In Loco Parentis at Dalhousie

This photograph from The Family Archives prompted another question about what college life would have been like for my grandmother Velma Jane Moore when she attended Dalhousie University in Halifax, Nova Scotia from 1915-1918. The back of the photograph reads, Le Marchant St – Halifax – where V.M.B lived with Prof. Clarence Moore’s family when at Dalhousie, so of course I wanted to know why she would have been living with the family of one of her professors. Was it some kind of special arrangement, or had it been the norm?

Once again, the Dalhousie University digital archives provided the answer, this time in the Calendar of Dalhousie University for 1916-1917:1

The Alumnae Association opened Forrest Hall as an experiment to “alleviate the difficulty of finding sufficient boarding places for our girls attending college.”2 However, the house was small, with an average of only 12 girls living there at any given time.3 Forrest Hall was closed in 1917 due to financial conditions related to the World War.4

Reading further in the schedule, I found particularly interesting the following notice about a requirement for students to report their intended places of worship to the University President:6

I think it would be safe to say that in the first quarter of the twentieth century, the President’s office (if not the President himself) was serving in loco parentis for the young men and women pursuing a university education at Dalhousie. I expect that would have brought some measure of reassurance and comfort to Velma’s parents, George Baxter and Martha, back on the Economy Point farm.

Clarence Moore

Clarence Moore was a Dalhousie assistant professor of biology at the time Velma attended.5 I don’t have a record for that name in the Moore genealogy, but when I asked my mother recently about the name, she indicated that a branch of the family had settled in Halifax, so it’s likely that he and Velma were related. His name is now on my research list.

The Clarence Moore House Today?

When my husband and I took our trip to Nova Scotia in July of 2017, we tried to locate the former Clarence Moore house on LeMarchant Street with no success. Too much appears to have changed. The house may in fact have been torn down. This is the only one with the bay windows on the left:

I’m on the hunt for the house number of the Clarence Moore residence. However, my usual sources–HathiTrust, Google Books, Internet Archive, and Family Search–have come up dry. The Nova Scotia Archives has the applicable years of the McAlipine’s Halifax City Directory; however, they’re on microfilm only. I won’t be getting back to Halifax any time soon, so I’ve contacted the Nova Archives with a research inquiry.


1 Dalhousie University, Calendar of Dalhousie University: 1916-1917 (Halifax, Nova Scotia: W.m McNab & Son, 1916), 11.
2Dalhousie University Digital Archives.
3Dalhousie University Digital Archives.
4Dalhousie University Digital Archives.
5 Dalhousie University, Calendar of Dalhousie, 21.
6Arnold W. Thomas, ed., The Canadian Almanac and Miscellaneous Director for the Year 1913: Containing full and authentic Commercial, Statistical, Astronomical, Departmental, Ecclesiastical, Educational, Financial, and General Information, 1913 ed. (Toronto: Copp, Clark Company, 1912), 477.

2 thoughts on “In Loco Parentis at Dalhousie

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