Façonner l’âme d’une nation par l’histoire : La vulgarisation historique, selon Marie-Claire Daveluy (1880–1968)
Evanescent by nature, the historical culture of societies is not an easy thing to capture. As such, attention ought to be paid to the various channels through which the great historical narratives are forged, reinforced, and transformed, including though the apparently less noble channel of popular history. This article will focus on the writer and historian Marie-Claire Daveluy (1880–1968) and her efforts to disseminate historical knowledge outside of, and in addition to, the official school system. The first female member of the Société historique de Montréal, Daveluy was a scholar with a passion for the archives. Still, she never stopped working as a popular educator for the many audiences that seemed to appreciate her. For at least four decades, in fact, she worked hard to disseminate history to as many people as possible. Multifaceted in approach - lectures, journal articles and almanacs, commemorative ceremonies, theater, radio, children's stories and novels - her work in popularizing history demonstrates a sustained commitment to the democratization of knowledge at a time when education levels among French Canadians were low. Far from being indifferent, the historical knowledge valued by Daveluy was seen as an important means of promoting civic virtues and the survival of French Canada.