Monday, April 09, 2007

This Friday, April 13th, marks the last History Grad Student Colloquium of the year,
at 3:30pm in the Faculty Club. As always snacks will be provided. Kira Olfert will be giving a presentation entitled: "'Much to the Dismay of the Fathers' - Mennonite War Veterans After the Second World"; and Joe Ponic's presentation is entitled "Tintoretto at the Scuola Grande di San Rocco in Venice".
George Fountain was a student from Vancouver who fought at Vimy Ridge in April 1917. He was with a group of engineers burying armoured communication cables through much of the battle of April 9-12: his turn to go over the top came later. Over the next 18 months he was wounded twice and mildly shell-shocked. But he made it home in one piece and lived a fine, full life. More than 60 years later, early in February 1978, a grandson traveling in France, Gordon DesBrisay, called to wish happy birthday and ask where Vimy was, so he could go visit. George gave his geographically challenged grandson directions, chatted amiably, and wished him well. He died in his sleep that night. Below is a page from the diary of April 1917 that George, like so many soldiers, kept (illegally) while in France. Click either image to enlarge.

Monday, April 02, 2007

As every historians knows, times change. Unlike a long-ago book pub depicted in this undated photo from our archives, this year's Umpteenth Annual HGSC Book Pub will follow our more recent practices: it will be held indoors, the books will not be on the ground, women will participate on equal terms, and beer will be served. (Remember that, next time the notion of Progress is disparaged in your presence.) And so, as the U of S and the History Department head into our second century, it might well be that books that somebody found useful, or thought might be useful, at some point in that first century could still prove useful to you. You just never know which tome might open up new historical vistas, provide the missing link for your thesis or essay, yield that one last obscure footnote, or, now that spring is upon us, prop open that just-thawed window. All you can know in advance is that the tomes in question will be available at way attractive prices. Which is why you should attend the Umpteenth Annual HGSC Book Pub on Wednesday April 4th at Louis' Pub. The books will be there to be viewed at 5pm, and the auction begins at 6. Proceeds from the sale of books (though not, alas, the alcohol -- so don't be spending good book money on hootch!) help to underpin the operating budget of the HGSC. Absolutely everyone welcome!
Tomorrow, April 3rd, marks the official 100th birthday of the University of Saskatchewan -- and, indeed, of the Department of History, since ours was one of four founding departments in 1907. So, happy birthday to us!