The Women's Canadian Historical Society of Ottawa: Constructing Public Memory and Preserving History in a Changing City, 1898-1932

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Gunn, Connie




This thesis examines the membership and work of the Women’s Canadian Historical Society of Ottawa from 1898 to 1932. Through commemorations, historical tableaux, exhibitions of artefacts, and the publication, Transactions, they participated in the construction of a nationalist and imperialist collective memory, celebrating connections to the British Empire, a mythologized settler past, and Ottawa’s evolution from lumber town to national capital. Analysis of the origins, class and ethnicity of the Society shows that French-Canadian participation fell and membership broadened as Ottawa became a government town. The thesis describes competition from the male-dominated Bytown Pioneer Association in 1923 over the commemoration of Colonel By, and it posits that the masculinization of the historical profession led the Society to abandon written accounts in Transactions, and focus upon the collection and display of artefacts in the Bytown Museum.


Canadian History




Carleton University

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