Swetnam family fonds

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Swetnam family fonds

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Accession 2010-008

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  • 1917-1921 (Creation)
    Swetnam, William James, 1878-1973

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17 leaves of textual records

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Biographical history

Rev. William James Swetnam was born in Wolverhampton, England in May 1878, the son of William and Ellen (Wood) Swetnam. He came to Canada in 1902 as a lay minister with the Methodist Church and after studies in Montreal was ordained in Riverport, Nova Scotia. Thereafter, he held charges in Truro, Whitney Pier, Glace Bay, Parrsboro, Halifax, Bridgetown, Bermuda, Pugwash, Nappan, Shelburne, Gabarus, and Port Mouton. He was first married to Elizabeth “Lizzie” Louise Astbury, the daughter of Rev. John and Frances (Lowe) Astbury, born in August 1879. They had two children: Carman A. who was born in January 1910 and Dorothy Louise who was born in Glace Bay on 27 March 1911. At the time of the Halifax Explosion in 1917, Rev. Swetnam was the minister at the Kaye Street Methodist Church. His wife and his son were both killed during the explosion. He remained in Halifax for two years afterward overseeing the reconstruction of the church but ultimately moved to Truro, Nova Scotia. He subsequently remarried to A. Jean MacDonald and had two children: William D. and Isabel. Rev. Swetnam died on 13 January 1973.

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Biographical history

Dorothy Louise Swetnam was born in Glace Bay, Nova Scotia on 27 March 1911, the daughter of Rev. William James and Elizabeth "Lizzie" Louise (Astbury) Swetnam. Her mother and brother were both killed during the Halifax Explosion on 6 December 1917. Dorothy was an accomplished pianist, having studied at Mount Allison University. She served as the head of the piano department at the Canadian Academy in Kobe, Japan, taught at Mount Royal College in Calgary, and toured with a variety of performers. She married Clayton Hare in 1943 and together they were instrumental in founding the Victoria Summer School of Music. She died on 8 June 2002 in Calgary, Alberta.

Custodial history

Originally donated to the Maritime Museum of the Atlantic by Dorothy Swetnam-Hare of Calgary, Alberta in 1995, and later transferred by the Museum to the Nova Scotia Archives.

Scope and content

Fonds consists of primarily of family correspondence. Includes letters from the Swetnam children to their Aunt Minnie Watts, letters received by their father Rev. W.J. Swetnam in the aftermath of the Halifax Explosion, and a bulletin from a memorial service held at the Grafton Street Methodist Church.

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Murray Kellough fonds - Accession 2010-015 (Rev. William Swetnam's second wife was A. Jean MacDonald, who was a niece of Murray Kellough)

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