Esther Clark Wright


Esther Clark Wright

Esther Clark Wright (1895-1990) was a notable Atlantic Canadian historian who at the end of her life received the Order of Canada for her lifetime contributions to Canadian scholarship. Dr. Wright wrote many published works in relation to her historic and genealogical research and was best known for her pioneer and genealogy studies of Nova Scotia & New Brunswick, Canada. [ [http://library.acadiau.ca/archives/# Esther Clark Wright Archives, Acadia University ] ]

Among the two most well-known of Dr. Wright's written works are "The Loyalists of New Brunswick" (1955) and "Planters and Pioneers, Nova Scotia, 1749-1775" (1978, revised 1982). "The Loyalists of New Brunswick" has been referred to as the "red Loyalist Bible [ [http://www.rubycusack.com/issue69.html Ruby M Cusack - The Loyalists of New Brunswick - Esther Clark Wright ] ] " due to its extensive information about New Brunswick Loyalists, or people who remained loyal to Britain after the American Revolutionary War and were compelled to leave New England. It includes a description of the harsh conditions the Loyalists faced and its appendix has a list of names including their origins, their service during the war, and where they later settled in New Brunswick. Now out of print, "The Loyalists of New Brunswick" is rare but can be found scattered in libraries and family history societies throughout North American.

Dr. Wright's other best-known book "Planters and Pioneers, Nova Scotia, 1749-1775" is an index of New England and European settlers who came to Nova Scotia (and what later became New Brunswick) just before the [American Revolution] . [ [http://www.plantersandpioneers.com/book.html The Book ] ] It also includes names of settlers who already lived in the area during the period of 1749-1775. Dr. Wright believed that pre-Loyalist immigrants to Nova Scotia / New Brunswick had had a much more significant contribution to Canadian and American history that had been previously thought or known, and created the index with the hope of bringing their contribution to light. [Planters and Pioneers, Nova Scotia, 1749-1775, Revised Edition, 1982, p.6.] A limited edition of "Planters and Pioneers" was reprinted in 2007. [ [http://www.plantersandpioneers.com/index.html Planters and Pioneers ] ]

The following paragraphs are paraphrased from a biography of Dr. Wright written by Acadia University in Wolfville, Nova Scotia, where Dr. Wright has an archive [ [http://library.acadiau.ca/archives/ Esther Clark Wright Archives, Acadia University ] ] named in her honor:

Esther Clark Wright was born in Fredericton, New Brunswick in 1895. She graduated from Acadia University, Wolfville, Nova Scotia in 1916 with an Honours degree in Economics. She undertook further study at the University of Toronto, Oxford University and Stanford University, and graduated from Radcliffe/Harvard University with a PhD in Economics 1931. She held honorary degrees from Acadia University, Dalhousie University and the University of New Brunswick. In 1975 she was awarded a D. Litt. from Acadia University, and in 1981 an LI.D from Dalhousie University.

Esther began her writing career as a young woman. "Public Opinion" (1916) and "The Challenge to Canadian Womanhood" (1918) were her first published works. She became the author of fifteen books and numerous articles and is best known for her pioneering studies. In 1988, Acadiensis published an extensive bibliography of Esther Clark Wright's publications.

Esther held office in many organizations. She served as President of the New Brunswick Association of Consumers, 1950-1952; Vice-President of the National Council of Women of Canada, 1950-1953; and Vice-President of the Canadian Federation of University Women, 1952-1955.

In 1990, Esther's husband, Conrad Wright, accepted the Order of Canada on her behalf from the Governor General of Canada, Ray Hnatyshyn at a ceremony held in the Wolfville Town Hall. Her pioneering work on the New England Planters was recognized in 1987 when Dr. Wright was proclaimed the first Planter Scholar during the New England Planters Maritime Canada conference. Esther died in July 1990. Following her passing, Acadia University named its Archives in her honour - The Esther Clark Wright Archives [ [http://library.acadiau.ca/archives/ Esther Clark Wright Archives, Acadia University ] ] .

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