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Memorable Manitobans: Nancy Evelyn Sommerville “Nan” Shipley (1902-1990)

Writer.

Born at Glasgow, Scotland on 6 November 1902, she came to Canada at an early age. On 4 November 1925, she married Harold George Shipley at Winnipeg. They had one child, a daughter, and were divorced in 1966.

For many years a student of Canadian and Manitoba history, in 1957 she published the book Frances and the Crees about Frances Elizabeth Eleanor Stevens. In the years thereafter she published several more books, some of them children’s stories, some historical studies, and a biography (The James Evans Story, 1966). Much of her writing focussed on Indian and Métis women. In 1959 she organized Manitoba’s first Indian handicrafts sales centre, and she was elected Woman of the Year in Manitoba by the Women’s Sales and Advertising Council in 1965. She received a Manitoba Golden Boy Award in 1966 and was awarded a Manitoba Centennial Medal by the Manitoba Historical Society in 1970.

She died at the St. Boniface Hospital on 23 January 1990. Some of her files, manuscripts, and photographs are deposited in the University of Manitoba Archives & Special Collections. Others are at the Archives of Manitoba and still others are at the University of Southern Mississippi.

Her articles for the Manitoba Historical Society:

Peguis - Friend of the Pale Face
Manitoba Pageant, September 1956

Some of her writing works included:

Title

Publisher

Year

Anna and the Indians

Ryerson Press, Toronto

1955

Frances and the Crees

Ryerson Press, Toronto

1957

The Scarlet Lily

Frederick Fell, New York

1959

Whistle on the Wind

Frederick Fell, New York

1961

Return to the River

Peguis Publishers, Winnipeg

1963

The Railway Builders

Ryerson Press, Toronto

1965

The James Evans Story

Ryerson Press, Toronto

1966

Road to the Forks: A History of the Community of Fort Garry

Self-published, Winnipeg

1970

Wild Drums: Tales and Legends of the Plains Indians (with Alex Grisdale)

Peguis Publishers, Winnipeg

1972

The Blonde Voyageur

Burns & Maceachern, Toronto

1972

Churchill: Canada’s Northern Gateway

Burns & Maceachern, Toronto

1974

International Peace Garden 50th Anniversary

Peguis Publishers, Winnipeg

1982

From Slate to the Computer in the Transcona-Springfield Area 1873-1983

Transcona-Springfield School Division, Winnipeg

1983

Sources:

Marriage registration, Manitoba Vital Statistics.

“15 divorce decrees now final,” Winnipeg Free Press, 23 December 1966, page 2.

“Prolific local writer Shipley dies at age 87 after long career,” Winnipeg Free Press, 26 January 1990, page 35.

Obituary, Winnipeg Free Press, 26 January 1990, page 40.

Dictionary of Manitoba Biography by J. M. Bumsted, Winnipeg: University of Manitoba Press, 1999.

This page was prepared by Gordon Goldsborough.

Page revised: 3 November 2016

Memorable Manitobans

Memorable Manitobans

This is a collection of noteworthy Manitobans from the past, compiled by the Manitoba Historical Society.

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