- Digitization Services
In the First World War, Canada experienced a publishing boom of memorial volumes, dubbed "Honour Rolls" or "Rolls of Honour," which sought to preserve the names and faces of those who died overseas. Today, these volumes are an essential resource for investigating the attitudes, behaviours, and rituals of a society experiencing bereavement and trauma on a mass scale. As valuable compilations of service information and expressions of collective mourning, these records are ideal subjects for scholarly investigation, family history, teaching, and personal reflection.
Honour rolls were selected for digitization and preservation as a record of Canadian cultural memory from an era that coped with loss in unprecedented ways, with the bereaved being deprived of the physical remains of loved ones buried overseas. Many volumes are prefaced with hagiographic tributes in which the work of mourning is transformed into a language of patriotism - the courage, sacrifice, duty, and religious mission of the dead imposing explicit social and political obligations on the living. As historians have noted, the "cult of the dead" that developed during the First World War would crystallize into a national mythology and would form a powerful component of Canadian identity after the war, notably in English Canada.
The following titles are a narrow cross-section of a vast body of commemorative books and pamphlets issued by virtually every Canadian city, parish, school, and professional organization whose members enlisted in the Canadian contingent in the First World War.
• Overseas Record (Queen’s University, 1917?)
• McGill Honour Roll, 1914-18 (c.1926)
• Roll of Honour (Winnipeg Electric Railway Company, 1917?)
• "Roll of Honour" in Langley Dominion Day Festival (Langley, BC, 1917?)
• Record of service, 1914-1918 (University of British Columbia, 1924)
• Roll of Honour (Corporation of Land Surveyors of the Province of British Columbia, 1919?)
• The Golden Book (Canadian Military Institute, 1927)
• University of Toronto Roll of Service, 1914-1918 (1921) New!