The Original Act, governing the Historical Society of Alberta was passed in 1907 by the Alberta Legislature. (Revised June 2, 1972). The object of the Society shall be to encourage the study of the history of Alberta and Canada, to rescue from oblivion the memories of the original inhabitants, the early missionaries, fur traders, explorers, and settlers of the north and west of Canada, to obtain and preserve narratives in print, manuscript or otherwise of their travels, adventures, labour and observations, to secure and preserve objects generally illustrative of the civil, religious, literary and natural history of the country.
The Historical Society of Alberta has been making a positive contribution to this province since March 15, 1907. Its founding father was Alexander C. Rutherford, premier of the province, who also founded the University of Alberta, and for a number of years Society meetings were held on the University campus. D.R. Babcock, Rutherford’ s biographer, wrote “His personal stamp is most evident in the educational and cultural institutions his government established: the public school system, the University of Alberta, the public libraries, the Historical Society of Alberta.” Rutherford remained president of the Society for thirty-two years, presiding at virtually every meeting until ill health forced him to retire.
During its long history, the Society has achieved many goals. It has attracted such speakers as the Hen. Frank Oliver, Chief Justice Horace Harvey, former Premier Richard G. Reid, and many pioneers, academics, and literary figures. During and after the 1940s, the Society had a representative on the Historic Sites and Monuments Board of Canada, which was responsible for preserving many historical landmarks in Alberta. It also has had representations on the Alberta Geographical Names Board, and a host of other heritage organizations and was a party to the drafting of the first heritage legislation for Alberta.
In the 1950s, the HSA’s stated aims were to promote Alberta’s history, to see the rebuilding of Fort Edmonton, the erection of highway signs, the preservation of trading post sites, the collection of manuscripts, and obtaining the reminiscences of pioneers. All of these aims, in one form or another, have been realized.
A major accomplishment of the Society was to launch the quarterly publication, Alberta Historical Review, in 1953. It was renamed Alberta History in 1975, and has remained one of the leading journals in Canada, combining both academic and popular history.
The Historical Society of Alberta was Edmonton-based until 1958, when it expanded to Calgary, and then to Lethbridge in 1961. Since then, it has further expanded its programs to Red Deer, representing Central Alberta, and to Grande Prairie, representing the Peace Country. The five groups are known as HSA chapters: Central Alberta Historical Society, Chinook Country Historical Society, Edmonton and District Historical Society, Lethbridge Historical Society and Peace Country Historical Society. The HSA maintains its office in Calgary with a largely volunteer based staff. It remains dedicated to the preservation and promotion of Alberta’s rich history.
Enjoy reading about Alberta’s rich past in our publications. Over 50 titles have been published or sponsored by the HSA’s Alberta Resources Publication Board (ARPB) or the HSA chapters.
The Historical Society of Alberta office is located in the heart of Calgary’s downtown in the historic Lancaster Building. For all contact information please visit Contact HSA.