This photo shows an entry in a blacksmith’s ledger from Clarksville, Nova Scotia, in 1936. The man who made the purchases was my grandfather, George Mason. I stumbled across this recently—it’s something my mother’s caregiver had found in her home. Leafing through the book, I was so happy and surprised to find my grandfather.
This photo tells us a number of things, the first being that times were hard, and of course money was scarce in the Depression years. George ran up a tab of $2.60 in the summer of 1936, and paid it off in January 1937. It cost just $0.85 to remove and replace a horseshoe. According to American Farriers Journal, by 2015, the average nationwide price for trimming four hooves and applying four keg shoes came to $120.
In the aftermath of the Halifax Explosion (in 1917, and, until World War II, the largest explosion in history), ordinary people from all over Nova Scotia traveled into Halifax to help with the cleanup. My grandfather did so, with his horse and wagon. The first time he owned a car was in the 1940s.
Photo tip: If you don’t have a copy stand, you can use a piece of foam core with grid lines drawn on it. Use flat, even light and a tripod. Put the photo or document on the foam core and line it up so the centre of the lens meets the centre of the artwork. A medium telephoto lens works best for this.