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Shirlee Anne Smith

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Shirlee Anne Smith
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Archivist, historian.

Born in Pictou County, Nova Scotia, in a village established in 1785 by her Huguenot ancestors, she grew up surrounded by history. Evenings were spent listening to stories from past centuries about the building of wooden sailing ships, the havoc created by gales sweeping along the Northumberland Strait, and the shopping trips, on foot, over the mountains to Truro to purchase tea and sugar.

Smith, who has a BA in history, spent her entire professional career working either directly or indirectly for the Hudson’s Bay Company. In 1973, she was posted to London to transfer the Company’s records to Winnipeg becoming, in the process, the first Canadian Keeper of that internationally known Archives. A considerable amount of her time as Keeper was spent advising, encouraging, and persuading students to complete their research for their postgraduate degrees.

Like many of her colleagues, she has written articles, book reviews, conducted workshops, and edited numerous manuscripts for publication. In addition to being a President of the Manitoba Historical Society, and an ardent supporter, she has also served on a number of Boards and Committees among them being Canada’s National History Society, the National Archival Board, and the City of Winnipeg Advisory Board on the Arts. Since resigning from the Archives in 1990, she has spent her time as an inordinately active Anglican, doing freelance research, and travelling to various countries.

In recognition of her community service, she was inducted into the Order of Canada (1984) and she received a Distinguished Service Award from the University of Manitoba, Manitoba Centennial Medal from the Manitoba Historical Society (1970), Prix Award from the Province of Manitoba (1995), and Queen Elizabeth II Golden Jubilee Medal (2002).

Her articles for the Manitoba Historical Society:

Review: Edward Beauclerk Maurice, The Last of the Gentlemen Adventurers: Coming of Age in the Arctic
Manitoba History, Number 52, June 2006

Review: J. M. Bumsted, Lord Selkirk: A Life
Manitoba History, Number 61, Fall 2009

See also:

Shirlee Smith Honored by Laird Rankin
Manitoba History, Number 9, Spring 1985

Page revised: 2 January 2020

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