The Alalia Stevens Album

The Alalia Stevens album covers the years from 1942 to some time in the 1950s. Notations in the album and on the snapshots provide a lot of context, and the album documents a place (Kingston and Greenwood, in the Annapolis Valley) at a time when it was closely connected to the outside world by the presence of the Greenwood Air Base, used as a training center by RAF and RCAF Bomber Command.


Alalia Stevens (Mrs. Lester) was a 60ish lady, at the center of a cluster of young men (most of them Bomber Command trainees) and a cohort of Annapolis Valley girls:

Alalia Stevens

The first page of the album gives a pretty good idea of its somewhat scattered and rather artless composition:
Alalia Stevens' album pg 1

We learn the dog's name, and have a baseline date, but the three pictures aren't otherwise linked.


Many of the snapshots are of groups, and quite a few include couples. The second page of the album exemplifies:
Alalia Stevens' album pg 2
...a blurred wedding shot and two shifting-group pictures of an outing, again nothing to connect the one with the others.


Many people are named. This pair of (facing) pages is easy enough to parse:
Alalia Stevens' album pg 3
Alalia Stevens' album pg 4
(caption: Ella and Roddy (Mr. and Mrs. Walls) July 1942)
Roddy and Ella Walls

Many of the young men are English; I assume that most of the young women are local Annapolis Valley girls who met and married Englishmen:

Alalia Stevens' album pg 6

Alalia Stevens' album

Alalia Stevens' album

A number of pictures are of specific celebrations:

Alalia Stevens' album

Alalia Stevens' album
Roddy Walls, Alalia Stevens, Jackie Smee, Ella Walls, Jack Stevens, Roberta Spinney (St John NB), Tim Mitch, Phyllis Stevens, Andy Munroe


Alalia Stevens' album

Alalia Stevens' album
The cornboil picture (on the right) is a tale in itself (see the original NS Faces page for that)


Several people appear in successive pictures: Edna and Ron, Jackie Smee, Thelma. Each is surely a story in itself, but we have only a few fragments to work with.

Daughters Phyllis and Thelma and son Jack appear in a few of the pictures, but were probably not at home during the mid 1940s (there's one from Christmas 1942 that shows Thelma at the dinner table, and one from Easter 1943 that shows Phyllis). There are several pictures of Thelma at different ages, none of them stuck into the album:






It seems likely that Edna was a Kingston girl, perhaps a contemporary of Alalia's own daughters Thelma and Phyllis, and she seems to have stayed in touch with notes on the backs of some of the snapshots. She first appears, slightly out of focus, in this one:
Alalia Stevens' album
...taken more or less at the same time as
Edna and Ron in Kingston

A bit later she's more sophisticated:


not very good but I'll do better next time -I hope. Love, E.


Ron and Edna

Ron in civvies with his hair cut short. Taken last july 1 yr ago when we were home on leave. Half of our dog in the foreground!

Here's your girl Ma, on the front railing. How do you like the new hair-do? Just tried it for a change it's lots cooler. Ron hasn't made any comments yet but he will I'm afraid. Lovingly, Edna Red and white dots!


Jackie Smee shows up in Spring and Fall of 1943 (and presumably was at Greenwood for several months)
Jackie Smee 1943
and in a set of post-war pictures
Jackie Smee
Mr and Mrs Jackie Smee
Smees on an outing in Cornwall, 1950

and then in two 1957 pictures when he visited Nova Scotia

Alalia Stevens and Jackie Smee 1957
Jackie Smee visits Alalia Stevens 1957

Along with the album I bought a box of 150 snapshots and postcards and empty envelopes (all addressed to Mrs. L.D. Stevens), but very few of them expand further upon the materials in the album, and not many have any useful names or dates on them. Some are tantalizing, but it's difficult to fill in the missing parts of the overall story.

The last picture is of Alalia in 1962:
Alalia Stevens 1962

One interesting bit of Google crossover: there's an obit for Minnie Lawson:

In 1926, she started working for Lester Stevens at his home at the age of 16. From December 1926 to May 1930 she worked at the Evaporator for E.D. Wood in Kingston. Then in June 1930, she started at the Kingston Trading Co. In 1933, she left there to work for Lester Stevens in his store where she worked until 1949 when the store was sold to George Hawkins.