Wednesday, 20 April 2011

Ottawa Historical Association: Public Lecture, April 21

The Ottawa Historical Association issues an open invitation for its fifth and final public lecture of its 2010-2011 season. The speaker this month is Dr. Forrest Pass and his lecture is entitled “Strange Whims of Crest Fiends: Family Crests and Family Histories in Nineteenth-Century North America.” It will take place on Thursday, April 21, at 8pm at the Faculty of Arts and Social Science Lounge, Dunton Tower Room 2017, Carleton University. The lecture is free and all are welcome to attend.

The lecture traces popular North American concepts of the relationship between genealogy and heraldry to a “crest craze” that swept the eastern United States during the late nineteenth century. Once the preserve of descendants of well-established colonial families, so-called “family crests” were adopted by the new rich as symbols of their new status; they proudly displayed coats of arms on their silverware, stationery, coaches, and even their household pets. The proliferation of heraldry aroused some anxiety among those Americans who saw in it the insidious mark of aristocracy, but it also created a new industry in the production of family crests and family histories. As a result, new popular conceptions of family history and family heraldry emerged that explicitly reflected North American economic conditions and cultural values.

Forrest Pass holds a doctorate in History from the University of Western Ontario and is currently Saguenay Herald at the Canadian Heraldic Authority. His research interests include the relationship between visual symbols and identity formation at the national, regional, and family levels.

For more information, please e-mail contact@ottawahistoricalassociation.com.
The Ottawa Historical Association gratefully acknowledges the support of the Department of History and the Dean of the Faculty of Arts and Social Science, Carleton University.


via Bruce Elliott

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