York grad wins two prizes for history of summer camp in Ontario

Historian and York grad Sharon Wall (PhD ’03) has won two awards for her book, The Nurture of Nature: Childhood, Antimodernism, and Ontario Summer Camps, 1920-55 (UBC Press).

In the spring, the book won the Canadian Historical Association's 2010 Clio Prize for Ontario, and now it has won the Champlain Society’s Floyd S. Chalmers Award in Ontario History.

The award will be presented to Wall on Saturday at the society's annual general meeting in Toronto. Wall, a history professor at the University of Winnipeg, will also deliver a lecture at the meeting. To attend, go to the City of Toronto Archives, 55 Spadina Rd. at 2pm.

Published by the University of British Columbia, The Nurture of Nature explores the history of an institution that shaped the lives of thousands of children who attended or worked at summer camps. Wall examines the connections between summer camps and the history of childhood, the natural environment, class cultures, and modern recreation and leisure.

Sharon WallLeft: Sharon Wall

Two competing cultural tendencies – anti-modern nostalgia and modern enthusiasms about the landscape, child rearing and identity – shaped the summer camp, argues Wall. She examines how this tension played out in camp programs, such as “Indian” programming, and informed modern assumptions about nature, technology and identity.

The Nurture of Nature discusses the summer camp’s contribution to modern social life in North America and will appeal to students of history, sociology and cultural studies as well as anyone who has ever been packed off to camp and wants to explore why, states the publisher.