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We invite you to read more about the history of labour in New Brunswick . . .

The New Brunswick Worker in the 20th Century: A Reader’s Guide - Front Cover One good place to start is The New Brunswick Worker in the 20th Century: A Reader's Guide. Although published in 1986, this selective annotated bibliography still remains a helpful guide to earlier publications on the history of working people in New Brunswick. Your local library may have a copy of the Reader's Guide, or you may consult it here on our website. We have created an online edition of the original publication to allow you to search for specific names, places or topics.


Our new web edition of the Reader's Guide makes it more accessible. For example, you can browse the Guide from one of three lists of titles (articles, books, theses) or you may look for specific references by using the search function of your browser. The bibliography has not been updated and the entries remain the same as in the 1986 print version, although some of the summaries have been corrected.


Two useful up-to-date bibliographies are also available online.

One is provided by Acadiensis, the leading scholarly journal devoted to the study of Atlantic Canada. The Acadiensis Index is a comprehensive subject and author index to the contents of the journal since the publication of the first issue in 1971.

The Canadian Labour History Bibliography is the most comprehensive bibliography of the Canadian working class and is maintained by the Memorial University of Newfoundland. It is easily searchable, updated annually. See also the Atlantic Canada Portal for a comprehensive bibliography of works published on the Atlantic Region.


The following pages offer an introduction to the history of working people in New Brunswick. There were several reasons for undertaking this project. Working people want to learn more about their own history, and among union members there is a concern that labour history be accepted as a legitimate part of provincial history. Among teachers there is an interest in identifying resources which can be used for presenting social history themes in the classroom, an approach which is often most effective when linked to local developments. It also strikes us that researchers and students need to have a convenient starting point for looking at New Brunswick from the perspectives of labour and social history. Despite the growing interest in this field in Canada in recent years, New Brunswick has not appeared prominently in this work; a recent bibliography published by the Committee on Canadian Labour History in 1980 contained only ten references to New Brunswick in its index.[1] In New Brunswick itself there has been an easy tendency to see local history in terms of the heroic experiences of the Acadians, Loyalists and other charter groups in provincial development. This project draws attention to a theme which all New Brunswickers have in common regardless of origin. The working-class experience may well prove to be one of the unrecognized unifying themes in New Brunswick history. By identifying and describing the work available on this subject, we hope to contribute to a greater public awareness of this important part of the social history of modern New Brunswick.

The approach followed in the Guide is inspired by recent developments in the field of labour and social history, and thus the subject is defined broadly and the work is drawn from many kinds of sources.[2] The history of industrial relations and labour organizations is included, but studies of strikes and unions sit side by side with autobiographies and community histories. The entries describe both scholarly and popular studies, short articles and long theses. In many cases we have identified chapters or passages which are of particular interest for working-class history.

Titles alone sometimes fail to convey the full scope of the contents of a publication. To overcome this problem we have provided descriptions of each item. Each of the items listed has been read with an eye for what can be learned about the world of work in New Brunswick. We have tried to give the reader an idea of the flavour and meaning of each item included. The annotations are, however, only summaries, and the full interest of each work can only be captured by reading the original source.

It is important to keep in mind that this is a selective bibliography, not a complete list of all possible sources. A large quantity of work was examined in libraries in all parts of the province, and the final selection represents a choice of what were considered the most useful available sources. Readers are invited to let us know about work that has been overlooked.

In each case at least one location has been provided where the item described can be seen. Usually this is at one of the major libraries in the province, such as the Harriet Irving Library at the University of New Brunswick in Fredericton. The locations are indicated at the end of each entry. A list of abbreviations used in designating libraries is provided. For many of these items, of course, other locations exist, and you are encouraged to annotate your copy of the Guide with locations which will be most convenient for your use.

The Guide includes both English and French-language materials. Entries are listed and described in the language in which they were published. In a few cases, where work was published in both languages, separate entries are given.

The entries are presented in alphabetical order, by author. To assist the reader in locating items of interest, an index has been prepared, listing, in both English and French, the names, places and subjects discussed in the annotations. In using the index, keep in mind that the numbers given are not page numbers but entry numbers. The number, for instance, does not refer to page 55 but to item number 55.

Our priority has been to draw attention to the surprisingly large amount of published material in the field. Theses are included and are treated as a form of publication. Otherwise, a number of worthwhile and important sources are not included. Unpublished, archival materials, such as original letters, manuscripts and records of organizations, are not included.[3] It has been necessary to exclude government documents, yet it is obvious that these are a rich source of documentation; all labour historians, for instance, turn frequently to a source such as the Labour Gazette, the monthly publication of the federal Department of Labour, established in 1900. Another useful source of social history is to be found in the collections of tape recorded interviews and oral history transcripts located at archives such as the Centre d'études acadiennes and the Provincial Archives of New Brunswick.[4] Documentary films have also been excluded from the bibliography, but teachers will be aware of the resources avai1able on film and videotape from the National Fi1m Board.[5] Although a number of periodicals have been included, researchers in social history will know how much information is to be found in the pages of community newspapers and 1abour publications; the research for many of the studies listed in the Guide depended heavily on such sources.[6] Final1y, no reader interested in the modern social history of New Brunswick workers can afford to ignore the rich contributions to be found in provincial literature, past and present; the work of Antonine Maillet and David Adams Richards, for example, has received international acc1aim and is rooted in their appreciation of the life of the common people of this province.[7]

Originally, the Guide was planned to cover the period from 1880 to 1980, but as the survey progressed we found that we could not do justice to the 19th century experience without pushing the starting date back much deeper into the 1800s. This was beyond our resources at this stage, and thus the Guide is limited to the years since the turn of the century. It is our hope that a second edition, or a second volume, can in due course begin to repair this deficiency. For the moment, however, we must note that there are several essential books dealing with the 19th century which should not be overlooked: Eugene Forsey's Trade Unions in Canada. 1812-1902 (1982) devotes proper attention to developments in New Brunswick; Graeme Wynn's Timber Colony: A Historical Geography of Ear1y Nineteenth Century New Brunswick (1981) analyses the world of the early 19th century timber trade, the foundation of the province's economy; Judith Fingard's Jack in Port: Sailortowns of Eastern Canada (1982) explores the golden age of sail from the perspective of the merchant seamen; Greg Kealey's Canada Investigates Industrialism (1973) contains extensive testimony given by New Brunswick workers before the Royal Commission on the relations of Labour and Capital in 1888.

The work on this project was begun in 1984, and for this reason only a few publications issued after that date are included. Users should be aware that much of the new work in the field is reported in two running bibliographies which appear in Canadian journals: “The Canadian Labour Bibliography” is published regularly in the pages of Labour/Le Travail: Journal of Canadian Labour Studies,[8] and “Recent Publications Relating to the History of the Atlantic Region” appears in each issue of Acadiensis: Journal of the History of the Atlantic Region.[9]

The Guide was prepared under the direction of David Frank, a professor in the Department of History at the University of New Brunswick. The principal research was undertaken by Carol Ferguson and Richard Clair. Additional work was completed by Richard McClellan and Raymond Léger. All five can be considered coauthors of the Guide. Additional tasks were performed by Beckey Daniel, Barry Parkinson, Sandra Barry, Darren Brown and Larry Hansen. We are grateful to Pat Burden for his early enthusiasm about the project. We are pleased to acknowledge the assistance of union members who provided suggestions and librarians who helped locate material. Special thanks are due to Janet McNeil and Eric Swanick for their useful advice and constant encouragement.

The Department of History at the University of New Brunswick provided space and other assistance necessary for the completion of the project, and we are grateful to Professor Peter Kent, the department chairman, for his cooperation.

The Reader's Guide was prepared and published with the assistance of a Canadian Studies: Research Tools grant from the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada. Without their support and cooperation, this project could not have been undertaken.

Copies of the Guide have been distributed to schools and libraries throughout the province. Copies have also been made available to union locals and labour councils throughout the province. While the supply lasts, additional copies are available free of charge to interested individuals and organizations. Write to David Frank, Department of History, University of New Brunswick, Fredericton, N.B. E3B 5A3.

Let us turn then to the pages of the Reader's Guide. This is a beginning, and it is clear that much remains to be done. We hope the Guide will invite more work in the field. Still, we have been encouraged to find so much completed work already available in the libraries of the province. We think the results make interesting reading. They offer a glimpse of the shape of the history of New Brunswick workers in modern times. We hope that users of the Guide will find themselves better informed about the history of New Brunswick and the large place which the working-class experience occupies in the identity of this province.

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