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The 2017 Barbara Powell Lecture

Wed., Apr. 12, 2017 7:30 p.m.

Location: Rex Schneider Auditorium, Luther College, University of Regina main campus

The Humanities Research Institute is pleased to present the 2017 Dr. Barbara Powell Lecture:

Anxious Days and Tearful Nights: Canadian War Wives During the First World War
Presented by Martha Hanna, Professor of History, University of Colorado

During the First World War more than 80,000 married men voluntarily enlisted in the Canadian Expeditionary Force. Some served for the duration and returned to Canada, their wives and (in many cases) their children in 1919; many enlisted in late 1915 and early 1916, and were sent overseas in time to participate in and become casualties of the major Canadian battles of 1917 at Vimy Ridge and Passchendaele. How did their wives cope in the most stressful and, arguably, most transformative year of the Great War? This presentation will draw upon the letters and service records of many Canadian married soldiers to determine how war wives experienced life on the home-front in 1917; and how they dealt with the economic stress, the emotional anxiety, and the pressing problems of everyday life occasioned by the war and their husbands’ absence.

Martha Hanna is a Professor of History at the University of Colorado, Boulder. She is the author of several articles and two books on the First World War, including Your Death Would Be Mine: Paul and Marie Pireaud in the Great War, which won the J. Russell Major Prize from the American Historical Association for the best book in French history in 2006 and the Distinguished Book Award from the Society for Military History in 2007. Born in Oshawa and raised in Winnipeg, she received her B. A. (Hons) from the University of Winnipeg and her M.A. from the University of Toronto, before moving to the United States to undertake doctoral studies at Georgetown University. Her interest in Canadian war wives’ experiences of the Great War is rooted in a long-standing curiosity about how her great- grandmother coped with wartime separation and, following her husband’s death on the Somme, the challenges of widowhood.