Tag Archives: Archives

In Praise of a Nondescript Government Facility (or, The Most Canadian Title Ever)

Alan MacEachern As I drove deeper into a suburb in the small town of Matane on Quebec’s Gaspé Peninsula, things got busier instead of quieter. More and more parked cars lined the streets. There were no sidewalks, so the many people walking were all in the street, all of them headed toward the same low-slung, nondescript office building in the… Read more »

Family archives and research at Assumption College’s French Institute

Leslie Choquette As director of the French Institute at Assumption College, a research center focused on French-Canadian migration to New England, I have worked with three donors of family archival collections, not just to give their materials a good home, but to use them to shape their family stories for different audiences. This experience both convinced me of the usefulness… Read more »

Seeing What Lies Beneath Paintings

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By Brett Liem and Michael Robertson Last year we published a short article in Active History where we described optical techniques for recovering the contrast from faded documents.  A range of light sources from ultraviolet (UV) to near-infrared (NIR), filters, and a camera adapted to form images with light outside or the normal visible spectrum were used to reveal residual… Read more »

The Secret Ingredient: Using Recipes as Tools in Construcing Historical Narrative

Sophie Hicks This is the first post in a summer series exploring societal, community, and familial connections to food and food history. Exploring food history through archived cookbooks or recipes provides a unique glimpse into culture, place, and identity of communities, families, and individuals. Recipes can hold significance on the family level, a broader community level, while also serving as… Read more »

Research Diary II: A Small Island in Low Season

Alban Bargain-Villéger This is the second and final part of the diary I kept during a research trip to Groix island in December 2018. The first episode covered my journey to Paris and the train ride to Lorient. The following pages begin on the evening of my arrival, after a rough, though bearable, ferry ride across the Courreaux Strait. December… Read more »

Research Diary I: A Small Island in Low Season

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Alban Bargain-Villéger This post consists of excerpts from the research diary I kept during my research trip to Groix, France, in December 2018. Groix is a small island off the coast of Brittany, France’s westernmost region. This investigation into Groix’s understudied past is part of a long-haul project on three small northern European islands that I presented in a previous… Read more »

History Slam Episode 123: Reconsidering Confederation

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http://activehistory.ca/wp-content/uploads/2018/10/History-Slam-123.mp3Podcast: Play in new window | DownloadBy Sean Graham In the lead up to Canada 150 last July, there was no shortage of projects looking at Canada’s political history. One of my favourites was the Confederation Debates project. With a massive team, the project organized, scanned, and digitized thousands of documents related to each province and territory’s entry into Confederation…. Read more »

Recovering Contrast in Faded Documents

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By Olivia Raiche-Tanner, Annika Vetter and Michael Robertson It sometimes happens that ink used in the preparation of documents will fade resulting in reduced contrast between the ink and substrate (paper, parchment, pottery, etc.), often to the point where the writing is no longer readable.  Ink fading can be caused in several ways including exposure to light, chemical reactions between ink… Read more »

“Tom’s Return” — or A Girl’s Heroic Adventure? Great War Fiction by a Canadian Schoolgirl

By Sarah Glassford What did Canadian children think of the Great War? We know they played with war-themed toys and games, read adventure stories and acted out dramas with wartime plots, contributed money and labour to war-related causes, and in some cases lied about their ages in order to enlist[1]… but accessing their youthful thoughts, feelings, and imaginings about the… Read more »

Top Tips for Research Trips: Making the Most of Your Visit to the Archives

Stacey N. Gilkinson Classes have finished, exams are over and it’s finally summer, which means it is now time for many researchers to embark on trips to the archives! To the novice academic or researcher, archival institutions can be uncharted territory. You might be wondering how you should approach an institution, what to bring with you or how to navigate… Read more »