Sunday, 30 March 2014

Barbara Wilson R. I. P.

Passed away peacefully, March 21, 2014, in her 83rd year. Daughter of the late William B. and Olive Wilson, of Ottawa. ... She had a long distinguished career at the Public/National Archives of Canada.
Extracts from appreciations posted by colleagues.
  • Barbara was a terrific archivist and a good colleague.
  • We have lost a passionate historian and a charismatically pungent personality! Never to be forgotten.
  • Barbara was a great archivist and a great colleague. She was very helpful when I started at the Public Archives in 1968. Also as my knowledge of the language of Shakespeare was minimal,she taught me how to pronounce English names properly with of course her sense of humour.
  • Barbara leaves a living legacy at Library and Archives Canada through her fabulous archival work and finding aids to military materials. She created these in much earlier technological times and deserves our deep appreciation. I remember her as a pleasant and thorough mentor.
  • Barbara was a model archivist - deeply knowledgeable, strongly committed to the records under her custody and to sharing her knowledge with researchers. I'm not convinced that there is anything about Canada's military history that she did not know.
  • As an early mentor of mine, Barbara steered me in the right direction on all matters archival. Her knowledge of our military history and the records of that history was simply amazing and over several decades, she made a significant contribution to our understanding of the past - through her own publications and in assisting others, so many others, with their research and writing. I always found her helpful and while our paths took different directions in recent years, I will always recognize and remember Barbara as the one who encouraged my interest in the Great War.
  • Barbara was one of the leading figures in the field of Canadian military history, a master of the records, a well-respected colleague, who will be missed
Comment from Glenn Wright:

Amongst other achievements, Barbara researched and compiled LAC's "Guide to Records Relating to the Canadian Expeditionary Force", initially done by hand before computers (she never would use a computer anyway!).. Less well known is the fact that she co-authored with Charles Stacey (one of Canada's finest military historians,The Half Million, a book that examines the impact of the Canadian Army on the people of the UK during the Second World War -- very informative and still a good read.

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