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 Featured Title
Creating Historical Memory
English-Canadian Women and the Work of History
Beverly Boutilier   Alison Prentice  

$87.00 Hardcover
Release Date: 11/27/1997
ISBN: 9780774806404    

$34.95 Paperback
Release Date: 6/1/1998
ISBN: 9780774806411    

320 Pages


About the Book

Canadian women have worked, individually and collectively, at home and abroad, as creators of historical memory. This engaging collection of essays seeks to create an awareness of the contributions made by women to history and the historical profession from 1870 to 1970 in English Canada. Creating Historical Memory explores the wide range of careers that women have forged for themselves as writers and preservers of history within, outside, and on the margins of the academy. The authors suggest some of the institutional and intellectual locations from which English Canadian women have worked as historians and attempt to problematize in different ways and to varying degrees, the relationship between women and historical practice.

The authors raise many interesting questions about how gender influences historical consciousness and whether looking at the past through women’s eyes alters the view. Women engaged in history in a wide variety of ways -- as authors of fiction, popular history, juvenilia, and drama -- as well as more academic research and publishing. They worked as individuals, as both professional writers and academics, and within formal and informal communities of women such as religious groups or local clubs. The essays also talk about the barriers that existed for women who wanted to be recognized as historians and teachers of history and point out how gender differences have coloured perceptions of what constitutes history and who should write that history. This anthology shows how, instead of being intimidated or defeated by their marginalization, women developed new and interesting ideas about what constituted history. The final essay in the volume assesses the impact the burgeoning of feminist history in the 1970s had on the academy and examines the connection between feminist activism and women’s history.

This original and lively book highlights the pioneering efforts of women in developing alternate paths to historical expression. It makes an important contribution both to Canadian historical studies and to women’s and gender history in the West and will appeal to scholars interested in Canadian history, women’s studies, literature, and historiography.

About the Author(s)

Beverly Boutilier is currently an advisor to the Women’s Studies Program of CUSO in Indonesia.

Alison Prentice is one of Canada’s most distinguished historians of women. She is one of the authors of the pathbreaking 'Canadian Women: A History' and has worked on numerous books on the history of women in Canada. She currently resides in Victoria, B.C.

Table of Contents

Introduction: Locating Women in the Work of History / Beverly Boutilier and Alison Prentice

Part 1: Community Building

Cultivating a Love of Canada through History: Agnes Maule Machar, 1837-1927 / Dianne M. Hallman
Women's Rights and Duties: Sarah Anne Curzon and the Politics of Canadian History / Beverly Boutilier
The Ontario Women's Institutes and the Work of Local History / Linda Ambrose

Part 2: Transitions

'Writing Teaches Us Our Mysteries': Women Religious Recording and Writing History / Elizabeth Smythe
'I walk my own track in life & no mere male can bump me off it': Constance Lindsay Skinner and the Work of History / Jean Barman
Isabel Skelton: Precursor to Canadian Cultural History / Terry Crowley

Part 3: The Academy

Laying Siege to the History Professoriate / Alison Prentice
A View from the Front Steps: Esther Clark Wright and the Making of a Maritime Historian / Barry M. Moody
Kathleen Wood-Legh: A Canadian in Cambridge / Megan Davies and Colin Coates

Part 4: New Departures

Women's History: Founding a New Field / Deborah Gorham



The editors convincingly show that for many of these women, history was a tool to demonstrate political or moral lessons.....The book illuminates professions and universities, and elegantly delivers the editors' promise to analyze historical consciousness.

- The Canadian Historical Review

... one of the best-edited collections of historical writing that I have read for some time....It is chapters such as these that not only make this book but provide very useful additons to course reading lists as examples of well researched and written biographical case studies and institutional histories....Overall, ... this is a collection of women's history that should be on the shelves of a university library.

- Lynne Trethewey, History of Education Review

... together [the essays] provide a coherent sense of the challenges facing women who dared to approach the throne of historical inquiry. ... the contributors to this volume have done more than add women to the historiographical canon; they helped to redefine the canon itself. They have also produced a very readable volume, a testimony to the historiographical shift toward a narrative style that makes this book accessible to more than just a few 'scientific' historians.

- Margaret Conrad, Canadian Book Review Annual

Sample Chapter

A sample chapter of this title is not available at this time. For further information, please email

Related Topics

History > Canada
Women's Studies

Other Ways To Order

In Canada, order your copy of Creating Historical Memory from UTP Distribution at:

UTP Distribution
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