Nova Scotia Archives

Built Heritage Resource Guide

Oral History

Our advice to researchers is always 'Start with what you know!' In this case, if the home or building you're interested in is located in a rural area or small town where family ties run deep, talk to the neighbours, to older residents, to relatives of former occupants, and visit the local museum. Record every piece of information that's offered! For example, the interviewee may not be able to remember exact dates, but may recall that the house was constructed or that changes and additions were made about the time a couple was married, a child was born, or a grandparent died. Then go to the Nova Scotia Historical Vital Statistics Website to try and establish a date for that event.

Clara Dennis, one of Nova Scotia's first professional travel writers, explored the province extensively during the 1930s. She took photographs of people, places, sites and buildings, and captured a way of life that has since disappeared. Along the way, she interviewed many interesting people — a number of those interviews involved old houses, and later found their way into her travel books. This is oral history at its best — captured with a view to documenting the past.

This Built Heritage Resource Guide is unusually rich in the information given in the Note Areas accompanying most images. So... when you scan down the pages, be sure to click on the thumbnails so that you can enlarge and explore the images, plus read the extra details provided beneath each.

Clara Dennis scan 200800438
"Cobb House, Liverpool, Queens Co." 
Photographer: Clara Dennis
Reference no.: Clara Dennis Nova Scotia Archives accession no. 1981-541 no. 429

Topic: Oral History
Clara Dennis scan 200803065
"Old Smyth House, Port Hood, Cape Breton" 
Date: 1930s
Photographer: Clara Dennis
Reference no.: Clara Dennis Nova Scotia Archives accession no. 1981-541 no. 10

Topic: Oral History
Clara Dennis scan 200803103
"Home of Don MacMaster, Craignish [sic], Cape Breton. Old Stone House" 
Date: 1930s
Photographer: Clara Dennis
Reference no.: Clara Dennis Nova Scotia Archives accession no. 1981-541 no. 3

Topic: Oral History
Clara Dennis scan 200803104
"Mr. and Mrs. Don MacMaster, Creignish, Cape Breton" 
Date: 1930s
Photographer: Clara Dennis
Reference no.: Clara Dennis Nova Scotia Archives accession no. 1981-541 no. 4

Topic: Oral History
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