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 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.

Watch for another lecture about islands – near and far – May 15. 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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