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Lives of Dalhousie University

Lives of Dalhousie University: 1818-1925, Lord Dalhousie's College

Copyright Date: 1994
Pages: 352
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  • Book Info
    Lives of Dalhousie University
    Book Description:

    Financed by British spoils from eastern Maine in the War of 1812, modelled on the University of Edinburgh, and shaped by Scottish democratic education tradition, Dalhousie was unique among Nova Scotia colleges in being the only liberal, nonsectarian institution of higher learning. Except for a brief flicker of life (1838-43), for the first forty-five years no students or professors entered Dalhousie's halls a reflection in part of the intense religious loyalties embedded in Nova Scotian politics. The college building itself was at different times a cholera hospital and a Halifax community centre. Finally launched in 1863 and by 1890 embracing the disciplines of law and medicine, Dalhousie owed its driving force to the Presbyterians, retaining a double loyalty to their ethos of hard work and devotion to learning and to a board, staff, and student body of mixed denominations. P.B. Waite enlivens his descriptions of the life of the university with evocative portrayals of governors, professors, and students, as well as sketches of the social and economic development of Halifax.

    eISBN: 978-0-7735-6458-9
    Subjects: Education

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-iv)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. v-v)
  3. List of Illustrations
    (pp. vi-viii)
  4. Preface
    (pp. ix-2)
  5. 1 A Brave Beginning 1816-1821
    (pp. 3-26)

    Dalhousie Castle lies a dozen miles southeast of Edinburgh, not far from the village of Bonnyrigg, but out in the Scottish countryside, as befits an ancient establishment that dates from the thirteenth century. Of that original building only the foundations and dungeon remain; the main structure now visible was built about 1450, using the salmonred stone quarried across the South Esk. The castle stands between the South Esk and the Dalhousie burn that flows into it, two streams where salmon and trout still run.

    The rivers flow north in this part of Midlothian. The whole countryside, Edinburgh included, fronting on...

  6. 2 New Building, Silent Rooms 1821-1837
    (pp. 27-45)

    Like Julius Caesar’s Gaul, Nova Scotia’s college geography in 1821 was divided into three parts, all different. King’s in Windsor had a fine royal charter and a decrepit wooden building; it was also riven by personal feuds rather more damaging than its building. The second, Pictou Academy, had no charter as a college, but had a useful building and great ambitions. The third part was Dalhousie College, with a handsome new (and expensive) stone building right in the middle of Halifax, almost finished, but having neither principal, staff, nor students - nothing in fact except £8,289.9s.6d. invested in London, a...

  7. 3 One College or Several? 1838-1847
    (pp. 46-69)

    Little of radical politics had been seen in Nova Scotia until 1827 when the PictouColonial Patriotfirst appeared, with Jotham Blanchard as its editor and Thomas McCulloch contributing editorials. Joseph Howe at first disagreed with both, but the more he read, the more he came to their point of view. Howe expressed himself differently, with more patience and tolerance, not being as pugnacious as Blanchard or McCulloch, and still basically a moderate. His HalifaxNovascotianwas growing steadily in circulation and influence simply because it surpassed the others in useful information. Howe was the first editor in Nova Scotia...

  8. 4 Through the Shallows 1848-1864
    (pp. 70-94)

    As the 1840s ended, Halifax was beginning to feel the accelerating pace of change. It began with steamships. Howe met up with one on his way to England in May 1838. He was twenty days out of Halifax with several hundred miles to go, his sailing ship, theTyrian,was rolling about in a dead calm, when out of the west, underneath a pillar of black smoke, came a steamship. “On she came,” reported Howe, “with the speed of a hunter, while we were moving with the rapidity of an ox-cart loaded with marsh mud.” She was thesirius,fourteen...

  9. 5 Great Talent, Little Money 1863-1879
    (pp. 95-123)

    The afternoon of Tuesday, 10 November 1863 was overcast; the wind from the northeast seemed to make the old wooden houses of Halifax huddle together as if for warmth. The grey smoke from the chimneys was blowing out toward the grey sea; there would be snow before morning.¹ Dalhousie College was opening once more, for the third time.

    The half-century-old grey stone building on the Grand Parade looked out upon a Halifax slowly expanding and improving. Fire hastened the process. Granville Street was devastated by fire in 1859, and it was then rebuilt in stone, a streetscape that is still...

  10. 6 George Munro and the Big Change 1879-1887
    (pp. 124-152)

    George Munro was born near Pictou in 1825, apprenticed to a printer at twelve, and became a teacher at Pictou Academy at nineteen. In 1850 he went to the Free Church Academy in Halifax to teach mathematics and physics, becoming principal two years later. He had brought the academy to a flourishing condition when, amid much regret, he resigned in 1856. The reason he gave was health, but a private one was his uncertainty about his vocation; he had been preparing to be a Presbyterian minister - that calling for many intellectually minded young men in the nineteenth century. Rumour...

  11. 7 A Maturing Confidence 1887-1901
    (pp. 153-187)

    One of the first signs of Halifax visible to a ship coming to harbour from seaward after August 1887 was the tall brick tower of Dalhousie, 145 feet high. It was just ten feet short of the Citadel’s height and stood a few degrees to the west. Closer up, the spacious new brick building on the South Common looked rather gaunt and puritan. “Externally,” said thePresbyterian Witness,“it is not an imposing structure, but it impresses the spectator with the conviction that use rather than ornament has been the controlling idea.” Utilitarian it was; its three-plus storeys of red...

  12. 8 Expanding: A Quest for Space 1901-1914
    (pp. 188-221)

    Shortly after the death of Charles Macdonald, J.G. MacGregor, Munro professor of physics since 1879, was invited to take the chair of natural philosophy at the University of Edinburgh. Losing good professors to universities with greater funds and fame Dalhousie met, then and later, by making a virtue of it. It recognized the implied compliment of losing Schurman to Cornell in 1886, Alexander to Toronto in 1889, Seth to Brown in 1892. MacGregor found it impossible to resist Edinburgh’s better salary, enormous prestige, superior equipment, and good pension. Still, he was fond of his Dalhousie colleagues, especially MacMechan, and hated...

  13. 9 The Great War and After 1914-1922
    (pp. 222-257)

    War in 1914 was still glorious. Haligonians remembered the sailing of Canadian contingents to South Africa just fifteen years before, and there was a bright flame of glory even about that war. There were few photographs of actual battlefield conditions; war was illustrated by splendid paintings that glorified the smoke, the fury, the wounding, and the dying. War was adventure; there were risks, as in all adventure, but risks were good for the maturing of young men. They toughened moral fibre, gave men the grit that society, increasingly civilized, was failing to give. Men, and women, needed some stress. Women...

  14. 10 Towards University Federation 1921-1925
    (pp. 258-282)

    Arthur Stanley MacKenzie, Dalhousie’s widower president, had two great loves: his daughter and his university. Marjorie, a graduate of Bryn Mawr, was twenty-six years old in 1922 and occasionally acted as unofficial Dalhousie hostess. MacKenzie had never returned to active physics research after 1911; Dalhousie was too poor to afford much equipment, and his replacement in physics, Howard Bronson, had come to Dalhousie knowing that, and had become a teacher more than a researcher. MacKenzie could have escaped Dalhousie gracefully; in October 1920 the National Research Council invited him to be its chairman. But he was not much drawn to...

    (pp. 283-284)
    (pp. 284-289)
  17. APPENDIX 3 ENROLMENT, 1863-4 To 1924-5
    (pp. 290-291)
    (pp. 292-292)
    (pp. 293-294)
  20. Bibliographic Essay
    (pp. 295-296)
  21. Notes
    (pp. 297-326)
  22. Index
    (pp. 327-338)