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  • Two (Or Many More!) for Tea

    I have spent the last many months, with the help of a great group of Library Science students, transcribing the letters Marie (Maye) Steele wrote to her husband Sam. During the course of their twenty-nine year marriage, they had many opportunities to write letters to each other, due to Sam’s frequent absences from home. They […] ... read full post
  • Sam Steele Died 96 Years Ago Today

    After months of failing health, and mostly bedridden days, Sam Steele died at his home in Kent, England on January 30th, 1919, just a few weeks after his 71st birthday. The cause of death was attributed to the Spanish influenza infection that proved fatal for so many people world-wide in 1918-1919. Sam’s health was further […] ... read full post
  • Merry Christmas!

    This lovely Christmas card, blank on the inside, was among the Steele papers acquired by the University of Alberta. The sepia photograph featured on the card and labeled “A Canadian Glacier”, is in fact a picture of Alberta’s famous Lake Louise. The words on the card read: “To Greet you with all Good Wishes for […] ... read full post
  • An Ogopogo Sighting!

    Among the papers of Flora Steele, Sam and Marie Steele’s oldest child, is this wonderful sketch of Ogopogo, the lake monster reputed to live in Okanagan Lake, British Columbia. The provenance of the sketch is unclear, except that it was drawn by a Mr. William Park of Vancouver, B.C. and given to Flora. As an […] ... read full post
  • A Famous Sister

    Roger Pocock, a friend of the Steele family and whose papers were received with the Steele papers at the University of Alberta, is a fascinating individual in his own right. Adding to what makes Roger interesting, is the fact that he had a sister who was a very well known stage actress of her day. […] ... read full post
  • The End of Summer

    I came across this unique photo-card recently in the Steele papers housed at Bruce Peel Special Collections Library at the University of Alberta. It is a lovely sepia-toned photograph of Sam Steele’s son Harwood walking down a country road in Vaudreuil, Quebec with his cousins. The photograph is mounted on a card stock with a […] ... read full post
  • Report Card Time!

    For many Canadian students, the end of June means the school year is winding down, summer holidays are around the corner, and there is probably a report card being sent home. This was certainly the case for Flora Steele, Sam and Marie Steele’s oldest child, attending Havergal College, a Catholic boarding school for girls in […] ... read full post
  • A letter from John George Diefenbaker

    Harwood Steele, Sam and Marie Steele’s son, was a military man (served in both World Wars I and II), a writer, lecturer, and historian. He was also involved in maintaining his family’s records, and was very protective of his father’s legacy and image. The Harwood Steele fonds, received at the University of Alberta alongside the records […] ... read full post
  • Shopping for Furniture ca. 1907

    Upon his return to Canada from England in 1907, Sam Steele was appointed commanding officer of Military District No. 13 (Alberta and the District of Mackenzie), with headquarters in Calgary.  While Sam moved to Calgary to assume his position, his wife Marie and the three children remained in Montreal to allow Marie time to prepare […] ... read full post
  • Honouring the Fallen

    Very shortly after the conclusion of the Second Boer (1899-1902), Sam Steele was intent on commissioning a monument to honour those men of Lord Strathcona’s Horse who had been killed in action during this war. An artist he consulted with, and whose designs he considered, was the French-Canadian artist and sculptor Louis-Philippe Hébert. Hébert, well-known […] ... read full post