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The Engagement Letters of Marie Harwood and Sam Steele

Steele cover Website

The Engagement Letters of Marie Harwood and Sam Steele $60.00

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

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