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Queen's University

Queen's University: Volume II, 1917-1961: To Serve and Yet Be Free

Copyright Date: 1983
Pages: 537
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  • Book Info
    Queen's University
    Book Description:

    The author emphasizes the role of individuals and yet makes it quite evident that by the time of her centenary in the early days of World War II, Queen's had developed an organic vitality through which the vicissitudes occasioned by external fortunes or by internal tensions could be transcended.

    eISBN: 978-0-7735-6080-2
    Subjects: Education

Table of Contents

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  1. Front Matter
    (pp. I-VI)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. VII-VIII)
  3. Illustrations
    (pp. IX-XII)
  4. Foreword
    (pp. XIII-XIV)
    Ronald L. Watts

    This, the second volume of the history of Queen’s University at Kingston, by Frederick W. Gibson, covers the years 1917 to 1961. It thus completes the project undertaken by the Board of Trustees in 1970 when Hilda Neatby, head of the Department of History at the University of Saskatchewan, was engaged to prepare a new and comprehensive history of Queen’s, the first to be written by a professional historian. Readers of the first volume, which spanned the years 1841–1917, will know that Hilda Neatby died in 1975 after finishing chapters which covered the period ending with the retirement of...

  5. Preface
    (pp. XV-XVIII)
    Frederick W. Gibson
  6. Introduction
    (pp. 1-10)

    On March 7, 1842, Queen’s College at Kingston opened in a small rented house on Colborne Street with two professors conducting classes in arts and theology for the education of fifteen students, seven of whom were preparing for the ministry. Seventy years later, on the eve of World War 1, the college, renamed “Queen’s University at Kingston,” and standing on its own spacious campus, offered instruction to some 1,500 students in four faculties and schools and one affiliated college.

    Between the two dates lay an exceedingly chequered history, a full account of which is provided by Hilda Neatby inQueen’s...

  7. ONE “A Situation Full of Hope”
    (pp. 11-28)

    “We are naturally short of men in the University, so many having gone to the front,” John Watson wrote to a former Queen’s colleague in November 1917. “Without the girls we might as well shut up the College.”¹ Watson, then Queen’s senior professor and, since 1901, its vice-principal, knew as well as anyone the toll which World War I had taken of the university, draining its life-blood, sapping its material resources, and reducing it at length to little more than a skeleton.

    Queen’s response had been prompt and vigorous. A few weeks after the outbreak of war the Senate authorized...

  8. TWO A Question of Priorities
    (pp. 29-58)

    As postwar plans and projects came crowding forward for attention, it became evident to Principal Taylor and the Queen’s trustees that there was not enough money to satisfy all the demands. Income from student fees could not be expected to cover more than a fraction of the educational costs; actually in the 1920s it covered less than one third. Improved financial assistance from the government of Ontario was still problematical. The million dollars which had recently been added to the endowment would not yield more than $30,000 to $40,000 a year in new operating income; and it might produce much...

  9. THREE A Spreading Disaffection
    (pp. 59-82)

    Despite the happy outcome to the immediate problems of his department, W.A. Mackintosh remained convinced that Queen’s needed a new principal. At the same time, however, he did not consider that the removal of Principal Taylor would solve all the problems of mismanagement. Behind the principal stood the final authority and the erratic zeal of the Board of Trustees, and, in Mackintosh’s judgment, principal and board between them were administering the university like a set of ungifted amateurs. “The present Principal, I admit, is a heavy liability,” he wrote to a friend, “but I would not trust the present Board...

  10. FOUR A Rigid Economy
    (pp. 83-108)

    In 1917 the Queen’s trustees had been rushed into making Bruce Taylor principal, both by a crisis in the university’s finances and by the limited range of alternatives available in the war. By the time that Principal Taylor was brought to resign, the trustees practically admitted that his appointment had been a mistake. It was natural, therefore, that they should proceed with greater care in the choice of a successor. In the end it took them fourteen months, a quest so protracted that it reminded one trustee of the deathbed of Charles ii, who apologized for being “such an unconscionable...

  11. FIVE “Principals Don’t Carry Weight”
    (pp. 109-132)

    For Principal Fyfe, no less than for the university as a whole, continued passivity in the face of financial hardship was bound to produce further disappointment, and Fyfe’s experience of life at Queen’s was one of deepening frustration. It was not only that he could do little to meet the needs of his academic colleagues, but he had ideas of his own which he found it difficult to translate into action.

    Looking at Queen’s from an Oxford standpoint, Fyfe found it decidedly wanting: “Education here is only a rumour,” he wrote home shortly after his arrival in Kingston.¹ The root...

  12. SIX A Fresh Stimulus
    (pp. 133-156)

    In the autumn of 1935 the Queen’s trustees were faced, for the second time in six years, with the necessity of finding a new principal. It had taken a full sixteen months to appoint a successor to Taylor, an experience which it seemed undesirable to repeat. When Principal Fyfe submitted his resignation, he made it clear that he wanted to be in Aberdeen for the opening of the summer term at the end of the following April. If Queen’s were to avoid the awkwardness of an interregnum, the trustees were left with a bare five months in which to settle...

  13. SEVEN Larger Horizons
    (pp. 157-178)

    The financial crisis of 1937–38 pointed to one problem on which Principal Wallace and Treasurer McNeill were thoroughly agreed: Queen’s needed more money. Where was it to come from? Not, it was also agreed, primarily from student fees which had been brought by earlier increases close to what was considered the maximum possible. And not, it soon appeared, from the province of Ontario. In the spring of 1937 the provincial government had restored $25,000 to its reduced maintenance grant to the university and in the following winter a Queen’s delegation, consisting of Macdonnell, Wallace, and McNeill, urged upon the...

  14. EIGHT A Knowledge of Arms: Queen’s and World War II
    (pp. 179-214)

    Thirteen months after President Roosevelt delivered his famous speech at Queen’s University Germany attacked Poland. On September 3, 1939, Great Britain and France declared war against Germany. One week later Canada entered the war at Britain’s side.

    For the universities of Canada these events marked the beginning of six years of war and five of reconstruction, a period during which they became public service institutions to a greater degree than ever before. In one respect the war resembled the depression: its full impact was not felt all at once but rather in successive stages, mounting in intensity until 1943 when...

  15. NINE An Exercise in Planning
    (pp. 215-242)

    In 1941 Queen’s University celebrated its hundredth birthday. Though it was anything but an auspicious year for public celebrations, it may have been reassuring to be reminded in this way that free institutions had survived other perils. Besides, plans for the centenary had been laid several years before, and Queen’s decided to go ahead but to carry them out, Principal Wallace explained, with “a note of quietness and solemnity befitting the seriousness of the days in which we live.”¹

    Four commemorative books were published in the centennial year: D.D. Calvin’s history of Queen’s; Wilhelmina Gordon’s biography of her father, Principal...

  16. TEN Frantic Improvisation: The Years of the Veterans
    (pp. 243-272)

    The war in Europe ended in May 1945; the war in the Far East in August. During the summer the Canadian government began demobilization of the million men and 50,000 women in the armed forces. Within a year the process was virtually completed.

    A grateful country provided generous assistance for the reestablishment of the veterans in civilian life. Nearly 175,000 took advantage of the financial help available to them through the Department of Veterans Affairs to improve their education; of these almost 50,000 entered university. “It was this great influx of veterans, men and women, in the first post-war years,”...

    (pp. 273-296)

    The postwar years, despite their physical and financial strain, were a period of exhilarating intellectual activity, much of it focused on public questions. There was, however, a darker side to public discussion, and its origin lay in international affairs.

    The war was scarcely over before the Grand Alliance of the Soviet Union and the Anglo-American democracies began to break apart; soon the international scene was dominated by two super-powers, each intensely suspicious of the other. The Soviet Union, following the final triumphant sweep of the Russian armies to Berlin, proceeded to convert the “liberated” countries of eastern and central Europe,...

  18. TWELVE An Insistence on Quality
    (pp. 297-320)

    “Wallace will come to the end of his time in about three years,” J.M. Macdonnell wrote to a friend in 1947, “and we shall have the usual turmoil in finding a successor.”¹

    Macdonnell, then in his twenty-fourth year as a Queen’s trustee and his seventeenth as chairman of the board, wrote from experience. In this instance, however, his fears proved groundless. To be sure, the selection of a successor to Principal Wallace did produce a difference of opinion among the trustees; their disagreement delayed a final decision; and the delay gave rise to anxious rumours within the Queen’s community and...

  19. THIRTEEN A New Vitality
    (pp. 321-352)

    The startling growth in the number of graduate students during the 1950s was not the result of any single influence. The technological economy needed research-trained scientists; an enlarging and more research-oriented Queen’s faculty developed a greater capacity to attract advanced students; more money became available for graduate fellowships; and bearing all before it was the soaring popularity of scientific education. More than anything else, however, the expansion of graduate studies reflected a striking increase in the amount of research going on at the university. “In no single area,” Principal Mackintosh told the trustees in 1961, “has there been more growth...

  20. FOURTEEN Not at a Discount
    (pp. 353-370)

    “If we are to stress quality,” Principal Mackintosh warned the Queen’s trustees in 1952, “we cannot expect to do it at a discount.”¹ Well before the end of the decade it became evident that improved quality and moderate expansion were an expensive combination.

    Inflation, running at about 2 per cent a year during the fifties, edged up costs, as did changes in Queen’s accounting practices whereby certain items, hitherto treated separately, were brought into the main budget. Still, as Mackintosh observed in his final report, the increase “in large part … represents an increase in the educational work of the...

  21. FIFTEEN A Building Principal
    (pp. 371-416)

    Armed with money from the National Fund, capital grants from the Ontario and federal governments, and the maintenance reserve, Queen’s pressed ahead in the 19505 with a large construction program – larger, in fact, than in any previous decade in the university’s history.¹ The reasons for building, Principal Mackintosh repeatedly emphasized, were twofold: to bring facilities up to date after decades of large construction; and to prepare adequate accommodation for the increased enrolment expected in the 1960s.² Academic necessity and financial ability not only propelled Queen’s into a new stage of physical expansion but thrust Mackintosh, whose interest in buildings...

  22. SIXTEEN Prospect and Retrospect
    (pp. 417-438)

    “There is no danger of my going to Ottawa,” Principal Mackintosh wrote to one of his predecessors in 1959, “first because the chief there would be horrified and, secondly, because I am beginning to make cautious plans for my own retirement.”¹ Mackintosh retired as principal in 1961, but well before then his “cautious plans,” including the main decisions about the succession, had been made.

    In June 1958 Vice-Principal J.A. Gorry was offered the presidency of the University of Saskatchewan. It was not the first such invitation to come his way – there had been two others – but it was...

  23. Notes
    (pp. 439-500)
  24. Bibliography
    (pp. 501-504)
  25. Index
    (pp. 505-518)