"History of Regina" by J.W. Powers

While perusing the offerings in our rare book cabinet, J.W. Power’s History of Regina is easily overlooked. Small in size, and less than 100 pages, this worn blue book doesn’t immediately catch the browser’s eye, reinforcing the old adage that “you can’t judge a book by its cover”. The charm of this book (the first book to be published in 1887 in what is now Saskatchewan) reveals itself within the title: "The history of Regina (illustrated) : its foundation and growth, with notices of the early pioneer merchants and business men, descriptive notices of the government offices and public institutions; with biographical sketches of Lieut.-Gov. Dewdney and principal officials; the Northwest Mounted Police; the Northwest and Municipal Councils: our churches, schools, etc.; besides a vast amount of other useful information, carefully obtained from reliable and authentic sources" by John Weston Powers (1887).

Published only five years after the settlement was established, Power’s History of Regina is the writers attempt to capture the spirit of Regina during its infancy, before its success was assured. In 1887, Regina was little more than a tent city situated in a bare and inhospitable environment, but Powers takes care to chronicle each significant moment in the town’s evolution with an eye to preserving these moments for posterity (and, I like to think, for the enjoyment of future readers). This book charts Regina’s early course, from the establishment of the settlement at “Pile o’Bones” to the trial and execution of Louis Riel. Powers was writing at a time when Regina’s potential must have seemed limitless, and the confidence of the era imbues this book with a charmingly earnest quality.

Some of the most interesting content of the book can be found on the last several pages, which contain the adverts, which are always good for a chuckle. As amusing as the ads are, for me, the highlight of this book is located on page 82 ½ (no idea why they added a ½!), where one will find the section entitled “Doing” The City (Specially Written for Canny Folk). This section aims to provide an armchair tour of Regina’s main streets, walking the reader south up Broad Street from the train station, and stopping at many notable businesses, shops and private residences throughout town. The following is a particularly wonderful excerpt from the tour for “canny folk”:

“Now we see something. This is the wonderful book store of P. Lamont. Here you can select from authors immortal, and invest in everything from a baby’s rattle to a stencil plate. We must walk through Mr. R.B. Ferguson’s furniture store. What a splendid and varied stock he has got, and finely cut down in price! You can leave your furniture order here? Why, of course. Mr. Hunt’s tailoring establishment reminds me I must get a new suit of clothes. Mr Hunt will make them too.
……Let us wind up by having a game of pool at Smith Bros. I’ll spot you five. These are splendid tables. Now for a fragrant Madre E Hijo cigar- those sold by Davis and Sons- then hurrah for supper at the Palmer!”

The aim of this tour is clearly to highlight the variety and sophistication of goods and services found in Regina, ensuring the reader that the town site is as or more worthy of settlement than any location in the Dominion. To the 21st century reader, Mr. Powers’ History of Regina is an amazing peak into Regina during its most formative period. This book is truly an essential part of our rare book collection, and recommended reading for anyone interested in Regina’s early years.

Written by: S. Hay
Please Note: All items located in the rare book cabinet of the Prairie History Room are available for in-library study upon request.

Prairie History Librarian

Hello out there!

My name is Warren James and I'm starting as the new Prairie History Librarian, beginning today, Monday, February 29th, 2016; I come from the Community Engagement & Programming Unit, where I've worked as the Adult & Young Adult program lead since September 2009. Before coming downtown, I served as the Branch Head at the Regent Park, Regent Place and Sherwood Village branches, as well as having the pleasure of being RPL's Young Adult Specialist from 2006-2009.

I admit to having a limited background in genealogy, but I have done a considerable amount of historical programming (including 2012's Cyclone Walking Touraa), which is why I choose to apply for this position. I look forward to both serving you and to learning a lot in the years ahead.

Cheers, Warren


Categories: New Magazines

New PHR Magazines for February 26, 2016

NGS Magazine: For Generations Past, Present, and Future. Vol. 42, No.1,January-March 2016.
* "Explore Florida Through its Diverse History," by Marlis Humphrey
* "The Forgotten Nineteenth Century: The Short Life of John McAuliffe," by Bryna O'Sullivan
* "Cameras in the Courthouse," by Pam Anderson
* "Researching World War II Naval Armed Guard Vetrans," by Melissa A. Johnson

Please Note: All Magazines Can be Checked Out for 1 Week


Categories: New Magazines

New PHR Magazine for February 19, 2016

Folklore: Saskatchewan's Yesterdays Personified, Winter 2015/2016
* "A Moose Hunt Story" by John Merasty
* "The City Cat and the Country Cat" by Bev Lundahl
* "Antiques Found in Saskatchewan- Part Three" by Ruth Lee-Knight
* "Many Roads to Learning" by Richard Wood

Please Note: All Magazines can be checked out for 7 days.


Categories: PHR News

Library Closed for February 14th and 15th

Please note: The library will be closed on Sunday February 14th and Monday February 15th for the Family Day holiday. The Library will re-open on Tuesday February 16th at 9:30a.m. Enjoy the holiday!


Categories: New Magazines

New PHR Magazines for February 5, 2016

Families: Ontario Genealogical Society, Vol. 55, No. 1, February 2016
*"A Memorable Memorial: The Only Mausoleum in the Upper Ottawa Valley" by Robb Gorr.
*"Home Burials" by Royce MacGillivray.
*"In Search of History's Ghosts" by Bill Gladstone
*"The Ameteur Genealogist: Getting Started" by Fraser Dunford

National Genealogical Society Quarterly, Volume 103, No. 4, December 2015
* "Reassembling a Clark Family of Alabama, Georgia, and North Carolina" by Laurel T. Baty.
* "Middle Names from 1792 and 1793 Help Reconstruct Ancestry of John Rodda Jr., Butcher at Helston, Cornwall" by Ronald A. Hill.
* "From Slavery to Society: The Jerry Moore Family of Virginia and Pennsylvania" by William A. Cox.
* "How to Solve Genealogy Problems and How to Know They Have Been Solved: A Guide to Elements of Genealogical Analysis and Mastering Genealogical Proof" by Harold Henderson.

Please Note: All Magazines Can be Checked Out for 1 Week


Categories: New Magazines

New PHR Magazine for the week of January 25, 2015

Saskatchewan History, Volume 67, Number 2, Fall/Winter 2015

* "Nutana: The first neighborhood in Saskatoon" by Nathan Bartsch.

* "An Oversupply of Hope: One woman's reflections on the Great Depression" by Sandra Bassendowski.

* "The life and legacy of C.J. Houston, Medicare Pioneer" by C. Stuart Houston and Richard A. Rempel.

* "Mapping history: Lessons in history from Township Map of the Qu'Appelle Valley, Township 21, Range 13, West of the 2nd Meridian" by Christine Charmbury.

Note: These magazines can be borrowed for 1 week.


Categories: PHR News, In the News

Barbara Meneley's Prairie History Redux

Barbara Meneley's Prairie History Redux is an artistic reflection of Saskatchewan's complex history, article by Ashley Martin, Regina Leader-Post.

"In the Prairie History Room, residential school stories and high school yearbooks are on the same shelf.

It’s that kind of dichotomy that Barbara Meneley sought to reflect in Prairie History Redux, an art exhibition now on display at the Central Library.

“(It’s) such an interesting layering, but it is our history,” said Meneley, a fine arts instructor at the University of Regina.

The Prairie History Room is a diverse archive of Saskatchewan (with a smattering of Manitoba and Alberta). There are phone directories, town anthologies, newspapers and books. There’s colonial and aboriginal history.

Some of the thousands of artifacts are represented in Meneley’s project. . . ." link to the full Leader-Post article 17 January 2016


Categories: New Books

New PHR Books for the week of January 11, 2016

Law, Life, and Government: Settlement and Governance, 1812-1872
by Dale Gibson
PHR 349.712743 GIBSO

Inhabited by a diverse population of First Nations peoples, Métis, Scots, Upper and Lower Canadians, and Americans, and dominated by the commercial and governmental activities of the Hudson’s Bay Company, Red River - now Winnipeg - was a challenging settlement to oversee. This illuminating account presents the story of the unique legal and governmental system that attempted to do so and the mixed success it encountered, culminating in the 1869-70 Red River Rebellion and confederation with Canada in 1870.

In Law, Life, and Government at Red River, Dale Gibson provides rich, revealing glimpses into the community, and its complex relations with the Hudson’s Bay: the colony’s owner, and primary employer. Volume 1 details the history of the settlement’s establishment, development, and ambivalent relationship with the legal and undemocratic, but gradually, grudgingly, slightly, more representative, governmental institutions forming in the area, and the legal system’s evolving engagement with the Aboriginal population.

* * *

A Beginner's Guide to Online Genealogy: Learn How to Trace Your Family History and discover Your Roots
by Michael Dunn
929.10285 DUNN
Note: this book is part of the circulating genealogical collection shelved by the Prairie History desk. It can be checked out for three weeks.

Contents: Where should you begin? -- Learn how to search -- Online starting points -- Search for death records -- Check the census -- Find family connections -- Look local -- Seek out military records -- Trace your immigrant ancestors -- Locate records abroad -- Connect with other genealogists -- Putting it all together.


Categories: New Magazines

New PHR Magazines for the week of January 4, 2016

Family Tree Magazine Volume 16, Number 7, December 2015

* "Making the Cut (75 top state-focused websites for tracing your ancestors)" by Rick Crume.

* "Photo Rx (how to digitally fix common old-photo flaws)" by Janet Hovorka.

* "The Long Way Around (help to determine the difference between a brick wall and a detour in your research road and, if possible, navigate a new route to ancestor answers)" by David A. Fryxell.

* "Finding the Missing (many Jewish families had loved ones vanish in the Holocaust. Surviving records can help you discover the fates of the missing)" by Melody Amsel-Arieli.

* "Workbook: Special Censuses (e.g. Mortality schedules, Indian censuses, Agricultural schedules, Manufacturing and industry schedules, Slave schedules, Veterans schedules, Defective, dependent and delinquent schedule, Social statistics schedules)" by Sunny Jane Morton.

* * *

Folklore: Saskatchewan's Yestredays Personified), Volume 36, Number 4, Autumn 2015

* "The Asinskow Ithiniwok: The "Rocky Terrain People"" by John Merasty.

* "Swift Current: Frontier City" by Keith Foster.

* "The Legend of Marguerite (Trottier ca. 1789-1881)" by Jean-Louis Trudel.

* * *

Blue Jay Volume 73, Number 3, September 2015

* "Plants: Using Multiple Data Cources on Species Distribution for Biodiversity Assessment: The Prairie crocus (anemone Patens) as a Case Study" by Vladimir V. Kricsfalusy, Meng Li and Charu Gupta.

* "Birds: Avian Biodiversity in an Urban Park: Breeding Birds of the Habitat Conservation Area (2010-2014)" by Jared Clarke and Mattew Tokaruk.

* "Birds: Frequency of Next Visits by Non-Resident Hatch-Year Tree Swallows" by Russell D. Dawson.

Note: These magazines can be borrowed for 1 week.

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