Wednesday, 27 July 2011 09:01

New book highlights history of southwest Alberta in photos

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Pincher Creek
Bessie Vroom-Ellis, former resident of Pincher Creek and author of the social history series, The Vrooms of the Foothills, has just released her third book, When the Work's All Done This Fall.

In a press release, Vroom-Ellis said this third instalment extends the story of her first two books about settlers and homesteaders in southwestern Alberta in the late 1800s and early 1900s, with this third volume containing seven maps and more than 270 photos.

“The photos vividly illustrate family work, play, hobbies and passions. They are from the descendants of homesteaders and pioneers who settled in the southwestern Alberta communities of Beaver Mines, Pincher Creek, Twin Butte and Waterton Lakes National Park.”

Captions for the photos, said Vroom-Ellis, are memory-filled vignettes highlighting social history from the 1890s to the 1940s.

Vroom-Ellis said Canadian historian, Hugh A. Dempsey, stated, “History appears in many forms, but one of the best ways of recounting the past is through photographs. They tell a story without words, an event without description or a landscape without prose.”

To this end, Dempsey stated Vroom-Ellis had accomplished this goal effectively.

“… daily life, scenes and special events come to life in a remarkable collection of photographs featuring the foothills and its people. These images are reinforced by extensive captions that tell the story behind them. This book is a special treat,” said Dempsey.

Having attended one-room country schools for her elementary education, ridden on horseback and made a round trip of nine miles each day, Vroom-Ellis graduated from Pincher Creek High School and attended Calgary Normal School then taught school for nearly 30 years.

Over the years Vroom-Ellis earned a post-graduate diploma in Educational Administration.

During the more than 20 years she lived in Waterton Park, Vroom-Ellis wrote the column Wonderful Waterton for The Lethbridge Herald. She also contributed news items to the Calgary Herald and the Calgary Albertan, and to two radio stations and a television station in Lethbridge.

Vroom-Ellis was also active in politics and in the early 1980s the Saskatchewan New Democratic Women established the Bessie Ellis Fund to assist women running for office.

In 1992, Vroom-Ellis was awarded the Commemorative Medal for the 125th Anniversary of Confederation, “in recognition of significant contribution to compatriots, community and to Canada.”

Upon retiring she returned to her writing.

Books by Bessie Vroom Ellis are sold at Save On Foods, Lethbridge; Kootenai Brown Pioneer Village, Pincher Creek; Marly’s Video Plus, Fort Macleod; Claresholm A.R.P.; Townsend Drugs, Claresholm; Twin Butte General Store; Beaver Mines General Store and Waterton Park Natural History Association bookstore. Her books are also available at Trafford Publishing Bookstore (1-888-232-4444 or email   This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. ).

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