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.
Unless otherwise indicated, our meetings are 7:30 p.m. Wednesday evenings at the Public Archives of Nova Scotia, 6016 University Avenue, Halifax, Nova Scotia.

RNSHS Public Lecture – Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Folklore – Is it relevant in the 21st century?

Clary Croft

Abstract:
 Once known as the study of Popular Antiquities, then Folklore and, now, Intangible Cultural Heritage, the collection and analysis of oral and material culture is often seen as quaint and irrelevant in today’s society. Nothing could be further from the truth. Folklore researcher, Clary Croft, whose mentor was Dr. Helen Creighton, will explore the traditional aspects of Nova Scotia folklore and discuss his impressions of this field today.

Click here for a bio of Clary Croft.

RNSHS Public Lecture – Wednesday, November 15, 2017

Wednesday, November 15, 2017

“The people rights we have sustained” The Nova Scotian Repeal and Annexation Movements (1867–1869)

Mathias Rodorff, PhD Candidate, History Department, LMU Munich and Dalhousie University

Abstract:
 In September, 1867 the Dominion of Canada was challenged by the newly elected Nova Scotian government wanting to repeal it and by anti-confederate groups from Yarmouth calling for annexation to the United States. Although these opposition movements failed, they had significant impact that merits re-examination.
Mathias Rodorff will discuss the causes and courses of the Repeal and the Annexation Movements, the controversial role of the Mother Country and the contribution of the press and thus will offer new perspectives on the relationship between Confederation and the people of Nova Scotia.

Click here for a bio of Mathias Rodorff.

RNSHS Public Lecture – Wednesday, December 13, 2017

Wednesday, December 13, 2017

City’s Saviours: The Military Response to the Halifax Explosion

Col. John Boileau (Ret’d)

Abstract:
 When the Belgian relief ship Imo collided in the Narrows of Halifax Harbour with the munitions-laden Mont-Blanc at about 08:45 on the morning of December 6, 1917, it started a fire that eventually resulted in an earth-shattering explosion at 09:04:35, perhaps the largest man-made, non-nuclear explosion in history.

The public safety and emergency service organizations that exist today were unknown, the city’s fire and police departments had few members, public hospitals had only recently come into existence and private ones were small. Halifax and Dartmouth were clearly unable to cope with the scale of the disaster and emergency assistance was desperately required. Other cities and towns in Nova Scotia quickly mobilized help once word of the disaster got to them, and American assistance from Massachusetts, Rhode Island and New York also was dispatched to the stricken city.

It took time to organize this response however, and in the interim it was the large number of Canadian, British and American soldiers, sailors and nursing sisters who were in the city at the time that immediately came to the city’s rescue. Among other actions, their response saved lives, prevented further destruction and stopped looting—in short, they prevented the disaster from becoming greater than it was.

Halifax’s role as the Canadian city most involved in the war effort—a function that led to the explosion in the first place—was also the main reason why the reaction to the disaster was so quick and coordinated. The important role the armed forces played in the rescue and recovery operations has never been given the formal recognition it deserves. It remains a mystery why the contributions of the servicemen and -women who offered so much in the explosion’s aftermath have never been officially acknowledged.

Click here for a bio of John Boileau.

RNSHS Public Lecture – Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Designing Nova Scotia's History

Andrew Steeves, Gaspereau Press

Abstract:
 The printing trade has always been closely associated with the organization and dissemination of scholarly texts. In modern times, scholarly publishing has evolved into an area of specialization most often undertaken by university presses, but for a range of reasons (and to varying degrees of success) trade
publishers continue to take on scholarly projects in an attempt to present them to a wider readership.
 In his illustrated talk, Gaspereau Press's Andrew Steeves will discuss a few representative examples of works of historical scholarship published in Nova Scotia since 1752, paying specific attention to the ways in which the design and production of these publications succeed or fail in answering the requirements of their text.

Click here for a bio of Andrew Steeves.

RNSHS Public Lecture – Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Wednesday, February 15, 2017

‘after planting their few potatoes they wander about the Island’: The Mi'kmaq
and British Agricultural Policies in Nineteenth Century Nova Scotia.

Courtney Mrazek, Doctoral Student, University of New Brunswick

Abstract:
 Beginning in the early eighteenth century, British colonizers in Nova Scotia, a portion of the territory known by its indigenous inhabitants as Mi’kma’ki, sought to reform Mi’kmaw people’s concepts and utilization of land through agricultural policies. They hoped that in doing so, the Mi’kmaq would become stationary instead of transient, and ultimately be “civilized.” While the Mi’kmaq never became the agriculturalists the British envisioned, they did participate in sporadic farming activities and made active use of the British legal system to petition the government for various aids and rights. This presentation will argue that although the agricultural policies the British hoped would “civilize” the Mi’kmaq fell short of their intended outcome, Mi’kmaw communities negotiated their pressures and possibilities, managing to use agricultural opportunities to alleviate difficult social and economic circumstances through a myriad of treaty expectations and negotiations, friendships, petitions, and gift-giving.

Click here for a bio of Courtney Mrazek.

RNSHS Public Lecture – Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

The Training of the Jewish Legion at Fort Edward during the First World War

Sara Beanlands, Principal and Senior Archaeologist, Boreas Heritage Consulting Inc.

Abstract:
 In 1917, the British War Office approved the raising of a Jewish military contingent for active duty in Palestine. This Jewish fighting force, which included the 38th, 39th, 40th and 42nd Battalions of the Royal Fusiliers, became known as the Jewish Legion. The Imperial Recruiting and Training Depot was established at Fort Edward, in Windsor, Nova Scotia, in 1918, to serve as a basic training centre and point of departure for all North American recruits. Among the Jewish soldiers that underwent basic training at Fort Edward were David Ben‐Gurion and Yitzhak Ben‐Zvi, later to become the first Prime Minister and second President of the State of Israel. This talk will look at the training of the Jewish Legion in Nova Scotia — a brief but important episode in the sequence of events that led to the establishment of the State of Israel and the formation of the modern geo‐political world.

Click here for a bio of Sara Beanlands.

RNSHS Public Lecture – Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Nebooktook — In the Woods

Mike Parker – author, research associate affiliated with the Gorsebrook Research Institute

Note: This lecture takes place at our Annual Banquet at the Dalhousie University Club. Tickets will be available to purchase in March.

Update: Banquet details are now available

Abstract:
 A richly illustrated presentation focusing upon an eclectic mix of history, heritage and nostalgia that celebrates the traditions, natural beauty and intrinsic values of Nova Scotia’s woods and waters.

Click here for a bio of Mike Parker.

RNSHS Public Lecture – Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

The “Fort Point Frasers” and the Great War

Bruce MacDonald

Abstract:
 This presentation provides an overview of the Great War service of three siblings from a prominent Pictou County family. Alistair, Margaret Marjorie “Pearl”, and James Gibson Laurier Fraser were the children of Duncan Cameron Fraser, Member of Parliament for Guysborough (1891–1904), Nova Scotia Supreme Court Justice (1904–06) and Lieutenant‐Governor (1906–10) and Elizabeth “Bessie” Graham, New Glasgow. The family has a lengthy connection with Guysborough County, through Duncan Cameron Fraser's service as its MP, as well as the family's ownership of a tract of land at Fort Point, near the town of Guysborough. Alistair and Pearl crossed the North Atlantic to England with the First Canadian Contingent in October 1914, while their youngest sibling, Laurier, enlisted for service in 1916. Their stories encompass the entire course of the war, and highlight the service and sacrifice that was sadly typical of the experiences of many Nova Scotian and Canadian “Great War” families.

Click here for a bio of Bruce MacDonald.

RNSHS Winter/Spring 2017 Lecture Series


Click here for a downloadable programme brochure.

~~~~

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Designing Nova Scotia's History

Andrew Steeves, Gaspereau Press

Abstract:
 The printing trade has always been closely associated with the organization and dissemination of scholarly texts. In modern times, scholarly publishing has evolved into an area of specialization most often undertaken by university presses, but for a range of reasons (and to varying degrees of success) trade publishers continue to take on scholarly projects in an attempt to present them to a wider readership.
 In his illustrated talk, Gaspereau Press's Andrew Steeves will discuss a few representative examples of works of historical scholarship published in Nova Scotia since 1752, paying specific attention to the ways in which the design and production of these publications succeed or fail in answering the requirements of their text.

Click here for a bio of Andrew Steeves.

~~~~

Wednesday, February 15, 2017

‘after planting their few potatoes they wander about the Island’: The Mi'kmaq and British Agricultural Policies in Nineteenth Century Nova Scotia.

Courtney Mrazek, Doctoral Student, University of New Brunswick

Abstract:
 Beginning in the early eighteenth century, British colonizers in Nova Scotia, a portion of the territory known by its indigenous inhabitants as Mi’kma’ki, sought to reform Mi’kmaw people’s concepts and utilization of land through agricultural policies. They hoped that in doing so, the Mi’kmaq would become stationary instead of transient, and ultimately be “civilized.” While the Mi’kmaq never became the agriculturalists the British envisioned, they did participate in sporadic farming activities and made active use of the British legal system to petition the government for various aids and rights. This presentation will argue that although the agricultural policies the British hoped would “civilize” the Mi’kmaq fell short of their intended outcome, Mi’kmaw communities negotiated their pressures and possibilities, managing to use agricultural opportunities to alleviate difficult social and economic circumstances through a myriad of treaty expectations and negotiations, friendships, petitions, and gift-giving.

Click here for a bio of Courtney Mrazek.

~~~~

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

The Training of the Jewish Legion at Fort Edward during the First World War

Sara Beanlands, Principal and Senior Archaeologist, Boreas Heritage Consulting Inc.

Abstract:
 In 1917, the British War Office approved the raising of a Jewish military contingent for active duty in Palestine. This Jewish fighting force, which included the 38th, 39th, 40th and 42nd Battalions of the Royal Fusiliers, became known as the Jewish Legion. The Imperial Recruiting and Training Depot was established at Fort Edward, in Windsor, Nova Scotia, in 1918, to serve as a basic training centre and point of departure for all North American recruits. Among the Jewish soldiers that underwent basic training at Fort Edward were David Ben‐Gurion and Yitzhak Ben‐Zvi, later to become the first Prime Minister and second President of the State of Israel. This talk will look at the training of the Jewish Legion in Nova Scotia — a brief but important episode in the sequence of events that led to the establishment of the State of Israel and the formation of the modern geo‐political world.

Click here for a bio of Sara Beanlands.

~~~~

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Nebooktook — In the Woods

Mike Parker – author, research associate affiliated with the Gorsebrook Research Institute

Note: This lecture takes place at our Annual Banquet at the Dalhousie University Club. Tickets will be available to purchase in March.

Abstract:
 A richly illustrated presentation focusing upon an eclectic mix of history, heritage and nostalgia that celebrates the traditions, natural beauty and intrinsic values of Nova Scotia’s woods and waters.

Click here for a bio of Mike Parker.

~~~~

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

The “Fort Point Frasers” and the Great War

Bruce MacDonald

Abstract:
 This presentation provides an overview of the Great War service of three siblings from a prominent Pictou County family. Alistair, Margaret Marjorie “Pearl”, and James Gibson Laurier Fraser were the children of Duncan Cameron Fraser, Member of Parliament for Guysborough (1891–1904), Nova Scotia Supreme Court Justice (1904–06) and Lieutenant‐Governor (1906–10) and Elizabeth “Bessie” Graham, New Glasgow. The family has a lengthy connection with Guysborough County, through Duncan Cameron Fraser's service as its MP, as well as the family's ownership of a tract of land at Fort Point, near the town of Guysborough. Alistair and Pearl crossed the North Atlantic to England with the First Canadian Contingent in October 1914, while their youngest sibling, Laurier, enlisted for service in 1916. Their stories encompass the entire course of the war, and highlight the service and sacrifice that was sadly typical of the experiences of many Nova Scotian and Canadian “Great War” families.

Click here for a bio of Bruce MacDonald.