Creator of The Loyalist Collection, designer and author of The Loyalist Collection Inventory, researcher of Loyalist regiments
Kathryn Hilder is a graduate of Mount Allison University with a BA Honours History degree, and holds graduate degrees in Education from Mount Allison University and Library Science from the University of Toronto. She has taught history and english in private school and in both junior and senior high school. From 1974 until mandatory retirement from the University of New Brunswick in 1998, she was a full-time reference librarian in the Harriet Irving Library. It was during the years from 1978 until retirement that, in addition to regular departmental duties, she assembled The Loyalist Collection with the aid of funds from a Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council grant and contributions from the History faculty and private donors. Since The Loyalist Collection is comprised of only primary sources on microfilm and microfiche, it became apparent as The Collection grew that easy access to this often complicated material was needed if scholars were to make full use of such a unique resource. A searchable descriptive database was needed. To accomplish this, it was necessary for her to design an original database, create classification systems, write the descriptive text for each of the 650 separate record collections in 3400 reels of microfilm and 700 microfiche, and design finding aids to provide detailed access for 487 of the record collections. In 1996 the first records were uploaded to the World Wide Web and a segment of the searchable Loyalist Collection Inventory was available to researchers. With The Inventory unfinished at the time of retirement two years later, it became necessary for her to continue as creator and author of The Inventory in personal time. Seven years later, The Loyalist Collection Inventory was completed and fully available both on the World Wide Web and in print at the Harriet Irving Library. In addition to her Reference Department duties, the creation of The Loyalist Collection and The Loyalist Collection Inventory, several Loyalist regiments and the settlement of both military and refugee Loyalists in British North America have long been and continue to be of interest. Research on these subjects and for The Loyalist Collection has led to time spent in many archives, including the Clements Library at the University of Michigan and the British Archives. Over a period of years she has been an invited guest speaker on Loyalist-related topics at various meetings, workshops and conferences.