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Magda Fahrni

Magda Fahrni

Best Article Prize in Labour History


Magda Fahrni, “Glimpsing Working-Class Childhood through the Laurier Palace Fire of 1927: The Ordinary, the Tragic, and the Historian’s Gaze”. The Journal of the History of Childhood and Youth 8, 3 (Fall 2015): 426-50.

Magda Fahrni’s article focuses on working-class childhood through a case study of the 1927 Laurier Palace fire in Montréal. The Laurier Palace was a cinema in the Hochelaga area of the city, and 250 children were present when the fire began. Hochelaga was predominantly francophone, and 78 children died during the catastrophe. Fahrni’s use of this tragic case reveals much about the nature of childhood in 1920 francophone Québec, particularly family relations, while also raising important questions about the relationship between empathy and historical practice.  It is a fine contribution to our understanding of working-class life during the inter-war period.