Somewhere in Flanders: A Nova Scotian at the Front

Wednesday, November 18, 2020, 7:00 pm (AST), via Zoom

Heather McBriarty    

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. 

Click here for a bio of Heather McBriarty

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Emigration and the Failure of Canadian Elites in the Nineteenth Century: Quebec and Nova Scotia Compared

Wednesday, October 21, 2020, 7:00 pm, via Zoom

Patrick Lacroix, PhD    
Independent Scholar

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. 

Click here for a bio of Dr. Patrick Lacroix

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The Shifting Axis – and Nova Scotia’s Place in Canadian Confederation, 1860s to the Present

Wednesday, September 16, 2020, 7:00 pm, via Zoom

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. 

Click here for a bio of Dr. Paul W. Bennett

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The Annand Family and the Foundation of the Press as the 4th Estate in Nova Scotia

Wednesday, Feb. 19, 2020, 7:00 pm, Nova Scotia Archives

Mr. Mathias Rodorff 

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.

Click here for a bio of Mathias Rodorff

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Caribbean Slavery and the Scottish Diaspora in the Maritimes

Wednesday, Jan. 15, 2020, 7:00 pm, Nova Scotia Archives

Dr. S. Karly Kehoe 

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.

Click here for a bio of S. Karly Kehoe

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The Extraordinary Paul Laurent, Mi’kmaw Sagamow

Wednesday, Dec. 11, 2019, 7:00 pm, Nova Scotia Archives

Mr. Bob Sayer

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.

Click here for a bio of Bob Sayer


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Comprehending the Complexities of Community and Class: Integration at Graham Creighton High School

Wednesday, Nov. 20, 2019, 7:00 pm, Nova Scotia Archives

Ms. Stefanie R. Slaunwhite, PhD Candidate, University of New Brunswick

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.

Click here for a bio of Stefanie R. Slaunwhite

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The Long and Contentious Road to Women’s Suffrage in Nova Scotia

Wednesday, October 23, 2019, 7:00 pm, Nova Scotia Archives

Dr. Heidi MacDonald, University of New Brunswick

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.

Click here for a bio of Heidi MacDonald

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The New Nova Scotia: Provincial Tourism, History, and Identity, 1956-1966

Wednesday, Sept. 18, 2019, 7:00 pm, Nova Scotia Archives

Phyllis R Blakeley Memorial Lecture

Ms. Sara Hollett, Gorsebrook Research Institute

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.

Click here for a bio of Sara Hollett

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RNSHS Public Lecture – Wednesday, May 15, 2019

Note: This lecture will follow our Annual General Meeting

Wednesday, May 15, 2019 — 7:30 p.m., Nova Scotia Archives

HMS Jervis Bay – the Nova Scotia and Maritime connections

Harold E. Wright, retired Saint John historian

Abstract: HMS Jervis Bay, an Armed Merchant Cruiser, was sunk in November 1940 while protecting convoy HX84 outbound from Halifax. The ship had recently been refitted at the St. John Drydock. A large number of her crew was from the Maritimes. This presentation will give a brief overview of the ship and crew but focus on Convoy HX84 and her Nova Scotia crew.

Click here for a bio of Harold Wright.