza Ritchie, Edith Archibald, and Mary Chesley.
Wednesday, Sept. 18, 2019, 7:00 pm, Nova Scotia Archives
Phyllis R Blakeley Memorial Lecture
Ms. Sara Hollett, Gorsebrook Research Institute
Abstract: In 1962, the Nova Scotia Travel Bureau hired advertising firm, Dalton K. Camp & Associates (DKCA) to design and distribute tourism promotional materials across North America. This paper argues that the ideas presented in the advertising of DKCA represented a significant shift away from earlier ways of seeing identity and history in tourism promotion. These new ways of seeing reflected consumerism, as well as a more modern understanding of how history could be used to sell a destination.
Have a penchant for publishing, communication, volunteering, and NS history? The Royal Nova Scotia Historical Society invites applications for the volunteer role of Managing Editor of the Society's Journal. Please see our website at rnshs.ca/?cat=23 for more information!
Reminder, tonight @ 7pm AST! Join Heather McBriarty for her public lecture 'Somewhere in Flanders: A Nova Scotian at the Front". Find the Zoom link after the title via our website at rnshs.ca/?cat=21#nshist