Community Grants Awarded

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!  

New Issue of the Journal Soon to Press

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
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 . 

If you have questions, you can contact our membership secretary at

Update on Venue for RNSHS Meetings (7 Nov 2021)

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


Lois K. Yorke
Royal Nova Scotia Historical Society

The Way Forward

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


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

New Community Support Grants

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.

Journal Welcomes Managing Editor

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.

Managing Editor Opportunity

The Royal Nova Scotia Historical Society invites applications or nominations (accompanied by a curriculum vitae and covering letter) for the volunteer position of Managing Editor. Documentation should be received by the Society’s Vice-President, Publications, at, by 4 January 2021. For more information please click here to read more details about the position

Robin Moore Orr, Sc.D, MSc., S.M., R.D.

It is with great sadness that we reflect on the unexpected death of our treasurer, Dr. Robin Moore-Orr on March 22, 2020. Robin grew up in Sydney, Australia and came to the United States to pursue a master’s degree in public health and nutrition at Iowa State University. A Fulbright scholar, Robin received her Sc.D and MSc. from Harvard University School of Public Health. Throughout her illustrious career as a Registered Dietician and Associate Professor at Memorial University Faculty of Medicine, Robin gained the respect of the Public Health community across North America. She served on the Boards of many NGO and Professional Associations and National Advisory Councils and Committees. She was a brilliant scholar, a dedicated wife, mother, friend, and an inspirational volunteer. She worked tirelessly to improve the health and circumstances of children in Canada and around the world. She was a founding member of the Canadian Institute of Child Health and served as President for many years. As a recognized public health leader, Robin received numerous awards and much recognition, including the Queen’s Jubilee Medal in 2002. Since relocating to Halifax to be close to family, this consummate life-long learner and her husband, Dr. James Orr, rarely missed a meeting of the Royal Nova Scotia Historical Society. We have been honoured by her presence on our Council and enriched by her presence in our lives. We extend our thoughts and deepest sympathies to her beloved husband, Jim, and their son Andrew (Bianca Lang) and daughter Fiona, and five grandchildren; Ian, Cameron, and Kellis Malcolm and Benno and Sophie Orr.

A Message From the Royal Nova Scotia Historical Society

Dear Members and Friends,

It is with the health of our members and the public in mind that we have decided to cancel all upcoming in-person lectures and meetings, including the annual banquet, until the Fall of 2020. In the coming weeks we will be investigating the possibility of recording lectures or sharing content in other ways.

Many thanks to our past speakers who participated in the 2019/20 public lecture season and to those who were willing but unable to participate in a public event at this time. We hope to postpone the lectures and the AGM to a later date.

On behalf of my colleagues on Council, I thank you for your continued support. If you have questions or concerns please reach out by sending an email to


Sara Beanlands
President, Royal Nova Scotia Historical Society