Grant Powell, Carol
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Audio recording of Carol Grant Powell's May 1998 presentation to the Nanaimo Historical Society about her experience using family portrait photographs in her research about mid-nineteenth century childhood in Nanaimo. Grant Powell, a member of the historical society and a student at Malaspina University-College, primarily focuses her talk on a family photo of Nanaimo pioneers Adam Grant Horne, a former Hudson’s Bay employee, and Elizabeth Bate Horne, sister to Nanaimo’s first mayor, and five of their children. The photo originally came to Grant Powell’s attention when it was brought to a show and tell meeting of the historical society by Horne family descendant, Muriel Simpson. Grant Powell was instantly intrigued by the photo, started to research it, and decided to make it the focus of her paper for her comparative history of childhood course (a paper which later went on to win the Margaret Ormsby Essay Prize in 1997). Grant Powell shares some best practices for not only working with group portrait photos as primary sources, but also about carrying out research at the archives. She advises that when working with group portraits, one should set aside assumptions, especially those about familial relationships between people in the photo. Grant Powell describes her work to accurately date the Horne photograph, including her use of newspapers, a page from the Horne family bible, anecdotal evidence, and vital statistics records. In closing, Grant Powell summarizes some of her conclusions about Victorian childhood in Nanaimo.