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.


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

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.


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)
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
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
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.


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

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.


April 15, 2015


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

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.


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

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.

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