Since 1981, the York Sunbury Historical Society has been presenting an annual Award of Distinction for outstanding individual contribution to the field of history of central New Brunswick. Any member(s) in good standing of the York Sunbury Historical Society may nominate a candidate for the award and award is considered in two select categories: For outstanding contribution in the field of New Brunswick history, with particular interest and applicability to central New Brunswick. – OR – For long and meritorious service or contribution to the York Sunbury Historical Society.
Martha J. Harvey was a founder of the York Sunbury Historical Society, which was established in 1932. She was a president of Fredericton Women’s Institute, an involved member of the Social Service Council, and was deeply committed to the welfare of the greater Fredericton community. The Martha J. Harvey Award of Distinction is presented to individuals, or groups, who have shown a dedicated commitment to the goals of the York Sunbury Historical Society. Past awards have honoured those who have made significant contributions in writing the history of central New Brunswick, in preserving its artefacts and heritage buildings, or in offering exemplary service to the Society in its efforts to discover and preserve the history and heritage of York and Sunbury Counties.
On December 8, 2010, the York Sunbury Historical Society presented two Martha J. Harvey Awards. Firstly, an award was given to The Gregg Centre for the Study of War and Society at the University of New Brunswick who is devoted to the study of war and the complex social and human situations that arise from it. The Centre runs a visiting speakers program and local conferences, many open to the general public. It is also the publisher of, ‘The Journal of Conflict Studies’ and books and articles by its staff and faculty.
The Martha J. Harvey Award of Distinction was presented to recognize The Gregg Centre for the New Brunswick Military Project whose aim is to promote the rich military history of New Brunswick through the publication of its book series and the development and maintenance of a database of sites of significant interest throughout the province.
Under the editorship of Brent Wilson, the Gregg Centre in partnership with Goose Lane Editions, the Centre publishes two books annually. The York Sunbury Historical Society is proud to have several of its members amongst the authors in this series, for example, and the Editor, Brent Wilson is a Society Member and former Curator.
These authors , The Gregg Centre and the Directors of the New Brunswick Military History Project have through their writings and commitment to researching, recording, preserving and disseminating New Brunswick’s rich military history earned the respect and appreciation of the this Society and many other folks throughout the communities of New Brunswick.
The second Martha J. Harvey Award was presented to the Honorable David Dickson for long and meritorious service or contribution to the Society. Since his retirement, Dickson dedicated much of his time to history and education through special presentations at schools, university classes and community groups.
A World War II veteran, Dickson represented the North Nova Scotia Highlanders on November 19, 2000 in the town of Bienen, Germany for a ceremony that dedicated a tablet to commemorate the battle at Bienen. The tablet was the first Allied memorial to mark the location of a land engagement on German soil in the Second World War and Dickson took the initiative to place the plaque in Bienen. Here is a link to a narrative by Dickson about the Battle of Bienen that is part of the Memory Project: Stories of the Second World War. In it, he talks about how he felt that the tin of tobacco that his wife sent him saved his life in the middle of a battle.
Dickson is a stalwart supporter of the York Sunbury Historical Society, with his personal encouragement of individual board members and regular attendance at Society functions. As a grandson of Alexander “Boss” Gibson, Dickson assisted the Museum with historical details of the recently installed Gibson exhibit. Dickson equally provides personal encouragement, support and participation for several other organizations such as the Legion, Senior’s Clubs and the Miramichi Salmon Association.
Past Martha J. Harvey Recipients
2009 – Paul O’Connell
2005 – Mr. & Mrs. T.W. Acheson
2004 – Frederick Wilmot Hubbard
2000 – Government of New Brunswick Heritage Branch
1998 – Ruth Scott
1996 – Fred White
1995 – Richard Bird
1994 – Donna Wallace
1993 – Dr. Murray Young
1993 – Ted Jones
1992 – Velma Kelly
1991 – Dr. Ivan H. Crowell
1990 – Alden J. Clark
1989 – Dr. James Chapman
1988 – Dr. Stuart Smith
1988 – Dr. Elizabeth McGahan
1987 – Fred H. Phillips
1986 – Louise Hill
1985 – Dr. D.J. McLeod
1985 – Dr. Alfred Bailey
1984 – Lucy McNeil
1984 – Senator Muriel Fergusson
1981 – Lt. Gen E.W. Sansom