The Royal Nova Scotia Historical Society joins with other heritage organizations around the world in expressing sadness over the death today of The Queen. Most of us now living can remember no other sovereign presiding over our Commonwealth of Nations. For seventy years, both annually and on special occasions affecting her world and ours, she has spoken to us, sharing her thoughtfulness, her concern, her wisdom, and her deep sense of duty. Over time, many of us have come to understand that these were her own personal thoughts, not crafted by others, but drawn from long experience and close observation. She will have a lasting impact on our collective memory as a nation.
On behalf of the Society, I extend deep sympathy to her family.
Lois K. Yorke
Royal Nova Scotia Historical Society
Halifax, Nova Scotia
8 September 2022
The Society is saddened to hear the news of the passing of David Sutherland, former professor of history at Dalhousie University and long-time colleague as well as a past president and fellow of the RNSHS. We offer condolences to his family and friends as well as the historical community who knew and worked with Dr. Sutherland. An obituary and celebration of life is forthcoming.
Thanks to all who participated in the Winter/Spring 2022 Public Lecture Series. Please take a moment to browse the Past Lectures page and view any presentations of interest that you may have missed. Subscribe to our YouTube Channel to be notified of new content or follow us on Facebook and Twitter @RNSHS. Our AGM wrapped up in May, you’re welcome to read all the Council reports here. Looking forward to another interesting and engaging series in the fall, stay tuned!
Two new Fellows were elected to the Society at its Annual General Meeting on 18 May 2022, when John Cordes and Karen Smith were recognized for their long and capable service. Their citations read as follows:
Since retirement from the Department of Physics at Dalhousie and before, John Cordes has given freely of his advice, expertise and time to a number of organizations in the Halifax area. The Royal Nova Scotia Historical Society is among the organizations that have benefited from his talents as has the Genealogical Association of Nova Scotia. From 2014 to 2019 John served as our Society’s treasurer while at the same time he carried our website through development and software updates and changes. Although no longer in a named position with the Society John has continued to offer assistance and advice whenever asked.
As a long-serving librarian at Dalhousie University, especially in the role of Special Collections Librarian, Karen Smith has had a deep and abiding engagement with Nova Scotia history. In addition to subject specialties including Costume Studies, Film Studies, Music, and Theatre, her work on the acquisition and interpretation of key documentary collections such as the Webster Medical History Collection (see https://vimeo.com/37690507) has greatly enhanced our ability to understand the history of the province, and especially of how to find meaning in the crucial evidence through which to do so.
Karen has also given generously of her commitment and expertise to the Royal Nova Scotia Historical Society, especially through its Journal. Since the Journal’s inauguration almost 25 years ago, she has continuously been an active and essential member of the editorial team. But the quality of her service does not, of course, depend only on its length. As Book Review Editor, she has reliably delivered reviews of the highest quality, based on her unerring ability to find the right reviewer and persuasively urge them to contribute! She has also been an insightful and dedicated member of the editorial board, invariably bringing key perspectives to discussions of all aspects of the policies and operations of the Journal. Karen’s retirement from the editorial team and the board in late 2021 means that she will be very much missed, but also gives an opportunity to reflect on, and recognize, the excellence of her contribution.
This brings the Society’s total number of Fellows to twelve.
We are pleased to announce that the first RNSHS Community Grants of $250 each have been awarded. The Admiral Digby Library & Historical Society received funds to support the conservation efforts of archival records related to the Digby Family of William Ganong. The Colchester Historical Society received funds to assist with the processing, description, and digitization of their archival photograph collection. Thanks to all who submitted applications and congratulations to the recipients!
The Editors of the Journal of the Royal Nova Scotia Historical Society are pleased to announce that the 2021 Journal is in the last stages before heading to the press, and will be in members’ mailboxes in December.
Volume 24 offers a balance of in-depth articles based on recent talks by new scholars and contributions by our long-standing members, as well as an excellent genealogy and book reviews (helpful for holiday shopping!). Full articles and research notes address a diverse array of Nova Scotian history from a variety of perspectives, covering subjects ranging from the 18th to the 20th century. There is truly something for everyone.
With this issue the editorial team sadly bids a fond farewell to our book review editor, Karen Smith, and offers profound thanks for 25 years of work on the Journal! She has been with this Journal since its beginning, serving on the editorial board and helping to shape the publication as it has adapted to changing times. She will be very much missed. If any of our members wish to take up this task, please contact the journal editors at firstname.lastname@example.org
We would like to remind members that their dues for 2021 must be paid in order to receive Volume 24 of the Journal. (It also could make a nice holiday gift!) To renew, join, or buy a gift membership, you can go to our website at https://www.rnshs.ca/?cat=24 .
If you have questions, you can contact our membership secretary at email@example.com
Dear Members and Friends,
With the current easing of certain Public Health protocols around COVID-19 in Nova Scotia, your Council has carefully considered where and how our monthly meetings should be held for the immediate future. We know that many of you are interested in this! Given continuing uncertainties around requirements for public gatherings, and the general unavailability of the Akins Room at the Nova Scotia Archives for the remainder of 2021, we have decided to continue meeting online via Zoom, for November and December.
We will revisit this early in the new year, and will keep you updated. We’re all anxious to resume in-person meetings, and we’re exploring several hybrid options to enable those of you at a distance to continue live participation.
Meanwhile, we look forward to seeing and hearing you via Zoom, and we thank you for your continued support and patience. Questions and concerns are always welcome, sent to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Lois K. Yorke
Royal Nova Scotia Historical Society
The Royal Nova Scotia Historical Society was established in 1878 and is one of the oldest historical societies in Canada. Over the past 143 years, its activities and publications have inevitably reflected changing social attitudes and values. The Executive and Council recognize and acknowledge the colonial roots embedded in the creation and life of the Society, and believe it is now time to examine our own history. Indeed, as The Lord Dalhousie Panel Report on Slavery and Race recently noted, it is important to look back in order to move forward.
We thus intend to begin the process of exploring, with learning and reflection, our role in shaping the interpretation of Nova Scotia’s settler historical narrative. The objective is ultimately to craft brief new foundation statements that embody our current values of diversity and inclusion, and our commitments to the future. We greatly value the perspectives of our membership and invite all members of the Society to participate and help guide us through this undertaking.
We anticipate that opportunities for broader consultation will be identified and extended in the coming months, and that appropriate updates will be shared as the exercise proceeds. We look forward to these discussions, and to the renewed sense of purpose which they will bring to the Society. We believe the best approach for such an undertaking is to create a small Working Group with no more than six members. Beginning in October this group will meet, likely monthly, to develop: 1) an action plan, timeline and anticipated deliverables; 2) a plan for appropriate facilitated consultation, to include voices new to the Society; and 3) time permitting, early drafts for foundation documents such as mission, vision and/or values statements.
Interested in this initiative? We’re looking for 6 participants – 4 from Council, 2 from the Society’s general membership. Former Executive and Council members are especially welcome. Please let us know by October 15, 2021 if you’d like to join us by emailing email@example.com
This is an ambitious but manageable approach which we believe will enable the Group to provide a preliminary report and recommendations by late February 2022. This is also an opportunity for members to contribute directly to meaningful change in the life of our organization – we hope you’ll be interested in participating!
On behalf of the RNSHS Executive and Council, Lois Yorke/President
The Royal Nova Scotia Historical Society is pleased to announce a new funding opportunity in the form of two annual grants of $250 each 1) for local Nova Scotia community heritage or history organizations/societies and 2) for individuals, including graduate and undergraduate students or independent scholars conducting research on any aspect of Nova Scotia history. Current deadline is October 31, 2021. For more information please click here for detailed grant application guidelines.
We’re pleased to announce that Mathias Rodorff is the new Managing Editor of the Journal of the Royal Nova Scotia Historical Society. Mathias is a PhD-candidate at the Ludwig-Maximilians University (LMU Munich) with a joint supervision at the Department of History at Dalhousie University. He is a Research Associate at the Gorsebrook Research Institute at Saint Mary’s University, and, since January 2019, a Member of the Council of the Royal Nova Scotia Historical Society. Mathias takes on this new role joining continuing Editor Anne Marie Lane Jonah and the rest of the Journal team; click here for contact information and more about the Journal.