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  • Christmas Greetings

    As we are nearing the mid-mark of December, I want to share a Christmas card in the Steele collection that Sam and his wife Marie sent to family and friends while living in England during World War I. The card is quite lovely with its simple sketch and blue ribbon tie. Just like Sam and Marie, […] ... read full post
  • Faith Fenton says farewell

    On his departure from the Yukon in 1899, Sam Steele received many letters of farewell from Yukoners sorry to see him go. One such letter was from Faith Fenton, which appears below. Faith Fenton was the pseudonym for Alice Freeman, an investigative journalist who began her career in 1886 as a columnist for the Northern Advance daily […] ... read full post
  • Racing at Macleod

    Fort Macleod, established in 1874, was the first NWMP outpost in Western Canada. The Fort, including the police barracks and village, was relocated to higher ground in 1884 to counter flooding concerns, and the community thrived. Macleod served as a hub for Southern Alberta’s ranching district, and for Sam Steele and his family, Macleod was the place they called […] ... read full post
  • A Parting Gift

    Recently, I have been looking at the correspondence around Sam Steele’s departure from the Yukon in 1899. While it is not absolutely clear why he is being removed from the Yukon, it does appear that his ‘reassignment’ is politically motivated. Sam, I believe, is both dismayed and relieved to be ordered out of the Yukon […] ... read full post
  • Canadian Pacific Railway Connections

    An important policing duty for Sam Steele and his North-West Mounted Police constables was keeping order along the construction route of the Canadian Pacific Railway as track was painstakingly laid east across the prairies and through the Rocky Mountain range. Besides policing the men hired to lay the track, the police had to deal with […] ... read full post
  • Sharing Our Collection

    Jeff Papineau, a staff member at Bruce Peel Special Collections Library at the University of Alberta, traveled to Calgary in June with fellow University of Alberta staffer Josh Bilyk to set up a display of some items from our Sam Steele holdings. The display was mounted at the Spruce Meadows Equestrian centre on the weekend […] ... read full post
  • Portrait of a Canadian Icon

    We have prepared an exhibition highlighting fascinating items from the Steele Collection.  It includes original corrspondence, diaries, scrapbooks, military papers, and photographs. Please visit the exhibition at the Bruce Peel Special Collections Library from July 11 – October 14, 2011. ... read full post
  • Captain Roger Pocock – A Steele Family Friend

    Along with the papers of Sam Steele and his immediate family, the University of Alberta also acquired the papers of the Steele’s family friend, Henry Roger Ashwell Pocock. As described in our Steele Collection catalog, Roger Pocock “worked by turns as a North-West Mounted Policeman, peddler, jounalist, missionary, sailor, prospector, novelist and artist”, and is […] ... read full post
  • The Gift of a Mascot

    In looking for items to display at special events celebrating Lord Strathcona’s Horse (Royal Canadians), I have been looking in particular at photographs in our Steele Collection which reflect Steele’s stint as Commander of the original Lord Strathcona’s Horse, formed in January 1900 to serve in the South African (“Boer”) War.  While there are some lovely […] ... read full post
  • Father and Son Serve Together

    Lately, I’ve been reading the Steele correspondence related to Sam’s military service during the first World War. His position with the Canadian military, while rife with controversy and confusion, primarily saw Sam Steele training Canadian troops at Shorncliffe in the Southeastern District of England. He desperately hoped to see front-line action himself, but that was not […] ... read full post