Yesterday's Halifax Chronicle-Herald advertised a new ring commemorating the famous Shannon-Chesapeake naval battle from the War of 1812, which occurred off Boston on 1 June 1813. It is being sold by the Canadian-based Bradford Exchange for a cool $150. This is hardly the first time that the battle has been commemorated through coins and medals. To learn more about the battle, particularly its emotional impact and historical memory in Halifax, see my blog and essay. For even more detail, my article on this topic should be out in the next issue of Acadiensis.
I always enjoy the reference stacks. One cannot be an expert on (or even knowledgeable about) most things, so I go to the stacks a lot. While many reference works are now online, such as the Dictionary of Canadian Biography and the Canadian Encyclopedia, countless volumes keep popping up in the stacks. The one featured here, Canada From Afar: The Daily Telegraph Book of Canadian Obituaries (Toronto: Dundurn, 1996), ed. David Twiston Davies, was published in 1996 but I have only discovered it now for the first time. Many university and public libraries will also have it available as an e-book.
Following expansion and new Canadian ownership in the mid-1980s, the Daily Telegraph newspaper in London developed an original and very successful obituaries section.
Unlike some of its competitors, in Britain but also Canada and abroad, the Telegraph's obits were literary and lively, with an emphasis on interesting, anecdotal stories. By design, far more obits were dedicated to the Anglo-Canadian connection, stemming in particular from the Second World War and international relations in the post-war years. Those included in this book, taken from the period 1986-95, include many soldiers, politicians, academics and others from that important generation, which was then entering old age. On Newfoundland alone, there are entries for Billy Browne, Eugene Forsey, Bob Furlong, Don Jamieson, Joseph R. "Joey" Smallwood, and Professor George Story. Additional biographies include writers such as Hugh MacLennan, Robertson Davies and Margaret Laurence; former New Brunswick and Quebec premiers Richard Hatfield and Rene Levesque; Toronto Maple Leafs owner Harold Ballard and arctic naval explorer Captain Thomas Pullen; and even historians Gerald S. Graham and C.P. Stacey, who influenced countless students. In addition to finding subjects who do not appear in other newspapers, this volume is worth a look because the entries are generally longer, original, and more substantive.
If you are in Halifax tonight, check out the exciting public lecture from the Royal Nova Scotia Historical Society on "Up and Coming Research" on the history of Nova Scotia and Halifax by a group of three young graduate students at Dalhousie University: Meghan Carter, Katherine Crooks, and Hilary MacKinlay. It starts at 7:30 at Nova Scotia Archives. See all the details on the presenters and papers here. Should be fun!
Acadiensis, the leading history journal in Atlantic Canada, just released a new issue (though not up on its website just yet). Like most issues, this one is very strong. Jerry Bannister from Dalhousie University leads off with an important discussion of Atlantic World historiography: "Atlantic Canada in an Atlantic World? Northeastern North America in the Long 18th Century." This should be read in tandem with his recent piece on Planter Studies and the new historiography of 18th-century Nova Scotia.
Other full-length articles include Rusty Bittermann and Margaret McCallum, "The Pursuit of Gentility in an Age of Revolution: The Family of Jonathan Worrell"; Teresa Devor, "The Explanatory Power of Climate History for the 19th-Century Maritimes and Newfoundland: A Prospectus"; and Linda Kealey, "Outport 'Girls in Service': Newfoundland in the 1920s and 1930s." There is much more to read. This includes an interesting forum on murals in New Brunswick, and a review essay by Sean Cadigan of Memorial University on history, agendas, and development in Atlantic Canada. The latter discusses a recent volume stemming from a conference at Saint Mary's University: Donald J. Savoie and John G. Reid eds., Shaping an Agenda for Atlantic Canada (Halifax: Fernwood, 2011).
During the second week of March, the Irish Association of Newfoundland will be hosting "Irish Newfoundland Week 2015." If you are in the area, be sure to check it out. Most of the events are free. For history and culture, see the presentations by Patrick and John Mannion, father and son, at Holiday Inn St. John's on March 11.
Contact Larry Dohey over at Archival Moments for further information on the week's events. On the Irish in Newfoundland, see here.
Dr. Patrick Mannion’s presentation will examine how “Irishness” in Newfoundland is understood, and how the strength, depth, and variety of Irish identities have varied widely through time. His talk will focus particularly on the O’Brien family of St. John’s and their farm as an example of the passionate connection to Ireland felt by many Newfoundlanders of Irish descent, and will conclude with some thoughts on how the contemporary O’Brien Farm Foundation can commemorate and contribute to this cultural heritage.
Image: the old "Newfoundland Tricolour" flag. Wikipedia.
As I mentioned in an earlier blog, The Crowsnest was the magazine of the Canadian Navy from the 1940s to 1960s. I have used it numerous times in researching the Navy's involvement in cultural and historical activities, especially in Halifax. You can now freely download most of those issues here. In 1966 it was replaced by the Trident, also based out of Maritime Forces Atlantic in Halifax. The Nova Scotia Archives has nearly a complete run of both magazines, but currently only available in hard copy. Alternatively, you can get recent issues of the Trident here or from the Chronicle Herald newspaper.
These days, the Crowsnest is once again the official magazine of the Royal Canadian Navy, while the Trident is devoted specifically to Maritime Forces Atlantic. Canadian Forces bases now have their own publications. All are free.
Update (15 February 2015): If you do visit Nova Scotia Archives, check out the papers of Rear-Admiral Hugh Pullen. These are terrific on the same period as the Crowsnest, and it was likely Pullen who donated the magazine in the first place.
Image: CFB Esquimalt Naval and Military Museum's website.
As CBC reports, the Government of Newfoundland and Labrador has submitted an application for Mistaken Point to be designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site. This is a very arduous and competitive process. If granted, it would become the province's fourth site along with the Viking settlement at L'Anse aux Meadows, Gros Morne National Park, and most recently the 16th-century Basque whaling station at Red Bay, Labrador. Mistaken Point contains some of the world's oldest fossils embedded in its rocky coastline, which were first discovered by a graduate student at Memorial University in the 1960s. It is located near Cape Race on the Avalon Peninsula. Its name reflects its status as a seafaring hazard in the days of sail. Often "mistaken" for Cape Race in dense fog, it produced many shipwrecks. To learn more, check out this Land and Sea episode and this website on Newfoundland geology.
We wish them luck!
On Red Bay's successful application in 2013, see my blog.
Image: Mistaken Point fossils from the Cambridge University Museums blog. Photo by Alex Liu.
The latest issue of Newfoundland and Labrador Studies just arrived, and as usual it features several noteworthy essays. Melvin Baker's lead article, "Challenging the 'Merchants' Domain': William Coaker and the Price of Fish, 1908-1919," we understand is part of a larger book project on Coaker, the Fishermen's Protective Union (FPU), and the Newfoundland saltfish industry during the early twentieth century. For those who do not study Newfoundland history, the FPU has long been a favourite theme. Richard Matthew Pollard and Marianne P. Stopp, respectively, offer research notes on the history of Memorial University's coat of arms and William Richardson's 1769 sketch of Fort York in Labrador. Baker and Peter Neary introduce an important document for the centenary of World War I: "P.T. McGrath's 1918 Account of 'Newfoundland's Part in the Great War.'"
This issue also has several important book reviews, but for me the most interesting piece is the review essay by respected historian Raymond Blake: "Confederation and Conspiracy: An Extended Essay on Greg Malone's Don't Tell the Newfoundlanders." Malone, an actor and political activist, takes up the familiar conspiracy theory of Newfoundland nationalists, which argues that the island's entry into Confederation in 1949 was the product of a secret, illegal pact between the British and Canadian governments. It was an inside job, a done deal. The fix was in at voting time. Despite fawning media coverage, Malone's book is strong on paranoia but weak on substance. Blake, who has tackled these myths before in Canadians at Last, asks impatiently for how long will conspiracy writers like Malone "continue getting Newfoundland history wrong before they are called to account?"
Image: Memorial University's coat of arms.
As part of SMU's lecture series in Atlantic Canada Studies at Halifax Central Library, Peter Twohig will be speaking Tuesday night on "Health, Citizenship and the Duty to Participate."
Let's hope the coming snowstorm does not get in the way. It is winter after all.
Update (27 January 2015): Looks like the lecture will be postponed due to storm closures, though I have not seen a specific announcement.
Starting tonight, Atlantic Canada Studies and Continuing Studies at Saint Mary's University are delivering a lecture series at the new Halifax Central Library, which opened recently to much fanfare and architectural praise. The series runs from tonight, January 13 to Monday, February 2. It is free and open to the public, but seating is limited so you should register. Entitled "Rethinking the Past, Present and Future of Atlantic Canada: A Four Part Lecture Series Exploring the Health, History, Economy and Culture of our Region," it should produce a stimulating discussion about Atlantic Canada past and present. See the program here or download it here. Tonight's talk, at 7pm, is by Dr. Jonathan Fowler on "Lost Worlds Underfoot: Journeys into Nova Scotian Archaeology."
Update (15 January 2015): I should also note that EastLink TV is taping the lectures and that they will be carried locally on Podium TV. To learn about a series of webinars through Canada's History magazine, see Christopher Moore's blog.
Images: These beautiful images are by Adam Mørk in ArchDaily (16 December 2014).