Wednesday, May 16, 2018

Francis on Neary on Depression Work Camp letters

On his blog and at the remarkable online history review site The Ormsby Review, Daniel Francis considers the letters of Alan Collier, Ontario artist turned labourer in the relief camps established by British Columbia in the dirty thirties
The camps were an attempt to deal with the challenge of unemployment and the social unrest the government feared would result. Tens of thousands of single men were travelling across the country looking for work and when work was not available, looking for relief. A large number congregated in Vancouver, which became known as “the Mecca of the Unemployed.” But the city was overburdened and could do very little for the men.
Collier's letters from the camps are collected in Alan Caswell Collier, Relief Stiff: An Artist's Letters from Depression-Era British Columbia, edited by historian Peter Neary and newly published by UBC Press.
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