History of the Association

The Victorian Studies Association of Western Canada was founded in 1972 to promote nineteenth-century interdisciplinary studies. Founding members recall that the idea of such an association was inspired by the Middlemarch Centennial Conference, which began in Calgary and concluded in Banff during a week in early September 1971. Making that conference so memorable were distinguished guests Gordon S. Haight (Yale), Barbara Hardy (London), and U.C. Knoepflmacher (UCLA). To meet such scholars in the flesh, and to talk with them, generated a fresh interest in all things Victorian for those present.

Calgary’s Ian Adam suggested the creation of a Victorian Studies Association of Western Canada, and the record shows that he and Juliet McMaster pursued the idea, established a membership, and organized an inaugural conference in Edmonton on Thanksgiving weekend of 1972, where Juliet McMaster was acclaimed as the first president. The conference was to provide a forum for Victorian scholars to share results of research, to hear papers from fellow colleagues, to discuss ideas, and to hear papers presented by distinguished invited speakers.

Some content has been adapted from A. Gerald Bedford’s “The VSAWC: A Backward Look.” Photo courtesy of Juliet McMaster.