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Merchant Princes
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Merchant Princes

Halifax's First Family of Finance, Ships and Steel

By James D. Frost

$40.00 Hardback
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This book tells the story of an extraordinary family of merchants and entrepreneurs. It begins in 1810, when William Stairs opened a small general store on the Halifax waterfront. Over the next 150 years, successive generations of businessmen were engaged in a surprising range of mercantile and industrial activity. The Stairs family saga includes sugar refining, banking, steel making, a mammoth and highly successful rope manufacturing plant, and a company that for a time was the world's leading manufacturer of skates.
The Stairs family were also active in politics, starting with William who was a long-time, loyal and influential backer of Nova Scotia's pre-eminent reformer Joseph Howe. The Stairs have been involved in many of the major issues in Nova Scotia politics, and this book often offers surprising information on what was going on in back rooms over the past two centuries.
Through this family history, author James Frost sheds new light on many aspects of Nova Scotia's business and political history. The story of the Stairs family -- their readiness to accept risk, their commitment to industrial development, their interest in manufacturing -- challenges many of the stereotypes often used to explain Nova Scotia's economic decline after Confederation. Frost's many years of research and his unparalleled access to family records for this book have produced a major new book.


Short-listed - Dartmouth Book Award (Non-Fiction) - 2004

"At the top of my newly noted list is Merchant Princes ... Jim Frost brings his background in history and business to bear on the masses of material unearthed here and in such far-flung places as Grenada. It's a family history, but it will appeal most strongly to the reader with an interest in Nova Scotia economic history."

- Mary Guildford The Chronicle-Herald

"... the author skilfully wove an intricate account of the multi-generational business. Graced with an introduction by John F.'s great-grandson, and the publication of numerous illustrations, the book deserves an important place in Canada's business history.

- Julian Gwyn International Journal of Maritime History

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Publication Details:

Binding: Hardback, 376 pages
Publication Date: 22nd September 2003
ISBN: 9781550288032
Format: 9in x 6in
with photographs

BISAC Code:  BIO006000
Imprint: Lorimer


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