Book Award for Dr. Catharine Wilson's Being Neighbours | College of Arts

Book Award for Dr. Catharine Wilson's Being Neighbours

Posted on Thursday, November 9th, 2023

The Champlain Society has awarded our own Dr. Catharine Anne Wilson this year’s Floyd S. Chalmers Award for Ontario HIstory for her book Being Neighbours: Cooperative Work and Rural Culture, 1830-1960, published by McGill-Queen’s University Press. The book "immerses the reader in Ontario’s farm neighbourhoods from the pioneer era into the 1950s. She demonstrates that work bees were not a simple response to pioneer conditions but fundamental in sustaining independent farm families and their communities. These reciprocal labour exchanges helped solve labour and equipment shortages and offered a sociable approach to tedious, repetitive tasks. Her innovative methodology mines more than one hundred rural diaries to discover how families participated in bees. Some attended dozens in a year. Wilson mentions an astonishing fifty different types of bees, devoting full chapters to three of the most important, quilting, barnraising and threshing. Her book explores bees’ economic and social significance, ground rules and aberrations, moral and technological dimensions. It skillfully situates the story within broader literature on rural order, dispute resolution and cooperative labour. Engaging writing and plentiful photographs add to the appeal of this groundbreaking work."

Congratulations from all of us!

Read the press release