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The Engagement Letters of Marie Harwood and Sam Steele, Oct 1888-June 1889


Have you ever wondered how love was expressed in the 19th century? Are you interested in society, social life, and family life in the early settlement years in Alberta? Do you want to know more about the life of a North-West Mounted Police officer at Fort Macleod? The Engagement Letters of Sam Steele and Marie Harwood, Oct. 1888-June 1889 provides insight into these and other questions.

Sam Steele is one of the best-known figures in western Canadian history. A Superintendent in the North-West Mounted Police at the time of this correspondence, Steele met Marie de Lotbinière Harwood in the summer of 1888 following his return to Fort Macleod from the Kootenay Valley. They fell in love and became engaged in October. Harwood came from a highly respected Quebec political and business family that could trace its roots to seigneurial families of New France; in December, she returned to Vaudreuil, QC to prepare for their marriage.

In this book, Connor Thompson has transcribed, edited, and introduced the first months of their correspondence. The letters offer insight into the personal side of Sam Steele. Readers will be immersed in their expressions of love and affection. And as Steele and Harwood prepare for their marriage and future life at Fort Macleod, they discuss their families, their family business interests, politics and religious considerations, the social and political life within the NWMP, and the life and society of Fort Macleod, their intended home. Steele writes about the dances, dinner parties, social activities, and gossip at Fort Macleod. Harwood talks about her family’s perspectives on the NWMP, on her perception of life at Fort Macleod, and on their potential life together. At the same time, they discuss the potential for promotion with the NWMP, the political issues of the era such as the Jesuit Estates controversy, and business opportunities.

The collection will be invaluable to researchers, but it is also exciting and entertaining to just read these intimate, private, and enlightening letters.

Ed: Connor J. Thompson, 2023 (HC 565 pp) ISBN 978-1-7772285-1-4


We have reprinted volume two of the Edmonton House Journals, 1821 -1826. All three volumes are now available for purchase individually for $60 each or the set of three for $160 plus shipping, a saving of $20. Full descriptions of each volume below.

Edmonton House Journals, 1826-1834


As Edmonton House entered its fourth decade, its future as one of the most profitable
Hudson’s Bay Company posts seemed secure, but were its best days behind it? John Rowand, the imposing figure in charge of the fort, struggled to adapt to the rapidly changing circumstances on the northwestern plains. American traders operating from the Missouri River began to draw off much of the trade of the Plains people, even as the relations among and within First Nations grew ever more acrimonious. Closer to home, and much to Rowand’s frustration, Métis families grew increasingly assertive and independent. Rowand could not find peace even within the fort’s palisades. Company servants chafed under the heavy hand of an increasingly irascible Rowand. The third volume of the Edmonton House Journals offers a fascinating glimpse at the day-to-day life at one of the HBC’s most important trading centres during this transitional period.

Ed: Gerhard Ens and Ted Binnema, 2020 (HC 562 pp) ISBN 978-1-7772285-0-7

Edmonton House Journals, 1806 – 1821


In 1795 the Hudson’s Bay Company established Edmonton House and the North West company Fort Augustus a few kilometres downstream from the present day city of Edmonton. Although both posts were moved several times, they operated side by side as the major administrative, trade, and provisioning centres on the North Saskatchewan River from 1795 to 1821, when the companies merged. The post journals and district reports from Edmonton House for the period from 1806 to 1821 are reproduced verbatim in this volume. Long available only to researchers with access to the collections of the Hudson’s Bay Company Archives, these journals and district reports provide a detailed day-by-day account of the Operations of Edmonton during this period.

Ed: Gerhard Ens and Ted Binnema, 2012 (HC 530 pp) ISBN 978-0-929123-20-2

Edmonton House Journals, 1821 – 1826


During the 1820s, Edmonton House re-emerged as the headquarters of a much larger Saskatchewan trading District of the Hudson’s Bay Company. Its fur gathering hinterland extended from the southern edges of the boreal forest near present day Westlock, Alberta, south to the Missouri and Yellowstone Rivers, and from the confluence of the North and South Saskatchewan Rivers west to the Rocky Mountains – in short, virtually all of what is now central ands southern Alberta, and parts of Saskatchewan and Montana.

The Bow River Expedition, 1822 – 1823 – Seeking to expand the fur trade more completely into what is now southern Alberta and northern Montana, the Hudson’s Bay Company dispatched an expedition of officers and en up the South Saskatchewan River in 1922, with excursions to the Red Deer, Bow, and Oldman Rivers. Though circumstances, such as hostilities by certain Aboriginal groups and the scarcity of timber, persuaded the Company not to build a permanent post during this time, the journal of the expedition contains a wealth of information about the land and the people living on it.

Ed: Gerhard Ens and Ted Binnema, 2016 (HC 440 pp) ISBN 978-1-55383-438-0

Mon Journal: The Journal and Memoir of Father Léon Doucet O.M.I. 1868 – 1890


The Missionary Oblates of Mary Immaculate were the dominant Roman Catholic religious congregation to serve in western and northern Canada. After their arrival in the Red River Settlement in 1845, the Oblates established a series of missions that spread across the Prairies, the Mackenzie Basin and the Arctic. Hundreds of Oblates served in those missions but most of these individuals have been overlooked by history.

Léon Doucet is one of these forgotten missionaries and his is characteristic of the French Oblates who abandoned family and country to serve in the Canadian North-West. Ordained in St-Albert in 1870, Doucet has the distinction of being the first Catholic priest ordained in Alberta and he served in that province for an incredible sixty-nine years prior to his retirement in 1939. He was the first Oblate assigned to the Blood and Peigan Reserves. This publication is a reproduction of Father Leon Doucet’s journal/memoir of his work amongst the Métis, Plains Cree, Blackfoot, and Stoney bands of central and southern Alberta between 1868 and 1890.

Readers of this volume will be able to reflect on what Doucet experienced and described many years ago in the midst of his duties as a missionary.

William Stewart Herron: Father of the Petroleum Industry in Alberta


In 1911, Herron began a life-long struggle to develop an oilfield west of his property near Okotoks, Alberta.

This collection of documents vividly illustrates the difficulties of the would-be oilman, and how he miraculously managed to hang on through the lean times of capital shortages, primitive technology, a world war, a distant bureaucracy in Ottawa and the competition of big companies.

Ed: Dr. David H. Breen, 1984 (HC 359 p) ISBN 0-88864-959-2

Aberhart: Outpourings and Replies


A collection of writings by one of Canada’s most controversial politicians. Accompanying are replies – some grateful, others unforgiving. Aberhart’s Social Credit government generated strong emotions, and this book explores Aberhart’s attempts to find peace and prosperity in a time of trouble and want.

Ed: Dr. David R. Elliott, (HC 296 p) 1991, ISBN 0-895379-08-3

On the North Trail — The Treaty 8 Diary of O.C. Edwards


In 1900, northern Alberta was visited for a second time by a commission seeking native acceptance of Treaty 8. Accompanying the commission as its physician was Oliver Cromwell Edwards whose diary presents a memorable account of the region at that time. Edwards’ description of northern travel is especially compelling – over the notorious Klondike Trail in wagons, down the mighty Peace in scows, and up the Athabasca in barges hauled by legendary Métis trackers. Also capturing the flavour of the northern wilderness are Edwards’ excellent photos, several of which are reproduced in this volume. To everyone fascinated by the northern wilderness, Edwards’ diary will be indispensable.

Ed: David Leonard and Beverly Whalen, 1999 (SC 122 p) ISBN 1-55056-657-1

A Paradise for the Poor – Hussar, Standard & Caroline, Alberta Letters of Ole Nissen, 1923 – 1937


Emigrating from Denmark to western Canada, Ole Nissen detrained at Hussar, Alberta, in 1923. He worked as a farm hand, rode the rails to Vancouver, cut and loaded rail ties west of Edmonton, then returned to Hussar to embrace farming. With the onslaught of the Great Depression, his fortunes waned and he and his wife Emmie were among thousands driven from the drought-stricken plains. In bush country at Caroline, Alberta, more trouble awaited them. Ole’s intimate diaries and letters from life at Hussar, Standard, Chancellor, Dorothy, and Caroline are writings of hope, elation, disappointment, departure and eventual rebirth and revitalization.

Ed: Joan Walter, 2001 (SC 166 p) ISBN 0-929123-11-5

Mountain Diaries, The Alpine Adventures of Margaret Fleming 1929-1980


Margaret Fleming (1901-1999) wrote of her lifetime of mountain adventure. A Canadian mountaineer, traveller, field naturalist, and teacher whose life spanned the twentieth century of alpine culture, she had an astute fascination with mountains. She was the first woman editor of the celebrated Canadian Alpine Journal, but her own stories remained unpublished. She sought beauty, serenity, and the art of idling. She did not conquer mountains – she dwelt with them, touching nature, friendship, and alpine time.

Ed: PearlAnn Reichwein and Karen Fox (SC 206 p) ISBN 1-55056-977-5

A New Day for Women, Life & Writings of Emily Spencer Kerby


Emily Spencer Kerby was a prominent social activist and educator in Calgary from 1904 to 1938. In 1914 she co-presented a petition of 44,000 names to Premier Sifton requesting the franchise for women. She was an outspoken advocate of women’s rights, the sanctity of marriage and maternity, and the dignity of home and health.

Ed: Anne White (SC 138 p) ISBN 1-55383-029-6

The Path of Duty: The Wartime Letters of Alwyn Brmley-Moore, 1914-1916


This is the updated and second edition of Alwyn Bramley-Moore’s letters written to his children at home prior to his death during the First World War vividly describing the training in England, the tense waiting and the fear in Flanders. The letters are tragic and touching, telling of the supreme sacrifice of a loving father.

Ed: Ken Tingley, 2005 (SC 148 p) ISBN 1-55383-106-3

In the Promised Land of Alberta’s North, The Northern Journal of Katherine Hughes (Summer 1909)


In 1908, a young writer for the Montreal Star and Edmonton Bulletin named Katherine Hughes became Alberta’s first Provincial Archivist. In the summer of 1909, she undertook a lengthy journey through northern Alberta and northeastern British Columbia to research the history of this vast region. Her journal, held by the Provincial Archives, has now been published. It discloses a wealth of detail on people, places and circumstances in the North, from Aboriginal cultures, treaty administration, and fur trade practices to transportation, experimental farming, and tar sands exploration.

Ed: Ken Kaiser and Merrily Aubrey, 2006 (SC 208p) ISBN 0-929123-15-8

Wilderness Outpost: The Fort Vermilion Memoir of Mary B. Lawrence 1898 – 1907


In 1898, Mary Lawrence together with her husband, Fred S. Lawrence travelled to Fort Vermilion. Fred’s father, Eratus, had established the Irene Training School at Fort Vermilion in 1879. This constituted the first genuine attempt by Euro-Canadians to instruct people of the First Nations in the Peace River Country in the ways of farming. Mary stayed in Fort Vermilion for nearly nine years. During this time, she compiled a memoir of her life there. The manuscript provides a vivid account of life at Fort Vermilion during this time and reveals much about the interaction of Euro-Canadian settlers, missionaries, traders and others with the resident Metis, Cree and Beaver people.

Ed: The Fort Vermilion Agricultural Society, Marilee Cranna Towes, 2007 (SC 310 pp) ISBN 0-929123-16-6

Frontier Life in the Mounted Police: The Diary Letters of Richard Barrington Nevitt NWMP Surgeon 1874-78


On July 23, 1874, Richard Barrington Nevitt was appointed as assistant surgeon with the newly formed North-West Mounted Police. Before leaving to meet up with the first contingent of NWMP recruits for their march west, he and his fiancée, Elizabeth Beaty, committed themselves to a remarkable pact. They agreed to write a kind of diary by correspondence about all that they did or thought – “no matter how trivial.” Elizabeth’s letters have not survived, but Nevitt’s family carefully preserved his letters detailing everyday life at Fort Macleod from 1874 to 1878. Later acquired by the Glenbow Archives, Nevitt’s letters also provide a rare glimpse into a 19th century long distance courtship.

Ed: Hugh A. Dempsey, 2010 (SC 218 pp) ISBN 0-9780929123-18-9


Winter Sports in the West

$11.95 Special Price $5.00

Ten essays portraying the history of Western Canadian sports are graphically presented in this book.

Beginning with sports and leisure in the 19th century fur trade, the authors relate fascinating and factual stories about the progression of winter sports in the four western provinces.

Ed: Elise Corbet & Anthony W. Rasporich, 1990, (SC 148 p) ISBN 0-929123-01-8


The Pioneer West #2 (articles reprinted from early issues of the Alberta Historical Review)



The Pioneer West #3 (articles reprinted from early issues of the Alberta Historical Review)



ALBERTA HISTORY back issues (discounts on large orders)

(Note: Autumn 2001 issue – $10.50)
(Note: Autumn 2003 issue – $10.00)



ALBERTA HISTORY, Cumulative Index, 2007-2017

Select this link for the FREE PDF version

Hard copy is available at the H.S.A. office – $8.00


ALBERTA HISTORY, Cumulative Index, 1978-1991