Manitoba Historical Society
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Memorable Manitobans: Nancy Evelyn Sommerville “Nan” Shipley (1902-1990)


Born at Glasgow, Scotland on 6 November 1902, she came to Canada at an early age. On 4 November 1925, she married Harold George Shipley (1900-1994) at Winnipeg. They had a daughter before divorcing in 1966.

For many years a student of Canadian and Manitoba history, in 1957 she published the book Frances and the Crees about Frances Elizabeth Eleanor Stevens. In the years thereafter she published several more books, some of them children’s stories, some historical studies, and a biography (The James Evans Story, 1966). Much of her writing focussed on Aboriginal and Métis women. In 1959 she organized Manitoba’s first Indigenous handicrafts sales centre, and she was elected Woman of the Year in Manitoba by the Women’s Sales and Advertising Council in 1965. She received a Manitoba Golden Boy Award in 1966 and was awarded a Manitoba Centennial Medal by the Manitoba Historical Society in 1970.

She died at the St. Boniface Hospital on 23 January 1990. Some of her files, manuscripts, and photographs are deposited in the University of Manitoba Archives & Special Collections. Others are at the Archives of Manitoba and still others are at the University of Southern Mississippi.

Her articles for the Manitoba Historical Society:

Peguis - Friend of the Pale Face
Manitoba Pageant, September 1956

Some of her writing works included:




Anna and the Indians

Ryerson Press, Toronto


Frances and the Crees

Ryerson Press, Toronto


The Scarlet Lily

Frederick Fell, New York


Whistle on the Wind

Frederick Fell, New York


Return to the River

Peguis Publishers, Winnipeg


The Railway Builders

Ryerson Press, Toronto


The James Evans Story

Ryerson Press, Toronto


Road to the Forks: A History of the Community of Fort Garry

Self-published, Winnipeg


Wild Drums: Tales and Legends of the Plains Indians (with Alex Grisdale)

Peguis Publishers, Winnipeg


The Blonde Voyageur

Burns & Maceachern, Toronto


Churchill: Canada’s Northern Gateway

Burns & Maceachern, Toronto


International Peace Garden 50th Anniversary

Peguis Publishers, Winnipeg


From Slate to the Computer in the Transcona-Springfield Area 1873-1983

Transcona-Springfield School Division, Winnipeg


See also:

“A sad hiatus in our national history”: Indigenous Representations in the Work of Nan Shipley, 1950s-1970s by Jenna R. Klassen
Manitoba History, Number 88, Winter 2018


Marriage registration, Manitoba Vital Statistics.

“15 divorce decrees now final,” Winnipeg Free Press, 23 December 1966, page 2.

“Prolific local writer Shipley dies at age 87 after long career,” Winnipeg Free Press, 26 January 1990, page 35.

Obituary, Winnipeg Free Press, 26 January 1990, page 40.

Obituary [Harold George Shipley], Winnipeg Free Press, 14 May 1994, page 49.

Dictionary of Manitoba Biography by John M. “Jack” Bumsted, Winnipeg: University of Manitoba Press, 1999.

This page was prepared by Gordon Goldsborough.

Page revised: 8 April 2022

Memorable Manitobans

Memorable Manitobans

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