14 thoughts on “Memories

  1. Jennifer Evans

    Anne Clendinning was my first history professor at Nipissing University. In 2003, she taught “The History of Europe since 1500” on Mondays at eight in the morning. It never ceased to amaze me that in a first year class, so early (even in the middle of winter), it was packed full. Anne was an incredibly dynamic and engaging teacher, filling the lecture hall with her energy and enthusiasm. In classes I would take with Anne afterwards, I continued to have this impression leaving academically invigorated, challenged and encouraged.

    After I had gone on to do my doctorate at the University of Toronto, Anne also took the initiative to organize my first panel at the 2010 Canadian Historical Association Conference in Montreal. This is a huge step for a junior scholar like myself. A panel on food history, Anne presented her own work but I know she saw this as a forum to provide me with positive feedback, support and direction for my developing scholarship. She also just wanted to learn and listen about my PhD project, a response that made me feel like I was contributing something valuable to the historical field. Anne was incredibly generous with her students, giving them her time, advice and reassurance—herself.

    Anne was a lot of fun. I remember at a History Club Halloween Pub, faculty and students were encouraged to dress-up as a historically-based figure. Anne adopted the persona as a British Suffragette attending the World’s Fair. Throughout the night with her oversized flapper-inspired hat, her British accent and propaganda-filled pamphlet, Anne stood on her soapbox promoting British women’s right to the vote. Few professors would be willing to be involved with their students outside the lecture hall, as well as to establish an easy rapport with light-hearted humour.

    Anne was also refined and stylish. As funny as it might sound, she taught me in that first year history class that feminists and professors could have a real sense of style. I remember years later talking about her fashion finds, as she gave me tips about the best places to shop around North Bay. Anne had a sense for fashion, and always had an elegance—something I admired and will never forget.

    Anne will continue to be a role model and a mentor to me. She was a beautiful person, who radiated energy and enthusiasm that drew people and her students towards her. Anne was a generous teacher, listening and giving her time and critical advice to her students. I will deeply miss her.

    I want to express my deepest condolences to Dermot, and Imogen and Aurelia, who I know she was incredibly proud of as talked about their many accomplishments.

    Sincerely, and with deepest sympathies,
    Jennifer Evans

  2. Brian Thorn

    I was shocked and saddened to learn of Anne’s passing! My thoughts are with her family and the Nipissing Community during this sad time. On a personal note, Anne was always unfailingly kind and encouraging to me during my time at Nipissing. She will be missed!
    Kind regards,
    Brian Thorn

  3. Aroha Page

    Courage is the most important of all the virtues, because without courage you can’t practice any other virtue consistently. You can practice any virtue erratically, but nothing consistently without courage.

    Maya Angelou
    More Maya Angelou quotes
    Courage, Any, Because, Consistently, Important, Most, Nothing, Other, Practice, The Most Important, Virtue, Virtues, Without, You
    Author Profession: Poet
    Nationality: American
    Born: April 4, 1928
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    Without courage, we cannot practice any other virtue with consistency. We can’t be kind, true, merciful, generous, or honest.” (Maya Angelou)
    Dear Katrina,
    Thank you so very much for your eulogistic tribute to our colleague and friend Dr Anne Clendinning. As I mourn and grapple with her loss to us all,I take solace in your words.Anne was a wonderful role model for us all,caring sharing,altruistic,with outstanding ethical comportment and valuing others with equity, transcending her gifts,talents and her magic touch to our hearts She brought out the best in us. A profound legacy is imprinted upon Nipissing University, which she edified so much with her very presence.
    While we will all have sacred memories of her I wish to say that for my part I will treasure and enjoy the Nurse Doll even more (a collectors item that she bought in the UK not long ago) that she had given to me- adding to my nursing history collection- with her expression of real joy “Victoria Anne”
    Thanking You,

  4. Erica Buck

    A poem that I shared with Anne in the last couple of years, because it reminded me of her courage and fortitude.
    Anne, a teacher of life lessons: She listened with an open heart, and always was true to her own path.

    ‘Out of the night that covers me,
    Black as the Pit from pole to pole,
    I thank whatever gods may be
    For my unconquerable soul.

    In the fell clutch of circumstance
    I have not winced nor cried aloud.
    Under the bludgeonings of chance
    My head is bloody, but unbowed.

    Beyond this place of wrath and tears
    Looms but the Horror of the shade,
    And yet the menace of the years
    Finds, and shall find, me unafraid.

    It matters not how strait the gate,
    How charged with punishments the scroll.
    I am the master of my fate:
    I am the captain of my soul.’
    -William Ernest Henley

  5. Kristen Rossetti

    ‘The History of Europe Since 1500’ was my firsst class in my first year of university. Like Jen, I remember that despite it being at 8:30 on a Monday I attended every single lecture. At the time, it wasn’t because I had a particular fondness for early mornings or European history–it was because of Anne.

    Anne was one of those teachers who you couldn’t help but love almost immediately. Her classes very much reflected her personality–engaging, inspiring and so full of knowledge. Her passion for history was contagious and in subsequent years I remember sitting with my fingers poised over my computer, counting down the seconds until course registrations opened so I could be the first to sign up for her classes (because spaces ALWAYS ran out so quickly). I even managed to enrol myself in a fourth year seminar while still in third year so that I would have the opportunity to take two of her honours courses rather than just the one most people would get once they reached their final year.

    It was Anne who first fostered own interest in the Victorians and who encouraged me to continue with my studies at the graduate level. But she was more than just a professor to so many of us–she was a lovely soul who always made time for all of her students, whether it was to suggest a good book on sensationalist journalism in the 1800s or to share a joke and chat about our mutual fondness for Prince. She had such a way of making every lecture or seminar feel like so much more than that. I looked forward to her classes every week and hoped someday that I would be even as half as admirable in my own teaching career.

    Eventually my path took me to England and it was only a few months ago that I stood on the site of the former Crystal Palace and thought about Anne, my favourite professor, and wondered how she was. Like many of my former classmates I was so sorry to hear of her passing. I can only offer my deepest sympathies to her family and say that it is the example that she set for me, nearly 10 years ago now, that encourages me every day to try and inspire the same passion for learning in my students that she once did for me.

    Yours sincerely,
    Kristen Rossetti

  6. Jane Limina

    We all get gifts, some are handed to you in a pretty straight forward way, others come in the back door. My parents never locked the back door on Bloem Street, they always said back door friends are best…..come on in!
    Through my very dear friend Dermot, who has been a partner in my family history in so many ways, my down to earth honest man, I met a friend…from a distance, a beautiful woman whose name is Anne. Anne and I crossed paths with instant affection, so many times over so many years, where she always gave encouragement for creativity, relationships, her North Bay Community, her Nip U. Family, the history of individuals through conversation, the artists who display their talents and tell their stories, her husbands faith in his beliefs in the growth of our North Bay Artistic Community. I could go on. My goodness her love of Dermot, her smile would be from ear to ear…family, her very beautiful daughters, so proud, the gift of Zuzu and her need of time schedules….damn it! Anne , you embraced your life here. I know through my journeys of her pride and love in her husband, her daughters and her family, she allowed so much time for others and I thank her for all those minutes/hours I stole. I know I can not give that time back, I wish I could, I can only say I am so thankful for the gift of you Anne and for you being part of my life, ( I almost gave you my RED purse), you will never be forgotten, like history you will carry on, and nobody can change your very honest, respectful course. Thank you for all of the gifts you gave to me, I will always appreciate them. Dermot, Aurelia and Imogene, they are truly very special, just like you! Always,

  7. Erika Rappaport

    I first met Anne about eight years ago at a British history conference in San Francisco, just after I had recovered from breast cancer. We talked for hours about balancing life with kids, work, passions and now illness. Anne did not yet know she had breast cancer but when she found out we shared our thoughts through these years. What I loved about our friendship is that Anne made me feel like a whole person, a scholar, a mother, wife, friend, etc… We both had a passion for women’s history and the history of consumer culture and we shared and helped each other in our work.

    My favorite memory though was when Anne came out to Santa Barbara (UCSB) for a visit to give a talk about her work and warm up from a long winter. She got her wishes. Her plane arrived just as one of our worst forrest fires had begun to spread. Soon 30,000 people were evacuated, including my family, kids were out of school, and the University turned into a shelter. Anne kept me calm throughout and instead of giving her talk we ended up meeting other families at the University pool and spending the day swimming and talking. Anne laughed that now she knew what life was like for college professors in California!

    Anne will be in my thoughts and memories forever and she will also live on in the pages of my work. Dermot, Aurelia and Imogene, I want yo to know that Anne was very special to me even though we lived so far away. I will send you my book (that Anne has talked me through for years) when it is finally done!

    Love to you all,

  8. Amy Bennett

    I first met Anne in History and Historians, a a class at Nipissing University on the fundamentals of history. This was a class that was mandatory, and therefore destined to be a mind numbing drawl of theory and practice. Like Jen and Kristen, I was drawn into each and every lecture. Anne was an amazing storyteller, teacher, mentor and friend. From the first class to graduation, she would continue to be all those things, especially as the student rep to the department. After graduation, she was a great supporter through my work at the museum. I will always be thankful for our lunch dates where I always found inspiration for angles, exhibits and other ideas to take back to the museum. She was so generous with her time, her knowledge and her friendship. Her passion and kindness will never be forgotten.

    Yours truly,
    Amy (Toms) Bennett

  9. Janice Liedl

    Anne was the epitome of a historian, from her deep engagement with her research to her gift for teaching. When I visited Nipissing in February, she was front and centre in all of the history department’s activities, as always. It was clear that her students and colleagues appreciated everything that she had to give. Anne changed the world around her and always for the better. She will be missed, I know, but she will also be remembered by the many people whose lives she touched.

  10. michael matthews

    Dear sweet wonderful Anne. I knew Anne for 34 yrs. When we met she was Dermot’s,…John’s…. new girlfriend. What a great girlfriend I thought. What a lucky SOB. During those years she was a great friend to me. And then they became parents and I knew her as a great mother of two precious girls. And what a devoted mother she was. I remember she would be gazing at her young daughters and her face and expression would just capture the essence of pure love.
    I spent a lot of my friendship with Anne missing her. I think her best friends will share this sentiment as she had friends all over the world and you can’t expect her to be everywhere at once. Right after we met she and Dermot, the adventurers, were off on a two year roundtheworld trip. I missed her then. Then they came back and everything was fine. Then they moved to Victoria. I missed her then. Then they moved even farther…to Windsor. And I missed her even more. Then they moved to Hamilton and finally to North Bay. And as all great friends do..we would catch up whenever we could. But in-between I would always miss her. I was so lucky to see her this past Christmas. And now I miss her again, even more.
    But this is a day of celebration,..and here in the Columbia Valley we are celebrating her life with a day of music. It’s the Steamboat Mountain Music Festival and those of us who knew Anne will be dancing with her all day long!!

  11. Tom Lewis

    Saddened to just find out today while on a trip back to Ingersoll where both of our journeys began that Anne’s has ended. We were good buddies when we both lived in Calgary – where Anne was like a sister to me. Our paths eventually parted there unfortunately never again to reconnect.

  12. Liza Vandermeer

    I first met Anne the Christmas after she and her family moved to North Bay. It was at the King George Public School annual White Elephant Sale, and I’ll always remember Anne’s wonderful smile as she presided over the heaped table of stuffed animal toys. Other fond memories are Anne’s impressive costumes over the years (the elderly Queen Victoria complete with a framed photograph of her dear Albert, a steerage class Titanic victim, numerous variations on witches…) all executed with gusto and minute attention to detail.
    Anne was always good company and such fun to talk with. She radiated delight in the world and all it had to offer, from small girls with their pet guinea pigs, to eating sushi by candlelight during the August 2003 blackout. Anne was an exemplar of how to live life to its fullest. I feel so lucky to have known her, I wish we all could have had so much more time with her, and I miss her.

  13. Mathew Hendley

    As a long-time friend, I wanted to record a few memories of Dr. Anne Clendinning.
    I first met Anne when I was a post-doctoral fellow in the Department of History at
    McMaster University in Fall 1998. I remember my initial introduction to Anne – one of
    the McMaster professors pointed her out to me at a social function and said “She is one
    of our stars”. Indeed she was. She had a distinctive personality and presence about her.
    When I first met her she had a little pin on her jacket that was some sort of fiery sprite.
    She told me that the image was the symbol created by British Gas. Apparently, years
    ago the company had created this figure in an effort to broaden the appeal for gas based
    appliances. I initially thought that Anne with her own fiery red hair and ready laugh
    could have sold any skeptical English working class homemaker on the wonders of a gas

    Anne’s first book Demons of Domesticity: Women and the English Gas Industry
    1889-1939 (Aldershot: Ashgate, 2004) looked at the role of female demonstrators of gas
    appliances in late 19th and early 20th century Britain. This work effortlessly combined
    social history, gender history, business history and cultural history. Anne did not think of
    History in distinct compartments but ranged widely over the human experience.
    I saw Anne quite a few times around McMaster but another memory stands out. After I
    completed my post-doctoral fellowship and finally had concluded my search for a tenure
    track job, Anne showed her generosity of spirit. In summer 2001, I was teaching a course
    during the summer at the University of Toronto and was holding an office hour. I had just
    accepted a tenure track position as an assistant professor of Modern British History at the
    State University of New York – College at Oneonta (SUNY Oneonta), a
    4 year comprehensive college of 5 800 students in upstate New York. I was wiling away
    my time in my office hour trying to do some grading and also planning my move to the
    USA. My office was in the upper floors of the soulless Sid Smith Building in which U of
    T’s History Department resides and all was quiet. Suddenly, out of the blue Anne came
    by. She was in Toronto and dropped by to wish me well. I deeply appreciated her doing
    so. We had a nice chat about my upcoming move, our respective research and families.
    I was excited but also apprehensive about all the changes that were about to occur in
    my life. Moving to the USA with a young family was a bit of a leap in the dark. Seeing
    Anne’s familiar and re-assuring face was a tonic to me. She was still looking for her
    own tenure track position at the time as well. Finishing a PhD fills one with many mixed
    emotions – including elation at the difficult task achieved but dread and concern about
    what comes next. With a tough job market it is easy to get petty and never celebrate the
    successes of others but Anne was not like that. She warmly congratulated me and wished
    me well. Her good nature was soon rewarded. Sure enough she too had her own tenure
    track position at Nipissing University in North Bay, Ontario.

    After I started teaching in the USA I saw less of Anne. However, I saw Anne at several
    academic conferences over the years. It is the nature of our profession that some friends
    old and new you only see at these large formal gatherings. I remember hanging out with
    Anne at the North American Conference on British Studies in Pasadena, California and
    also in Denver, Colorado. She filled me in with various bits of gossip, told stories, and
    updated me on her growing list of achievements. She told me of her family’s successes
    – Dermot in the art world and their daughters’ Imogen and Aurelia’s achievements at
    school. Anne and I both enjoyed exploring art galleries in the cities hosting these large
    conferences. Once we had both reached our saturation point of listening to learned papers
    we would join some other like-minded comrades and check out some art and have a
    lunch. Anne was a great raconteur who could tell wonderful stories. She was a great
    mimic. She could do hilarious imitations of pompous Brits she had met, British television
    personalities as well as various family characters she knew back in Britain. I remember
    laughing with her over lunches in the sunshine of both Pasadena and Denver. Anne also
    was a great traveler. She and her husband Dermot had traveled the world in her youth.
    She had great stories of adventures during their times in India and elsewhere.
    One of my warmest memories of Anne was when I managed to get her invited to my
    own college in upstate New York. In November 2007, she was the Redfield Fund visiting
    speaker at SUNY Oneonta. She gave a talk to our History Club and History students
    on her new book project about the 1924-25 British Empire Exhibition. She was the
    visiting star of the show and our students enjoyed her erudition and wit. She got to meet
    my children, Jonathon and Sara and see my wife Michelle again. Jonathon who has a
    moderate autism disorder was only seven years old then and loved trains. Anne took a
    special interest in him and that Christmas sent him a copy of the children’s classic The
    Polar Express. Anne’s whole visit was wonderful. I showed her my college; we had
    some nice meals and were able to get up to date. We both marveled at how we had each
    ended up in fairly similar places – vibrant medium size colleges “in the woods” as we put
    it (one in northern Ontario and me in central New York). We were employed, had loving
    families and were doing we wanted to do. In sort, we were both happy. There is a bitter
    sweetness I have of this memory since shortly after this visit, Anne got her diagnosis of

    I kept in touch with Anne through e-mail, Christmas cards and other communications
    after her visit to Oneonta. The last time I saw her in person was at the North American
    Conference on British Studies in Montreal in 2012. She had gone through several
    surgeries and chemotherapies. She walked with a cane and tired more easily. As always,
    Dermot was with her giving her loving support. Clearly she was in a major health battle
    but I saw flashes of the old Anne. She was still witty, still a fine raconteur and fun to be
    with. She did not have the energy for a walk through Montreal art galleries but did get
    together with a bunch of fellow British historians for a fine supper at a quirky restaurant
    in Montreal. It was a nice evening with much back and forth conversation and jokes.
    However, I still regret that amongst the banter of the evening in the crowd I did not really
    get to tell her how much she had meant to me as a friend and colleague over the years. I
    remember our group returning to the hotel in the taxi and Anne looking a bit tired. Never
    for a moment did I think that would be the last time I would ever see her.

    I got the message she had died when I was helping with a faculty-led overseas course
    for SUNY Oneonta in Hong Kong in June 2014. Sitting in a hotel room far from Canada
    with the lights of Hong Kong glistening around me, the news did not seem real. It made
    me realize how short and cruel life can be. It gave me a swirl of conflicting emotions.
    Most of all, I felt I had lost a real friend. That night I reflected again on the silly British
    Gas pin Anne wore when I first saw her and the spirit of fun and intellectual curiosity it
    represented. I hope that everyone who ever knew her will remember that pin. I hope that
    everyone who loved her and especially her dear family of Dermot, Imogen and Aurelia
    realize that she burned bright in the lives of many.
    Dr. Matthew Hendley
    Professor of History
    State University of New York – College at Oneonta
    August 2014

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