Nanaimo school records

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Brown, Helen H.
Audio recording and transcript of Dr. Helen Brown's April 2000 presentation to the Nanaimo Historical Society about the importance and value of Nanaimo's early school records. Between 1890 and 1900, Nanaimo experienced rapid population growth, and Brown talks about the impact that incease had on local schools. She outlines the different records that reflect the history of education in the city, from the annual statistical reports produced by the province, to the local records which include: city council and school board meeting minutes, newspaper articles, and school registers. Brown presents the idea that the local and provincial records reflect two perspectives on the same reality, and both are necessary to effectively understand early education in Nanaimo. Brown explains how the Nanaimo city council responded to the 1891 legislation that transferred the cost of education from the province to municipalities, and how this relates to the study of the state formation. She gives an account of early schools in Nanaimo, and explains how the word "school" could at different times mean a building, a site, or a group of teachers and students. Brown addresses the topic of feminization of teaching, and outlines how Nanaimo challenges the historical record. She gives specific examples of how local school trustees hired women for teaching positions, despite having male applicants who were well qualified and experienced. In closing, Brown talks about surviving early Nanaimo school registers, and explains their value in determining gender and age details about Nanaimo's student population at the end of the 19th century.