Historical Research & Genealogy

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H. R. Banks Nova Scotiana Collection 

The H. R. Banks Nova Scotiana collection is a rich repository of books, journals, pamphlets and articles by and about Nova Scotians. You will find more information here.

Housed at the Yarmouth library branch, most materials in the collection are available on InterLibrary Loan, for use in borrowing library only.

A Catalogue

The Herbert Robertson Banks collection, amassed over many years, is a remarkable record of Nova Scotian and Maritime life and culture. Included is fiction, non-fiction and poetry, some of it quite rare, as well as political works, literary criticisms, an outstanding accumulation of materials on art and antiques, and an impressive number of periodicals dealing with Nova Scotia. Mr. Banks also collected small local newspapers, unpublished manuscripts, scholarly papers on Nova Scotia history, and local histories. There is no aspect of Nova Scotia life which is not touched by this remarkable compilation.

The collection was given to the Western Counties Regional Library Charitable Association in 1983 by H.R. Banks and his wife Kathleen. Most items in the collection are available on interlibrary loan to regional, public and university libraries from Western Counties Regional Library. Some items cannot be sent out because of their fragile nature or their extreme rarity. Researchers may, of course, study most of these on site, at the Western Counties Regional Library, 405 Main Street, Yarmouth, Nova Scotia.

The Banks collection divides in two parts: the main part, which consists of about 3,000 monographs; and the supplementary part, which holds uncatalogued serials and other ephemeral materials.

Go to the Western Counties Online Catalogue to view a selection of material from the collection available in the catalogue.

The uncatalogued materials in the collection include unpublished manuscripts, serials and pamphlets. A fuller description is available by clicking here to access a detailed PDF.

Herbert Robertson Banks (1908 – 1986)

image of HR BanksHerbert Robertson Banks was born in Barrington Passage, Nova Scotia in 1908. He was the son of Dr. H. H. Banks and Margaret Robertson Banks. He attended elementary school in Barrington Passage and high school in Yarmouth. He graduated from Dalhousie University in 1932.

He was married in Halifax, and worked with Naval Services during the war years, then with the Department of Welfare in the provincial government. He retired in 1970 and moved back to Barrington Passage.

In Halifax, H. R. Banks was active in community and church affairs, serving as warden in St. Paul’s and as treasurer in the Royal Nova Scotia Historical Society. He was keenly interested in the activities of the Nova Scotia Museum and the Nova Scotia Archives, and was instrumental in arranging the 1983 exhibit of Loyalist China in the Museum from the King’s College collection.

For many years he collected Canadian stamps, coins and tokens and wrote several articles on the history and development of Nova Scotia Coastal Shipping and the South Shore Railway which were published in the Nova Scotia Historical Review (Quarterly).

In May 1985 he was the first recipient of the Phyllis Blakeley Lifetime Achievement Award.

Herbert Robertson Banks died in Barrington Passage in 1986.

Historical Research & Genealogy


Digital Collections

Fishing Fundy Waters
The virtual exhibit presented here honours and celebrates both the people of southwestern Nova Scotia, especially their relationship with the sea, and the work of John Collier Jr., one of America’s leading twentieth-century photographers.

NovaStory Digital Collections
Nova Scotia has many stories to tell. To introduce some of these special stories we are creating unique “NovaStories”.

NSCC W. K. Morrison Special Collection
This Collection was donated to NSCC COGS by Walter Morrison, Cartographer Emeritus of COGS who was interested in antique maps as an illustration of the evolution of map making technology.

Women of Digby County, 1950
The virtual exhibit presented here was first developed as a traditional exhibit entitled Women: Their Lives in Rural Nova Scotia, 1950. Launched in Digby in October 2011, it travelled to various locations throughout southwestern Nova Scotia over the following year, including a month’s detour to the Nova Scotia Archives in April 2012.

Local History

Cemeteries of Clare, Digby County

Heritage Hub (District of Digby, NS, Heritage Resources)

Preserving Yarmouth Memories

The Elder Transcripts (Digby County)