Science & Stories About the Land

Image: In 1949 a second floor was added to the Grande Prairie Municipal Hospital, almost doubling the bed space. (SPRA 1969.42.01.6, Alberta Association of Registered Nurses fonds)

Science and technology records are often in short supply in a small, regional archive. This is certainly true at the SPRA where the Smoky West Rural Electrification Association Ltd. Fonds, the Bear Hill Rural Electrification Association fonds, and the Grande Prairie Electric Co. fonds, which sound all power resource science-y, generally contain records related to administration and membership. The same is true for collections containing records related to medicine including the Alberta Association of Registered Nurses, Chapter 13, fonds, Tangent Municipal Nursing Society fonds, and Wanham Municipal Nursing Service fonds, as well as a few doctors’ records, tend to be administrative or related to family and social life.


Cover of the 1954 Assessment Manual, donated by Al Martin. SPRA 2018.008

One fonds with a solid chunk of material is the Peace River Archaeology Society fonds. It contains administrative records, newspaper clippings, and newsletters.  The science-y part is the Project series which contains slides, negatives, and field notes for the Grande Prairie Inventory in 1985, the Birch Hills Survey in 1987, and the Peace Project in 1991. These records help share the stories the land has to tell about its history. Al Martin’s recent donation of records related to his and Doug Cottrell’s work as land assessors adds to those stories. The donation includes 5 metres (10 banker boxes) of documents including manuals, farm guides, soil surveys, and related histories as well as three maps. We are very excited to be able to include this material in our collections, especially as the land has played and continues to play a big part in writing the history of the people in this region.