C.P. Stacey AWARD
I Can Only Paint
The C.P. Stacey Award Committee and the Laurier Centre for the Study of Canada (LCSC) have awarded literary historian, biographer and curator Irene Gammel of Toronto Metropolitan University with the 2020-2021 C.P. Stacey Award for scholarly work in Canadian military history.
I Can Only Paint: The Story of Battlefield Artist Mary Riter Hamilton (McGill-Queen’s University Press) makes an exceptional contribution to the field, breaking new ground as a model for histories of war artists and war art. A superb biography of the tragic Mary Riter Hamilton, this detailed study of her life’s work and commitment to her art is also excellent cultural-military, gender and commemorative history.
“In this beautifully illustrated and innovative volume, Gammel takes history to another level,” the committee noted in conferring the award. “She not only recounts the incredible personal story of Mary Riter Hamilton, but also curates the remarkable body of art Riter Hamilton produced on site while visiting battlefields in the immediate aftermath of the Great War. The artist rushed to Europe to paint the war-torn landscape before the graphic consequences of battle could be erased. Her art, much overshadowed in her time by the work of official artists, is itself preserved by Gammel, with generous illustration and vivid description.”
Gammel is a professor in Toronto Metropolitan University’s Department of English and director of the Modern Literature and Culture Research Centre. She holds the Canada Research Chair in Modern Literature and Culture, is a member of the Royal Society of Canada and has authored or edited 14 books.
“In this definitive study of Mary Riter Hamilton, Gammel has exhaustively combed global and local archives to reconstruct the difficult, complex life experiences of her subject,” the committee noted. “After retracing Riter Hamilton’s travels and the landscapes the artist visited, Gammel writes so expressively and with such gifted prose that her readers easily imagine the challenging circumstances Riter Hamilton confronted in a Europe devastated by war. Determined to complete her collection as both an artistic and humanitarian endeavour, Riter Hamilton was driven to nervous collapse by the sheer experience and pace of painting on the land. Through careful and detailed reconstruction of the physical, financial and gendered circumstances Riter Hamilton faced, I Can Only Paint reveals much about the military, social and cultural dimensions of artistic production. It is a profoundly important contribution to our understanding of Canadian war art, memory and the portrayal of violent armed conflict.”
The award committee also announced one honorable mention for the 2020-2021 C.P. Stacey Award, Alex Souchen’s War Junk: Munitions Disposal and Postwar Reconstruction in Canada (UBC Press). In an exceptionally strong pool of candidates for the award, Souchen’s work was recognized as innovative, compelling and a major contribution to the field. An exhaustive study of Canada’s disposal regime in the wake of the Second World War, Souchen demonstrates the complexity of unmaking war through reverse logistics, displaying an impressive grasp of institutional, industrial, economic, environmental, material culture and military history.
The C.P. Stacey Award is named in honour of Charles Perry Stacey, historical officer to the Canadian Army during the Second World War and later a longtime professor of history at the University of Toronto.
The C.P. Stacey Award is presented annually to the best book in the field of Canadian military history, broadly defined, including the study of war and society. The award winner receives a prize of $1,000, made possible through the generous support of John and Pattie Cleghorn and the Department of History at Wilfrid Laurier University. The LCSC took over administration of the award in 2018 from the Canadian Committee for the History of the Second World War.
The award committee consisted of Kevin Spooner (Wilfrid Laurier University; director, LCSC), Isabel Campbell (Directorate of History and Heritage, National Defence Headquarters, Ottawa), and Serge Durflinger (University of Ottawa). Awards are normally decided after the end of the year in which eligible books were published. Because of COVID-19, the committee considered books published in both 2020 and 2021 for this year’s award announcement.
About The C.P. Stacey AWArd
The C.P. Stacey Award is named in honour of Charles Perry Stacey, historical officer to the Canadian Army during the Second World War and later a long-time professor of history at the University of Toronto. The C.P. Stacey Award is presented annually to the best book in the field of Canadian military history, broadly defined, including the study of war and society. The award winner receives a prize of $1,000, made possible through the generous support of John and Pattie Cleghorn and the Department of History at Wilfrid Laurier University. The LCSCS took over administration of the award in 2018 from the Canadian Committee for the History of the Second World War.
The 2019 award committee consisted of Kevin Spooner (Wilfrid Laurier University; Director, LCSC), Isabel Campbell (Directorate of History and Heritage, National Defence Headquarters, Ottawa), and Serge Durflinger (University of Ottawa). Awards are decided after the end of the year in which eligible books were published. Questions, inquiries, and requests for interviews should be directed to Billy Armstrong, Award Liaison, at LCSC.
2019 | Bob Bergen, Scattering Chaff: Canadian Air Power and Censorship During the Kosovo War (University of Calgary Press)
2018 | Jonathan F. Vance, A Township at War (Wilfrid Laurier University Press)
2017 | Geoffrey Hayes, Crerar’s Lieutenants: Inventing the Canadian Junior Army Officer, 1939-45 (UBC Press)
2016 | Brock Millman, Polarity, Patriotism and Dissent in Great War Canada, 1914-1919 (University of Toronto Press)
2014 | Tim Cook, The Necessary War, Volume 1: Canadians Fighting The Second World War: 1939-1943 (Allen Lane)
2014 | Richard M. Reid, African Canadians in Union Blue: Volunteering for the Cause in the Civil War (UBC Press)
2013 | Teresa Iacobelli, Death or Deliverance: Canadian Courts Martial in the Great War (UBC Press)
2012 | Andrew Burtch, Give Me Shelter: The Failure of Canada’s Cold War Civil Defence (UBC Press)
2011 | Dean Frederick Oliver and Jack Granatstein, The Oxford Companion to Canadian Military History (Oxford University Press)
2009 | Kevin Spooner, Canada, The Congo Crisis and U.N. Peacekeeping 1960-64 (UBC Press)
2008 | Paul Douglas Dickson: A Thoroughly Canadian General: A Biography of General H.D.G. Crerar (McGill-Queen’s University Press)
2008 | Stephen Brumwell, Paths of Glory: The Life and Death of General James Wolfe (McGill-Queen’s University Press)
2006 | Douglas Delaney, Bert Hoffmeister: The Soldier’s General (UBC Press)
2004 | Béatrice Richard, La mémoire de Dieppe: Radioscopie d’un mythe (VLB éditeur)
2004 | Marc Milner, Battle of the Atlantic (Vanwell Publishing Ltd.)
2002 | Brian Tennyson and Roger Sarty, Guardian of the Gulf: Sydney, Cape Breton and the Atlantic Wars (University of Toronto Press)
2000 | Tim Cook, No Place to Run: The Canadian Corps and Gas Warfare in the First World War (UBC Press)
1998 | Jonathan Vance, Death So Noble: Memory, Meaning and the First World War (UBC Press)
1996 | George Blackburn, The Guns of Victory (McClelland & Stewart)
1994 | Desmond Morton, When Your Number’s Up: The Canadian Soldier in the First World War (Vintage Canada)
1992 | Bill McAndrew and Terry Copp, Battle Exhaustion: Soldiers and Psychiatrists in the Canadian Army, 1939-1945 (McGill-Queen’s University Press)
1990 | Robert Vogel and Terry Copp, Maple Leaf Route
1988 | Norman Hillmer and W. A. B. Douglas, The Official History of the Royal Canadian Air Force, Volume II: The Creation of a National Air Force (University of Toronto Press)