Fonds - Department of History

UAA-1973-111

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Department of History

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(1908 -)

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History has been one of the central disciplines in the Faculty of Arts since the University opened its doors in 1908. Dr. Tory, President of the University (and a physicist) took responsibility for its lectures until 1922. The University's first graduate degree was an MA in History granted in 1911 (PACCR, 1985). A diverse range of courses, covering the history of much of the world through many different periods, countries, and approaches to the human past, is offered by the Department. Heads: 1908-1922 Henry Marshall Tory; 1922-1930 Alfred Leroy Burt; 1930-1946 George Malcolm Smith; 1946-1952 Morden Heaton Long; 1952-1958 Ross William Collins; 1958-1964 Lewis Gwynne Thomas. Chairs: 1964-1965 Donald M. Wiedner; 1965-1968 Lewis Herbert Thomas; 1968-1973 Brian Llewellyn Evans; 1973-1975 Cedric James Lowe; 1975-1977 William John Jones; 1977-1980 Robert R. Hett; 1980-1983 Roderick C. Macleod; 1983-1986 Ulrich Trumpener; 1986- David J. Hall.

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Henry Marshall Tory Scientist, Administrator, University President --The son of a Methodist Minister, Henry Marshall Tory was born on January 11, 1864, on a farm close to Guysborough, Nova Scotia. His lifelong association with education began with primary public school education in his native province. The curriculum was informal and teachers taught to the interests of students who often attended to farming duties and personal pursuits before attending class. Tory's family moved to Guysborough near the end of his primary school years and there he took on a position as a clerk for three years in a dry goods store. His interest in education continued, and he soon enrolled in Guysborough Academy for a two-year teaching program. Upon completing the program, he spent two years teaching in local rural schools. During his teaching tenure, Tory met Sir William Dawson, the Principal of McGill University, who was visiting Nova Scotia on vacation. Dawson persuaded Tory to attend McGill University. At 22 years old, Tory enrolled at McGill in a program of honours mathematics and physics. He graduated in 1890 with honours and a gold medal. Tory retained an interest in religion and following McGill graduation he studied theology at Wesleyan College, Montreal. He received a Bachelor of Divinity and took a two-year preaching charge at a church in Montreal. He then returned to his studies of mathematics and physics becoming a lecturer in mathematics at McGill in 1893. He completed his Masters in Mathematics in 1896. Tory now became further involved with academic administration at McGill. To help set up the new Department of Physics he visited the Cavendish Laboratory in Cambridge University for two terms. The experience gained there gave him the background required to help the McGill Physics Department to set up labs and design courses. His title became Demonstrator of Physics and he continued to lecture in mathematics. He received his D.Sc. degree and he was promoted to Associate Professor of Mathematics in 1903. At the turn of the century Tory's career began to turn more towards administration. His official McGill title was Associate Professor of Mathematics but he was also de facto Assistant Dean. Under Dean Dr. Charles Moyse, McGill began a programme of branch colleges across Canada and Newfoundland. Tory was sent as an envoy to investigate the sites of local colleges. He was also empowered to negotiate the branch colleges' relationship with McGill. In this capacity Tory negotiated the McGill University College of British Columbia in 1906. Returning from the Coast in the Spring of 1906, Tory visited Alberta and discussed affiliation with Alberta College in Edmonton and Canada College in Calgary. During this trip A.C. Rutherford, newly annointed Premier of Alberta and self-appointed Minister of Education, first met Tory. The province was organized in a 1905 Act of Parliament and the new legislature's first meeting passed the University Act to establish and incorporate a university in the province. The following year subsequent legislation empowered the Lieutenant-Governor to appoint a President charged to work with the University Senate to organize and develop a public university. By the time Rutherford travelled east in 1907 in search of a president, he had already met with Tory and corresponded with him on issues of university governance. Tory left McGill in January 1908 to assume duties as the President of the University of Alberta. With government authority Tory arranged to begin classes in the autumn of 1908 in the Duggan Street public school (currently Queen Alexandra) in Strathcona. 1907 legislation purchased River Lot No.5, 258 acres of uncleared land on the South bank of the North Saskatchewan river. Planning and constuction of a physical site for higher learning would preoccupy Tory's twenty- year tenure. The University began with a single faculty, five professors and 32 students. By his departure from the University of Alberta in May, 1928 he had overseen the school grow to five faculties plus related offices, about 1,600 students, and eight modern, well-equipped buildings. Dr. Tory's most important legacy was the secular, democratic ethos he applied to the policies of the new institution a perspective formed under the influence of Reverend Sewell and his 19th Oxford public lectures. Tory's first presidential address to convocation in 1908 read in part: "The modern state university is a people's institution. The people demand that knowledge shall not be the concern of scholars alone. The uplifting of the whole people shall be its final goal." This perspective was manifested in the Department of Extension. Tory initiated the creation of the Extension Department, first mentioning the project in a presentation to the Senate in April 1912. The next month he chose A.E. Ottewell as director. Extension Services operated on Tory's mandate that the University belonged to the people of Alberta; its slogan was borrowed from the first University Extension programme, Reverend Sewell's 19th century Oxford project: "We cannot bring the masses requiring education to the University - may it not be possible to carry the university to them?" To relate the University's work to Alberta's villages and towns, Extension Services used travelling libraries, lectures, debates, projection slides and films to offer a wide spectrum of instruction. In 1933 the programme spawned the Banff School of Fine Arts, a training centre for Drama, Music and the Arts with an international reputation. Dr. Tory's final report to the University Senate emphasized the success of the Extension programme noting "we have our own broadcasting station" and predicted educational success in emerging communication technology. Tory's public education credo translated onto the international scene in the form of the Khaki University. Through his association with Lt. Colonel Gerald Birks, Supervisor of the YMCA Canadian Overseas forces, and on the strength of a 1916 study by Tory concerning the needs of decommissioned soldiers, Tory was commissioned in 1917 to recommend and plan a Canadian army educational system. The resulting Khaki University, with Tory as executive director, became a model for military services world wide. From 1917 to 1919 the Khaki College saw 650,000 men attend lectures, and enrolled 50,000 in classes. Thousands of returning soldiers enrolled in universities across Canada supported by the studies they accomplished during wartime. The Khaki University supported soldiers' morale, enabled the military to set up an educational infrastructure, and provided a venue to promote higher education to thousands of Canadians. On a national level, Tory's greatest impact came through the economic and industrial implications of his work with the National Research Council. Tory's interest in science, and his background in math and physics, inspired him to consistently promote administrative and institutional support for scientific research. Tory worked to establish the Industrial Laboratory at the University of Alberta in 1911. In 1919 the University of Alberta joined a national initiative to promote applied science in the University Scientific Assocition. While the need for practical scientific research was underscored by the experiences of World War One, the war also drained resources. Prmairly in response to such funding problems, the University Scientific Association merged into a provincial organization combining with the Committee on Industrial Research, a committee with government and university affiliations. In 1921, by Order-in-Council 30/21, the Alberta Legislature created The Scientific and Industrial Research Council of Alberta. Tory actively promoted this model to the point of establishing two research professorships at the University of Alberta. He also provided space for the Council at the University and the Research Council staff assumed the title of Industrial Research Department at the University of Alberta. The Scientific and Insustrial Research Council of Alberta was the first provincially funded, scientific research agency in Canada. The Council played a guiding role in applied research into Alberta's natural resources, including the extraction of bitumen from the oil sands of northern Alberta. In recognition of Tory's successful advocacy of applied science research in Alberta, the national Council for Scientific and Industrial Research elected him to this National Council in 1923. By October of the same year he was unanimously elected President. On June 1, 1928, Tory decided to leave the University of Alberta to take on the full-time position of active President of the National Research Council (NRC), heretofore a position of mostly honorary status. As NRC President, Tory oversaw the 1932 establishment of the National Research Laboratories. In 1935, Tory retired from his NRC presidency at the age of 71. Unable to remain inactive, Tory lead the volunteer committee that worked to open Carleton College in Ottawa in 1942. He then took on the position of unsalaried President and lecturer. He remained in these posts until his death in 1947. Title based on content of fonds.

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Created by MMCFARLANE 1-4-2008. Updated by MMCFARLANE 3-13-2008.

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