Historical Roots: Blacks in Nova Scotia

In 2005 the Dalhousie Libraries were invited to participate in the national Our Roots digital collection project. Our commitment was to digitize and make available resources covering Black Nova Scotian History on the Our Roots website, which is an online collection of Canadian local histories.

“Historical Roots: Blacks in Nova Scotia” offers additional resources that would benefit anyone searching for information concerning Black Nova Scotian history. These include a report on the Black experience in Nova Scotian sports (written by sports historian Sandy Young), and links to other educational & cultural organizations that contain material or support the study of Black Nova Scotia heritage and culture.

February is Black History Month, the perfect time to explore our Historical Roots collection online!

Perdita Manuscripts: Women Writers 1500-1700

Perdita Manuscripts is a new digital collection of the complete facsimile images of over 230 manuscripts written or compiled by women living in the British Isles during the 16th and 17th centuries. “Perdita” means “lost woman” and the quest of the Perdita Project has been to find early modern women authors who were “lost” because their writing exists only in manuscript form.

Contents include account books, advice, culinary writing, meditation, travel writing, and verse. The Perdita manuscripts are indexed and searchable by name, place, genre, and first lines of both poetry and prose.

This collection is accessible both on and off campus. Start exploring it now!

Digital Collection: The Halifax Disaster

On the morning of 6 December 1917, Halifax was shaken by a disaster which has since been unparalleled: the collision of two ships in the harbour resulted in a catastrophic explosion that left devastation and death in its wake.

Shortly after the Halifax Explosion, Archibald MacMechan was commissioned to record an official history of the event. He headed the Halifax Disaster Record Office which began gathering facts and stories on 17 December 1917. The resulting report contains a wealth of information on the events leading up to the explosion as well as the aftermath, including individuals’ experiences of the disaster and stories of survivors who tended to others before treating their own wounds.

MacMechan’s document and photos provide key insight into the days immediately following the disaster and how the Halifax citizens coped with the destruction.

The Halifax Disaster Record Office Report on the Halifax Explosion

Electronic Enlightenment: Early Modern Letters & Lives

The Libraries are pleased to provide you with access to Electronic Enlightenment, a database of 58,555 interconnected letters and documents linking people across Europe, the Americas and Asia from the early 17th to the mid-19th century.

Through EE you can see the ideas and concerns not only of thinkers and scholars, politicians and diplomats, but also butchers and housewives, servants and shopkeepers. With a wealth of detail revealed in these personal documents, you can explore as never before the relationships, correspondence networks and movement of ideas, the letters and lives of the early modern world.

Look through Electronic Enlightenment now, and share your comments on this rich resource!

Oxford Encyclopedia of African Thought Online

A new addition to our Oxford Digital Reference Shelf collection, the Oxford Encyclopedia of African Thought offers a comprehensive view of this intellectual tradition, from St. Augustine and early Ethiopian philosophers to the anticolonialist movements of Pan Africanism and Negritude.

All major trends in African philosophy, political theory, and religion are covered, as well as significant historical figures and social movements.

Explore this new reference resource now!

Confraternitas: Ejournal Trial Access

The Dalhousie Libraries are offering our users a full year of free trial access to the electronic journal Confraternitas. This is a refereed journal about Medieval and Early Modern confraternities (pre-1700) published twice yearly. It contains brief articles, news and notes of interest to colleagues, notices of forthcoming conferences or papers, and general queries. It is published for The Society for Confraternity Studies by the Centre for Reformation and Renaissance Studies, and is made available on the Iter platform.

Access the new journal at the main Iter resources page, or link directly to to Confraternitas.

Let us know what you think about this resource!

Colonial State Papers

Colonial State Papers provides access to primary source documents from the 16th to the 18th centuries. The earliest English settlements in North America, encounters with Native Americans, piracy in the Atlantic and Caribbean, the trade in slaves and English conflicts with the Spanish and French are all covered in this database.

Colonial State Papers integrates two important research tools: Collection CO 1 from The National Archives (full name: Privy Council and Related Bodies: America and West Indies, Colonial Papers); and Calendar of State Papers, Colonial: North America and the West Indies 1574-1739. All documents have been reproduced as full-colour, high quality images, including several unique hand-drawn maps. Limit your search to records that include scanned documents or search all documents recorded in the Calendar.

Explore Colonial State Papers now!

Black History Month: Portia White

Portia White (photo by Yousuf Karsh)Portia White, contralto and teacher, achieved international fame as a classical concert singer in the 1940s and 1950s. White was born in Truro, Nova Scotia in 1911 and raised in Halifax. Her father, a Baptist minister, was the first Black graduate of Acadia University in 1906.

Portia White became the first Black Canadian concert singer to win approval across North America, despite difficulties obtaining bookings because of her race. She reached the high point of her brief career with a widely acclaimed recital at Town Hall, New York, in 1944. She then embarked on a highly successful tour of Canada and the northern US, attracting comparisons to African-American contralto Marian Anderson. Tributes include a commemorative postage stamp; a monument in Truro; a film documentary (Think on Me); and the 2007 East Coast Music Awards’ Helen Creighton Lifetime Achievement Award.

The Killam Library music collection includes White’s CD “First You Dream,” a collection of songs recorded in 1944 and 1945. The call number is M 23 W53 F57 1999, and you can listen to it in our audio room on the 5th floor.

Visit The Encyclopedia of Music in Canada for more information about Portia White.

Black History Month Kickoff

The Dal Libraries are kicking off Black History Month with a celebration of Blacks in Nova Scotia. We have a wealth of resources online and on the shelf for you to discover, so keep an eye on this site!

Canada Post has just issued a commemorative stamp featuring Nova Scotian William Hall (1829-1904), the first Black to be awarded the Victoria Cross. Our rich digital collection Historical Roots: Blacks in Nova Scotia includes the full text of a biography of Hall by Bridglal Pachai. William Hall: Winner of the Victorian Cross is filled with local history and well illustrated with photos and maps.

The celebration begins!

Libguide For TYP Students

Did you know that we offer an online guide just for students in the Transition Year Program (TYP)? The TYP is a one-year program designed for First Nations and African Canadian adults who do not yet meet standard Dalhousie entrance requirements. The TYP core curriculum includes non-credit courses in Black and Native Studies, Study Skills, English, Mathematics and a credit course at Dalhousie. An introductory Computer course is also offered.

The TYP Libguide includes information on using the library, doing research, and getting writing assistance. It also provides links to key databases and reference works and to books, theses, ebooks, videos and DVDs in Black and First Nations Studies. Of particular interest are the “Primary Sources” links to digitized documents such as letters, diaries, interviews and early historical accounts.

Interested? Explore the TYP Libguide now!