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Remembering the First World War – Archives Blog

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At Home and Away: Remembering the First World War through records at the Archives of Manitoba

Visit this blog for regular posts about records at the Archives of Manitoba that date from the time of the First World War. Visit the Archives of Manitoba to see the records in person.

August 2015 Posts:

31 August 2015

Back to School, 1915

As war waged on in Europe, much of life and routine went on as normal at home in Manitoba. Enrollment in Manitoba schools was growing and new schools were being built.

The Archives of Manitoba has a variety of records related to Manitoba schools, dating back to the early days of the province, and including the First World War time period. School records include daily registers, minute books and cash books. Records of the Department of Education from this time period include reports from school trustees and school inspectors.

Pages from two different school records are shown here.

The minutes from the Manitou School District for 11 September 1915 show that arrangements were being made for the annual school fair to be held on the 8th of October. The minutes show that the committee was “to make all necessary arrangements and to revise the prize list and to extend prize list so as to include sewing, baking, preserving, farm mechanics.”

page in Manitou School District minute book with handwritten minutes for 11 September 1915

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Manitoba school records collection, GR5330,
Manitou SD #314 – Minutes, 1912–1920, G 7083

This image shows the list of expenditures for the Willow Bluff School District for 1914-1915. Total expenditures were $852.80 and show $60 monthly salary payments to the teacher, Miss Graham.

page in Willow Bluff School District minute book with handwritten list of expenditures for 1914-1915

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Manitoba school records collection, GR5330,
Willow Bluff SD #1334 – Minutes, 1895–1964, G 7075

Search Tip: Search Keystone using keywords like “school” and limiting your search by years to find more records related to schools and education in Manitoba during the First World War.

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24 August 2015

28th Battalion Leave for the Front

Photograph: “28th Battalion leave for the front.” This photograph was taken in 1915 in Winnipeg by Advance Fotos, 341 Portage Avenue.

photograph of a crowd of people along a train with soldiers on it. writing on photo says “28th Battalion leave for the front.”

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Archives of Manitoba, Edith Rogers fonds,
28th Battalion leave for the front, [1915], C45 photo 79.

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17 August 2015

Intelligence-Gathering at Sea

As it conducted its war-time shipping operations in Europe, the Hudson’s Bay Company’s fleet of hundreds of ships was ever at the mercy of the skies and seas. Enemy vessels proved a more ominous threat. Attacks by enemy ships along transport routes were a genuine danger for HBC’s merchant vessels, as is clear from various lists of ships “sunk by enemy action” found amongst HBC records.

A chief concern of HBC, then, was to safeguard its assets at sea. Lloyd’s of London, an insurance specialist, also had a vested interest in making sure that captains and crews remained vigilant as they navigated the seas. The following documents, found among the records of HBC’s wartime business operations, were meant to be circulated to captains of vessels on behalf of Lloyd’s. They communicate a need for captains to report sightings of all vessels spotted at sea and request that the accompanying “block sketches” and “C.O. forms” be utilized to document and relay the information. Such intelligence was considered vital to the “assurance of a vessel’s safety”.

Hudson’s Bay Company Archives, Archives of Manitoba, Miscellaneous records from Hudson’s Bay Company’s wartime business with European governments, Circular letter from the Secretary, Lloyd’s, in connection with “Block Sketches of War and Merchant Vessels”; supplementary sheet, April 1915 (HBCA RG22/29/20).

Search Tip: To find related correspondence, search Keystone with the keywords “Miscellaneous records from Hudson’s Bay Company’s wartime business with European governments.”

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10 August 2015

First World War Ration Booklet

This ration booklet was issued to [R. Papen] in 1918. (The handwriting is difficult to read and R. Papen is our best guess!) The booklet contains removable coupons designated for rations of meat, tea, butter and other foodstuffs supplied to soldiers at the front. Only some of the coupons were removed and used.

Archives of Manitoba, First World War ration booklet, P7488/4

The Archives has received several small donations of items related to the First World War. This ration booklet was donated in 1970 with little accompanying information. We do not have any further information about R. Papen and we do not know whether or not he had a connection to Manitoba or even to Canada.

Search Tip: Search “First World War ration booklet” in Keystone for more information.

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4 August 2015

A Day in the Conservation Lab: Stabilizing Brittle Papers from 100 Years Ago

Conservators recently looked at letters from the office of T. C. Norris, Premier of Manitoba from 1915 to 1922. The file includes letters sent to the Premier and copies of the Premier’s letters back. The letters sent to the Premier’s office were written by hand or typed on good quality paper. Even though they are now a hundred years old, these have lasted well over time, keeping their colour and flexibility. The copies that were made of the Premier’s outgoing letters, however, were on poor quality paper and they have become dark and brittle. (Perhaps the government was trying to save money on paper during the war?)

These brittle pages have now been put into stable plastic protectors to prevent further damage. We suggest this approach for protecting personal collections as well. Look for photograph or page protectors that are of “archival” quality. Stay away from vinyl (PVC). The best quality protectors have passed the PAT (Photographic Activity Test).

These photographs show the brittle pages found in the file of T.C. Norris correspondence.
(Archives of Manitoba, Premierís office files, EC 0016, GR1665).

Search Tip: The letters of T.C. Norris have been featured in two previous blogs, 19 May 2015 and 22 June 2015 . This file of records is in the process of being digitized and will be available on the Keystone database in the near future. The originals – now sleeved! – can be requested for viewing in the Archives Research Room. Search “Premierís office files, EC 0016, GR1665” in Keystone to find out more.

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