Archivist Note: A special summary todate

Hi. I’m the archivist here at Glenbow who is in charge of posting Harold McGill’s First World War letters to this blog. We have been posting Harold’s letters for about a year and a half now, and the war is still far from over! This is pretty much what has happened so far:

• Harold McGill joined the war effort in 1915 and has been serving as a doctor on the front lines in France
• Emma Griffis started a correspondence with him from her home in Calgary
• Emma moved to England in 1917 to serve as a nurse in a military hospital
• Harold and Emma fell in love, through their letters, and during Harold’s short leaves in London
• They have just married (December 1917) and Harold has immediately returned to the front

The letters take on a somewhat different tone at this time. Instead of longer, less frequent letters, Harold is now writing shorter, more frequent letters to his new wife, very much along the lines of “I am alive and well, and thanks for sending me the lovely scarf”. He is writing fewer details of battles and medical activities because there is less fighting going on while the weather remains bad, and also because he has become the official military censor of the letters written home by the men in his command. This has undoubtedly led him to be more circumspect in the details that he writes to Emma.

We have decided to begin publishing four letters a week instead of just one letter, starting next week, as this reflects the increased frequency of Harold’s letters to Emma, and because of their relatively short length.

We hope you’ve enjoyed the letters as much as we have and will continue to follow Harold’s blog until November 11th, 2008 at which time Glenbow Archives will have posted the entire collection of McGill letters.

Susan M. Kooyman
Archivist, Glenbow Archives

Published in: on November 9, 2007 at 8:00 am  Comments (3)  

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3 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. Hi Susan, congrats on this work to date! A fab idea to post your comments from behind the scenes. Keep posting! K

  2. Hi Susan,

    This blog resonates extremely strongly (particularly) today. You’ve managed to bridge the gap between the past, the present and those who “only stand and wait” in an extraordinary way. This is extremely moving.

    Thank you.


  3. я думаю: восхитительно!

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