The Making of a Canadian Military Nursing Heroine
with Katherine Dewar
Tuesday, April 17, 2018 | 7 p.m. | Main Building Faculty Lounge

The April 2018 Island Studies Lecture takes place on Tuesday, April 17, at 7 p.m. in the SDU Main Building Faculty Lounge on the UPEI campus and will feature author Katherine Dewar speaking about “The Making of a Canadian Military Nursing Heroine.” The heroine in question is Prince Edward Island’s own Georgina Fane Pope (1862-1938) and is the subject of Katherine’s soon-to-be-released book from Island Studies Press: Called to Serve.

How does a young woman, born in 1862 into privileged circumstances in Prince Edward Island, rise to the top echelons of Canadian military nursing leadership? This Island Lecture Series presentation discusses Georgina Pope’s path to power through the second half of the 19th century and into the 20th. Among other things, it addresses the significance of her privileged and powerful lineage, the influence of her parents on her world view, and the inspiration of Florence Nightingale who invoked in Pope a “burning desire” to become an “army nurse” in a faraway land. The story takes us from Georgie’s rather sheltered life in Victorian Prince Edward Island to the “Boston States”; to the dangerous and primitive conditions she experienced as Superintendent of nurses in two South African Wars; to her work in the formation of the nursing component of the Canadian Army Medical Corps (PAMC); and to the battlefields of Europe during the First World War.

Katherine Dewar is the author of the award-winning book, Those Splendid Girls: The Heroic Service of Prince Edward Island Nurses in the Great War, 1914-1918. Katherine is retired from a career as a nursing instructor at the PEI School of Nursing, and is now committed to researching PEI’s colourful nursing history. Those Splendid Girls was shortlisted for an Atlantic Book Award, won the Publication of Year award from the PEI Museum and Heritage Foundation and the City of Summerside’s Heritage and Culture department, and Katherine herself is the recipient of the PEI Museum and Heritage Foundation Award of Honour for her outstanding contribution to Prince Edward Island Heritage.

Admission to the lecture is free and everyone is welcome to attend.


Alderney: Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, Threats!
with David Earl
Thursday, May 3, 2018 | 7 p.m. | Main Building Faculty Lounge

A special guest lecture in the Island Studies Lecture Series takes place Thursday, May 3, at 7 p.m. in the SDU Main Building Faculty Lounge on the UPEI campus. It features David Earl from Alderney, in the Channel Islands, speaking about Alderney: Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, Threats!

Alderney is the third largest of the British Channel Islands, which are UK Crown Dependencies. According to the results of a Census carried out in 2013, 50 per cent of the population (less than 2,000) is now aged 55 or over, while the number of young working-age persons on the Island has dropped by 47 per cent since 2001. More worrying, the number of children under 15 has dropped by 50 per cent over the same period. Despite a 17 per cent drop in the Island’s population in the period 2001‒2013, the States of Alderney (the Island’s government) has, so far, failed to reverse the decline.

The aim of this lecture is to paint a picture of the island and its people, as well illustrating its strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats. The lecture will be followed by an opportunity for questions, answers, and suggestions!

David Earl began his working life in the world of advertising and marketing but has spent much of his professional life in broadcast television and communications. He was recently awarded an MA in Modern War Studies from the University of Buckingham. David is visiting Prince Edward Island in order to learn more about the Island, and the work of the Institute of Island Studies.

Admission to the lecture is free and everyone is welcome to attend. For more information, please contact Laurie at iis@upei.ca or (902) 894-2881.


Anne of Charlottetown and Summerside: L.M. Montgomery’s Urban PEI
with Dr. Kate Scarth
Tuesday, May 15, 2017 | 7 p.m. | SDU Main Building Faculty Lounge

The regular May 2018 Island Studies Lecture takes place on Tuesday, May 15, at 7 p.m. in the SDU Main Building Faculty Lounge on the UPEI campus and will feature L.M. Montgomery scholar Dr. Kate Scarth speaking about “Anne of Charlottetown and Summerside: L.M. Montgomery’s Urban PEI.”

This presentation follows Anne of Green Gables to urban PEI: to Charlottetown and Summerside. In Anne of Green Gables, Anne goes to Queen’s College—a fictional version of Prince of Wales College—and in Anne of Windy Poplars, Anne is the principal of Summerside High School. Of course, Anne of Green Gables and its author L.M. Montgomery usually conjure up images of rural Avonlea and Cavendish, the beaches and farms of PEI’s north shore. Montgomery’s rural island is reflected in her own writings, and later film and TV adaptations from Kevin Sullivan’s 1980s miniseries starring Megan Follows to CBC/Netflix’s recent Anne with an E, and the many tourist sites like Green Gables that celebrate the author. While the rural looms large in her life and work, Montgomery was also a chronicler of urban Canada. She wrote journals and letters about her life in Charlottetown, Prince Albert, Halifax, and Toronto, while three novels, Anne of the Island, Anne of Windy Poplars, and Jane of Lantern Hill, have significant urban settings.

In the early twentieth century, when Montgomery was writing, Canadian cities and their suburbs were growing and offered amenities and possibilities—electric lights, fashionable shops, ice cream parlours, secondary and post-secondary education—not available in the countryside. Montgomery’s towns include these urban offerings and as harbourside island towns, Charlottetown and Summerside are particularly linked to the wider, modern world; the ferry, for example, that brings Anne to the island for the first time, comes and goes from the provincial capital. At the same time, Charlottetown and Summerside are at their best in the Anne books when they showcase PEI nature and rural life. Avonlea permeates Charlottetown: the capital’s exhibition showcases Avonlea goods and talents and the city’s newspapers describe Avonlea residents’ accomplishments. Anne continually seeks out the towns’ parks, graveyards, and the sea, reflecting a wider late-nineteenth-century and early-twentieth-century movement towards public green spaces and suburbanization. This presentation then asks: how does one of the most insightful writers of PEI and Canada’s literary landscapes grapple with the tensions between modernizing, globally linked, and growing towns and a traditional rural, agriculturally based island? The presentation also offers an urban dimension to a writer usually steeped in rural tradition, but who was writing about a Canada starting to become the urban nation it is today.

Dr. Kate Scarth is the Chair of L.M. Montgomery Studies and Applied Communication, Leadership, and Culture (ACLC) at UPEI.  Her research focuses on English and Canadian literature written from the eighteenth to the early twentieth century and she is particularly interested in fiction about urbanism and the environment. Her book, Romantic Suburbs: Sensibility, Ecology, and Greater London, is under contract with the University of Toronto Press. She is also leading a digital humanities, public engagement project about literary Halifax, Nova Scotia.

Admission to the lecture is free and everyone is welcome to attend.

This concludes our regular lecture series for the spring―unless something too good to pass up comes our way! Watch for the series to resume in the fall. For more information, please contact Laurie at iis@upei.ca or (902) 894-2881.



Our vision:

  • to be the leading centre of excellence on issues related to island studies scholarship, public policy, and engagement.

Our mandate:

  • To encourage a deep knowledge, understanding, and expression of Prince Edward Island;
  • To serve as a bridge between the University and Island communities;
  • To contribute to the formulation of public policy in Prince Edward Island;
  • To undertake and facilitate island studies research and education at local, national, and global scales.


UPEI book on Owen Connolly chosen PEI’s Publication of the Year

The book Owen Connolly: The Making of a Legacy was named PEI’s Publication of the Year at the annual PEI Museum and Heritage Awards ceremony held February 20, 2018, in Summerside. The book tells the rags-to-riches story of Irish immigrant Owen Connolly, who is best recognized today as the man whose bust sits atop the Churchill Arms building on Lower Queen St., Charlottetown.

Upon his death in 1887, Owen Connolly was one of the wealthiest men on Prince Edward Island, and he dedicated his fortune to bursaries for young Islanders of Irish heritage, so they might gain a higher education and achieve career success. To date, his estate has provided over $3 million in bursaries, and benefitted countless thousands of Islanders. The bursary program continues today.

Eight of those Islanders, including contemporary entrepreneurs Regis Duffy and Danny Murphy, are featured in the book’s color section, crediting the importance of the Connolly bursary to their early careers. Their families, like so many others, couldn’t afford higher education so the Connolly bursaries were a godsend.

This award-winning book is written by Leonard Cusack, and co-published by Island Studies Press at UPEI and the estate of Owen Connolly. The book is available at Island bookstores, including the UPEI bookstore.

Author Leonard Cusack and researcher Lori Mayne receive their citation for Publication of the Year for the book Owen Connolly: The Making of a Legacy, from Lt. Gov. Antoinette Perry, at the recent PEIMHF annual awards in Summerside.

Photo Courtesy Gov’t of PEI / Brian L. Simpson



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