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Guelph Farmers and the Great War: An Account of James Bowman's Diaries

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Title: Guelph Farmers and the Great War: An Account of James Bowman's Diaries
Author: Pritchard, Kyle
Abstract: This research investigates the role a Guelph purebred breeder played in the wartime cattle economy. James Bowman was a purebred cattle herder living on the western outskirts of Guelph, and he wrote over twelve volumes during his lifetime between 1866 and 1944. Research for this project utilizes the portion of Bowman’s diaries written during the First World War. The findings demonstrate that the war accelerated cattle breeders place in Canada’s complex rural hierarchy. Guelph’s farmers were expert hobbyists, making a living from the professionalization of exhibition prizes. On July 1st 1914, Bowman and his hired men loaded his animal stock onto his wagon and hauled them off to the Grand Trunk Railyard ready to be shipped to the Prairies for his annual trip across the national exhibition circuit. Arriving first at Toronto, they then joined the Canadian Pacific, heading to Winnipeg, Regina, and Saskatoon. Bowman’s Aberdeen Angus cattle were among the most prized in local and national exhibitions and was the first creator of records for the breed for the Aberdeen Angus Association. While rising meat costs ultimately provided a source of income to Guelph cattle raisers, the Great War also brought about intensive labour and uncertainty. James Bowman’s diaries reveal how Guelph farmers sought to improve their financial and social standing, but also how they bound together to create a delicate balance between business, family and community to endure wartime conditions.
Description: Poster was part of 'What We Know' display, held on March 1, 2017 at the Quebec Street Mall in Downtown Guelph. At 'What We Know,' the Community Engaged Scholarship Institute brought together 50 posters featuring diverse research on Guelph and Wellington from community organizations, municipal staff, faculty and students. Topics included feral cats, farmland loss, food waste, the wellbeing of children and more - all specific to Guelph and Wellington.
Date: 2017-03-01
Rights: Attribution-ShareAlike 2.5 Canada
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Attribution-ShareAlike 2.5 Canada Except where otherwise noted, this item's license is described as Attribution-ShareAlike 2.5 Canada