Nova Scotia Archives

1917 Halifax Explosion

Personal Narratives and other materials


First-hand survivor accounts, observations by visitors in the days immediately afterward, photographs, and other miscellaneous material relating to the disaster of 6 December 1917. This is a continuing series, with new items added each year, leading up to the centenary on 6 December 2017.

Some of the items presented below come from records accumulated by Archibald MacMechan, professor of English language and literature at Dalhousie University, Halifax NS. Immediately following the 1917 Explosion, MacMechan was requested by authorities to prepare an official history of the explosion and was given the title of director of the Halifax Disaster Record Office, 1917-1918. Records were created and accumulated by him during this employment, including correspondence, copies of reports, memoranda, journals containing typed notes and press clippings, and personal reminiscences detailing events of the disaster, such as damages, injuries, and medical and relief activities.



Personal Narrative given by H.M. Rosenberg, Dartmouth to Archibald MacMechanNew
Reference: Archibald MacMechan Nova Scotia Archives MG 1 vol. 2124 no. 46g -46h

Report of the Dwyer Home, Spring Garden Road, by Mrs. N. Duffus, 77 Inglis St.New
Reference: Archibald MacMechan Nova Scotia Archives MG 1 vol. 2124 no. 21

Report of the Visitation Branch of Relief Committee Work by Mrs. G.A. McKintosh assisted by Salvation Army StaffNew
Reference: Archibald MacMechan Nova Scotia Archives MG 1 vol. 2124 no. 32-32a

List of name of Districts and Visiting officersNew
Reference: Archibald MacMechan Nova Scotia Archives MG 1 vol. 2124 no. 32b, 32c, 32d

Investigation Committee Case Record FormNew
Reference: Archibald MacMechan Nova Scotia Archives MG 1 vol. 2124 no. 32e

Report of Volunteer Work Undertaken by Mrs. G. A. MacKintosh until midnight, Saturday, 8 December 1917New
Reference: Archibald MacMechan Nova Scotia Archives MG 1 vol. 2124 no. 34

Salvation Army Investigation ListNew
Reference: Archibald MacMechan Nova Scotia Archives MG 1 vol. 2124 no. 40

Memorandum for B.M. Armstrong, Controller, R.M.S. Ottawa from Office Supt. R.M. Services, Halifax, N.S. December 13, 1917New
Reference: Archibald MacMechan Nova Scotia Archives MG 1 vol. 2124 no. 41

Ships in the harbour after the Explosion
Reference: James Burn Russell Nova Scotia Archives accession 2007-062

Norwegian steamship Imo in the harbour after the Explosion
Reference: James Burn Russell Nova Scotia Archives accession 2007-062

Letter from Chester Brown to Lawrence, 12 December 1917
Reference: Chester Brown Nova Scotia Archives accession 2008-020

Letter from Chester Brown to 'Folks' in United States, 16 December 1917
Reference: Chester Brown Nova Scotia Archives accession 2008-020

Pass for Devasted Area No. 11788
Reference: Murray Kellough Nova Scotia Archives accession 2010-015

Letter from Ethel Jane Bond to Murray Kellough, 16 December 1917
Reference: Murray Kellough Nova Scotia Archives accession 2010-015

'Personal Narrative' given by Andrew Cobb, 20 June 1918 to Archibald MacMechan, Director, Halifax Disaster Record Office
Reference: Archibald MacMechan Nova Scotia Archives MG 1 vol. 2124 no. 131

Campbell Road (later Barrington Street) looking north from Rector Street after the explosion
Reference: Gauvin & Gentzel Nova Scotia Archives Photo / negative number N-201

I.C.R. Station and King Edward Hotel, Halifax, N.S.
Reference: Annabel Siteman Ells Nova Scotia Archives no. 55 / negative number N-9125

9. Halifax Railway Station, in which 60 persons were killed by falling roof
Reference: Nova Scotia Archives Photo Drawer - Places - Halifax - Explosion, 1917 - Postcards / negative number N-822

'Personal Narrative' given by Dr. M.J. Burris, Dartmouth to Archibald MacMechan, Director, Halifax Disaster Record Office
Reference: Archibald MacMechan Nova Scotia Archives MG 1 vol. 2124 no. 122

North End grocery store occupied by Robt. Dares, corner of Windmill Road and Jamison street
Reference: Nova Scotia Archives Library F 107 H13 EX7 no. 9

Showing the devastation and havoc wrought in north end of Dartmouth
Reference: Nova Scotia Archives Library F 107 H13 EX7 no. 9

'Personal Narrative' given by Rev. H.W. Cunningham, Rector of St. George's Anglican Church, Halifax to Archibald MacMechan, Director, Halifax Disaster Record Office
Reference: Archibald MacMechan Nova Scotia Archives MG 1 vol. 2124 no. 138

''Rev. Canon Henry Ward Cunningham, D.D., Rector, St. George’s Rectory…'' 28 September 1937
Reference: Nova Scotia Archives Photo Drawer - Interior Decoration - St. George’s Rectory no. 2

Hattie Young, Halifax, to Mrs. Young, 10 December 1917
Reference: Halifax Explosion Collection Nova Scotia Archives MG 27 vol. 9 no. 9

'Halifax Explosion' reminiscence of Jean Holder 6 December 1985
Reference: Halifax Explosion Collection Nova Scotia Archives MG 27 vol. 9 no. 4