Autumn Produce

We all take for granted the ready availability of quality produce throughout the year, though we still look forward to the arrival of fresh Okanagan peaches, cherries, apples, and pears in the late summer and autumn months.  In 1917, a refrigerator was secured to ensure “the quality of the fruit and the cheapest price yet seen in the North” for the first time.  The Crummy Brothers, who would be receiving this shipment, expected the fresh fruits to be in great demand and advised that orders were placed ahead of time for the desired type and quantity of fruit.  No doubt their expectations were proven correct – it was preserving season, after all!

Photograph: Andress family showing the results of a day of berry picking, 1919

Grande Prairie Herald ~ September 4, 1917

10 Trends from the 1910s

The Great War Gala is now only a month away, so today we have ten trends from the 1910s to get you started on your wardrobe journey. Don’t forget to visit the Archives to purchase your tickets!

 

Suits You

Lucky for our male attendees, men’s fashion has remained largely unchanged since the 1910s. Consider the Great War Gala the perfect opportunity to purchase the new suit you have been eyeing.

Source: Lake Saskatoon Journal, 2 April 1918

Men’s Hats

The men of Clairmont knew to visit Coblentz’s store for the most up-to-date hats. The Great War Gala takes place only a handful of weeks before Halloween – visit any costume to add a hat and cane to your evening outfit.

Source: Lake Saskatoon Journal, 9 April 1918

Posh Pastels 

You may not be returning to Oxford in the fall, but you can still embrace the pastel summer tones, showcased here in Testament of Youth. Add a belt over a pastel top to create a low-effort 1910s look, direct from your wardrobe.

Source: Testament of Youth (The Telegraph)

Summer Shoes

The fashionable folk of the 1910s purchased new shoes for sports and social outings. As leather prices increased during the war years, canvas shoes became a popular alternative. Many modern flats still follow these trends!

Source: Lake Saskatoon Journal, 22 June 1917

Straw Hats

Although it may be difficult to locate in today’s department stores, a straw hat would have been a staple in the fashionable man’s summer wardrobe.

Source: Lake Saskatoon Journal, 1 June 1917

Matching Hats 

Consider adding an Edwardian hat to your colourful frock. To DIY this look, purchase a large summer hat on clearance and cover it with inexpensive fabric. For extra flair, consider adding feathers, ribbons, or flowers.

Source: Mr Selfridge (PBS Masterpiece

Delaine for Days

Delaine is a lightweight fabric of wool or wool blend made in prints or solid colors. This fabric was ideal for creating clothing items from scratch. If you are feeling ambitious, consider visiting a local fabric store and purchasing materials to create your outfit “the old fashioned way.” You can find plenty of 1910s sewing patterns online.

Source: Lake Saskatoon Journal, 9 April 1918

Sport Clothes

“Sport Shoes with Sport Clothes… That’s the vogue.” Recreate this ensemble by wrapping a colorful scarf around a long jacket. Secure your new belt with a large broach and voila!

Source: Lake Saskatoon Journal, 4 July 1917

White Gloves

No garden party ensemble would be complete without a pair of white gloves. Many costume shops stock these gloves for Halloween, so you can likely find them with little difficulty.

Source: Downton Abbey (PBS Masterpiece

Layers for Ladies

The 1910s upper class ladies began their day by donning numerous layers of undergarments. For true historical accuracy, be sure to don each undergarment (and a corset, of course). You’ll be classy, but not necessarily comfortable.

 

Source: “Svensk-tysk ordbok” (Wikimedia Commons)

Commemorating the Montrose Site

Last Thursday, the Grande Prairie city council unveiled a plaque to commemorate the historical significance of the Montrose site, home of the Montrose Cultural Centre. Grande Prairie Museum curator Charles Taws presented a brief history of the site, aided by records from the South Peace Regional Archives. The plaque features a photograph from the SPRA collections.

The Montrose site was donated by Rev. Alexander and Agnes Forbes, who were among the first settlers of Grande Prairie. Charles Taws celebrated their contribution at the plaque unveiling: “Rev. Forbes was a keen advocate of literacy and education.  He always kept a shelf of books at the front of his church for parishioners to borrow… I think Rev. and Mrs. Forbes would be very proud to see how their gift of this land has developed and helped to make Grande Prairie the vibrant community it is today.”

In 1917, when the first Montrose School was built, it was the largest brick building north of Edmonton. In 1922, the building was was expanded using locally sources bricks from Dalen Brickyard. Montrose School served the entire student population of Grande Prairie until the Grande Prairie High School (now the Art Gallery of Grande Prairie) was built in 1929. The building continued as Montrose Elementary until ca. 1970, when it was torn down.

The architect and builder was Charles Spencer, a member of the Argonauts Company which established “Grande Prairie City.” His papers, including the original blueprints of Montrose School, are housed at South Peace Regional Archives. The Montrose School appears in many photographs in the SPRA collections.

 

 

 

Browse related finding aids:

Fonds 572 Alexander Family fonds

Fonds 356 Charles Spencer fonds

Fonds 460 City of Grande Prairie Historical Photograph collection

Fonds 507 South Peace Regional Archives Library collection

Fonds 518 Montrose Junior High School fonds

Fonds 190 Panda Camera

 

Browse digitized photographs related to the Montrose site online at Alberta on Record.

 

Join Our Team

This posting is now closed. All candidates have been contacted. Thank you for your interest in the Archives Technician position.

 

The purpose of the South Peace Regional Archives is to gather, preserve, and share the historical records of municipalities, organizations, businesses, families and individuals within the region, both now and in the future. These records reflect the personal, cultural, social, economic, and political life of the South Peace River area of Alberta and are in all formats and media, including textual records, maps, plans, drawings, photographs, film and sound recordings.

The Archives Technician contributes to that purpose by processing archival records so that they are available for public research, and by providing public education regarding the importance of archives.  The Archives Technician may be required to assist researchers, volunteers, associated organizations, and archives staff with projects and other duties, as assigned. The Archives Technician works with the Archivist and reports to the Executive Director.

 

For full posting, visit SouthPeaceArchives.org/Careers

10 First World War Mascots

Lady Saskatoon

When Arthur Buck enlisted in Lake Saskatoon in 1915, he donated a little brown bear – who was dubbed ‘Lady Saskatoon’ – for the company’s mascot. Unfortunately, no mention has been found of the little bear’s war experience.

Grande Prairie Herald ~ July 27, 1915

Arthur Buck makes a bear cub stand on its hind legs, ca. 1912

 

Rin Tin Tin & Nanette

These two German Shepherd puppies were rescued in France by an American corporal in 1918. He named them after the very popular French good luck charms, Rintintin and Nenette. Rin Tin Tin became a television star in the USA after the war, as did some of his descendants.


Rin Tin Tin, right, and his litter mate Nanette at a U.S. Army base in France shortly after Lee Duncan rescued them.

Source: National Museum of American History

Image Source: Pittsburgh Post Gazette

 

Winnipeg

Known as “Winnie”, this black bear cub was bought by Canadian cavalry veterinarian, Harry Colebourn, on his way to Valcartier. The cub accompanied Colebourn to England, where she resided at London Zoo. It was “Winnie” who was the inspiration for Winnie-the-Pooh.

Harry Colebourn and Winnie, 1914

Source: Wikipedia – Winnipeg

 

Cher Ami

Cher Ami was a carrier pigeon who was awarded the Croix de Guerre. On October 3, 1918, she saved the lives of 194 American soldiers by delivering her urgent message to headquarters despite having been shot through the breast, blinded in one eye, and losing a leg.

Cher Ami

Source: Wikipedia – Cher Ami
Image Source: Chemung County Library District

 

Simpson’s donkeys

During the Gallipoli campaign, Australian John Simpson spent three and a half weeks fearlessly transporting wounded soldiers on the backs of donkeys. He used at least five different donkeys, named “Duffy No. 1”, “Duffy No. 2”, “Murphy”, “Queen Elizabeth”, and “Abdul”. Simpson’s work was often done under fire, which led to his death on May 19, 1915.

Simpson (centre) with his donkey,bearing a wounded soldier.

Source: Wikipedia – John Simpson Kirkpatrick

 

Bonfire & Bonneau

John McCrae, the author of “In Flanders Fields”, was deeply affected by his war experiences. To assuage his grief, he spent long hours riding his horse, Bonfire, around the French countryside. His other special companion was his spaniel, Bonneau. Bonneau often accompanied McCrae while he made his rounds at the hospital.

John McCrae, writer of “In Flanders Fields,” stands beside his horse, Bonfire, and his dog, Bonneau. The dog would often accompany McCrae as he tended to wounded soldiers.

Source: Veterans Affairs Canada

Image Source: Canada’s Great War Album

 

Lestock

On their journey across Canada, and ultimately to Europe, the 49th Battalion stopped in Lestock, Saskatchewan. There, a well-wisher gave the men a coyote pup. They adopted him as their mascot and named him after the town. Today Lestock’s face appears in the centre of the unit’s badge.

Young Lady and Lestock, 1915

Source: Loyal Edmonton Regiment Military Museum

 

Nan

Nan, a white goat, was the mascot of the 21st Battalion. She was known throughout Belgium and France, and became the first mascot to cross the Rhine in 1918.

21st Battalion with Nan

Source: The 21st Battalion CEF

 

Togo

Little is known about Togo the cat, but the photo of him sitting inside an enormous gun on the HMS Dreadnought is quite famous. Ship’s cats were, of course, very useful for rodent control.

Togo the Cat

Source: BuzzGiraffe

 

Percy

This black cat belonged to the crew of the tank Daphne. Percy went into action with Harry Drader, one of the crew, who was later awarded the Military Cross. Percy became famous for being in the 1917 war film entitled “The Battle of the Ancre and the Advance of the Tanks”. After the war, Percy resided at the Drader home.

Percy

Source: First Tank Crews
Image Source: Cats, Chaos, & Confusion

Click here to view a video of Percy boarding a tank.

Mystery in the Archives

Researchers often look for documents to help them answer their research questions. Often though, documents raise more questions than they answer. The 1820 Will of John Davis is an example. Most genealogy websites or historical websites that write about John Davis, HBC Factor and Master from 1803 to 1824, state that he and his wife Nancy (or Ann) had five children: Ann Nancy, Francis (Elizabeth?), Mathilda, Catherine, and George. And yet, in his will, John Davis writes;

“And my will and desire is that in case of the death of my wife or the death of one or more of our children the interest or annuity arising from the above mentioned money shall be applied as aforesaid for the use of the survivor or survivors of my children and further my will and desire is that on the death of all my aforesaid children then and in that case I give and bequeath the whole of my money aforesaid to the issue of my two sons John and William and to their heirs forever.”

The question is – who are these two sons and why are they the last on the list of heirs? Davis names them as his sons but not as one of “our children” (his and Nancy’s). A historian from Winnipeg has been researching the Davis-Hodgson families for several years and notes that HBC records indicate that a William Davis arrived at Portage des Chats in 1818, possibly as a clerk. This was the home town of John Hodgson, John Davis’s father-in-law. Of John Davis the younger, we currently have no clues.

This is only one of many questions this document raises. To hear more about this document and others curated from the records at the South Peace Regional Archives, come out to our presentation at the Grande Prairie Public Library Friday, 15 September 2017 at 1200 noon in the Rotary Room.

10 Books Written During World War I

To help you get into the heads of those who experienced the Great War, first-hand and second-hand, check out ten books published between 1915 and 1918. Written by Canadian, American, British, French, and Hungarian authors, these texts are examples of the conflicted ideas about war in general and the Great War Itself. The writing style is somewhat different to our modern sensibilities, being somewhat narrative heavy, but once you settle into them, I think you’ll find the experience rewarding.

All of these books are available online at various sites. The links are provided.

Herland by Charlotte Perkins Gilman. Published in 1915, this American feminist novel explores the world of an all-woman society through the eyes of three men who discover it. The novel explores themes of motherhood, gender roles, and individuality as the three men adjust to their new life in Herland. The absence of violence and war are one of the notable features of this society, a topic that must have felt close to home as Gilman followed the war in Europe, a war the United States had yet to join. I read this book almost thirty years ago and it is still relevant today.

Herland

Aunt Jane’s Nieces in the Red Cross. This is one of a series of Aunt Jane’s Nieces books by Frank L. Baum, most well-known for his Oz books. It tells the story of three young women who volunteer to work overseas with wounded soldiers, long before the United States joined the foreign war. As a young adult novel, Baum reflected, “I wish I might have depicted more gently the scenes in hospital and on battlefield, but it is well that my girl readers should realize something of the horrors of war, that they may unite with heart and soul in earnest appeal for universal, lasting Peace and the future abolition of all deadly strife.” A good read to get a female perspective of the war.

Aunt Jane’s Nieces in the Red Cross

A Bride of the Plains. Written by the author of The Scarlet Pimpernel, this romance takes place in Hungary and opens on draft day, a day when all the young men of twenty one are sent to fight in Bosnia “where ever that is.” Emmuska Orzky’s narrator tells the story of Elsa, separated from her lover, Andors by the draft, and how she navigates her life over the three years he is away. This is a good read to understand the Great War from the Eastern European point of view.

A Bride of the Plains

Under Fire, by French soldier, Henri Barbusse, is the fictionalized version of his first-hand experience with trench warfare. The novel takes the form of a journal. The writing is brutally realistic as the story follows a squad of French soldiers on the Western front in France after the German invasion. Barbusse served for 17 months on the front lines before being invalided out of active service. Like many soldiers, he became a staunch pacifist. His novel was widely criticized, especially after the war when the first rush of patriotic war novels were published. For an unflinching look at the war from those who really were fighting for life and country, this is the book to read.

Under Fire

Anne’s House of Dreams by L. M. Montgomery. Published during the Great War, this part of Anne Shirley’s, now Blythe, story takes place years before the war. Anne and Gilbert are married and living in their “house of dreams,” meeting new people and experiencing the heartbreak and joys of starting a family. The novel must have seemed a refreshing antidote to the battles raging in Europe. While writing, however, Montgomery and her minister husband spoke at recruitment meetings and ministered families whose sons, brothers, and fathers had died in the war.

Anne’s House of Dreams

Oh, Canada! A Medley of Stories, Verse, Pictures & Music.  The product of various authors living at the front (or maybe not, according to the Salut! Which introduces the book) this medley is exactly that – humourous stories, poems, songs and drawings reflecting on the overseas experience. The soldiers write and draw about homesickness, the French soldiers, front-line nurses, and writing poetry in the trenches. Bright in its dark humour, this little gem provides insight into the how Canadian soldiers viewed and dealt with their battlefield life. The CEF Alphabet on page 62-63 is not to be missed.

Oh, Canada!

Poems from the Press – by Canadian Henry A. Ashmead is a combination of patriotic, historical and humorous poems. Writing about the war, Ashmead calls women to duty, exalts soldiers and sailors, stresses the importance of honouring political agreements, praises Serbia, and chastises Germany. Poetry often gets to the heart of sentiment and opinion and these poems definitely catch the patriotic fever gripping many Canadians and most publications at the time.

Poems from the Press

Counter-Attack and Other Poems – by Seigfried Sassoon, a decorated British soldier and poet. An antidote to Ashmead’s unabashed patriotism,  Sassoon’s poetry both described the horrors of the trenches, and satirized patriotic jingoism. His poems are haunting with sometime explosive bursts of anger:

You smug-faced crowds with kindling eye
Who cheer when soldier lads march by,
Sneak home and pray you’ll never know
The hell where youth and laughter go.

Excerpt from “Suicide in the Trenches”

Sassoon’s poems let the reader know that hell where his generation’s youth and laughter went.

Counter-Attack & Other Poems

The Amazing Interlude by Mary Roberts Rhinehold. The American author penned this novel about a shy young girl, Sara Lee, who manages, with some help from Methodist ladies and Englishmen, to get herself overseas to nurse soldiers because she believes it is the right thing to do. Eventually, she is “dragged” back home from by fiancé. In Sara Lee’s point of view, the war, where she developed skills and friends, was the amazing interlude from the unhappy life she was destined for back home. This is another great story about a woman’s experience of the war.

The Amazing Interlude

Maria Chapdelaine – first serialized in France, this French-Canadian pastoral by Louis Hémon is often viewed as a rebuke to English-Canadian arrogance towards Canada’s French-speaking citizens during the Great War. The novel celebrates the French and largely Roman Catholic sentiments toward a quiet, country life where family and family obligations are paramount. This is a great book for gaining some insight into the anti-war sentiment in Quebec that helped precipitate the conscription crisis.

Maria Chapdelaine

 

If you watched the movie, The Wipers Times, and loved it, check out the Canadiana website for Canada’s own versions of the famous trench journal:

Canadian Trench Journals

10 Shows to Watch Before the Great War Gala

Get your popcorn ready! This week, we have carefully selected ten movies and series to watch before the Great War Gala. These shows explore the multifaceted aspects of the first World War, including the emotional impact of battle, the roles women, and the changes to home front. Many of these shows are available at the Grande Prairie Public Library or on Netflix, so get ready to settle in for a weekend in front of the television.

 

All Quiet on the Western Front

This movie is a must-watch based on a classic book of the same name. It follows a group of German schoolboys, convinced to enlist in WWI by their teacher. The story is told entirely through the experiences of these young German recruits and highlights the tragedy of war through the eyes of individuals.

Source: All Quiet on the Western Front, IMDB

 

Anzac Girls

The true stories of extraordinary young women who witness the brutality and heroism of war and rise to meet the challenge. Our Administrative Assistant, Teresa, recommends this mini series as it presents a women’s perspective of the front lines of the war and the challenges they faced working in a male-dominated environment. According to our records, several South Peace soldiers spent time in the field hospitals of France featured in the series.

This series is available at the Grande Prairie Public Library.

Source: Anzac Girls, IMDB

 

A Bear Named Winnie

This film is based on the true story of a Canadian soldier, enroute to World War I from Winnipeg, who adopts an orphaned bear cub at White River Ontario. The bear is named Winnie (for Winnipeg) and eventually ends up at the London Zoo where it became the inspiration for A.A.Milne’s Winnie The Pooh stories.

This movie is available at the Grande Prairie Public Library.

Source: A Bear Named Winnie, IMDB

Image Source: Original Pictures

 

The Wipers Times

When Captain Fred Roberts discovers a printing press in the ruins of Ypres, Belgium in 1916, he decides to publish a satirical magazine called The Wipers Times. This TV movie is recommended by our WWI Soldier’s Memorial volunteer, Kaylee. One of the soldiers from the South Peace region, Corp. Charles Harrison Sims, served in the regiment portrayed in Wipers Times.

This movie is available at the Grande Prairie Public Library.

Source: The Wiper’s Times, IMDB

Image Source: Huffington Post

 

Testament of Youth

Testament of Youth is a coming-of-age story based on the beloved WWI memoir by Vera Brittain. Vera’s story was heralded as the voice of a generation and has become the classic testimony of that war, from a woman’s point of view. Testament of Youth encompasses youth, hope, dreams, love, war, futility, and how to make sense of the darkest times.

This series is available on Netflix or at the Grande Prairie Public Library.

Source: Testament of Youth, IMDB

 

Downton Abbey (Series 1-2)

Downton Abbey chronicles the lives of the British aristocratic Crawley family and their servants in the early 20th Century. Series one begins with the loss of the Crawley heir in the Titanic sinking and dramatically concludes with Lord Crawley sharing the news of the outbreak of WWI.  Series two spans the Great War, including narratives from Downton and the front lines. This series is recommended by our Executive Director, Alyssa, who enjoys the quality writing, beautiful costumes, and charming British wit.

This series is available on Netflix or at the Grande Prairie Public Library.
Source: Downtown Abbey, IMDB

 

War Horse

Young Albert enlists to serve in World War I after his beloved horse is sold to the cavalry. Albert’s hopeful journey takes him out of England and to the front lines as the war rages on.

This movie is available at the Grande Prairie Public Library.

Source: War Horse, IMDB

Paths of Glory

Paths of Glory is an American anti-war movie based on the novel of the same name. After refusing to attack an enemy position, a general accuses his soldiers of cowardice and their commanding officer must defend them. This movie is recommend by our Archivist Josephine who feels it shows how the requirements of duty can conflict with one’s personal moral code.

Source: Paths of Glory, IMDB

 

Mr. Selfridge (Seasons 1-2)

This PBS television series centers on the real-life story of the flamboyant and visionary American founder of Selfridge’s, London’s department store. Season two highlights the impact of WWI on the home front, as the store and staff face the difficulty reality of wartime.

This series is available on Netflix or at the Grande Prairie Public Library.

Source: Mr. Selfridge, IMDB

 

Rebellion

Rebellion is a five part serial drama about the 1916 Easter Rising. The story is told from the perspectives of a group of fictional characters who live through the outbreak of WWI and subsequent political turmoil unfolding in Ireland.

This series is available on Netflix.

Source: Rebellion, IMDB

 

Lost & Found

South Peace Regional Archives’ oldest documents met up with some of their youngest ‘descendants’ Friday, 4 August. Judy, along with her two granddaughters, stopped by to look for records related to John Davis. Davis, they recently discovered, is a long-lost ancestor. As luck would have it, a copy of the will is currently on display in the Village as part of the SPRA’s History of the South Peace in Ten Documents. We brought out the Davis, Hodgson, Coulter papers, including the original will, for her see. Judy shared family history with her granddaughters as they examined the documents in the file. Besides the will, the collection includes calling cards, photographs, and mortgage papers. Judy also filled us in on some of the family history, including identifying family members in the image below. As luck would have it, she has the same photograph at home. It was a remarkable day for the archives and for the family.

Photograph: L-R. Douglas Alexander Currie; Mary Harriet Louise Davis Currie; Robert Davis Currie; George Currie, as recently identified by Judy. Mary and George Currie are her grandparents. Robert is her father and Douglas is her uncle.

~Archivist Josephine Sallis

10 Facts You May Not Have Known About World War I

1) Slugs were used to detect poison gas attacks.

Source: How did animals (even slugs) serve in World War I?

 

2) There were separate battalions, called “bantam battalions”, for short men (under 5’4″ tall).

Source: B.C. Bantams

 

3) A fake Paris was constructed to fool German pilots.

Source: Second Paris Built to Fool the Germans

 

4) By war’s end, it was estimated that 1,000 Canadian soldiers were marrying European women (mostly British) each month.

Source: Canadian War Brides of the First World War

Grande Prairie Herald ~ February 11, 1919

 

5) Pilots in the Royal Flying Corps/Royal Air Force were not allowed to have parachutes.

Source: Wikipedia – The Royal Flying Corps

Wop May, a First World War flying ace, was the first pilot to land in Grande Prairie, ca. 1920

 

6) Daylight Savings Time was first used during the First World War as a way to conserve coal.

Source: History of Daylight Savings Time; For men used to mining – fighting in trenches was seen as an escape FROM HELL

Side view of a coal miner with hat and lamp working on a vein of coal 350 feet into a Wapiti Coal Mine, 1937

 

7) The Halifax Explosion (1917) was the largest man-made explosion to occur before the dropping of the atomic bombs in the Second World War.

Source: The Canadian War Museum – The Halifax Explosion

 

8) White feathers were frequently given to men in civilian clothing to label them as cowards, but on more than one occasion the recipient was in fact a soldier returned from the front.

Source: Wikipedia – White Feathers in World War I

“The White Feather: A Sketch of English Recruiting”, Collier’s Weekly (1914)

 

9) Tanks were categorized as ‘male’ and ‘female’. Female tanks had only machine guns, while male tanks had a 6-pounder cannon.

Source: Wikipedia – British Heavy Tanks of World War I

 

10) During the Christmas of 1914, Allied and German soldiers met in ‘No Man’s Land’ to exchange greetings, gifts, and play football.

Source: Wikipedia – Christmas Truce

 

Compiled by Kaylee Dyck