Creighton, Helen

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Creighton, Helen

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1899-1989

History

Helen Creighton was an author and pioneer in the field of folklore, both nationally and internationally. Born Mary Helen Creighton on 5 September 1899 in Dartmouth, N.S., she was the daughter of Charles and Alice (nee Terry) Creighton. She graduated from Halifax Ladies College in 1916, was a driver with the Royal Flying Corps in Toronto, 1918 and an ambulance driver for the Red Cross Caravan in Nova Scotia, 1920. She trained in social work at the University of Toronto until 1923, when she traveled to Mexico and taught school in Guadalajara. Her broadcasting career began in 1926 as 'Aunt Helen' on CHNS Radio. She began collecting folklore in 1928. Her first publication based on her findings was Songs and Ballads from Nova Scotia (1932). In all, she authored 13 books of folk songs, ballads, and stories. She served as Dean of Women at King's College, 1939 to 1941, and attended the Institute of Folklore at the University of Indiana, 1942. She compiled Maritime folklore and folk music for the National Museum of Canada, 1947-1965. Her final publication was Fleur de Rosier (1989). Her works have been the source for symphonies, operas, musical theatre productions, films, a ballet, and many recordings by professional artists. She received numerous awards for her achievements, including Distinguished Folklorist of 1981, six honorary doctorates, Fellow of the American Folklore Society, Honorary Life President of the Canadian Authors' Association, Order of Canada, and the Queen's Medal. She died in Dartmouth in 1989.

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