Mary Kaulbach’s Normal School Diary 1892-1893

Melanie Ballard and John N. Grant released Mary Kaulbach’s Normal School Diary 1892 – 1893 in the spring of 2021. The cover and interior were formatted and designed by Quarter Castle Publishing. The book was published by Little White Schoolhouse Press.


In 1892, Mary Kaulbach came to Truro to attend the Provincial Normal School. Her diary provides a glimpse into the life of a young woman in Victorian Truro and at Normal. She was an interested observer and an active participant in both communities. Mary was not unaware of the potential value of her diary, writing: “it would be so interesting to the coming generation.” She was right. Mary wrote well and her gentle bemusement by life is reflected in her diary.


While our title emphasises Mary Kaulbach’s Normal School year, (1892-1893), her Diary includes her term as a 17 year-old teacher in Chester and Conquerall Mills prior to attending the Provincial Normal School. It also recounts part of the year after Normal teaching back home in the Conquerall Mills School. She writes of the first year, however, as preparation for Normal and the post-PNS term as a consequence, so we feel justified in our decision.

Who was Mary Kaulbach?

Mary Kaulbach, the eighth of nine living children and fourth daughter of Francis (1832-1907) and Elizabeth (1831-1922) Fancy Kaulbach, was born on 22 May 1874 on the family farm at Conquerall Mills, Lunenburg County, Nova Scotia. Conquerall Mills, located near the south-east side of Fancy Lake, was settled in the early decades of the 1800s.

The George (Surveyor) Fancy family was among the earliest settlers and he provided the name for the community when he exclaimed in appreciation of the area “this conquers all.” The abundance of timber led to the building of mills and the cutting of timber to the establishment of farms.

How to Buy the Book

To learn more about this book and to learn how to buy a copy, contact John N. Grant through email ( The book is also available through The Little White Schoolhouse Museum.

Copies are also available at the South Shore Genealogical Society and B’Y Yokel (23 Inglis Street, Truro, Nova Scotia).

Author: Melanie Ballard

Melanie Ballard, BA (SMU), BEd (St FX), is a native of Heatherton, Antigonish County, NS. Her interest in things historical developed at an early age. She taught in the public school system and became involved in various heritage organizations. She has been an active member of the Board of the Little White Schoolhouse Museum for a number of years and currently serves as its Curator.

Melanie lives near Truro, NS with her husband Joe and their son, Benjamin.

Author: John N. Grant

John N. Grant, BA (St FX), MA (UNB), BEd, MEd (Dalhousie), EdD (U of T), is a native of Guysborough, NS. He taught in the public school system, was a Research Associate of the Atlantic Institute of Education and between 1984 and 1997 taught history at the Nova Scotia Teachers College. He retired as a full professor at St. Francis Xavier University. He has published in the areas of African-Nova Scotian history, history of education, local history, and the history of academic costume in Nova Scotia.

Dr. Grant has been a member of the Board of the Little White Schoolhouse Museum for many years. John and his wife, Elizabeth, live in Enfield, NS.