Recent Human History


Brown, J. S. H. 1980
Strangers in Blood: Fur Trade Company Families in Indian Country. University of British Columbia Press, Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada xxiii + 255 pages.
AEU HSS FC 3207 B87 1980 Examines the relationships between fur traders and Indians in the 18th century and the development of a distinct society based on fur traders' descendants, finally focused on the Red River colony and resulting in the establishment of a distinct social group, the Métis. Between the 1820s and the mid-19th century, the position of these people became more difficult, partly due to the amalgamation of HBC and NW Company but also by the increasing numbers of European women in the colony, as fur traders followed the example of the Governor, George Simpson, and sought European wives. This involved a more rigid social and racial stratification and resulted in an increasing split between those with European wives, who settled in "civilized" areas, such as near Montreal, and those with native- born wives, who often preferred to stay in the west and became part of the Red River settlement. Illustrated by excerpts from diaries and letters, mainly written by the fur traders themselves, and plenty of case studies. Deals primarily with fur trade areas around the margin of the Prairies. (21/Jan/1990).

Buziak, K. 1992
Toiling in the Woods: Aspects of the Lumber Business in Alberta to 1930. Number 8 in a series of ten booklets. Friends of Reynolds-Alberta Museum Society, Wetaskiwin, Alberta, Canada 37 pages.
AEU HSS HD 1790 A3 B992 Opens with a description of 1887 log drive down the Bow River from Kananaskis to Calgary. Building of CPR fuelled demand for lumber (e.g., railroad ties), then settlers also needed lumber for building. Describes the development of the Eau Claire and Bow River Lumber Company using expertise of lumbermen from the Wisconsin forests, which by that time were getting logged out. Acquired timber berths in Bow and Kananaskis Valleys. Used waste sawdust from mill to provide electricity which they sold to the City of Calgary (integrated operation). Decline in logging in SW Alberta in 1920s because all best timber cut and protected areas (e.g., Banff National Park) had been established. Lumbering in central Alberta, Red Deer area, also from late 1870s on. Driven more by need for lumber for homesteading, especially after 1900. John Walter started lumber mill on Ross Flats in Edmonton in late 19th century. Mill and other businesses on the Flats destroyed by major flooding in 1915. Describes work in the bushcamps, felling timber and transporting it out to the mill. Hard, dangerous, dirty and isolated work. Work at lumbermill involved cutting and loading timber. Some portable mills also in use because they could be taken to exactly where needed. Most lumber businesses did not last long once larger industrial operations were established. Working in lumber camps in winter provided income for homesteaders. Illustrated with archival photographs. (03/Jan/2002).

Buziak, K. 1992
Roaring Lizzies: Model T Ford Racing in Alberta, 1941 to 1951. Number 4 in a series of ten booklets. Friends of Reynolds-Alberta Museum Society, Wetaskiwin, Alberta, Canada 37 pages.
AEU HSS HD 1790 A3 B992 A sport that had a short life time. Started by the Lions Club in Calgary as a fundraiser, part of the war effort. Faded away after the war and when a more professional driving circuit started up. Fraught with danger. Lots of crashes and damage to car, though fortunately few serious injuries or deaths. Surprising given the lack of safety gear. Cars were stripped down to reduce weight and make them go faster, which meant no protection for drivers. Reynolds family much involved: Ted Reynolds and his sons, Stan and Bert. (15/Apr/2012).

Courtwright, J. 2011
Prairie Fire: A Great Plains History. University Press of Kansas, Lawrence, Kansas, USA xii + 274 pages.
AEPMA 633.2 C866 Environmental history of prairie fire, meaning fire in the grasslands of the continental interior US. Concentrates on the state of Kansas, with a particular focus on the Flint Hills. Each chapter begins with an incident or an anecdote based on the documentary record and dealing with some aspect of fire and its role in grasslands and human society. Courtwright is especially good on her examination of the ambivalent EuroAmerican attitude to fire, seeing it mainly as an enemy and destroyer and the slow realization in the ranching community that fire plays an essential tole in pasture management. To the extent that in some areas rangers are now actively using fire as a tool in range management, which brings them into conflict with nearby urban communities, especially over its impact, albeit transitory, on air quality. Fire is both a destroyer and a creator and is particularly important in the maintenance of good pasture. Courtwright documents the ways of controlling fire in the grasslands and of fighting it, including the use of firebreaks and backfires, requiring skill and fortitude. She does not get into the use of the range though, or the differences between cattle and bison in their use of the resulting pasture. This is written in a straight-forward narrative style, which is very engaging, and the interleaving of the documentary material is skillfully done. An informative read about a topic that is crucial in recent plains history. Courtwright does give some consideration to Aboriginal use of fire but does not delve much into the ethnographic literature or touch on the archaeological record - another book remains to be written on this perhaps. (01/Sep/2012) .

Cruise, D., and A. Griffiths 1996
The Great Adventure: How the Mounties Conquered the West. Viking, Toronto, Ontario, Canada xii + 416 pages.
AEU HSS FC 3216.2 C78 1996 A popular account of the beginning of Northwest Mounted Police and the "Great March West," culminating in the establishment of Fort Macleod. Also describes the founding of Fort Walsh and associated events in the Cypress Hills. The tale of the march west in 1874 - 1875 is told mainly through the diaries and records kept by the participants, interspersed with imagined re-creation of events. Illustrated by the sketches by Henri Julien, who had been sent along as official artist. The authors note that the Aboriginal people of the plains were well aware of the progress of the expedition, and were astonished at the troops' ineptness, with poor horses and equipment and no real knowledge of where they were going. (20/Apr/1997, 10/Nov/2001).

Dempsey, H. A. 2002
Firewater: The Impact of the Whisky Trade on the Blackfoot Nation. Fifth House Ltd, Calgary, Alberta, Canada 248 pages.
AEU HSS E 99 S54 D45 Concentrates on the years 1870 - 1875, when the whisky trade was at its height in southern Alberta. Provides portraits of the traders and examines their motives for participating in the trade (mostly money). The story is told primarily from the EuroCanadian side and documentation, though some chapters do concentrate on narratives from the Blackfoot perspective. (30/Jun/2003).

den Otter, A. A. 1982
Civilizing the West: The Galts and the Development of Western Canada. University of Alberta Press, Edmonton, Alberta, Canada xiv + 395 pages.
AEU HSS FC 471 G3 D39 1982

Epp, H. (editor) 1993
Three Hundred Prairie Years: Henry Kelsey's "Inland Country of Good Report". Canadian Plains Research Center, University of Regina, Regina, Saskatchewan, Canada xi + 238 pages.
AEU HSS FC 3511 T5315 1991 A collection of papers produced to mark the tri-centenary of Kelsey's journey to the prairies.

Evans, S. M. 2004
The Bar U and Canadian Ranching History. University of Calgary Press, Calgary, Alberta, Canada xi + 376 pages.
AEU HSS FC 3670 R3 E92 The Bar U Ranch is located along Pekisko Creek not far from Longview, south and a bit west of Calgary on the edge of the foothills. Established in 1882, the ranch flourished until 1950 when it was broken up in sale, with the central heart of the old ranch and ranch buildings becoming a National Historic Site in 1991. The ranch is associated with three main owners/operators: Fred Stimson, with the Montreal-owned Northwest Cattle Company, between 1882 and 1902, followed by George Lane up to 1927, followed by Pat Burns until his death in 1937, from whence it was operated by the Burns Company until sale in 1950. Throughout this 70 years, the cattle industry went through several distinct phases of development. In early years, the cattle roamed on the range more or less wild until roundup and sale. The main market for beef was supplying the various Indian reservations under Treaty agreements. Later, the herds were more closely managed, selective breeding improved quality, and in winter some animals (mainly the cows) were fed, necessitating a parallel haying enterprise. During Lane's day, meat was shipped east, especially to Britain, live on the hoof. Lane also became famous for breeding Percherons, draught horses much in demand for farm work in the early 20th century, especially by incoming homesteaders. Economically, Lane's business took a severe downturn after WWI with falling beef prices and the British market drying up as Britain turned to cheaper sources (Australian, South America) spurred by development of refrigerated transport (which does raise the question as to why the Canadian industry didn't adopt these new methods). Burns operated the range to supply beef to his meatpacking and processing enterprises, having a more vertically-integrated business approach. Times were tough in the Depression when poverty meant that markets dried up. There was another boom in beef around WWII and after. But in postwar years, labour costs went up and demand for beef went down (people were eating more pork and chicken) making the operation less profitable. When the Burns Company decided to concentrated more on the food processing and distribution aspects of their business, the days were numbered for the ranch. Evans sets the history of the ranch into the wider context of the cattle industry in western Canada and the economic history of the region, noting the various trade and legislative changes that altered the conditions under which the ranch operated. Environmental challenges - such as drought - are also mentioned but Evans tends to downplay their impact overall. He also fills in the background on many of the working people who made their lives at the ranch, their varied origins, backgrounds and personalities. These vignettes are some of the most interesting parts of the book. He notes the links of Bar U to the wider "Wild West" history, including the fact that Henry Longabaugh (the Sundance Kid) worked at the range in the early 1890s. Another famous cowboy was Ebb Johnson, again in the 1880s and 1890s, who was thought to be the model for the Virginian in Owen Wister's famous novel of the same name. Perhaps the apogee for the ranch was the visit of the Prince of Wales (later Edward VIII - the king who abdicated) in 1919. He stayed for only one night - September 15 - but was so impressed that he soon bought his own ranch (the EP ranch) in the foothills nearby. This is a very interesting book, well-written and absorbing. (03/Dec/2009).

Evans, S. M., S. Carter, and B. Yeo (editors) 2000
Cowboys, Ranchers and the Cattle Business: Cross-Border Perspectives on Ranching History. University of Calgary Press, Calgary, Alberta, Canada xiv + 232 pages.
AEU HSS FC 3209 R3 C68 A series of ten articles with an introduction (Evans) and two Postscripts (Carter, Yeo). Papers are the outcome of a conference on the Canadian Cowboy, arranged in conjunction with the exhibition of the same name held at the Glenbow Museum, Calgary, in 1997. I mainly wanted to read this because of the article by Brian Dippie about Charlie Russell, having just (July 2012) seen the exhibition of Russell paintings assembled by the Glenbow for the centenary of the Calgary Stampede this summer. Dippie's article is interesting, explaining how Russell's cowboy artwork sprang from his own experience as a cowboy, especially as a night herder, in Montana and Alberta, between 1882 and 1895. Dippie acknowledges the strong streak of romanticism in Russell's paintings, and describes him as a "romantic realist" because of his attention to detail in the cowboys and their accouterments. This article is illustrated with eight colour plates of Russell paintings. There are some other noteworthy articles in this collection. I especially enjoyed an article by Henry C. Klassen on "A century of ranching at Rocking P and Bar S" ranches in southwest Alberta, held by the same family into the fourth generation. Sarah Carter provides a thoughtful discussion of women and Aboriginal people in ranching history. They are virtually invisible in the popular conception of ranching, which emphasizes it as a masculine activity. All in all, an interesting and readable collection of essays. The volume also offers some useful recommendations for additional reading. (26/Jul/2012).

Friesen, G. 1987
The Canadian Prairies: A History. University of Toronto Press, Toronto, Ontario, Canada xv + 534 pages.
AEU HSS FC 3237 F92 1987 A classic text, a must- read for anyone interested in western Canadian history. (10/Jul/1986).

Goldring, P. 1979b
Whisky, Horses and Death: The Cypress Hills Massacre and its Sequel, pp. 41-70. Canadian Historic Sites: Occasional Papers in Archaeology and History 21. National Historic Parks and Sites Branch, Ottawa, Ontario, Canada.
AEU PMC GOV DOC CA1 R61-2/1-21, AEU CIRCUMPOLAR FC 65 G621 1979

Gray, J. H. 1967
Men Against the Desert. Western Prairie Producer Books, Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, Canada.
AEU HSS FC 3242.9 D7 G77 Focusses primarily on the development of the Experimental Farms and the PFRA (Prairie Farm Rehabilitation Administration) and technical solutions to the Dust Bowl conditions of the Canadian Prairies in the 1920s and 1930s. (14/Aug/1996).

Haig, B. (editor) 1991
A Look at Peter Fidler's Journal. Journal of a Journey over Land from Buckingham House to the Rocky Mountains in 1792 & 3. Southern Alberta Bicentennial. An HRC Limited Edition Series. Second Edition - #23 of 200 copies. Historical Research Centre, Lethbridge, Alberta, Canada 100 pages.
AEU SpCOLL FC 3667.1 F4513

Hildebrandt, W., and B. Hubner 1994
The Cypress Hills: The Land and its People. Purich Publishing, Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, Canada 133 pages.
AEU HSS FC 3545 C96 H642 Most of this book deals with the Cypress Hills Massacre (June 1 1873) and its aftermath, including the arrival of the North West Mounted Police (NWMP). The other main story told here is that of Sitting Bull and Walsh in 1877, following the Lakota Siouxs' flight into Canada after the events at the Little Big Horn. (10/Nov/2001).

Hitchon, B. 1967
Early Natural History Explorations. In Alberta: A Natural History, edited by W. G. Hardy, pp. 295-301. M. G. Hurtig, Edmonton, Alberta, Canada.
AEU SCI QH 106 H27

Jones, D. C. (editor) 1986
"We'll all be buried down here": The Prairie Dryland Disaster 1917-1926. Historical Society of Alberta Volume VI. Alberta Records Publication Board, Historical Society of Alberta, Calgary, Alberta, Canada 200 pages.
AEU HSS HD 1790 P6 W26 1986

Jones, D. C. 1987
Empire of Dust: Settling and Abandoning the Prairie Dry Belt. The University of Alberta Press, Edmonton, Alberta, Canada 316 pages.
AEU HSS FC 3695 A8 J77 1987 A passionate and eloquent book, focussing on events in southern Alberta between about 1880 and the 1940s. The events are told from the perspective of one small town, Carlstadt/Alderson, not far west of Medicine Hat. Using many of their own words, Jones chronicles the settlers' attempts to wrest a living from the pitiless landscape. He describes the effects of government propaganda and boosterism, not to speak of downright corruption, on the population history of the region. Well-written and closely argued. (11/Aug/1996).

Kelsey, H. 1994
The Kelsey Papers. Republication of 1929 edition edited by A. G. Doughty and C. Martin. Canadian Plains Research Center, University of Regina, Regina, Saskatchewan, Canada xlvii + 88 pages.
AEU HSS FC 3211.1 K3 1994

Larmour, J. 1992
Making Hay While the Sun Shone: Haying in Alberta Before 1955. Number 2 in a series of ten booklets. Friends of Reynolds-Alberta Museum Society, Wetaskiwin, Alberta, Canada 37 pages.
AEU HSS S 451.5 A4 L324 Emphasizes the amount of hay that was needed on a homestead to feed the stock, especially the horses, the main source of power. And the time and backbreaking labour involved in producing the hay. At its simplest, haying required cutting the grass, leaving it to dry or cure in the fields for a few days, raking into piles, loading onto a hay rack (hay wain), and taking it to a place to build a stack. Various implements were designed and built (often locally) to make this easier, including sweep rakes and stackers. Hay quality and longevity depended on how it was stacked, so great attention was paid to this aspect of the operation. Surplus hay could be sold off the farm but then it needed baling for transport so various baling machines and hay presses were devised to do this. Greater use of mechanization and switch to tractor power especially in WWII with labour shortages. Automatic baler became available in 1944 and eliminated much of the labour-intensive stages of haymaking. Demand for hay could be very high during drought years. Farmers could be in desperate straits when hay was in short supply. Hay was also required by mining operations and city transport. Illustrated with archival photographs. (03/Jan/2002).

Lysak-Martynkiw, R. 1992
Homegrown: Vignettes about Manufacturing Agricultural Implements in Alberta, 1890 to 1955. Number 9 in a series of ten booklets. Friends of Reynolds-Alberta Museum Society, Wetaskiwin, Alberta, Canada 37 pages.
AEU HSS HD 9486 C23 A3 L993 Farm implement dealers were often one of the first businesses established in small towns. Machinery from eastern Canada often not suitable or western conditions and the cost of transport was high. Machinery from the US was better adapted and often cheaper to transport but tariffs kept the cost of purchase high. Hence many small and innovative machine shops sprang up, serving local areas and building implements adapted to local needs (and wallets). Reviews many of the small companies that set up to manufacture implements and some of the farmers and innovators who developed and invented or adapted new implements. Among some inventions were the Mills Wire Weeder, the stump-puller, harvester-stacker for grain crops, the Van Slyke Plough (a breaking plough for use in the parkland), and the Boychuk stooker. Perhaps many farmers are still making machinery like this - make do and mend - and big companies are not necessarily familiar with local conditions. Illustrated with archival photographs. (03/Jan/2002).

MacGregor, J. G. 1954
Behold the Shining Mountains: Being an account of the travels of Anthony Henday, 1754-55, the first white man to enter Alberta. Applied Art Products Ltd., Edmonton, Alberta, Canada 276 pages.
AEU HSS FC 3211.1 H3 M14 In florid, feverish, overheated prose, MacGregor recounts Anthony Henday's journey to the Plains and his meeting with the Archithinue, an Aboriginal group that has usually been identified with the Blackfoot. Henday was sent to try to persuade them to travel to the Bay to trade furs. These attempts failed, and the Cree traders continued as middlemen. Much of MacGregor's account consists of his imaginative recreation of what he thinks Henday and his companions thought and felt. His analysis of the route is not supported by detailed evidence or any sustained reasoning. He makes dogmatic pronouncements about when and where Henday reached certain areas but with no evidence to support these assertions. Nevertheless, MacGregor decides that Henday met the Archithinue people somewhere in the vicinity of Pine Lake, near Red Deer. He may or may not be right about the route, but there's no way to assess it from this. MacGregor also goes off into fugues about the wonderfulness of the landscape that are almost Victorian in their romanticism and emotionalism. He also romanticises Henday's relationships with his travelling companions and especially his "bedfellow." This book is interesting, but it hardly seems like sound historical scholarship. (20/May/2006).

MacGregor, J. G. 1967
The Impact of the White Man. In Alberta: A Natural History, edited by W. G. Hardy, pp. 303-319. M. G. Hurtig, Edmonton, Alberta, Canada.
AEU SCI QH 106 H27

Mandelbaum, D. G. 1979
The Plains Cree: An Ethnographic, Historical, and Comparative Study. Based on the Author's thesis. Part 1 was originally published in 1940 by the American Museum of Natural History. Canadian Plains Studies 9. Canadian Plains Research Center, University of Regina, Regina, Saskatchewan, Canada xviii + 400 pages.
AEU HSS E 99 C88 M272 1979

Matthiessen, P. 1984
Indian Country. The Viking Press, New York, USA 338 pages.
AEU HSS E 98 L3 M43 Written in a deceptively simple way, but full of anger and sorrow, this book details the history of several Indian land claims and battles with the US Government. Matthiessen shows how the Bureau of Indian Affairs, originally set up to protect the Indian's interests, was too often in cahoots with the companies, mainly mineral extraction and lumbering, that wanted to use their lands and with the Government that wanted the Indians quietened or "terminated" in response to pressure from big business and lobby groups, including the Mormons. These groups, according to Matthiessen, saw the Indians as communists because of their communal lifestyle and savages - a barely-concealed racism. A sorry tale the way Matthiessen tells it. (14/Sep/1986).

McGrady, D. G. 2010
Living with Strangers: The Nineteenth-Century Sioux and the Canadian-American Borderlands. University of Toronto Press, Toronto, Ontario, Canada 168 pages.
AEU HSS E 99 D1 M44 This book concentrates primarily on the nineteenth century history of the Sioux peoples on the northern Plains, the region that became transected by the Canada-US border. McGrady argues that this is a "forgotten" history because Canadian historians have concentrated largely on Aboriginal groups north of the border, and US historians have likewise mainly considered groups south of the border. So groups in the borderlands as their heartland have tended to be ignored or "fall through the cracks." He documents that Sioux peoples had complex inter- relationships - sometimes friendly, at other times hostile - with Aboriginal groups throughout the region, though relations with the Crow seem to have been uniformly hostile. He also documents a longstanding and ongoing trading relationship with the Red River Métis and Métis groups from elsewhere, such as Montana, Wood Mountain, and later the Cypress Hills. Again, this relationship was marked by intervals of unease and hostility. The fact that Sitting Bull crossed the border into Canada after the Battle of the Little Big Horn is well known (see Utley 1993, elsewhere in this list), but McGrady shows that this was simply part of a much longer term pattern of behaviour, with people freely moving throughout the borderlands. He also shows that Sioux groups became adept at using the border to their advantage, setting up camp on the Canadian side and raiding or hunting into the American side. This activity was essentially shut down in the 1880s when both the US and Canadian governments restricted access to the border and made crossing more difficult. This is a complicated historical account (lots of names and different groups to keep track of) but it certainly enriches the historical perspective on this region. [Cover image is by William Armstrong (1822-1914), and is a painting called Sioux Buffalo Hunter, White Horse Plains, Red River, from the Glenbow collections (55.17.2). No date is given for the painting. The pose is interesting, a modern-looking relaxed pose, rather unlike the stiff 19th century portraits of Paul Kane or George Catlin.] (11/Jun/2010).

Moir, S. 1992
Perilous Journeys: Early Motoring in Alberta to 1930. Number 1 in a series of ten booklets. Friends of Reynolds-Alberta Museum Society, Wetaskiwin, Alberta, Canada 37 pages.
AEU HSS HD 1790 A3 B992 Concentrates on the first few decades of the twentieth century. Discusses the unreliability of early cars, their propensity to breakdown and blow tires. Also the difficulties of actually driving on roads that were little more than prairie trails, deeply rutted and often simply mud-wallows after rain or snow-melt. The challengers of driving in open cars in winter with no heat and icy terrain. Even short journeys were an adventure, longer journeys, between cities or across country, took on the air of a major expedition. Lack of gas satations at first until it looked as if the car was here to stay. (14/Apr/2012).

Moodie, D. W., B. Kaye, and V. P. Lytwyn 1993
The Fur Trade Northwest to 1870. In Historical Atlas of Canada, II: The Land Transformed, 1800- 1891. Plate 17, edited by R. L. Gentilcore, pp. 48-49. University of Toronto Press, Toronto, Ontario, Canada.
AEU SCI G 1116 S1 H673 1987 folio

Moodie, D. W., V. P. Lytwyn, and B. Kaye 1987
Trading Posts, 1774-1821. In Historical Atlas of Canada, I: From the Beginning to 1800. Plate 62, edited by R. C. Harris, pp. 158-159. University of Toronto Press, Toronto, Ontario, Canada.
AEU SCI G 1116 S1 H673 1987 folio

Morrow, J. W. 1974
Early History of the Medicine Hat Country. Reprint of 1923 edition. Medicine Hat and District Historical Society, Medicine Hat, Alberta, Canada 96 pages.
AEU HSS FC 3699 M4 M87 Morrow (1869 - 1932) was a clergyman in Medicine Hat. This rather rambling pamphlet surveys some of the events and characters of Medicine Hat, including the Cypress Hills area. The more interesting parts are the asides and the anecdotes about people and the photographs of the town and area. Contains some comments on weather and winters, which are also useful. (30/Jun/2002).

Myers, P. 1992
When the Whistle Blows: Steam Threshing in Alberta. Number 10 in a series of ten booklets. Friends of Reynolds-Alberta Museum Society, Wetaskiwin, Alberta, Canada 37 pages.
AEU HSS S 451.5 A4 M996 Describes the custom threshing operation that was part of the prairie scene between about 1900 - 1930 (and continues today in modified forms with custom combining). Heavy capital investment, including a steam traction engine, separator (threshing machine), and water cart/tank, plus ancillary equipment. Also required a good crew. Short season (maybe around 60 days) to get the harvest in in the fall. If weather changed, threshing had to be done in spring. Hard work for the farm family also, including the women who had to keep the threshing crew well fed all the time. Threshing for grain crops (wheat, oats, barley). Describes the operation of the steamer and threshing machine. Describes the duties of the various crew members. Notes that railway ran "harvest specials" from eastern Canada to bring temporary labourers to work during the harvest. Illustrated with archival photographs. (03/Jan/2002).

Myers, P. 1992
Facing the Land: Homesteading in Alberta. Number 5 in a series of ten booklets. Friends of Reynolds-Alberta Museum Society, Wetaskiwin, Alberta, Canada 37 pages.
AEU HSS FC 3672 M996 Describes the conditions for homesteading in Alberta, following the Dominion Lands Act of 1872. Federal government determined to encourage agriculture (not ranching) settlement in west, partly to establish sovereignty and partly to provide a market for manufactured goods from eastern Canada (purchasing these ensured by keeping tariffs on imports high). Railway improved access (reached Edmonton in 1891) and a vigorous advertising campaign (especially around the turn of the century) promoted western Canada as the place of the future. After formation of the Province of Alberta in 1905, specialized provincial government departments were set up to promote the province and encourage settlement, using brochures and displays at tradeshows (forerunners of today's trade missions!) Other factors encouraging settlement included the development of hardier strains of wheat more suitable to dryland conditions of the west, and the development of a wider resource and industrial base (lumbering and manufacturing) that provided alternate source of employment for some homesteaders (to supplement their income from farming) or other settlers who did not want to homestead. The spread of branch railway lines into the hinterland made areas more accessible. Notes the difficulties of breaking land (especially in the parkland) and the local improvements to ploughs that sometimes gave rise to small local industries. Even after breaking, the land required discing and harrowing to prepare the seedbed. Homesteading was both labour- intensive and hard work! Illustrated with archival photographs. (03/Jan/2002).

Newman, P. C. 1985
Company of Adventurers Volume 1. Viking, Toronto, Ontario, Canada 413 pages.
AEU HSS FC 3207 N55 Recounts the history of the Hudson's Bay Company from founding in 1670 to about 1800. Chronicles the bizarre combination of astuteness and stupidity that governed all the Company's dealings with its employees and with the land that they de facto ruled. Some interesting characters involved, from Prince Rupert of the Rhine, to the factors who ruled the various posts on Hudson Bay, including Samuel Hearne and John Rae. Both of them walked thousands of miles through the subarctic, learning how to survive on the landscape from the local inhabitants. (01/Jan/1987).

Newman, P. C. 1987
Caesars of the Wilderness. Viking, Toronto, Ontario, Canada 450 pages.
AEU HSS FC 3207 N55 Continues the story of the Hudson's Bay Company from the late 18th century at the height of the fur trade to the long battle with the rival Nor'Westerners that nearly saw the demise of the company, through the loss of its monopoly in the 1860s. Years when the company made huge profits and also almost foundered, when the aims of the company as regards exploiting furs came into direct conflict with those of settlers and immigrants. Ultimately the settlers were to have their way and Canada gradually emerged as a nation. Newman also emphasizes how much of the HBC activity, particularly in the west coast, was stimulated by American encroachment and competition and the threat of annexation in the west. The last two-thirds of the book are dominated by a single character, Sir George Simpson, the most flamboyant and forceful of HBC administrators, who firmly put the stamp of his personality on the country for more than forty years. (30/Oct/1989).

Owram, D. 1980
Promise of Eden: The Canadian Expansionist Movement and the Idea of the West 1956-1900. Reprinted with new preface 1992. University of Toronto Press, Toronto, Ontario, Canada 264 pages.
AEU HSS FC 3217 O97 1980

Potyondi, B. 1995
In Palliser's Triangle: Living in the Grasslands 1850 - 1930. Purich Publishing, Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, Canada 143 pages.
AEU HSS QH 541.5 P7 P68 An account of the landscape and its recent history, focussing on the area encompassed by Grasslands National Park (southern Saskatchewan). The book concentrates mainly on the farming and settlement era although it does include a fairly thorough discussion of the decline of buffalo hunting and the role of Métis people in the area. (08/Jan/1997).

Rees, T. 2007
Arc of the Medicine Line: Mapping the World's Longest Undefended Border Across the Western Plains. University of Nebraska Press, Lincoln, Nebraska, USA 393 pages.
AEU HSS FC 186 R43 The story of the cooperative Boundary Commission's work to define the border between Canada and the US along the 49th parallel in the interior in 1872-1874. G. M. Dawson was part of the Canadian team; Elliott Coues part of the US team. A difficult task undertaken and accomplished with competence and understated courage, often under extremely trying working conditions. (12/Jul/2008).

Ronaghan, A. 1993
Reconstructing Kelsey's Travels. In Three Hundred Prairie Years: Henry Kelsey's "Inland Country of Good Report", edited by H. Epp, pp. 89-94. Canadian Plains Research Center, University of Regina, Regina, Saskatchewan, Canada.
AEU HSS FC 3511 T5315

Ruggles, R. I. 1987
Exploration in the Far Northwest. In Historical Atlas of Canada, I: From the Beginning to 1800. Plate 67, edited by R. C. Harris, pp. 168-169. University of Toronto Press, Toronto, Ontario, Canada.
AEU SCI G 1116 S1 H673 1987 folio

Ruggles, R. I. 1993
Exploration and Assessment to 1891. In Historical Atlas of Canada, II: The Land Transformed, 1800- 1891. Plate 3, edited by R. L. Gentilcore, pp. 12-13. University of Toronto Press, Toronto, Ontario, Canada.
AEU SCI G 1116 S1 H673 1987 folio Provides a geographic definition of Palliser's Triangle.

Ruggles, R. I. 1993
Exploration to Mid-Century. In Historical Atlas of Canada, II: The Land Transformed, 1800- 1891. Plate 2, edited by R. L. Gentilcore, pp. 10-11. University of Toronto Press, Toronto, Ontario, Canada.
AEU SCI G 1116 S1 H673 1987 folio

Sears, P. B. 1980
Deserts on the March. 4th edition. University of Oklahoma Press, Norman, Oklahoma, USA viii + 264 pages.
AEU SCI S 493 S43 Originally published in 1935 at the height of the Dust Bowl era in western US. A classic. Surveys agricultural history and attitudes towards the land that led to the Dust Bowl. Filled with pithy and highly quotable comments. (14/Aug/1996).

Spry, I. M. 1995
The Palliser Expedition: The Dramatic Story of Western Canadian Exploration 1857-1860. 2nd. Fifth House Ltd, Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, Canada 315 pages. Originally published 1963.
AEU HSS FC 3205.1 S68 1995 An excellent survey and summary of a very arduous expedition. Palliser and Hector (the geologist) in the Canadian Prairies in 1850s. Describes an uncomfortable and sometimes hazardous journey that is hard to imagine today when the area is criss-crossed with roads. (10/Aug/1996).

Stonechild, B., and B. Waiser 1997
Loyal till Death: Indians and the North-West Rebellion. Fifth House Ltd, Calgary, Alberta, Canada ix + 308 pages.
AEU HSS FC 3215 S85 1997

Thompson, J. H. 1998
Forging the Prairie West. The Illustrated History of Canada. Oxford University Press, Toronto, Ontario, Canada xii + 212 pages.
AEU HSS FC 3237 T45 1998

Tingley, K. 1992
Steel and Steam: Aspects of Breaking Land in Alberta. Number 6 in a series of ten booklets. Friends of Reynolds-Alberta Museum Society, Wetaskiwin, Alberta, Canada 37 pages.
AEU HSS S 451.5 A4 T588 Describes the techniques used to break land in the west, following the incursion of agriculturalists following the Homestead Act of 1872. Describes the development of gang ploughs and steam traction engines to draw them in the late 19th century - a technology developed to break land rapidly over a wide area. Describes the development of dryland farming techniques, including deep ploughing, packing, and harrowing, that ironically had the effect of breaking down the cohesion of the surface soil and predisposing it to blow when drought hit. First steam ploughing near Regina in 1883. After land breaking, steam traction engines were used to power threshing machines and were still being manufactured until early 1920s. Describes technological changes that had to be made to ensure engines could withstand the heavy work of land breaking. Because of the expense, few homesteaders could afford their own traction engine. So this was the era of the custom ploughing outfit (especially 1900 - 1913), peripatetic teams which would undertake to break land for a set fee per acre using their own equipment. Helped to bring large areas rapidly into cultivation in Alberta. Use of mechanized methods also predisposed farmers towards mechanization and use of the tractor (especially from 1920s on). Illustrated with archival photographs. (03/Jan/2002).

van Herk, A. 2007
Audacious and Adamant: The Story of Maverick Alberta. Key Porter Books Limited, Toronto, Ontario, Canada 104 pages.
A volume produced to accompany the Mavericks Exhibition at the Glenbow Museum in Calgary. Organized roughly chronologically, it tells history through personalities, in twelve sections: Exploration and Fur, Uninvited Guests, Mounties and Mustangs, Building the Railway, Settlement and Scenery, Ranching and Riding, Fighting Injustice, Grassroots Politics, Newcomers, War and the Homefront, Oil and Gas, and Post Haste. Lots of photographs of the various personalities and short biographies (about one page each). Concentrates mainly on the history of southern Alberta. Unfortunately, there's no bibliography so it wouldn't be possible for any reader to use this as a source-book or an entry to find out more, which is a pity because there are some good and accesible books on some of these figures (such as David Thompson and Captain Palliser). (22/Jul/2012).

Waiser, B. 2005
Saskatchewan: A New History. Fifth House Ltd, Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, Canada 563 pages.
AEU HSS FC 3511 W325 A highly readable account of Saskatchewan's recent history, concentrating on the interval since it became a province on September 1 1905. Several themes stand out in this account. The tension between rural and urban areas and increasing disparity in wealth and influence between those components of the economic landscape as drivers (or not) of prosperity is one theme. Another is the tension between Aboriginal people, who are becoming a proportionally larger part of the population, and the rest of the population. To some extent, this is also a rural/urban split or a north/south split but not entirely because many Aboriginal people have moved to the cites but have not shared in their prosperity. Another theme that comes through is the "poor cousin" status of Saskatchewan compared to Alberta, right from the start when Prime Minister Wilfrid Laurier chose to attend provincial inauguration ceremonies in Edmonton not Regina. Although much of this account inevitably revolves around politics and accounts of changing government policies, other aspects of Saskatchewan life and government, other aspects of Saskatchewan life are touched on, including sports, cultural events, and popular culture. Illustrated with some great historic photos. My only quibble is a need for more maps due to the plethora of place names mentioned. This is a lucid account and a good read. (27/Jun/2011).

Waiser, B. 2008
Who Killed Jackie Bates? Murder and Mercy During the Great Depression. Fifth House Ltd, Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, Canada xiii + 188 pages.
AEU HSS HV 6535 C23 E39 On the surface, the answer to the question posed by the title seems quite clear: his parents did. But Waiser unwraps this story to deliver a more complex and subtle reading of events. Jackie Bates was just 8 years old when he died in December 1933. He died from carbon monoxide poisoning, seated between his parents in the back seat of car parked beside the Avalon Schoolhouse in the Eagle Hills of central Saskatchewan. His parents, Ted and Rose Bates, were originally from England and had left the small town of Glidden, Saskatchewan, about a year earlier, hoping to make a better living in Vancouver. Having failed there as well, they were being sent back to Glidden to claim relief (basically social assistance) because the relief structure at that time was predicated on residency. Rose in particular did not want to go back to Glidden, dreading the shame of admitting their failure and need. Ted had been the butcher in Glidden but had sold the business, and had subsequently failed at the grocery business in Vancouver. Although a jovial genial man, there was a darker side to Ted's life because he was also a drinker and gambler, things Rose complained about in letters that are cited in this account. But there is no evidence that he was ever violent towards his wife or child and all witnesses at their trial agreed that the parents loved and cared for Jackie and that he seemed a happy normal child. Indeed, he is the reason they stayed together. Rose wanted to leave Ted but he would not agree to let Jackie go with her. They had a troubled marriage, likely exacerbated by the effects of the Great Depression, which was in full force at the time. There was a good deal of local sympathy for the Bates and the Glidden community fund-raised enough to pay for Jackie's funeral although not enough to pay for a defence lawyer. Both parents survived the suicide attempt. The car ran out of petrol before the carbon monoxide fumes killed the adults. Ted, at Rose's urging, hit her with the car crank and then tried to slit her throat with a penknife, then the couple tried to slit their wrists with razor blades from Ted's shaving kit. They were found, dazed and covered in blood by some local farmers, who notified the RCMP. Ted and Rose were tried for murder. The jury found them not guilty after the defence called an alternate medical expert who testified that the child's death could have been caused by an enlarged thymus gland, an explanation that pathologist Dr Frances McGill angrily rejected. (Years later, the medical profession eliminated this as a plausible explanation for sudden death in children.) However, the jury clearly grasped at this as a "reasonable doubt" in order to bring in the verdict. So the proximal cause of death was the parents' actions, but what was the ultimate cause of death? Was it the Depression? Social norms? Weak and flawed people unable to cope? Or just a concatenation of circumstances? The question is left up to the reader to answer. (16/Apr/2011).

Williams, G. 1978
The Puzzle of Anthony Henday's Journal, 1754-55. The Beaver (Winter 1978):41-56.
AEU HSS FC 3201 B38

Zeller, S. 1996
Land of Promise, Promised Land: The Culture of Victorian Science in Canada. Canadian Historical Association, Historical Booklet No. 56. The Canadian Historical Association, Ottawa, Ontario, Canada 27 pages.
AEU HSS Q 127 C2 Z53 Sets the scientific observations of the Palliser Expedition into the overall context of Victorian science. Influenced by a utilitarian ideal and imbued with thoughts of progress, science and surveys (such as the Geological Survey of Canada) were designed to find useful land attributes (e.g., coal and industrial minerals). Also notes some of the ideas behind the scientific thinking of the time. Including the idea that forest clearance would improve the climate because it allowed sun to reach the soil - an idea that proved unsupported by observational evidence or subsequent experience. (03/Jan/2002).
Number of citations: 51
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This presentation has been compiled and is © 1998-2012 by
Alwynne B. Beaudoin (bluebulrush@gmail.com)
Last updated September 2, 2012
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