Monday, July 27, 2015

WWI and Meaningful Objects

A collage I made for my e-book, Not Bonne Over Here, a collection of letters from 1914-1919 Canada from the Nicholson Collection of Letters.

Amanda Vickery, my favorite historian because of her History of Private Life series on BBC Radio Four, tweeted a Telegraph  news story today about a book called WWI in 100 Objects. It's by Peter Doyle.

Interesting. An iron cross, butcher bayonette, Gallipoli Road Sign.  I don't see, at first glance, any Canadian objects, but I  might be wrong.

I'm going to add three of the objects I have lying around the house, Canadian memorabilia from the Nicholson and Wells Collections.

One I use as a doorstop. Two are  pieces of paper I keep in a box with lots of other interesting stuff.

The door stop is a crushed shell (I think that's what it is called) brought home from the Front by my husband's Uncle Ted.

The other is a Registration for WWI for Norman Nicholson, the patriarch of the Nicholson Family who was 64 in 1917.

They signed everyone up, I guess, once Borden won the Conscription Election. But only a few thousand men ended up going to the Front as draftees.

See my YouTube video Furies Cross the Mersey, about the Canadian suffragists and the mess they got themselves into over the Conscription Election.

The Registration Form says Norman Nicholson was duly registered for National Purposes the 22 of June, 1918. A note at top says the form must ALWAYS be carried upon the person.

Now the shell might have been made in Canada. (Probably was.)  Indeed, in 1917 Norman Nicholson worked as an inspector at the Rand Factory in Sherbrooke, Quebec, where they were making ammunition.

At Christmas I put a candle in the shell. "In Flanders Field, the poppies grow."

And the third object is a butter bill from WWI era, showing how the cost of butter went up each consecutive month in 1917.

This was why the local grocery store sent around a flyer to Richmond, Quebec homemakers in 1916 announcing  a new product, Crisco shortening. (I have that flyer too.)

Years ago I sold another WWI object in a yard sale, my French Uncle's WWI trunk. A collector came early and grabbed it right away. At that moment I realized I should have kept it.