RNSHS Public Lecture – Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

The Training of the Jewish Legion at Fort Edward during the First World War

Sara Beanlands, Principal and Senior Archaeologist, Boreas Heritage Consulting Inc.

Abstract:
 In 1917, the British War Office approved the raising of a Jewish military contingent for active duty in Palestine. This Jewish fighting force, which included the 38th, 39th, 40th and 42nd Battalions of the Royal Fusiliers, became known as the Jewish Legion. The Imperial Recruiting and Training Depot was established at Fort Edward, in Windsor, Nova Scotia, in 1918, to serve as a basic training centre and point of departure for all North American recruits. Among the Jewish soldiers that underwent basic training at Fort Edward were David Ben‐Gurion and Yitzhak Ben‐Zvi, later to become the first Prime Minister and second President of the State of Israel. This talk will look at the training of the Jewish Legion in Nova Scotia — a brief but important episode in the sequence of events that led to the establishment of the State of Israel and the formation of the modern geo‐political world.

Click here for a bio of Sara Beanlands.

RNSHS Public Lecture – Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Nebooktook — In the Woods

Mike Parker – author, research associate affiliated with the Gorsebrook Research Institute

Note: This lecture takes place at our Annual Banquet at the Dalhousie University Club. Tickets will be available to purchase in March.

Update: Banquet details are now available

Abstract:
 A richly illustrated presentation focusing upon an eclectic mix of history, heritage and nostalgia that celebrates the traditions, natural beauty and intrinsic values of Nova Scotia’s woods and waters.

Click here for a bio of Mike Parker.

RNSHS Public Lecture – Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

The “Fort Point Frasers” and the Great War

Bruce MacDonald

Abstract:
 This presentation provides an overview of the Great War service of three siblings from a prominent Pictou County family. Alistair, Margaret Marjorie “Pearl”, and James Gibson Laurier Fraser were the children of Duncan Cameron Fraser, Member of Parliament for Guysborough (1891–1904), Nova Scotia Supreme Court Justice (1904–06) and Lieutenant‐Governor (1906–10) and Elizabeth “Bessie” Graham, New Glasgow. The family has a lengthy connection with Guysborough County, through Duncan Cameron Fraser's service as its MP, as well as the family's ownership of a tract of land at Fort Point, near the town of Guysborough. Alistair and Pearl crossed the North Atlantic to England with the First Canadian Contingent in October 1914, while their youngest sibling, Laurier, enlisted for service in 1916. Their stories encompass the entire course of the war, and highlight the service and sacrifice that was sadly typical of the experiences of many Nova Scotian and Canadian “Great War” families.

Click here for a bio of Bruce MacDonald.

RNSHS Winter/Spring 2017 Lecture Series


Click here for a downloadable programme brochure.

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Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Designing Nova Scotia's History

Andrew Steeves, Gaspereau Press

Abstract:
 The printing trade has always been closely associated with the organization and dissemination of scholarly texts. In modern times, scholarly publishing has evolved into an area of specialization most often undertaken by university presses, but for a range of reasons (and to varying degrees of success) trade publishers continue to take on scholarly projects in an attempt to present them to a wider readership.
 In his illustrated talk, Gaspereau Press's Andrew Steeves will discuss a few representative examples of works of historical scholarship published in Nova Scotia since 1752, paying specific attention to the ways in which the design and production of these publications succeed or fail in answering the requirements of their text.

Click here for a bio of Andrew Steeves.

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Wednesday, February 15, 2017

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

Courtney Mrazek, Doctoral Student, University of New Brunswick

Abstract:
 Beginning in the early eighteenth century, British colonizers in Nova Scotia, a portion of the territory known by its indigenous inhabitants as Mi’kma’ki, sought to reform Mi’kmaw people’s concepts and utilization of land through agricultural policies. They hoped that in doing so, the Mi’kmaq would become stationary instead of transient, and ultimately be “civilized.” While the Mi’kmaq never became the agriculturalists the British envisioned, they did participate in sporadic farming activities and made active use of the British legal system to petition the government for various aids and rights. This presentation will argue that although the agricultural policies the British hoped would “civilize” the Mi’kmaq fell short of their intended outcome, Mi’kmaw communities negotiated their pressures and possibilities, managing to use agricultural opportunities to alleviate difficult social and economic circumstances through a myriad of treaty expectations and negotiations, friendships, petitions, and gift-giving.

Click here for a bio of Courtney Mrazek.

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Wednesday, March 15, 2017

The Training of the Jewish Legion at Fort Edward during the First World War

Sara Beanlands, Principal and Senior Archaeologist, Boreas Heritage Consulting Inc.

Abstract:
 In 1917, the British War Office approved the raising of a Jewish military contingent for active duty in Palestine. This Jewish fighting force, which included the 38th, 39th, 40th and 42nd Battalions of the Royal Fusiliers, became known as the Jewish Legion. The Imperial Recruiting and Training Depot was established at Fort Edward, in Windsor, Nova Scotia, in 1918, to serve as a basic training centre and point of departure for all North American recruits. Among the Jewish soldiers that underwent basic training at Fort Edward were David Ben‐Gurion and Yitzhak Ben‐Zvi, later to become the first Prime Minister and second President of the State of Israel. This talk will look at the training of the Jewish Legion in Nova Scotia — a brief but important episode in the sequence of events that led to the establishment of the State of Israel and the formation of the modern geo‐political world.

Click here for a bio of Sara Beanlands.

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Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Nebooktook — In the Woods

Mike Parker – author, research associate affiliated with the Gorsebrook Research Institute

Note: This lecture takes place at our Annual Banquet at the Dalhousie University Club. Tickets will be available to purchase in March.

Abstract:
 A richly illustrated presentation focusing upon an eclectic mix of history, heritage and nostalgia that celebrates the traditions, natural beauty and intrinsic values of Nova Scotia’s woods and waters.

Click here for a bio of Mike Parker.

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Wednesday, May 17, 2017

The “Fort Point Frasers” and the Great War

Bruce MacDonald

Abstract:
 This presentation provides an overview of the Great War service of three siblings from a prominent Pictou County family. Alistair, Margaret Marjorie “Pearl”, and James Gibson Laurier Fraser were the children of Duncan Cameron Fraser, Member of Parliament for Guysborough (1891–1904), Nova Scotia Supreme Court Justice (1904–06) and Lieutenant‐Governor (1906–10) and Elizabeth “Bessie” Graham, New Glasgow. The family has a lengthy connection with Guysborough County, through Duncan Cameron Fraser's service as its MP, as well as the family's ownership of a tract of land at Fort Point, near the town of Guysborough. Alistair and Pearl crossed the North Atlantic to England with the First Canadian Contingent in October 1914, while their youngest sibling, Laurier, enlisted for service in 1916. Their stories encompass the entire course of the war, and highlight the service and sacrifice that was sadly typical of the experiences of many Nova Scotian and Canadian “Great War” families.

Click here for a bio of Bruce MacDonald.

The Royal Nova Scotia Historical Society Autumn 2016 Lecture Series

Click here for a downloadable programme brochure.

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September 21, 2016

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

Julian Gwyn, Emeritus Professor of History, University of Ottawa

Phyllis R Blakeley Memorial Lecture

Abstract:
There is a growing interest among historians in diaries especially for the light they shine on the private lives of women. Largely written by those of middle class families, there is always excitement when another diary comes to light, especially by a young person. Such is the case of Jessie MacCallum (1885–1956). The diary of her early life in Windsor, Nova Scotia, and St. George, New Brunswick, covers the first decade of the last century beginning on January 1st 1901. Though she continued for the rest of her life to keep a diary, most were wantonly destroyed after her death by one of her daughters‐in‐law, who thought them too depressing. Yet what has survived (1901–08, 1910) deserves, a century later, to see the light of day.

Click here for a bio of Julian Gwyn and here for a poster for Dr. Gwyn’s talk

The 29th Annual Phyllis R. Blakeley lecture is named in memory of the late Provincial Archivist of Nova Scotia who is remembered for her contributions to local history, as a writer in her own right, and also as an archivist, a facilitator of research and a mentor, reader and advisor to many historians.

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October 19, 2016

“The Halifax Relief Commission and the Politics of the Canadian Home Front during the First World War”

Barry Cahill

Abstract:
The 6 December 1917 explosion of a munitions vessel in the Narrows of Halifax Harbour killed or fatally wounded nearly 2000 persons and injured many more. The catastrophic Halifax disaster was the most significant event affecting Canada’s home front during the Great War. Among its lesser-known aspects is the role played by Canada’s Union government, which assumed complete authority over recovery. It did this through the Halifax Relief Commission (1918–1976), established in January 1918 by Order in Council. This lecture examines the political aspects of the process that led to the establishment of the commission, taking place as it did during the bitterest federal election campaign in Canada’s history — the conscription election of 1917.

Click here for a bio of Barry Cahill.

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November 16, 2016

“Mi’kmaw Politicism and the Origins of the Micmac Community Development Program, 1900–1957”

Martha Walls, Mount Saint Vincent University

Abstract:
Between 1957 and 1970, the Extension Department of St. Francis Xavier University operated the Micmac Community Development Program (MCDP), intended to build financial and political independence in Mi’kmaw communities in northeastern Nova Scotia. Implicit in the work of MCDP was an assumption that the program would teach the Mi’kmaq political skills with which they would be better able to contest state interferences. This paper challenges this assumption as it explores how, in the decades preceding the MCDP, deeply-rooted and effective Mi’kmaw political mechanisms challenged the most egregious of colonial impositions. The MCDP was no catalyst to Mi’kmaw political action; instead it tapped into an existing and effective Mi’kmaw political network.

Click here for a bio of Martha Walls

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December 14, 2016

“The 1921 Aerial Survey of Halifax”

Dirk Werle, ÆRDE Environmental Research

Abstract:
This illustrated talk presents the history, development, and results of aerial photography in Canada immediately after the First World War. The collections of early aerial photography in Canada and elsewhere, as well as the institutional and practical circumstances and arrangements of their creation, represent an important part of our heritage. An episode of one of the first urban surveys, carried out over Halifax, Nova Scotia, in 1921, is highlighted. Using the air photos and a digitally re-assembled mosaic of that collection as a guide, a variety of features unique to the post-war urban landscape of the Halifax peninsula are analysed and compared with records of past and current land use. The air photo ensemble is placed into the historical context with thematic maps, recent air photos, and modern satellite imagery.

Click here for a bio of Dirk Werle.

The Royal Nova Scotia Historical Society Winter/Spring 2016 Lecture Series

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.
Click here for a downloadable programme brochure.

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January 20, 2016

“Valiant Nova Scotians: The Province’s Recipients of the Victoria Cross”

Col. John Boileau (ret’d), Royal Canadian Armoured Corps, Canadian Armed Forces

Abstract:
Since Queen Victoria instituted the Victoria Cross in 1856 it has been awarded 1,363 times, including to 98 Canadians, five of whom were Nova Scotians. In an illustrated talk, John Boileau explains the background to the creation of the Victoria Cross, the history of the award over the years and a detailed description of the lives and military actions of the Nova Scotia recipients of this prestigious gallantry decoration.

Click here for a bio of Col. John Boileau.

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February 17, 2016

“Surviving War and Adapting to Village Life: Ella Barron, A Dutch War Bride in Ingonish, Cape Breton”

Ken Donovan (ret’d), Parks Canada Historian

Abstract:
Cornelia Aletta Iske (Ella) was one of 48,000 war brides who came to Canada after 1945. During the war, Ella’s family of nine children struggled merely to survive. Ella met Alex Barron of Ingonish and they were married in Holland in January 1946. Arriving in Cape Breton in June 1946, she and Alex eventually raised a family of 10 children. Some adjustments, however, were necessary: Ella spoke Dutch; she was a Protestant in a Catholic community; she was a city woman in a village.

Click here for a bio of Ken Donovan.

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March 16, 2016

“The Triumph of the ‘Larger Unit’: Origins and Impact of the School Consolidation Movement in Antigonish County, 1923 to 2012”

Paul W. Bennett, Founding Director of Schoolhouse Institute and Adjunct Professor of Education, Saint Mary’s University

Abstract:
The modern school consolidation movement, pioneered in Alberta between 1913 and 1919, eventually emerged a decade later in full force in the Maritimes. In April 1923, Pastor James Boyle of Havre Boucher, Antigonish County, NS, dismissed the one school “district unit” as a relic of the past and signaled the advent of school consolidation to address the impoverishment of rural schools. Building upon research undertaken for Vanishing Schools, Threatened Communities (2011), this lecture will explore and analyze the origins, extent and impact of the first school consolidation movement in Antigonish County from the 1920s until the full adoption of the “Larger Unit” as provincial policy in 1954.

Click here for a bio of Paul W. Bennett.

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April 20, 2016

“Outslicking Sam Slick: The Mysterious Stranger (Henry More Smith) in Nova Scotia: 1812‐1815”

Gwendolyn Davies, University of New Brunswick

Note: This lecture takes place at our Annual Banquet at the Dalhousie University Club. Tickets will be available to purchase in March.

Abstract:
In 1812, a charming young English trickster swept through Rawdon, Windsor, Halifax, and Pictou leaving behind a trail of identities and audacious thefts. Condemned to death in New Brunswick in 1814 for horse theft, he was nonetheless back in Nova Scotia in 1815 embarking yet again on a life of audacious crime and inspiring Sheriff Walter Bates’ 1817 bestseller, The Mysterious Stranger.

Click here for bio of Gwendolyn Davies.

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May 18, 2016

“Immigration to Atlantic Canada: Historical Reflections”

John Reid, Saint Mary’s University

Note: Lecture will follow our Annual General Meeting and will take place in the Andrea and Charles Bronfman Theatre at Pier 21.

Abstract:
Presented in conjunction with the Immigration to Atlantic Canada Conference This lecture will present a broad analysis of historical immigration patterns in Atlantic Canada, setting migration within an Indigenous context and distinguishing between Newfoundland and the Maritime region. The twin processes of Indigenous dispossession and settler colonization will be considered as contexts for Atlantic Canada’s roles and responsibilities in a world increasingly shaped both by the need to recognize the rights of Indigenous peoples and by the forces of global migration.

Click here for a bio of John Reid.

The Royal Nova Scotia Historical Society Winter 2015 Lecture Series

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.

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January 21, 2015

Nova Scotia’s Part in the Great War: An Update

Brian Tennyson, Professor Emeritus, Department of History and Culture, Cape Breton University

Abstract:
In 1920 M. Stuart Hunt published “Nova Scotia’s Part in the Great War,” an impressive and still useful book reporting on the battalions recruited in Nova Scotia and the activities of various organizations on the home front during the war. Surprisingly  little has been written since then on Nova Scotia’s involvement in the war. This paper explores who Stuart Hunt was, points out aspects of that involvement not treated effectively or at all in his book, and suggests further lines of exploration for historians.

Click here for a bio of Dr. Brian Tennyson.

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February 18, 2015

Up and Coming Research: A Panel of Graduate Students at Dalhousie University and St. Mary’s University including Meghan Carter, Matt Verge, Katherine Crooks and Hilary MacKinlay

“Barriers or Bridges to Representation? Nova Scotia Political Culture and Protected Constituencies for Acadians and African-Nova Scotians”
Meghan Carter (Co-authored with Ben Bisset)
Abstract:
From 1993 to 2013 the Nova Scotia provincial electoral map included four districts designed to promote the election of Acadian and African-Nova Scotian representatives. These ‘protected constituencies’ are the only example in modern Canadian history of affirmative gerrymandering. What accounts for the creation of the protected constituencies and their removal just 20 years later? We argue that the creation of the constituencies was as a result of a trend in electoral law discourse. The elimination of the constituencies reflects the liberal nature of political culture in Nova Scotia.
Click here for a bio of Meghan Carter.

“The Quest for Respectability: The Charitable Irish Society in Victorian Halifax”
Katherine Crooks
Abstract:
In the second half of the nineteenth century, the Charitable Irish Society increasingly took advantage of the public attention attracted by Irish holidays in Halifax in order to construct a particular vision of what membership in the British Empire meant for Society members, as well as Irishmen more broadly. This talk will examine the Society’s cultivation of associations with local strands of militarism and imperialism through an analysis of its self-representation in the Halifax press.
Click here for a bio of Katherine Crooks.

“Halifax on the High Seas: The Pacific Whaling Journal of Thomas Creighton, 1843-46”
Hillary MacKinlay
Abstract:
Between 1827 and 1850, ships from New Brunswick and Nova Scotia joined their American counterparts in the Pacific whaling trade. This paper is an exploration of the journal kept by Dartmouth native Thomas Creighton on his three year voyage to the Pacific. In 1843, at the age of seventeen, Creighton sailed from Halifax aboard the Rose. He came of age while circumnavigating the globe and encountering people from many different cultures. This paper is a case study of Creighton’s experience, using his in-depth accounts to analyze how his social relationships were altered or maintained throughout his voyage.
Click here for a bio of Hillary MacKinlay.

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March 18, 2015

“American sponsorship of Helen Creighton’s folk song collecting in Nova Scotia during the Second World War”

Creighton Barrett, Digital Archivist, Dalhousie University Archives

Abstract:
In 1942, Helen Creighton received a fellowship from the Rockefeller Foundation to attend the Folklore Institute at Indiana University. The fellowship enabled Creighton to meet several prominent American folklorists, including Alan Lomax, who helped her borrow sound recording equipment from the Library of Congress. The Rockefeller Foundation followed with two grants to cover Creighton’s expenses as she hauled the recording equipment across Nova Scotia. With this joint sponsorship, Creighton made hundreds of folk song recordings during the summers of 1943 and 1944, an incredible accomplishment given the ongoing Second World War. The recordings were sent to the Library of Congress and copies were deposited at what is now the Nova Scotia Archives. This sponsorship from two American organizations was a pivotal moment in Helen Creighton’s career, and helped secure her status as one of Canada’s best known folklorists.

Click here for a bio of Creighton Barrett.

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April 15, 2015

NOTE – ANNUAL DINNER AT DALHOUSIE CLUB

Tickets for this event must be purchased by Friday, 10 April 2014. Seating for this event is limited. To reserve tickets please print and complete a copy of the reservation form available here, and then mail it along with a cheque (made payable to the Royal Nova Scotia Historical Society), to: The Royal Nova Scotia Historical Society, PO Box 2622, Halifax, NS B3J 3P7.  Please be sure to phone  or e-mail the Society about your plans to attend the dinner meeting, using the contact information in the reservation form. CLICK HERE TO DOWNLOAD RESERVATION FORM.

“Our Earliest Moving Images”

Ernest Dick

Abstract:
This lecture will explore the early history of film-making and film appreciation in Nova Scotia, including the first films seen in Nova Scotia; the first films made about Nova Scotia or shot in Nova Scotia; the world’s first documentary shot off Nova Scotia; Canada’s first feature film made in Nova Scotia; and our earliest amateur film-making.

Click here for a bio of Ernest Dick.

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May 20, 2015

Relevance of Sir Thomas Roddick’s leadership in Medicine in 1876-1912 to the establishment and implementation of Public Policy in Canada Today

Dale Dauphinee

Abstract:
Thomas Roddick was a son of Harbour Grace, Newfoundland who found his way into medicine through studies at the Nova Scotia Normal College and an apprenticeship with Dr. Samuel Muir in Truro, Nova Scotia. After graduating from the Faculty of Medicine at McGill University in 1868, he pursued a lifetime of leadership in the use of antisepsis in surgery, in establishing structure and procedures around casualty services for the Canadian militia, in expanding and rebuilding clinical and educational facilities at McGill and as the founder of the Medical Council of Canada (MCC). The latter was to be his most enduring innovation as it led to a fair and equitable standard for a nationally recognized qualification for medical licensure across provincial borders and the creation of a national physician registry.   However, it was his persistent and tireless pursuit of the MCC that his strategic political tactics have established important lessons for the achievement of change for the public good. He excelled in the use of clear two-way communication tactics and painstaking negotiation within the restrictive framework of the British North America Act and its federal and provincial division of legislative powers. The management strategies and MCC governance format that he was able to achieve stand as a model for breaking down restrictive barriers to inter-provincial movement of goods and human resources. The concept of a national professional medical qualification within a constitutional federation became a model for the Americans. Further, the evolution of his ‘dream’ of formally linking collaborating partners within health profession regulatory and education communities has facilitated Canada’s role as an international leader in the measurement of quality of health care professionals and in emphasizing the public accountability of practicing physicians in the 21st century.

Click here for a bio of Dr. Dale Dauphinee.

The Royal Nova Scotia Historical Society Fall 2014 Lecture Series

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.

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Wednesday, 17 September

The Capture and Occupation of Downeast Maine, 1814-1815/1818”

G. Frederick Young, Saint Mary’s University
Abstract:
In the summer of 1814, the British were free to go on the offensive against the young American republic. One of the objectives was to ‘correct the border’ between the Maritime Provinces and the State of Maine stipulated in the Treaty of Paris of 1783, and restore the ‘historic natural frontier’ at the Penobscot. This necessitated a joint naval-military expedition that was organized here in Halifax and which intended to eliminate the American armed outposts at Eastport, Machias and Castine.

Click here for a bio of Dr. Frederick Young.

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October 15

“’A Tense and Courageous Performance’: The Leadership of The Honorable Allan J. MacEachen in the Creation and Passage of Bill C-227, the Medical Care Act, 1966”

Ross Langley, Dalhousie University

Abstract:
In the long, tortuous, complex and important history of the development of comprehensive health insurance in Canada, few events were as critical as the creation and passage through Parliament of a medicare bill by a minority government. On July 12, the Honorable Allan J. MacEachen introduced Bill C-227 the Medical Care Act. Over the next six months intense Parliamentary debate followed. Skillfully piloting the Bill, masterfully parrying attacks and maintaining its integrity, he won acclaim, forging parliamentary unity as it passed by a vote of 177 to 2; ensuring Medicare would be considered “undoubtedly the single greatest public policy story of the past 50 years”.

Click here for a bio of Dr. Ross Langley.

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November 19

“The Monuments Women: Captain Edith Standen and the Restitution of Looted Art”

Kirrily Freeman, Saint Mary’s University

Note: This lecture will be given at Royal Artillery Park, 1575 Queen Street.

Abstract:
Edith Appleton Standen was born in Halifax in 1902. Educated at Oxford, she joined the US Women’s Army Corps in 1942, and went to Germany with the Monuments, Fine Arts and Archives Division of the Allied Expeditionary Forces in 1945. With the MFA&A, Standen joined the group of “Monuments Men” charged with safeguarding and returning the European masterpieces looted by the Nazis, and in 1946 she became Director of one of the largest art restitution centres in Germany.

Click here for a bio of Dr. Kirrily Freeman.

The 27th Annual Phyllis R. Blakeley Memorial Lecture is a joint lecture with the Royal Society of Canada and the Maritime Museum of the Atlantic. The Phyllis R. Blakeley lecture is named in memory of the late Provincial Archivist of Nova Scotia who was remembered for her contributions to local history, as a writer in her own right, and also as an archivist, a facilitator of research and a mentor, reader and advisor to many historians.

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December 10

“Putting the War of 1812 to Rest”

Deborah Trask, Nova Scotia Museum

Abstract:
A review of the human scale of the War of 1812 in Nova Scotia, as evidenced in the burial places.

Click here for a bio of Deborah Trask.

The Royal Nova Scotia Historical Society Winter/Spring 2014 Lecture Series

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.

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Wednesday, January 15, 2014

The Political Education and Revolutionary Consciousness of the Black Loyalists

Dr. Afua Cooper, Dalhousie University

ABSTRACT

In 1800, the Black Loyalist Nova Scotians who had been living in Freetown, Sierra Leone for eight years, rose up in rebellion against the Sierra Leone Company, rulers of the nascent colony. These settlers had fled Nova Scotia to Sierra Leone in search of full freedom and independence. Eventually, the frustrations, disappointments, and bitterness experienced by the Black Loyalists reached the boiling point, and they moved to overthrow the colonial government and white rule as represented by the Company.

What would impel the settler to engage in such a radical action as rebellion? Why did they feel so empowered to launch their protests? And why, from the moment of their arrival in Sierra Leone, they behaved as if it was their colony and they had every right to determine how it should run? What were the forces that shaped the consciousness of those settlers that made them take up arms against the Company, and were willing to die for their freedom?

The Black Loyalists are important because they embodied perhaps, one of the earliest collective examples of a transnational and Pan African consciousness and subjectivity. They were instrumental in originating and creating a Black Atlantic revolutionary tradition. However, this aspect of their history, i.e. the creation of a revolutionary consciousness and identity has been overlooked by historians who have delved into the Black Loyalists experience.

This talk will explore the making of the political consciousness and identity of Black Loyalists, primarily those from Canada and Britain, which is where the majority of these Loyalists went, and help to develop a transatlantic and Pan-African approach to the study of these eighteenth-century Black subjects.

Click here for a bio of Dr. Afua Cooper.

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Wednesday, February 19, 2014

The Loyalist Plantation: An Interdisciplinary Approach to Informing Early African – Nova Scotian Settlement

Dr. Catherine Cottreau-Robbins, Curator of Archaeology, Nova Scotia Museum

ABSTRACT

At the close of the American Revolution thousands of American Loyalists were forced into exile and made their way to British colonies beyond the United States. Most of the Loyalists landed in British North America, particularly the Maritimes. The research presented is a study of the Loyalists. Specifically, it explores a Loyalist and his journey from Massachusetts to Nova Scotia along with his family and servants, including enslaved Black Loyalists. A central objective of the research is to illuminate the story of the enslaved and magnify their place in Nova Scotia’s colonial history narrative. The objective is addressed by adapting a holistic perspective that considers a single geography – the plantation. The holistic perspective, developed through an interdisciplinary methodology, explores the people, places and culture that formed the Loyalist plantation and were informed by it. The picture that emerges is one that puts into place the structure and organization of a Loyalist plantation in the late eighteenth century Atlantic northeast. When mapped, the historical data compiled provides clues to a wider and deeper landscape of slavery in Nova Scotia’s Loyalist era.

Click here for a bio of Catherine Cottreau-Robbins

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Wednesday, March 19, 2014

 Highland Shepherd: Rev. James MacGregor, 1759-1831

Dr. Alan Wilson, Professor Emeritus, Trent University

ABSTRACT

A review of Macgregor as missionary, ecclesiastical statesman, Gaelic authority and poet, agent of the Enlightenment in the Scottish diaspora, and influential Improver in science, technology, industry, agriculture and education in the Maritime Provinces.

 Click here for a bio of Dr. Alan Wilson.

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Wednesday, April 16, 2014

 Thomas Raddall and the ‘Jolly Millionaire’ Leo Koretz: A Young Author, A Fugitive Chicago Swindler and Nova Scotia’s Dazzling Summer of 1924

Dean Jobb, Associate Professor and Associate Director
School of Journalism, University of King’s College, Halifax

NOTE – ANNUAL DINNER AT DALHOUSIE CLUB

Tickets for this event must be purchased by Friday, 11 April 2014. Seating for this event is limited. To reserve tickets please print and complete a copy of the reservation form available HERE, and then mail it along with a cheque (made payable to the Royal Nova Scotia Historical Society), to the Royal Nova Scotia Historical Society, PO Box 2622, Halifax, NS B3J 3P7.  Please be sure to phone or e-mail the Society about your plans to attend the dinner meeting, using the contact information in the reservation form. CLICK HERE TO DOWNLOAD RESERVATION FORM. 

ABSTRACT

Thomas Raddall, the acclaimed author of popular histories and historical novels, was a young bookkeeper in Liverpool, N.S., in the summer of 1924 when he befriended a wealthy American newcomer. Lou Keyte was a mysterious figure who hosted lavish parties at his secluded Queen’s County estate and became a fixture of Halifax’s social scene. Raddall dubbed him the “jolly millionaire” and was as shocked as anyone when Keyte was arrested and exposed as Leo Koretz, a notorious swindler wanted in Chicago for promoting a multi-million-dollar Ponzi scheme. It’s a saga of Prohibition-era glitz and glamour that Raddall, the master storyteller, kept mostly to himself.

Click here for a bio of Dean Jobb.

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Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Transformation and Triumphalism: The Irish Catholics of Halifax in the Mid-Nineteenth Century

Dr. Terrance Murphy, Professor Emeritus, Saint Mary’s University

ABSTRACT

The middle decades of the nineteenth century were a transformational period for the Irish Catholic community of Halifax, Nova Scotia.  Increased strength came in part from the rapid growth of the Irish Catholic population and the expansion of Catholic institutions. By mid-century, Catholics comprised one-third of the population of the town and two parishes, a small college, two convents, well-staffed  Catholic schools for boys and girls, and an episcopal corporation had all been established. Institutional maturity and increased human resources supported efforts to bring rank and file Catholics more into conformity with clerical standards of belief and practice. Even more crucial in this respect was the proliferation of devotional societies which inculcated the demonstrative piety of the Ultramontane revival. The associational life of Catholics included nationalist and philanthropic organizations which worked closely with religious societies to build a sense of common purpose and identity. The Irish Catholics of Halifax were part of an increasingly cohesive and confident community, not only on the local scene but throughout the English-speaking world. A network of Irish bishops, created and led by Paul Cullen, Archbishop of Dublin, worked in concert to create a sort of spiritual empire imbued with devotion to the papacy, commitment to ecclesiastical discipline, and determination to defend Catholic interests.  Greater assertiveness sometimes bubbled over into triumphalism and fuelled an anti-Catholic backlash, but outbursts of “no popery” were less severe and less violent than in many other North American cities. Expressions of sectarian rivalry and ethnic conflict continued long after 1860.  Still, Catholics,  occupied an increasingly secure place in Halifax society and became more and more visible in the public sphere. This visibility expressed itself in both practical and symbolic terms. Besides the prominent role of Catholic laymen in the business and political affairs of the city, public demonstrations of Catholic piety, such as frequent and elaborate religious processions, became a familiar and generally accepted feature of Halifax life.

Click here for a bio of Dr. Terrance Murphy

The Royal Nova Scotia Historical Society Fall 2013 Lecture Series

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.

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Wednesday, 18 September

“In the Balance: Atlantic Canada and the Legacy of the Peace of Utrecht”

Dr. Elizabeth Mancke, Department of History, University of New Brunswick

With Panel responses by Dr. Kenneth Donovan, Dr. James Hiller and Anne Marie Lane Jonah

Note: This lecture will be given at the Maritime Museum of the  Atlantic, 1675 Lower Water Street

Abstract:

The 1713 treaties of Utrecht, which ended the War of the Spanish Succession (1702-1713), embedded the idea in European international relations that peace and stability could be attained through the “balance of power” among the various antagonists.  Concessions were exacted, territories exchanged, promises made.  The scholarly literature emphasizes balancing within Europe, but many of the territories exchanged were in the extra-European world, including Acadia/Nova Scotia and the French concession that Britain held sovereignty over Newfoundland, albeit with important fishing privileges extended to France and Spain.  This talk will analyze how overseas territory became important to the European balance of power, with particular attention to the Atlantic region of Canada.

The 27th Annual Phyllis R. Blakeley Memorial Lecture is a joint lecture with the Royal Society of Canada and the Maritime Museum of the Atlantic. The Phyllis R. Blakeley lecture is named in memory of the late Provincial Archivist of Nova Scotia who was remembered for her contributions to local history, as a writer in her own right, and also
as an archivist, a facilitator of research and a mentor, reader and advisor to many historians.

Click here for a short bio of Dr. Elizabeth Mancke

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October 16

“Nova Scotia soldier pensioners in their British Imperial context, 1812-1827″

Dr. William R. Miles, Memorial University & Dr. Michael E. Vance, Saint Mary’s University.

Abstract:

The Napoleonic Wars produced a mass mobilization that touched every community in the British Isles. Indeed, the scale of the mobilization was not surpassed until WWI and, as with the later twentieth-century conflict, the settlement of veteran soldiers in the Empire was viewed by many as a means to forestall potential unrest following demobilization at the end of hostilities (Cookson:1997; Fedorowich: 1995). Our paper is based on the examination of the War Office Registers that identified British Soldiers receiving their pensions in the colonies in the post-Napoleonic period. These records provide details of military service, occupation prior to recruitment, and the community of origin as well as the colony of settlement – including Nova Scotia. In the 1930s J.S. Martell made use of Colonial Office and newspaper records to itemize the various soldier settlements founded in Nova Scotia after 1812. Using the War Office records, our paper will build on this earlier work by providing particular histories of a few individual soldiers who were located in the Nova Scotia settlements. British soldier pensioners were found in the West Indies, the Cape Colony, and New South Wales as well as British North America and, as a consequence, our paper will also examine the Nova Scotia settlements within this larger imperial context.

Our research has lead us to two broad conclusions. First, that military service records are an under used source for both the social history of the army and the history of migration from the British Isles. We would argue that this is in part a reflection of the historiography of the military which has tended to focus on battles and campaigns rather than on the army as a social institution and migration studies which have too often artificially separated soldiers from emigrants. Second, that colonial settlements within the British Empire, such as those in Nova Scotia, were often inter-connected in surprising ways. Soldiers who were recruited in the same regions of the British Isles ended up settling in widely dispersed areas of the Empire and we would argue that this fact greatly contributed to the flow of information on the range of potential emigrant destinations back to the homeland and, indeed, between colonies.

Click here for a short bio of Dr. William R. Miles & Dr. Michael E. Vance.

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November 20

“No paleolithic is he, but braw Canadian Scotch”: Cape Breton’s Giant MacAskill

Dr. Laurie Stanley-Blackwell, St. Francis Xavier University

Abstract:

The 150th anniversary of the Giant MacAskill’s death invites a reassessment of his career and the elaborate mythology which his physical prowess and size have generated.   In the heyday of the freak show, the celebrated Cape Bretoner, attired in Highland costume, joined the exhibition circuit, entertaining audiences from Halifax to Havana in a combined performance of ethnicity and physical anomaly. Even in death, the Giant did not leave the world of the sideshow behind.  In his transformation from monster to marvel to marketing device, he has proved a versatile muse for writers, cartoonists, entrepreneurs, politicians, and tourist policy makers who have exploited his potential as an heroic spectacle of superior size and brawn, and as an icon of Scottish physical strength.

Click here for a short bio of Dr. Laurie Stanley-Blackwell.

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December 11

Acadian Cemeteries in Nova Scotia: Changing Cultural Landscapes

Dr. Sally Ross, Independent Scholar

Abstract:

Cemeteries are sacred places of remembrance and commemoration, but they also bear witness to changing values and beliefs. As cultural landscapes shaped by people, they reflect many aspects of their communities, ranging from social stratification to linguistic assimilation. Based on her 2003 field research in 60 post-Deportation Acadian cemeteries in the eight different Acadian regions of Nova Scotia, Sally Ross will illustrate the regional specificities and the shifting iconography that characterize these landscapes.

Click here for a short bio of Dr. Sally Ross.