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Field, John L.

Markham (Ont.), Fitzhenry & Whiteside, c1985. 63pp, paper, $4.95, ISBN 0-88902-829-X. (The Canadians). CIP

Grades 5-8
Reviewed by Jo Anna Burns Patton

Volume 14 Number 3
1986 May

John Field has contributed another title to the on-going series, The Canadians. In this selection, we are given a biographical look at Janet Carnochan, a churchwoman, educator, and Ontario historian, specifically of the Niagara region. Although much of the information concerning Carnochan is of local interest only, several of her achievements are worth noting. For example, for thirty years she was the president of the Niagara Historical Society, and while in that position led the campaign to build a memorial hall. This hall had the distinction of being the first museum built in Ontario by a local historical society. Carnochan, however, also had some personal achievements. She was the first female principal of the Niagara Public School, in 1872. She also had several booklets published on the history of Niagara, which earned her the recognition of having James Skelton's Niagara Days dedicated to her.

In design, this title follows the same format as previous titles in the series. There is a generous sprinkling of black-and-white photographs, clearly identified, plus a useful bibliography and index at the end. Special note should also be made of the effort of the author to gather information on Carnochan, who left neither personal diary nor papers. Information on her life had to be gathered from public documents, and reference is made to that several times in the text.

As far as biographies go, this certainly ranks as well-researched and perhaps filling a gap (a search through my own library revealed no reference to Janet Carnochan in the Dictionary of Canadian Biography or the new Canadian Encyclopedia). The real question is whether you need a biography on such a local celebrity. For libraries in Niagara, or even Ontario, this could certainly be a useful addition to the biography collection, or to a collection on Canadian women. However, other libraries might want to consider their collection needs before purchasing this title. Recommended, with reservations, for those school and public library young adult collections with a strong biography or Canadian women section.

Jo Anna Burns Patton, ECS School for Girls, Westmount, Que.
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