Canadian women have worked, individually and collectively, at homeand abroad, as creators of historical memory. This engaging collectionof essays seeks to create an awareness of the contributions made bywomen to history and the historical profession from 1870 to 1970 inEnglish Canada. Creating Historical Memory explores the widerange of careers that women have forged for themselves as writers andpreservers of history within, outside, and on the margins of theacademy. The authors suggest some of the institutional and intellectuallocations from which English Canadian women have worked as historiansand 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 genderinfluences historical consciousness and whether looking at the pastthrough women’s eyes alters the view. Women engaged in history ina wide variety of ways -- as authors of fiction, popular history,juvenilia, and drama -- as well as more academic research andpublishing. They worked as individuals, as both professional writersand academics, and within formal and informal communities of women suchas religious groups or local clubs. The essays also talk about thebarriers that existed for women who wanted to be recognized ashistorians and teachers of history and point out how gender differenceshave coloured perceptions of what constitutes history and who shouldwrite that history. This anthology shows how, instead of beingintimidated or defeated by their marginalization, women developed newand interesting ideas about what constituted history.
The final essay in the volume assesses the impact the burgeoning offeminist history in the 1970s had on the academy and examines theconnection between feminist activism and women’s history. Thisoriginal and lively book highlights the pioneering efforts of women indeveloping alternate paths to historical expression. It makes animportant contribution both to Canadian historical studies and towomen’s and gender history in the West and will appeal toscholars interested in Canadian history, women’s studies,literature, and historiography.
... 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.
... 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.
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.
Introduction: Locating Women in the Work of History / BeverlyBoutilier 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 ofCanadian 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 ReligiousRecording and Writing History / Elizabeth Smythe
'I walk my own track in life & no mere male can bump me offit': Constance Lindsay Skinner and the Work of History / JeanBarman
Isabel Skelton: Precursor to Canadian Cultural History / TerryCrowley
Part 3: The Academy
Laying Siege to the History Professoriate / AlisonPrentice
A View from the Front Steps: Esther Clark Wright and the Making of aMaritime Historian / Barry M. Moody
Kathleen Wood-Legh: A Canadian in Cambridge / Megan Davies andColin Coates
Part 4: New Departures
Women's History: Founding a New Field / DeborahGorham
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