Perhaps nothing evokes a particular time and place more vividly than photographs: the stiff family studio portraits of the Victorians; sad, formal pictures of young men standing proudly in their First World War uniforms; grainy snapshots depicting people in the strange, comical styles of the 1940s. But because these were real people who lived and worked, married, had children, and died, studying old photographs fills us with a combination of curiosity, fascination, and nostalgia.
For her book, Mary Biggar Peck has selected over 160 black and white photos from 1885 to 1955, dividing them into nine sections under headings such as, "Rural Life," "War and Disaster," and "Ceremony and Celebration." Each section is arranged, when possible, in chronological order.
Fishermen and steelworkers, farmers and firemen, sailors and students, parents and children are captured at work, at school, and at play. Towns, bridges, buildings, parades, and picnics illuminate this glimpse of a vanished way of life.
These, of course, are photographs of life in New Brunswick and, as such, they present a living history of that province and its people.
A New Brunswick Album provides a delightful, memorable journey to the past for all of us and, as the author says, a family album for all New Brunswickers.
Born in Montreal of New Brunswick ancestry, research historian Mary Biggar Peck is a graduate of McGill and Carleton universities. She has worked in Ontario, Quebec, and New Brunswick, where she now lives in a house beside the sea on Deer Island. Her articles appear in Antique Showcase, the Canadian Collector and Horizon Canada. Her publications include From War to Winterlude - 150 Years on the Rideau Canal and The Bitter With the Sweet - New Brunswick 1604-1984, published during New Brunswick's Bi-centennial Year.
Her interest in photographs as a vital source of social history began in 1977 and 1978 when she presented a series of Atlantic Television programs based on historic photographs.
Lieutenant-Governor of New Brunswick, the Honourable George F.G. Stanley, O.C., has had a long and distinguished career. He taught at a number of Canadian universities, retiring in 1975 from his post as Davidson Professor and Director of Canadian Studies at Mount Allison University, New Brunswick, to devote his time to writing and to various public and charitable organizations. Dr. Stanley served overseas during the Second World War and is now Honorary Colonel of the Royal New Brunswick Regiment. Author of many books on Canadian history, Dr. Stanley has received numerous honours, including Officer of the Order of Canada.