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Letter to the editor: Ruth Botel had the soul of a historian

“The passing of Mrs. Ruth Botel means a real loss to the North Island.”

Dear editor,

The passing of Mrs. Ruth Botel means a real loss to the North Island. She had the soul of a historian who took care to quote her sources while she enjoyed researching the lives and times of the people who live here. When she came to Winter Harbour in the 1950s to teach school, many old time settlers were still living in the area. She interviewed countless people, persuaded them to allow her to copy their photographs, and carried on correspondence with them and their descendants for years. She made dozens of “picture boards” loaded with historical information and photographs. She placed them around the community so everyone could see them.

Ruth hoped one day to write a book about this part of the world, but she realized she had spent all her energy in acquiring the information. A few years ago she donated most of her material to the archives at the Port Hardy Museum: 42 binders bulging with photographs, government documents, letters, and notes, and several file folders she had not had time to fill.

It was the Port Hardy Heritage Society’s pleasure to present her with a community service award and to recommend her inclusion in a national historical journal. The Port Hardy Museum is also home to most of her “picture boards,” some of which will come with us to the upcoming Filomi Days.

Jane Hutton,

Port Hardy

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