After my grandmother Velma Jane Moore graduated from Dalhousie University in 1918, she trained as a librarian and worked in that capacity until her marriage to Ronald Dalrymple Brown in 1926. This was Velma’s early history as our family knew it.
When I inherited The Family Archives, I found a June 1918 photograph of Velma posing with a group of other young women outside of the Provincial Normal College in Truro, which led me to think she might have attended the Normal College prior to matriculating at Dalhousie.
In the summer of 2017, as my husband and I were preparing to make a trip to Economy, Nova Scotia to see where Velma had grown up, I learned that the Little White Schoolhouse Museum in Truro held the archival records of the Provincial Normal College. With photo in hand, I went to the museum, but the volunteers were unable to find any record of Velma’s having attended the Provincial Normal College. Here is a link to the blog post I wrote about my false assumption at that time: In Search of Velma Brown [MOORE]: Another Assumption, Another Rethink.
Upon our return home from Nova Scotia, I wanted to learn more about Velma’s education. What I found in the Nova Scotia provincial reports published in the Journal of Education challenged what our family thought we knew about her early life:1
I told my mother about what I’d found, and she insisted that Velma had never been a teacher. Perhaps she’d just trained as a teacher? I decided to e-mail the Little White Schoolhouse Museum:
I’m looking for information on my grandmother Velma Jane Moore’s training as a teacher.
I’ve discovered in the Nova Scotia Journal of Education 1918-1919 that she was awarded a Superior First Rank Diploma from Provincial Normal College in 1917-1918 (p.91) and a Teacher’s License, A Superior First in 1918 (p. 95). She graduated from Dalhousie University in 1918 with a BA in Biology with a minor in English.
The two questions I have is what the relationship was between Dalhousie University and the Provincial Normal College at that time and how I might be able to find out whether she actually worked as a teacher. (Her teaching credentials come as a complete surprise to her family!) We’d greatly appreciate any help you can give us.
I received the following response with a week:
Hello, Elizabeth Gauffreau:
I am a volunteer at the Little White Schoolhouse Museum in Truro, Nova Scotia, and your e-mail requesting information on Velma Jane Moore was passed on to me. I will try to answer your two questions.
(1) I do not think that there was any special relationship directly between Dalhousie University and the Provincial Normal College in 1918. In the 1917-1918 Register of the Provincial Normal College, the first 24 transcripts are for students who had university degrees or had attended some university for at least three years. These twenty-four had attended a variety of different universities. It appears as if those who had a university degree needed to attend the Provincial Normal College only from May 5, 1918 to June 20, 1918 in order to earn a Diploma, while those who did not have a degree but had attended a university for at least three years needed to attend Provincial Normal College from September to the Christmas break in order to get a diploma. It seems as though this was a general rule no matter which university was attended.
(2) Apparently she did teach for at least one year. The Nova Scotia Journal of Education October 1919 (page 139), and the Nova Scotia Journal of Education April 1918 (page 13) both show that Velma J. Moore taught in Colchester West. Between them they show that she taught 102 days from September, 1918 to January 31, 1919, and another 103 days from February to June 30, 1919. The Journals do not tell which school she taught in, only that it was in Colchester West. Her home community of Economy was in that area of Colchester County known as Colchester West. We do not have the Nova Scotia Journal of Education for Sept. 1919 – June, 1920, but I could find no other reference to her in later Journals.
The Transcript for Velma Jane Moore is #18 in the 1917-1918 Register of the Provincial Normal College. It shows a number of things, such as that she was a Presbyterian, was 21 years old when she attended PNC, she had a Bachelor of Arts Degree from Dalhousie University, and it was noted that she had a pleasant disposition and was conscientious and industrious. Elsewhere in the Register it mentions that she lived at the house of Mrs. Robinson Cox in Bible Hill while attending PNC; this may have been quite a daily walk for her in order to attend classes. If you would like to have a photocopy of her transcript, please e-mail me your complete name and mailing address exactly as it should appear on the envelope, and I will send you the Transcript by Canada Post. Please send your name and address to me at . . . if you want a copy, as I do most of this work from home on my home computer. Thanks!
I hope that this information is useful and interesting to you.
Harold Stewart, Volunteer
Little White Schoolhouse Museum
P.O. Box 25005
Truro NS B2N 7B8
A huge thanks goes to Mr. Stewart for filling in this year of Velma’s life. The Family Archives now include a copy of her Provincial Normal College diploma.
1Province of Nova Scotia, “Being the Semi-Annual Supplement to the Report of the Superintendent of Education for Nova Scotia,” supplement, Journal of Education, 3rd ser., IX, nos. 1918-19 (April 1918): 91, 99, 139, https://babel.hathitrust.org/cgi/pt?id=uiug.30112106949099;view=1up;seq=239.