McGill University

McGill University: For the Advancement of Learning, Volume II, 1895-1971

STANLEY BRICE FROST
Copyright Date: 1984
Pages: 518
https://www.jstor.org/stable/j.ctt7zs5q
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  • Book Info
    McGill University
    Book Description:

    In this second volume of the university's history, Frost relates its unique story and recalls McGill as a way of life. He describes the evolution of its disciplines and the transformation of an elite college into a cosmopolitan university. He also draws revealing portraits of the university's many leaders including Cyril James, whom he describes as a super-efficient economist and a benevolent dictator of high principle.

    eISBN: 978-0-7735-6094-9
    Subjects: Education

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-vi)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. vii-x)
  3. ILLUSTRATIONS
    (pp. xi-xvi)
  4. FOREWORD
    (pp. xvii-xviii)
    David Lloyd Johnston

    The present volume dealing with the history of McGill from the closing years of the nineteenth century through to the one hundred and fiftieth anniversary of the granting of McGill’s charter in 1971 completes Dr. Stanley Frost’s commission. There is, I think, no other academic history in Canada which covers so much of our nation’s development, from James McGill’s first visit to Montreal in 1766 to the October Crisis of 1970, or so much of Canada’s geographical immensity, from Pictou County and Harbour Grace to Victoria College on Vancouver Island. Between those dates and across that wide territory, Dr. Frost...

  5. PREFACE
    (pp. xix-xxii)
    Stanley Brice Frost
  6. ABBREVIATIONS
    (pp. xxiii-xxiv)
  7. PART ONE The University 1895–1960
    • CHAPTER I PETERSON: THE EARLY YEARS
      (pp. 3-26)

      In the month of September in the year 1895, after an interregnum of two years, McGill University welcomed a new principal. The times were propitious. The nineteenth century, the most remarkable yet in terms of human progress on every front, was almost ended, but the twentieth promised even greater achievements. The British Empire had attained unrivalled prestige and thepax britannicamediated the blessings of civilization to almost a quarter of the human race. When the old Queen died, as sadly before too long she must, the days of mourning could only herald a new age of even greater brilliance...

    • CHAPTER II ADVANCES ON MANY FRONTS
      (pp. 27-58)

      Peterson’s first decade was a time which saw new developments and programs, many of which were to affect the further evolution of the university profoundly. Under the principal’s vigorous leadership, and constantly stimulated by the bounty of Strathcona and Macdonald, as well as of a number of other less well known benefactors, McGill went forward during these years on a broad front, achieving considerable advances in many sectors.

      One major development was initiated soon after Peterson’s arrival. The arts curriculum in 1895 was still heavily biased in favour of the classics. All students had to take both Latin and greek...

    • CHAPTER III PETERSON: THE MIDDLE YEARS
      (pp. 59-94)

      During the years leading to World War I, major events continued to mark the pace of the university’s development, but inevitably some of the euphoria evaporated. Financial concerns deepened into anxieties, all the more as the inescapable fact obtruded that neither Strathcona nor Macdonald was immortal. Nevertheless, institutional growth continued to be highly visible, and some of the achievements of this period were of major significance for future years.

      Socially William Macdonald may have been a recluse, but he was nonetheless very well informed on developments in Canada’s economic and political evolution. A Maritimer himself, he maintained a considerable interest...

    • CHAPTER IV THE YEARS OF WORLD WAR I
      (pp. 95-112)

      By the time Peterson returned to Montreal in September 1914, the cataclysm of war had flooded far across Europe. In those days of empire, there could be no doubt that Canada would be deeply involved, and that McGill, a centre of intense loyalty, would respond wholeheartedly to the challenge.

      James McGill had himself been staunch for the crown,¹ and the Montreal merchants of the nineteenth century who supported McGill College had always, apart from their one flirtation with the Annexation Manifesto of 1849, highly prized the British connection. Set in the midst of a francophone population which had no great...

    • CHAPTER V HERO ON CAMPUS
      (pp. 113-138)

      On 20 May 1919 General Sir Arthur Currie, commander of the Canadian Corps in France, was the guest of honour at a dinner given by the London branch of the Canadian Club. The significance of the occasion was underlined by the fact that Field Marshal H.R.H. the Duke of Connaught presided, and that he was accompanied by the Prince of Wales and Prince Arthur of Connaught. Six days later Currie was again the guest of honour, this time at a luncheon given by the Lotd Mayor of London.

      The following month, after taking a prominent part in victory parades staged...

    • CHAPTER VI DEVELOPMENTS BETWEEN THE WARS
      (pp. 139-186)

      There were considerable developments in the Currie period which were not part of the 1920 planning, but which were fo great importance for the future growth of the university. In their variety they illustrated the complexity of the university; in their potential they anticipated the immense developments of the period which would follow a second world conflict.

      The Forest Products Laboratories, made up of departments for research into timber testing, wood preservation and distillation, and into the pulp processes used in paper-making, were located on the McGill campus but were operated by the federal government. By 1925, however, having become...

    • CHAPTER VII THE DECADE OF A CHANCELLOR
      (pp. 187-210)

      After Sir Arthur Currie’s funeral, the university needed a little time to recover from that experience and to take stock of its situation. The last five Currie years had themselves not been without strain and tension. After the libel trial in 1928, Currie was absent for a year on sick leave. Hardly had he returned when the crash of the New York stock market threw the finances of the university into confusion, but even before that dire event expenditures had shown an alarming tendency to rise out of control. While Currie was still absent, Chancellor Beatty decided to survey all...

    • CHAPTER VIII THE YEARS OF WORLD WAR II
      (pp. 211-246)

      When Cyril James took office as principal on the first day of January 1940, he was thirty-six years of age. He had had no major administrative experience, and both the university and the country of Canada were new to him. He had everything to learn, but would have little time in which to do it; the chancellor, who would have been his mentor, had been removed by illness, and the university and the country were facing the demands of a newly declared war. But the McGill community was quickly to discover that they had acquired a fast learner, a man...

    • CHAPTER IX YEARS OF MAJOR DEVELOPMENT: 1945-1960
      (pp. 247-270)

      While the incoming flood of veterans preoccupied the attention of the university in the immediate postwar period, other developments commencing at that time were to prove of even greater significance. The first was a revolution in university financing; the second, a world-wide expansion of human understanding, without parallel in the history of man. In the somewhat frustrating way in which the sublime is often enmeshed with the mundane, the two were by no means unconnected: the rich harvest of the mind could not have been gathered without a major increase in resources. The third was the beginning of a further...

  8. PART TWO Faculties and Departments in the Postwar Years
    • CHAPTER X THE HUMANITIES
      (pp. 273-308)

      The Faculty of Arts received its new title, the Faculty of Arts and Science, in 1931. The change of name, and the appointment of a dean of arts and a dean of science, reflected the fact that two kinds of departments were somewhat incongruously grouped in one organization. In 1939 a further subdivision was felt to be desirable and four groups were established: Humanities, Social Sciences, Physical Sciences, and Biological Sciences. Each group had its own chairman under one dean of arts and science, the separate deanships having been discontinued. This arrangement had to cope with the difficulty that some...

    • CHAPTER XI THE SOCIAL SCIENCES
      (pp. 309-332)

      The premise that man is one natural phenomenon among many underlay another approach to man’s understanding of himself. Rather than the subjective approach of the humanities, it adopted an objective methodology, more akin to that employed in the observation of other natural phenomena. The disciplines involved reached a sufficient coherence and self-awareness to permit them in 1939 to constitute one of the four groups of the Faculty of Arts and Science.

      A conventional distribution of these studies into different disciplines had come to be generally accepted in the western world, and these divisions were consequendy adopted at McGill. Economics was...

    • CHAPTER XII THE PHYSICAL AND APPLIED SCIENCES
      (pp. 333-364)

      For the areas in which McGill had traditionally shown strength, the physical and applied sciences, the postwar decades were crowded with incident and made notable by many outstanding personalities. In any attempt to record them the selection of examples must be a personal one and, because of the varied nature of the materials available, somewhat fortuitous. In some departments the knowledge of the past slipped away in the excitement of the present almost unnoticed; in others the story of developments and of the men and women who made them possible were preserved with considerable care.

      The technologies developed in wartime...

    • CHAPTER XIII THE BIOLOGICAL AND MEDICAL SCIENCES
      (pp. 365-400)

      In attempting to record, however cursorily, McGill’s activities in the biological sciences and medicine during those explosive years 1950 to 1970, we cross the boundary from the physical sciences, which have to do primarily with non-life, to the biological sciences, which deal primarily with that which lives. However, this distinction between life and non-life had long been blurred, and many of the major advances achieved in the 1950s and 1960s were due to the application of physical scientific insights to biological processes.¹ We cross this frontier, therefore, with the knowledge that it is not a sharp line, but a broad,...

  9. PART THREE The University 1960–1971
    • CHAPTER XIV THE QUIET REVOLUTIONS
      (pp. 403-442)

      Maurice Duplessds died 7 September 1959. The Second Vatican Council of the Roman Catholic Church first met in Rome II October 1962. The two events were sufficiently close in time to mark in Quebec the end of centuries of tradition with what appears in retrospect abrupt finality. The changes in political regime and in religious attitudes together ended one era and ushered in another.

      The new age began with what was called somewhat misleadingly the Quiet Revolution. On the smaller scale of Quebec it was a revolution as profound culturally and socially as had been the Revolution in France in...

    • CHAPTER XV TURBULENCE AND CELEBRATION
      (pp. 443-472)

      In eighteenth-century China, where reverence of senior by junior was the ground of all morality, a disillusioned poet commented: ‘Many there are, of doting parents, from ancient times— / But how few of the sons are filial and obedient!’ It is the way of the young to rebel and not even Confucius, it seems, could change human nature in that regard. In his retrospect of the student unrest of the 1960s, Principal Robertson drew attention to famous student revolts fo earlier times, including nineteenth-century riots at English schools, put down by troops with fixed bayonets, and rowdy rebellions at staid...

  10. INDEX
    (pp. 473-493)