Image: "The Admiralty House," Halifax, unknown artist, 1878, Library and Archives Canada.
Following last week's theme, check out my article Trafalgar Days in Nova Scotia in the Trident -- the newspaper for Maritime Forces Atlantic and CFB Halifax. Interestingly, I have often used the Trident's predecessor, The Crowsnest, in researching how the Canadian Navy commemorated historical events from the 1940s to 1960s. This included Trafalgar Day, but also themes such as the Shannon-Chesapeake naval battle from the War of 1812.
Image: "The Admiralty House," Halifax, unknown artist, 1878, Library and Archives Canada.
For nautical enthusiasts out there, Tuesday, October 21 is called "Trafalgar Day" -- the anniversary of the Battle of Trafalgar in 1805. In the most famous naval battle in history, Lord Nelson led the British Navy in a smashing victory over the combined fleets of France and Spain. Nelson fell in the battle. "Britannia’s God of War," as historian Andrew Lambert has called him, died during his crowning achievement and was forever immortalized as a fighting hero and one of the Greatest Britons. For the duration of the Napoleonic Wars, Britain enjoyed total control of the high seas, while Napoleon’s invasion plans for England were thwarted. Nelson's memory lived on, throughout the empire.
I have already written a fair bit about Nelson’s connections to Canada, particularly Atlantic Canada. For example, see last year’s blogs here and here, as well as this journal article and conference paper. In addition, I have an article coming out in next week’s edition of The Trident, the newspaper for Maritime Forces Atlantic and CFB Halifax, entitled “Trafalgar Days in Nova Scotia.” I will post it here once it has been published.
However, I would like to touch upon one theme relating to how Admiral Horatio Nelson was remembered in the nineteenth century. Historically, it was common for parents to name their children after celebrities and public figures – think President John F. Kennedy in the 1960s. The same thing happened during earlier times, and there was no greater celebrity in the British Empire than Nelson. Consider these British North American examples, which represent only a fraction of the total from my research files: “Horatio Nelson Brenton,” born in Williamsdale, Nova Scotia in 1864; “Horatio Nelson Yeo,” born in Mill Road, Prince Edward Island in 1874; “Horatio Nelson Hardenbrook,” who got married at Saint John, New Brunswick in 1827; “Horatio Nelson Ayles,” the son of a Carbonear merchant who married in St. John’s, Newfoundland in 1874; “Nelson W. Lord” of Prince Edward District, Ontario in 1891; and, according to the 1871 federal census, “Horatio Nelson,” born in Quebec. Perhaps forgetting the War of 1812, many American boys were also named after Nelson, particularly in New England around the turn of the twentieth century. Go figure!
Update (22 October 2014): For more on Newfoundland and Trafalgar Day, see Larry Dohey's blog Archival Moments.
For those enrolled in or wanting to learn more about the Atlantic Canada Studies programme at Saint Mary's University, do not miss today's Fall Ceilidh (social get-together): Thursday, October 16, Gorsebrook Pub, 3:00. There will be snacks and music, and this is a great way to meet your fellow students and future instructors. You can learn about ACS's exciting course offerings, such as my own on "Nova Scotia and the Sea" this winter.
Check out one of the promotional posters:
To learn more ACS, see the following description. In addition to grad and undergrad programmes, you can also earn a certificate in ACS.
Atlantic Canada Studies
This is your last chance to visit the Maritime Museum of the Atlantic's terrific exhibit on the War of 1812. It is closing on Monday, October 16. Really this is two companion exhibits: "1812: One War, Four Perspectives" is a travelling exhibit from the Canadian War Museum in Ottawa, and "Prize and Prejudice: Nova Scotia's War of 1812" by the Nova Scotia Museum. I encourage you to check it out. Here is the advertisement:
Visitors can explore what was at stake during the War of 1812, and how the event dramatically shaped the culture of many people.
For those interested in attending next year's AGM of the Canadian Historical Association, it is not too late to submit a proposal. The deadline is October 15. Held at the University of Ottawa, the CHA is as always part of the larger Congress of the Humanities and Social Sciences, bringing together more than seventy scholarly associations. The CHA is the largest History conference in the country, and a valuable proving ground for graduate students. I have attended it several times on terrific campuses and cities across the country, and really enjoyed myself, but in recent years I have noticed that the overwhelming majority of papers focus on the twentieth century, with more and more on post-Second World War topics. There are not many papers on the Atlantic region or the colonial period -- perhaps with First Nations studies being a notable exception. Also, because of its size, with five or six concurrent sessions, it is often difficult to attend all of the presentations that you might be interested in. For this reason, in my opinion, the CHA lacks the collegiality and scholarly exchange of some smaller events, such as the Atlantic Canada Studies Conference.
The theme for 2015 is "Rethinking interdisciplinarity in history," although the CHA accepts papers on any subject. Panel submissions probably have a greater chance of acceptance than individual proposals. Here is the call for papers:
Rethinking interdisciplinarity in history
For those interested in Nova Scotia's history and heritage, check out these brand new publications, both published in September. The Griffin is the quarterly publication of Heritage Trust Nova Scotia, an organization devoted to preserving this province's built heritage. It is frequently in the news. This issue features a range of interesting essays, including summaries of talks from its fall and winter public lecture series last year. Download it here. Also just published is the 2014 edition of the Journal of the Royal Nova Scotia Historical Society. I think this is an important but often overlooked history journal. I have published there in the past. This issue is strong, with fascinating articles such as Katie Cottreau-Robins, "The Loyalist Plantation: An Interdisciplinary Approach to Informing Early African-Nova Scotian Settlement." Dr. Cottreau-Robins is the Curator of Archaeology with the Nova Scotia Museum.
In late August I came across two blogs about the Royal Navy in the eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries. HMS Acasta and British Tars, 1740-1790 came together to present Press Gang Week, with several posts about impressment each day. As someone who studies press gangs, I found this really interesting. You should check out these colourful websites, which can also be found on Facebook (that's where I found them) and Twitter. They used my research for an entry on Press Gangs in Nova Scotia.
As my belated contribution to "Press Gang Week," here are two documents from Quebec City in the early nineteenth century. To learn more about press gangs in Canada, see my article "Northern Exposure" in the Canadian Historical Review.
Le Canadien Newspaper
Images: "The Press Gang" restaurant in downtown Halifax (note the sign); George Morland, "Jack in the Bilboes," late eighteenth century. Images taken from Wikipedia.
In what might become a regular feature of this blog, these are "Cool Pics" of country music legend Johnny Cash and Cuban president Fidel Castro in Newfoundland. The pics of Cash were taken on a moose hunting trip at Victoria Lake in Fall 1961, during which Cash was a full participant in the hunt. This was a short break from a busy concert tour. This was not Cash's first visit to the island. As part of the U.S. Air Force in the 1950s, he spent time at Fort Pepperrell in St. John's, including entertaining the troops.
During and after World War II, Gander Airport became known as the "Crossroads of the World," a convenient and busy refuelling station for flights between Europe, Canada and the United States. Castro likely passed through several times, particularly because U.S. airports were closed to him. These pics were snapped at different times. The first, from the 1960s, shows Castro browsing through the airport's duty free shop. The second, on Christmas Eve 1976, apparently shows Castro tobogganing for the first time with local residents and children. Having grown up in Gander, I heard this story many times. Unfortunately, Gander Airport was in the news recently because there are plans to tear down the terminal and replace it with a smaller and cheaper facility. With the development of major airports in Halifax and St. John's, and the capacity for longer air travel generally, these days Gander is no longer an important international airport. Concerns have been raised that the downsizing will include the destruction of the international lounge, which features iconic art work, furniture and culture straight out of Mad Men in the 1950s and 1960s. CBC ran a nice feature on this lounge, which has been identified as one of the most threatened heritage sites in Canada. Look at these great pics. Hopefully the lounge, or part of it, can be saved and made into a museum, perhaps in combination with the North Atlantic Aviation Museum.
Images: Taken from Facebook, Wikipedia and www.downhomelife.com.
The War of 1812 rages on in Nova Scotia, and will probably do so until the 200th anniversary of the Treaty of Ghent in December. A number of activities are planned. In August, the War of 1812 in Atlantic Canada conference was a success, while the Art Gallery of Nova Scotia's terrific exhibit on the War of 1812 finally wrapped up. This fall, both the Maritime Museum of the Atlantic and the Royal Nova Scotia Historical Society have public lecture series on this Anglo-American conflict. In addition, the Maritime Museum of the Atlantic and the Museum of Natural History currently have special exhibits on the war.
Finally, this weekend the Old Burying Ground Foundation in Halifax is hosting a special commemorative event, Silent Heroes: An Act of Remembrance, to honour Major General Robert Ross, Sergeant Richard Smith and other War of 1812 heroes and veterans buried there. In 1813, the Old Burying Ground hosted the funeral of Captain James Lawrence of USS Chesapeake in one of the most elaborate and emotional wartime ceremonies in the city's history. Lawrence's body was later brought back to the United States. Two sailors from HMS Shannon, John Samwell and William Stevens, which helped defeat the Chesapeake in that famous frigate duel off Boston on 1 June 1813, also buried there too. For more information about this ceremony, click here and check out the poster below. If you have time, I encourage you to visit the Old Burying Ground and St. Paul's Anglican Church, two national historic sites nestled in the heart of downtown Halifax.
Update (15 September 2014): For more about the ceremony, check out this article in the Halifax Chronicle Herald over the weekend.
Technology has dramatically changed how we write and get our History. Blogs, websites, databases, e-books, image and document scanning, virtual exhibits and online journals are only some of the amazing resources at our disposal, particularly for studying and conducting primary and secondary research. This is true for professors, students and the general public alike. Despite some potential problems, I use these tools regularly, including Wikipedia and Google's search engines. Of course, the internet has also made it easier for people to share their professional profiles in unprecedented ways, through Facebook, LinkedIn, Academia.edu and other sites. I have made great use of these resources as well. To that end, last year I created this website and blog. My goal was modest: make my profile and activities, particularly my writing, accessible to anyone and everyone who might be interested. I blog about topics and upcoming events in Atlantic Canada Studies, and I share my academic publications through online links and PDFs. It is all about maximizing public access. Social media is a big part of this. I even surprised myself by embracing Twitter to spread the word about my blog posts as well as a conference I helped organize.
Although blogging and web maintenance can take a lot of time (especially with a baby at home), I feel that this website has been successful in connecting with people and sharing my work. I look forward to continuing this well into the future. I don't know who you are, but many thanks to the people who visit this site. I have been pleasantly surprised. In the first calendar year, it had over 50,000 visits, often getting 200 a day. Great stuff!