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
Afua Cooper Professor of Black and African Diaspora Studies, Dalhousie University
Abstract: Afua Cooper examines the correspondence between Lieutenant Governor Dalhousie and the Earl of Bathurst, administrator of Britain’s colonies. Setting the historical context of slavery, war, and settlement, Cooper shows how the letters reveal Dalhousie’s biases. His prejudices contributed to the cruel and unjust treatment of one of Nova Scotia’s founding Black communities, people who had escaped enslavement on American plantations for freedom with the British during the War of 1812.
Wednesday, April 21, 2021, 7:00 pm (ADT), via Zoom
Laurie Glenn Norris Abstract: Laurie Glenn Norris draws from letters discovered in the Amos Thomas Seaman House, Minudie, Nova Scotia, to examine the lives and experiences of Mary and Jennie Seaman, granddaughters of Amos “King” Seaman, both of whom married Methodist Church ministers.
Wednesday, March 17, 2021, 7:00 pm (AST), via Zoom
MA, Atlantic Canadian Studies, Saint Mary’s University
Abstract: Oppression in the Shadows is a comprehensive political history that traces the history of Nova Scotia’s Department of Indian Affairs, from its earliest British colonial origins to the Centralization Policies of the 1940s. Revealed by this research is importance of region to the experience of the Mi’kmaq.
Wednesday, February 17, 2021, 7:00 pm (AST), via Zoom
Registered Dietitian and Assistant Professor, Mount Saint Vincent University Lindsey MacCallum
Scholarly Publishing Librarian, Mount Saint Vincent University
Abstract: Through their training, education, and work in communities, home economists led women’s earliest efforts to politicize domestic work and social issues that shaped the everyday lives of women and their families, such as public sanitation and education, women’s rights, food security and sustainability, and fair labour practices. Dr. Brady and Ms. MacCallum will discuss the development, experiences, and stereotypes faced by women in post-secondary home economics programs in Nova Scotia through a critical analysis of archival documents and oral history interviews of former students, staff, and faculty of those very programs.
Wednesday, January 20, 2021, 7:00 pm (AST), via Zoom
Sawyer Carnegie MA Candidate, Atlantic Canada Studies Program, Saint Mary’s University
Abstract: Nova Scotia has a Black Press tradition that dates back to 1915. Sawyer Carnegie will provide an overview of this tradition, while exploring connections between the Black Press and Black activism throughout the 20th century. She highlights The Clarion and publications by the Black United Front.
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.
Wednesday, November 18, 2020, 7:00 pm (AST), via Zoom
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.
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.
The Black Refugees and Lord Dalhousie: A Story in Seven Letters
Dr. @afuacooper for the Royal NS Historical Society
Zoom lecture tonight (Wed. May 19, 2021). Details:
A great opportunity to learn more about an important part of Nova Scotia's story. pic.twitter.com/9KURb5RMw2Retweeted by
An important lecture tomorrow night at 7 pm on Zoom, "The Black Refugees and Lord Dalhousie: A Story in Seven Letters" by Afua Cooper for the Royal Nova Scotia Historical Society AGM. Info here : rnshs.ca/?cat=27Retweeted by