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January 2021:

January 29, 2021

Archival material about York Factory and William Hemmings Cook at the Hudson’s Bay Company Archives — Submitted by The Famous Sandhogs, Musician

“I'd like to highlight the records of William Hemmings Cook in York Factory in the late 18th - early 19th century. I used available archival material about York Factory and William Hemmings Cook to create a concept album called Kahnawpawamakan.

“Kahnawpawamakan (1769-1813) was a Mushkegowuck woman who lived in York Factory, Manitoba. She married HBC writer, and later Chief Factor, William Hemmings Cook when she was 17. This album contains stories she may have told to her children, family, and herself.

“I spent some time looking around the archives - mostly trying to find something that mentioned Kahnawpawamakan, but there was little mention of her directly, and so I had to piece her life together from what was mentioned of her husband, William Hemmings Cook. She would have been alive at the time of La Perouse, and then the smallpox epidemic that swept north. Her son, Joseph Cook, later became an advocate for Metis rights - this would have been pre-Louis Riel - and so I felt like Kahnawpawamakan instilled in him a pride in himself, so despite the hardships she had to endure I imagine she retained in her a healthy spirit that she fed into her children. But her later life was likely very tragic - having been abandoned by William Hemmings Cook for a younger woman.

“With the album I was trying to fill in the missing information that wasn't recorded. The lack of mention in the journals of the death of his wife - the lack of any information about her, really – may be a poignant reminder that these records - though they are infinitely valuable and interesting - are biased toward the English/French male experience, and that the other, unrecorded side, though briefly glimpsed through these records, is no less important. I also used instances in the records for inspiration, including a reference of Cook’s failed trip to Duck Lake, mentioned in the York Factory correspondence book of 1790-1791 in “The William Hemmings Cook Song”.

“It was a wonderful experience going through the Archives of Manitoba, something that I don't do enough of. There are thousands of stories, thousands of songs and albums buried in there.”

https://thefamoussandhogs.bandcamp.com/album/kahnawpawamakan



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January 22, 2021

Wendy Wersch fonds — submitted by Bev Pike, artist and archivist


“The Wendy Wersch fonds shows the extraordinary creative process, and courage, of a contemporary artist investigating feminist principles. Slides include striking images of the nail-impaled brassiere, a portrait collage of dozens of nude women wearing paper bags over their heads, and a gigantic hooked rug within which the artist stood (absolutely still) under a ceiling of apple cores for 5 hours a day for 2 weeks. Textual records describe her artistic choices and shine a light on her creative process.

Installation view of Emergence, Ace Art Gallery, 1996, (slide 81)
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Installation view of Emergence, Ace Art Gallery, 1996, (slide 81)
Archives of Manitoba, Wendy Wersch fonds, slides of thesis project and gallery installations, 1992-2001, P8275/1

“Feminist artist fonds are rare and valuable. When Wersch died at 49 in 2001, her friends ensured her papers went to the Archives of Manitoba so future generations could have access to this unique Intellectual’s records. They describe her plans for a performance during which she proposed to shave all the hair off her body as commentary on patriarchal obsession with women’s bodies. She also wanted to fill a gallery with loaves of bread to discuss women’s emotional labour. This fonds underscores an annual feminist lecture series - a community event Wersch’s friends established in 2001. A fund with the Winnipeg Foundation ensures that distinguished lecturers will contribute to international feminist dialogue and research in perpetuity. This fonds and that event together build scholarship on Wersch’s art as well as on so many other innovative women’s art.”

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Want to participate in Your Archives? See Submit Your Story and Upcoming Events for details. You may e-mail us at yourarchives@gov.mb.ca with a comment about this blog post and your comments may be included on this page.


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January 15, 2021

Dressage Winnipeg fonds — Submitted by Dr. Kathryn A. Young, Ph.D History, Historian


“Dressage, from the French word for training is described as the art of dancing on horseback or ballet on horseback and is often compared to the freestyle of figure skating.

“The art of dressage is a harmonious blend of power, beauty and precision. The sport of dressage is designed to improve a horse’s balance, suppleness and flexibility, as well as improve the communication between horse and rider.” 1

“The records of the Manitoba Dressage Association (1975-2001) and its branch club Dressage Winnipeg (1987-2008) offer an insight into equestrian sport in the province. Although a small collection, it comprises constitutions, policies, minutes, and correspondence of the local clubs as they organized following provincial and national standards of the Manitoba Horse Council, Equine Canada/Dressage Canada and the Fédération Equestre international (FEI), the world equestrian body. Included in the fonds are newsletters, prize lists, show programs, photographs of competitors, judge’s contracts, membership lists and documents pertaining to dressage clinics held in Winnipeg and Brandon, in particular. Notably, the documents reveal the significant roles played by Captain John de Kenyeres, trained in the Hungarian cavalry and dressage instructor at the Charleswood Riding Club, and Margaret Anne Sellers, an accomplished dressage rider and competitor at her Riverbend Stables.

“Today Dressage Winnipeg holds three annual Equine Canada/Dressage Canada approved horse shows at the Birds Hill Equestrian Facility in Birds Hill Park in addition to dressage clinics at individual stables. Judges for the horse shows and clinics are hired from all over Canada and include some with international reputations, such as Cindy Ishoy, a former member of the Canadian Dressage team. Manitoba riders compete at the horse shows according to national regulations from Training Level to Prix St. Georges.

“This fonds will be of interest to sport historians and to members of the general public who have an interest in equestrian activities, especially dressage and its growth in Manitoba.”


References:
  1. ^ This quote is taken from the former Dressage Canada web site: www.equinecanada.ca/dressage, (accessed 2009-11-21). This website has now been replaced by https://www.equestrian.ca/sport/dressage which is available in English and French.


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Want to participate in Your Archives? See Submit Your Story and Upcoming Events for details. You may e-mail us at yourarchives@gov.mb.ca with a comment about this blog post and your comments may be included on this page.


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January 8, 2021

Photograph of Abram and Agatha Friesen family farm, Neuhorst, Manitoba — Submitted by M. C. Kotecki, Research Associate, Archives of Manitoba


Photograph of Abram and Agatha Friesen family farm
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Archives of Manitoba, Photograph Collection, Mennonites 14

“The photograph above reflects perhaps one of my earliest childhood memories and is of a visit with my parents to the family farm, in Neuhorst where my mother had been born. I think it was in 1955 that we came and stayed with my grandmother, who came back to the farm in the summers and stayed in the cottage on the farm. My uncle and his family worked the farm then. The memories which I have include seeing the sky at night with out city lights or a yard light, which I remember even now, so many stars, of having a glimpse of inside the house, and a hatch in the chimney where sausage and hams were cured, and of the passage to the barn, the orchard with fruit trees, and the first live pig, which was huge, the big cottonwood trees, and of course my grandmother.

“In 1970, my father came home with a book for Manitoba’s centennial, in which my mother found a photograph captioned a typical Mennonite house-barn, which she immediately identified as the place where she had grown up. The photograph is on page 22 of the booklet of photographs facing page 80 in The Centennial History of Manitoba, by James A. Jackson. My mother recognized the flattened roof of the house, which was not typical, rather, when my grandmother had the house reroofed, she thought she would save some money by eliminating the peak. I didn’t see the farm again until my uncle’s funeral in 1972, and by then the old house-barn had been replaced by a modern bungalow.

“When I started working at the Archives in 1984, I researched my own family to check for the different types of information available to assist researchers, and when I was looking through the photograph cabinets in the Research Room, under Mennonites, I found a collection which included the above photograph, which was used in Jackson’s book. Finding the photograph made for an exciting day, to discover the family farm, at the beginning of my employment at the Archives. Family photographs I have do not include a full view of the house-barn. The photograph collections can provide researchers with many surprises and images of the past and I did order an 8 x 10 copy for myself at the time. There are two more photographs of house-barns from Neuhorst, as well as of the school, Exeter S.D. 1994 and the teacherage, filed under Neuhorst.”

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Want to participate in Your Archives? See Submit Your Story and Upcoming Events for details. You may e-mail us at yourarchives@gov.mb.ca with a comment about this blog post and your comments may be included on this page.


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