Helen Creighton (1899-1989) is remembered as one of Canada's best-known folklorists — a pioneer researcher, collector and author whose career spanned sixty years, and whose reputation in the field is international. The prolific results of that career — photographs, sound recordings, textual records and moving images — are fully displayed in Dr. Creighton's personal papers, which form the largest private-sector fonds within Nova Scotia Archives holdings, and which constitute one of Nova Scotia's most significant cultural heritage resources.
Helen Creighton's professional interests ranged broadly and deeply across Maritime folklore and history, and included extensive work within the Gaelic, Acadian, Mi'kmaq, English, German and African-Nova Scotian traditions. The archival record accumulated from these investigations is rich in information and material about folk songs and ancient ballads, folk tales, dances, games, cures, proverbs, children's folklore — and, of course, the subject area for which Dr. Creighton is perhaps best known, namely the world of the supernatural — ghosts, superstitions, witchcraft and buried treasure.
The Nova Scotia Archives is pleased to offer here a multi-media web page leading to archival descriptions and content listings for the Helen Creighton fonds, making the results of her life's work accessible to new audiences near and far. For visitors interested in the highlights of Creighton's long life and career, we've provided a special Virtual Exhibit with over 50 photographs; three of Creighton's personal photo albums, fully digitized; several sound clips; a link to our YouTube channel, featuring the film adaptation of Bluenose Ghosts (NS Communications and Information Centre, 1975; 22:53 min.); and a selection of online documents, including first-hand accounts of the supernatural.
The Nova Scotia Archives gratefully acknowledges financial assistance from the Helen Creighton Folklore Society in the creation of this website.