19 Dalhousie, the Second World War, and the Philosopher-King, 1939-1943

Affairs external: the coming of the war. Atlantic provinces cajoled for support for Medicine and Dentistry. Selling the Birchdale property on the North-West Arm. Dalhousie crippled by wartime demands. The 1943 R.B. Bennett gift. A new board chairman, K.C. Laurie.

In 1938 the Royal Commission on Dominion-Provincial Relations took as one of its five commissioners R.A. MacKay, Dalhousie’s Eric Dennis professor of political science. His substitute at Dalhousie during 1938 and 1939 was Arthur R.M. Lower, an articulate, liberal-minded historian on leave from United College, Winnipeg. United College was a tense and riven institution; Lower found Dalhousie relaxed and pleasant. As MacKay told him, the professors at Dalhousie live “in a condition of genial anarchy.” What MacKay meant was that every professor, old and young, taught in ways that seemed to him best. It was the duty of the head of the department to determine what courses were to be taught, but their mode, their style, their essays, marking, examinations, were the professor’s to choose and to exact. Lower found the results, stemming from half a century and more of this tradition, good. But he found Dalhousie uneasy about its president. Seven years of Carleton Stanley had divided the faculty, and there was a substantial section with whom “he was extremely unpopular.” Others, such as G.V. Douglas and H.L. Stewart, supported him. Stewart’s view was: “Some say this about Stanley, some say that. But I say he is on the side of education which is more than can be said about many a university president.”

In that sense Stewart was right. Lower, Stewart, and President Walker of King’s were on the CBC on New Year’s Day of 1939, in a radio debate about Canadian foreign policy, with Walker the imperialist, Stewart the League of Nations collectivist, and Lower the Canadian nationalist. Lower and Walker certainly suited their roles. Lower said to Walker: “The difference between you and me is that when you say ‘we’ you mean Lancashire, and when I say ‘we’ I mean Canadians.” That brought a telegram to Stanley from H.P. Robinson of the board of New Brunswick Telephones in Saint John. Did that represent what was being taught at Dalhousie? Stanley not only supported Lower’s words, but even more his right to speak them.[1]

Munich had sharpened the debate within Canada. The shock of it, in September 1938, and even more Hitler’s flagrant repudiation of it by his march into Prague on 15 March 1939, shifted a significant block of Canadian opinion away from isolationism. Canada’s Department of External Affairs was still strongly isolationist, as were most French Canadians; but English Canadians and Dalhousians were coming to the grim conclusion that if a major war broke out between Britain and Germany, Canada would have to be in it in some form. On 29 March Neville Chamberlain, the British prime minister, gave the surprising guarantee to support Poland if she were attacked by Germany. That was Chamberlain’s violent reaction, shared by many in Britain and Canada, to having been humiliated a fortnight before by the German march into Prague.

The British guarantee to Poland had consequences very different from what Chamberlain intended. It stiffened the Poles, already resistant to giving back any territory that Poland had acquired in 1919 from Germany. Hitler could not believe Britain intended to honour her quixotic commitment to support Poland, but when she made that clear, Hitler acted. Early on Friday, 1 September 1939, the German tanks rolled, and the German air force bombed Polish cities. The British government reluctantly declared war two days later.[2]

The Halifax and Dalhousie Views of the War
Unlike the outbreak of the Great War, Canada did not at once follow Britain into the conflict. O.D. Skelton, under-secretary of state for external affairs, wrote a bitter memorandum for the prime minister on 26 August:

The first casualty in this war has been Canada’s claim to independent control of her own destinies… we have thus far been relegated to the role of a Crown Colony. We are drifting into a war resulting… from policies and diplomatic actions initiated months ago without our knowledge or expectation… the foreign policy of Canada is in the hands of the Prime Minister of Great Britain… The British Government with bland arrogance has assumed that whatever its policy, whether it be appeasement or challenge, we could be counted on to trot behind, blindly and dumbly, to chaos.

That was not what the Halifax Herald said. Its headline read, “Empire Stands with Britain.” Two days later, on 28 August, Bob Chambers, the cartoonist the Herald had bribed away from the Chronicle in a 1937 cloak-and-dagger operation, put out a cartoon, “The Call Goes Forth,” which showed a bugler under the Union Jack sounding a call to arms to bring Nova Scotians, rifle in hand, from the mine, desk, farm, factory, and fishing vessel. On 4 September, came the news that the Athenia had been sunk with the loss of 112 lives by a German submarine. Canada was not at war, not yet, but the sinking of the Athenia brought it closer.[3]

The position of most English Canadians was between O.D. Skelton and the Halifax Herald, perhaps closer to the latter than the former. English Canadians, and Dalhousians, in September 1939 were really of three groups: first, imperialists such as the Halifax Herald, Britain right or wrong. Second, a large group that believed that a major war in Europe was a dreadful commentary on European politics, but with so many friends, relations, and the monarchy, in England, if bombs were falling on London, how could Canada stay out? Nevertheless, Canadians should determine the degree of their commitment to any war. Third, a group that believed that bombs or no bombs, it was not Canada’s war. Geography and luck made it virtually impossible that Canada need be involved in any war. The United States had renounced the conquest of Canada; the Monroe Doctrine would protect Canada from any outside power. Senator Raoul Dandurand put the doctrine in a celebrated speech at Geneva in 1924: “Nous habitons une maison à l’épreuve du feu… Un vaste océan nous sépare de l’Europe.” That would have been the position, indeed, of many French Canadians and a small and well-entrenched group of English- Canadian intellectuals, of whom O.D. Skelton was one.[4]

Carleton Stanley was a Canadian with the range of a Britisher, well capable of distrusting his own or any other government. He was proud of British traditions, but he was close to the Labour party and, like it, unhappy with the conduct of British foreign policy since 1933. He told one New Brunswick imperialist that it was a mistake to think that whatever the British government of the day did was right and everyone else wrong. Some Canadians certainly had doubts, and there were plenty of newspapers and MPs in England that had also. Stanley’s annual report for 1938-9 seemed to sum up his own experience: “Has any period in history been more difficult for any sort of assertion than the period, 1931-1939?”

So many things, the world over, are going by the board, so much of our political faith, so much of ethical belief, so many indeed of our first principles.

But year after year the thing goes on, and we are forced to realise that civilisation is breaking up; that the great discoveries of science are being manipulated by the Devil; that individual human greed is careless of general human happiness.

Stanley quoted a late Thomas Hardy sonnet, that glowed like the portent it was:

And that when nations set them to lay waste
Their neighbours’ heritage by foot and horse
And hack their pleasant plains in festering seams, …
Yes. We are getting to the end of dreams![5]

In the period of the “phoney war,” when it was phoney in the West and very real in Poland, Dalhousie’s life went on much as before, though the Canadian Officers’ Training Corps, which had barely survived as a committee in the mid-1930s, was more vigorous. It would become much more important, as would manpower in general by June 1940.

Trying to Support Medicine and Dentistry
Stanley in the meantime was fighting other battles on the home front, ones that he did not always relish. An American Medical Association visit in 1936 pointed out, tactfully as was their wont, serious deficiencies in the Medical and Dental Library. Dalhousie’s collections of medical and dental books and periodicals were housed in odd ways, often inaccessible, and reading-room space was on the same casual scale. The AMA suggestions carried considerable clout; Stanley was convinced that if the Medical School lost its A rating it might just as well go out of business. The Rockefeller Foundation offered to support the visit of Eileen Cunningham, medical librarian at Vanderbilt University, Nashville, Tennessee, to advise Dalhousie. She came in June 1937. Stanley thus had expert advice to go on, and he spent a hard week in New York in September 1937 doing the rounds trying to collect $100,000 for a new medical library. In December Carnegie came through with $50,000 if Dalhousie could find another $50,000 to match it. The board dug into their private pockets and found only $8,500. Stanley much disliked the whole process. “It’s not the president’s proper job,” he told one important New York alumnus in January 1938, “to go about cap-in-hand like this.” But in March 1938 J.C. Tory (1862-1944) offered one hundred shares of Sun Life Assurance (of which he had been a senior official). That did it.[6]

The cornerstone of the new Medical-Dental Library was laid on 18 August 1938 amid a large and singularly happy alumni reunion celebrating the centennial of Dalhousie’s first university teaching. On that occasion Dalhousie outdid itself and gave thirteen LL.D.’S, including one to the oldest Dalhousie graduate, Alexander Ross (’67). At a Dalhousie dinner at the Nova Scotian Hotel the evening before, another new LL.D., Sir Walter Langdon-Brown, a Cambridge physicist, evoked the gaudeamus igitur of student life past and present:

Being at a university is like falling in love; no one can ever have had such an experience before… What is it about one’s university that colours the whole of the rest of life?… Is it not… the discovery of oneself in relation to the general scheme of things, which was there before us and will outlast us?

He quoted Augustine Birrell, also a Cambridge man:

Which of us who is clad in the sober russet of middle life can gaze without emotion upon the old breakneck staircase in the corner of an ancient quadrangle… where were housed for a too brief season the bright-coloured, long since abandoned garments of youth, a youth apparently endless, and of hopes that knew no bounds?[7]

Among the thirteen LL.D.’s that sunny August were the three provincial premiers of the Maritime provinces: Thane Campbell of Prince Edward Island, A.A. Dysart of New Brunswick, and Angus L. Macdonald of Nova Scotia. Campbell and Dysart had graduated from Dalhousie, Macdonald had been a Dalhousie law professor; so the gift of those honorary degrees was based on some hope for government support. On the other hand the Dalhousie Board of Governors was profoundly sceptical; very few believed that anything would come of approaches to any of the Maritime governments. They denigrated it as “just Stanley’s idea.” Stanley stoutly believed that all Dalhousie had to do was to say to all three governments, “Well, gentlemen, if at long last, you decline to support medical training as other Canadian premiers do, we must close down.”[8]

The Nova Scotian government had consistently refused because of political pressure exerted by the other universities, who would insist on a quid pro quo for every grant to Dalhousie. The first break was the $5,000 public health grant of 1935, and it was conditional on Dalhousie establishing a Department of Preventive Medicine. That could be justified on the ground of public health. But an outright grant to Dalhousie Medical School? When J.C. Tory made his gift for the Medical Library he was, in effect, saying to Stanley, “You are dead right, the governments must give you money, and Nova Scotia must take the lead.” It was his way of underlining what he believed was the clear and unmistakable duty of the other Maritime governments. Moreover, the foundations were becoming less accessible. When Stanley approached Rockefeller in March 1939 for a grant of $60,000 per annum to meet current deficits, they replied promptly that they doubted if any further support along such lines was possible.[9]

By 1939 Dalhousie could make other arguments for funding from Maritime governments. When Dalhousie’s medical and dental students were largely Americans, governments could resist. By 1938 there were more Newfoundlanders and New Brunswickers than Americans in first-year medicine, and by 1943 first-year medicine had no Americans at all. In fact that year showed something of the proportions of Atlantic provinces’ population: of forty-nine first-year students, twenty were Nova Scotians, eleven New Brunswickers, nine Prince Edward Islanders, and eight Newfoundlanders. That change was effected mostly by Dean Grant’s going around the Atlantic provinces, largely on his own money, and meeting prospective medical students and encouraging them to come to Dalhousie.

The Carnegie Corporation had not given up its interest in Maritime education; in 1934 it commissioned H.L. Stewart of Dalhousie to make a survey and in November 1935 their representative warned that, compared with a decade before, college standards were slipping, as the number of colleges slowly increased. That view was echoed by Carleton Stanley; the Central Advisory committee on Education in the Maritime Provinces and Newfoundland, a group of college presidents which reported to the Carnegie Corporation, struck a sub-committee to discuss it. At the annual meeting of the advisory committee in Moncton on 29-30 December 1936 they unanimously agreed,

that since none of the colleges was prepared to accept the responsibility of establishing [professional] schools that they were under a real debt to Dalhousie and that they should take advantage of any opportunity occurring to bring home to the governments their responsibility for the support of the professional schools and especially of the medical and dental colleges.

It was understood that if the Nova Scotian government decided to support Dalhousie’s medical and dental facilities, the other colleges would not ask for a quid pro quo. Here was a mighty first step.[10]

In the autumn of 1937 the Dalhousie governors finally agreed that the time had come to approach the provincial governments for support for medicine and dentistry. In 1938 a memorandum went to all the Atlantic province governments on the subject. It received a friendly enough reception; Newfoundland’s Commission government said it would help if it could; Prince Edward Island said it would help too, but it could not take the lead. New Brunswick was cordial in the visits that Stanley and Dean Grant made, following up their memorandum. But none of the other governments would, or could, move without some fundamental beginning by the government of Nova Scotia.

Stanley’s account of his and Grant’s interview with Angus L. Macdonald on 21 March 1939 is of some interest. The premier began by making objections; notwithstanding the Moncton resolution, the other colleges would be after him if he gave any money to Dalhousie. Stanley showed him the text to prove that was not so.

GRANT: You cannot deny, Mr. Premier, that the medical and dental schools are a great boon to these provinces; nor that they should be supported by these provinces as other professional schools are elsewhere.
ANGUS L.: Well, it cannot be maintained that they enter into the picture of education. They are technical schools rather –
STANLEY (interrupting): Yes, Mr. Premier, they are technical schools for medicos and dentists just as the Nova Scotia Technical College is a technical college for engineers. To that you give $150,000 annually.

Angus L. seemed to give ground a little. He was not, he said, fighting against Dalhousie; the arguments he had been using were those that other people would put up. Stanley then pointed out how Rockefeller refused to give any more money as long as the Nova Scotian community did not. Finally Angus L. said, “Well, we are in debt ourselves this year but I guess we will have to do something for you. I suppose it affects Nova Scotia more than the other provinces.” Stanley did not hesitate to remind him that the majority of students in both dentistry and medicine were Nova Scotians. Dalhousie had to have $60,000 a year to keep the Medical and Dental schools going; he pointed out, with examples, “how we had stripped the Arts and Science School to maintain decent professional schools.” Angus L. made yet another objection. Dalhousie had allowed experts to bully them, and was “attempting to do things on the scale of New York City.” But Stanley gave him no quarter about that, and “he looked as though he wished he had not said it. Then [he] grew very friendly, and drove us home.”

That did not mean Dalhousie had won. It had simply taken the first round. Angus L. did not believe the Maritime colleges could be so high-minded about giving Dalhousie free access to the government of Nova Scotia. He wrote each of the college presidents, asking if they had voted on the 1936 Moncton resolution, and how they felt about the question now, in March 1939. The replies Angus L. elicited not only supported Dalhousie’s position; they re-emphasized its necessity. With Stanley’s willing acceptance Angus L. sent an accountant to examine Dalhousie’s books to see if it were true that it actually needed the $60,000 a year. Finally, in June 1939 Angus L. indicated that his cabinet had no objection to an annual grant to Dalhousie of $25,000. Stanley said that was less than two-thirds of what Nova Scotia should be paying. Angus L. replied, “You can tell Dysart or any one else that we shall assume our share.”[11]

Stanley had his work cut out when he visited Dysart in Fredericton, in April. Dysart said New Brunswick could not offer any support to Dalhousie, for it had UNB to look after. Stanley did not accept that. He pointed out how the Saint John General Hospital was a Dalhousie teaching hospital and “no hospital is up to scratch unless it is a teaching hospital, connected with a university, as your Saint John hospital is connected with us. It is notorious among professional men how slackness creeps into a hospital unless it has graduating internes in it who, in the very nature of things, have eyes like hawks.” There was good sense in that. Many of the best doctors, said Dr. Allan Gregg of the Rockefeller Foundation, “welcome the responsibility of teaching, since it keeps them up to date and at ‘concert pitch.’” Stanley also suggested useful analogies from the two schools for the blind and for the deaf in Halifax, to which all three Maritime provinces contributed. “You are a gallant warrior,” said Dysart on 26 May 1939, “returning to the fray with such vigor.” But Dysart was not giving anything, despite arguments. The blind and the deaf were wards of the state; medical and dental students were not.[12]

In April 1940, despite earlier suggestions of $25,000, Nova Scotia produced only $10,000, with a statement that Dalhousie was not to count on it for 1941 or 1942. The Dalhousie board, stung by that, decided in April 1940 not to cash that cheque, but held two meetings to determine if they would shut down the Medical and Dental schools. Dalhousie went back to the Nova Scotian government and was promised more. The board hung on, hoping that the Atlantic provinces governments would somehow, sometime, awaken to what seemed to Dalhousie as their legitimate responsibilities. Moreover, as Stanley explained to C.H. Blakeny, New Brunswick’s minister of education, to make an announcement that Dalhousie was shutting down her professional schools would make it virtually impossible ever to get staff and students together again. But in July 1940 Angus L. Macdonald left for Ottawa as minister of defence for naval services, and the issue dropped.

In January 1941 the government promised $20,000 and would lean on the City of Halifax to put up $5,000 for the Public Health Clinic. That was better, but it was a continuing struggle. Dalhousie still needed not $20,000, but $60,000 a year to keep the schools and the clinic going, and the board had again to go to the government in April 1942. This time it brought evidence that the Rockefeller Foundation had just given $150,000 to develop and improve medical teaching facilities in the new expansion of the Victoria General Hospital the government was undertaking. Not only that; in 1941 Dalhousie was awarded $5,000 a year to establish a Department of Psychiatry. Dr. R.O. Jones was soon winning golden opinions in both Halifax and New York. Despite that, in 1943 the government reverted to $10,000, saying that the $20,000 of 1942 was a special grant. Stanley went after the government about that, and three months later it added $10,000. But, as this turgid tale reveals, it was stiff, difficult going.[13]

Dalhousie had, however, received some additional support from outside the province, from Newfoundland. Dalhousie had long been a friendly home for Newfoundlanders; it had strongly supported the creation of Memorial College in 1925 and had sent J.H.L. Johnstone, professor of physics, and a colleague to St. John’s in May 1925 to advise. The idea of Memorial College had not been received with much enthusiasm by Newfoundlanders; Johnstone thought a great deal had been accomplished by the Memorial group, against heavy odds of apathy and ignorance; “every sympathy and consideration should be shown them.” President A.S. MacKenzie thoroughly agreed. Thus Dalhousie followed up Professor Johnstone’s visit with advice about registration, curriculum; the Memorial Student Council was based upon Dalhousie’s. When planning scholarships for students leaving Grade 11, Dalhousie wanted to include Newfoundland; Stanley feared that Dalhousie might be accused of raiding Memorial’s students. He need not have worried; the president of Memorial replied, sensibly enough, that he was delighted for Newfoundland students to get any financial support possible.[14]

Stanley was the first Dalhousie president to actually go to Newfoundland. He had long wanted to broaden the Dalhousie board to include governors from Newfoundland and New Brunswick, and he was able to announce at a luncheon in St. John’s in 1934 the appointment of the Honourable F.C. Alderdice of St. John’s to the Dalhousie board. Alderdice was succeeded by Raymond Gushue, Newfoundlander and Dalhousie graduate (LL.B. ’25), who became Dalhousie’s unofficial ambassador to the Court of St. John’s, and at one point a member of two boards of governors, Dalhousie’s and Memorial’s. In 1942 Stanley and Dean Grant, war or no war, again went to Newfoundland, a journey not without risk. Two months later, on 14 October 1942, the SS Caribou, the passenger ferry between Sydney and Port aux Basques, was torpedoed by a German submarine, taking 137 people down with her. Grant and Stanley put Dalhousie’s case before the Commission government. Between 1923 and 1938 an average of ten Newfoundlanders annually were in Dalhousie Medical and Dental schools; in 1942 it had risen to twenty-two. Could the government endow a Newfoundland chair of, say, public health, or, failing that, make an annual grant? It was not all business, as Gushue reported, making amends for a too-abrupt departure from a Newfoundland party for Stanley and Grant:

These talk-fests have a bad effect on me, but they always take place when the Judge [William Higgins] and the Mayor [Andrew Carnell] get together. They are both as good as gold, but the combination of a goodly company and a little hospitality is too much for them. It hurts me a little to watch the Judge, splashing about unconcernedly in a whirlpool of circumlocution, and neither emerging nor submerging, or to see the Mayor who has a heart of gold, masticating with drooling relish the cud of half-digested clichés. When I left I feared that they were just getting around to “one standing up” with a speech or two to finish up the evening. So – if you thought I was rude, I probably was.

The upshot was the Commission government’s offer in October 1942, of $5,000 a year for five years for Dalhousie’s medical and dental schools.[15]

As for the New Brunswickers, they were friendly enough when Stanley and Grant met the cabinet in March 1943, but neither the example of Nova Scotia nor Newfoundland made any difference, not even in 1946 when the minister of education was deeply appreciative “of the splendid work done by the Dalhousie Medical and Dental Schools.” In 1946 the demands of the New Brunswick school system, so ministers alleged, made any grant impossible. In March 1947 Prince Edward Island included $3,000 for Dalhousie in its estimates, and it may have been that that finally tipped the balance at Fredericton in Dalhousie’s favour. The New Brunswick cabinet authorized $20,000 in May 1947.[16] But the process, over a whole decade, 1937 to 1947, had been like pulling teeth.

The initiative in this struggle was Stanley’s. Most of the Dalhousie board not only doubted the feasibility of getting any money out of Maritime governments; they were sceptical even of the wisdom of trying. Stanley stuck to his guns. When the first money from the government of Nova Scotia was about to come in 1940, J. McGregor Stewart (“Jim” as everyone called him) wrote Stanley an appreciative letter. “I am sure,” he said, “the Board will be unanimous in their thanks to you, for the idea was yours and the patiently worked campaign was yours.”[17]

The Birchdale Affair
But there was a problem between Stanley and Stewart waiting in the wings, that came on a year later: the Birchdale affair. Dalhousie’s financial difficulties in the early 1940s were patent enough; one consequence, regarded by many in the Dalhousie community as unfortunate, not to put a stronger word on it, was the sale of the Birchdale property in September 1941. It was unusual for a university corporation to let property go once it owned it. Not for nothing did medieval monarchs fear mortmain, the dead hand; the church, once it acquired property, kept it until, presumably, the Day of Judgment. The universities in this respect were apt to be the church’s modern successors. Dalhousie did indeed give up the Parade in the 1880s, after long negotiations with the city, but it clung to whatever else it had acquired. It bought Birchdale in 1920 for $160,000 as a men’s residence at a time when student housing in Halifax, more than two years after the explosion, was difficult to find. Birchdale was a spacious old hotel on the Arm, with some 600 feet of water frontage, and one good deep landing place, the land running back some 550 feet. It was the only large area vacant on the Halifax side of the Arm. Birchdale was not, however, contiguous with any other part of Dalhousie, being about a quarter-mile distant from the president’s house on Oxford Street and the campus on the opposite side. Students going back and forth from 1920 to 1923 did not seem to mind the distance, and they loved the Arm.[18]

In September 1923, and loath to do it, Dalhousie leased Birchdale to King’s until King’s could put up their new stone buildings on the Dalhousie campus. Seven years as a King’s residence was too much for the old hotel. In 1930, when Dalhousie got Birchdale back again, the decision was made to raze the building rather than repair it. Birchdale was subsequently written down on Dalhousie’s books from $160,927 to $34,317. In October 1932, F.B. McCurdy, chairman of the Finance Committee, recommended immediate sale of the property to help reduce the burgeoning deficit. But both the Executive Committee and the full board concluded that this was no time to sell. Nevertheless, in November 1933 the Building Committee had two requests about Birchdale: one from Dean Grant asking if the board would grant permission to professors to build their houses on the property, and another from Dugald Macgillivray asking for an option to purchase all of it for an unnamed principal. It was agreed that the board did not want to lease lots to professors, but that if Macgillivray wanted an option he could have one for three months, on the understanding that the minimum price would be $40,000. The interest of J. McGregor Stewart, vice-chairman of the board, and his wife Emily, was piqued. Their property, Braemar, was at the southern end of Birchdale, and the only road access to their Arm garden was the shore road through Birchdale. If Birchdale were sold, that access was ended. Hence they wanted a strip along the south side of Birchdale that would give them access through property they owned.

The Macgillivray option expired without its being taken up. Several board members questioned whether any of Birchdale should be sold, and the issue went back to the Building Committee for recommendation. Professor H.R. Theakston, Dalhousie’s engineer in charge of buildings and grounds, recommended sale of the strip for $3,500 to Mrs. Stewart. But at that point Mrs. Stewart’s interest seems to have lapsed; perhaps the board’s resistance to sale may have suggested to her husband the virtue of postponement.

There the matter rested for five years. During that time Dalhousie could not get the land exempted from city taxes, even though it was used to teach engineers surveying. The taxes averaged about $700 a year. In February 1941 J. McGregor Stewart, now the chairman, reported that Eastern Trust had received written offers to buy lots on the Birchdale property. That summer the seven acres were surveyed and divided into nine lots, each about three-quarters of an acre. Lot 9 was different from the others; it was a strip on the south side, 60 feet wide and 490 feet deep. The other eight were the conventional rectangles. In September 1941, under financial pressure, the board agreed to sell the whole of Birchdale to the Eastern Trust for $30,500, the Trust’s 5 per cent commission to be deducted from the sale price. The resulting $28,700, after some other expenses were deducted, would be applied to the $43,000 5 per cent mortgage on the whole of Studley. That would produce a saving to the university of $1,425 per year, which, with the taxes saved, amounted to $2,100 annually.[19]

That is as cool a gloss on the transaction as can be given. There were, on the other hand, disturbing aspects to the sale: the price itself, which seemed to some too low; more important, the fact that the wife of the chairman of the board got lot 9, the 490-foot strip, with water frontage that included one of the best landing places on that side of the Arm.[20] Mrs. Stewart’s prospective purchase was only known at the last stage when it was before the full board on 18 September 1941. While the Stewart strip might have been regarded by some as an innocent acquisition, not only did it not look right, it was not right. It was alleged that Stewart’s friends bought several of the lots. President Stanley opposed the sale or the break-up of Birchdale at every stage, and later claimed to have acquired some obloquy in so doing. A more extreme view of the Birchdale sale was taken by Miss Lola Henry, Stanley’s percipient secretary. Miss Henry was a staunch defender of Dalhousie’s (and President Stanley’s) interests; she claimed that Dalhousie’s need for the money was only a pretext, that Stewart became chairman of the board in 1937 mainly because he intended to get that piece of Birchdale. And, asserted Miss Henry, he stayed until he got it; then, a year and a half later, in 1943, he resigned as chairman. Dr. Beecher Weld, the new professor of physiology, thoroughly disliked the whole business.[21] The transaction slowly became public knowledge. Among Dalhousians it left a bad taste; it was a conflict of interest on the part of the chairman of the board. He did not vote on the issue in September 1941, but if he wanted a piece of Birchdale that badly, he might have resigned from the board before the issue of sale came up in February 1941. Still, it is right to suggest that it was an age when conflict of interest was not looked upon as severely as now. It was a smaller world, and in downtown Halifax one might have conceded that the Stewarts were only looking after their property.

Thus did Dalhousie lose its hold on six hundred choice feet of the North-West Arm. Stanley’s hopes for a biological station were never realistic, for the Arm was already insufficiently clean; but his idea of a Dalhousie rowing and canoe club was a real possibility. It was from this time that Stanley and Stewart, president and chairman, began to move apart. Once when Stanley was in New York talking to Dr. F.P. Keppel of the Carnegie Foundation, perhaps in 1941, he complained that someone upon whom he had built hopes had broken in his hands. Keppel replied, “You didn’t make a mistake. The man was capable of doing what you hoped, but he couldn’t stand the strain of finding that you trusted him.” Was it J. McG. Stewart of whom they were speaking? Stanley continued to value Stewart’s strength, vigour, and financial capacity, but seeds of distrust had been sown.[22]

Stanley and the Board Begin to Draw Apart
Stanley’s disillusionment with the board seems to have begun not long after the death of Hector Mclnnes in 1937. In November 1937 Stewart fell and broke his leg; the vice-chairman, Dr. J.C. Webster, the New Brunswicker whom Stanley had been instrumental in having appointed, was seventy-four years old and lived two hundred miles distant in Shediac; the board secretary was a decent old fellow, W.E. Thompson (LL.B. ’93), now virtually an invalid. Much of the work fell on Stanley’s shoulders. What began to make him angry was the way the board members seemed to disappear when anything substantial had to be done. Especially was this so after the outbreak of war, when Ottawa cheerfully requisitioned whomever and whatever it wanted. On 26 April 1940 the board, meeting at Stewart’s house, agreed to send a small delegation to see the Nova Scotian premier, and to have Stanley arrange an appointment for 30 April. Just before the delegation was to go downtown Stanley discovered that Stewart had gone off to Ottawa without a word. “A second-hand junk shop could not prosper if handled in such a way!” Stanley complained in 1940 to K.C. Laurie, newly on the board.[23]

The financial campaign of 1939 had gone to ground in the same fashion, so it seemed to Stanley. In 1938 the board decided it would launch a substantial campaign for $4.4 million in 1939, to be called the Loyalty Campaign. Dalhousie’s 1939 needs were estimated as follows:

Cancellation of present debt $ 400,000
Endowment to maintain present faculties 2,310,000
Men’s residence 1,000,000
Biology and Geology Building 500,000
Anatomy Building 200,000
Total $4,410,000

As early as April 1939 the campaign was hanging fire badly, Stanley said, with almost the whole board out of town, and for weeks. A circular letter went out from John S. Roper, campaign secretary, in June 1939, written from “Lord John’s office in the little red college,” evoking memories of the happy alumni reunion of August 1938. But by August 1939 Stanley complained that those who should have been in the forefront of the campaign had gone to sleep. By the spring of 1940 several board members, including the chairman, thought the campaign should be put off until after the war. Some money was coming in; Stanley was impressed with “the generosity of school teachers and preachers on low salaries”; many of Dalhousie’s professors had been very generous, some subscribing as much as 10 per cent of their year’s salary. But impetus was lacking. S.R. Balcom of the local drugstore chain, who was chairing the campaign, discovered the board chairman wanted it to close down; the secretary, when he discovered the same thing, resigned. Balcom went to Ottawa, later becoming the chief medical stores inspection officer in 1944. Thus did the Loyalty Campaign come slowly to a stop, not without recriminations.[24]

By 1940 Stanley himself found academic meetings multiplied, too many of them “unnecessarily and irrelevantly long.” At Senate on 28 November when, as he put it, he could not get the Senate to see reason, he lost his temper and walked out, with the remark, “I will not have my time wasted any further today.” Stanley was worn out, so much so that by April 1941 he was in bed with pleurisy. The rest of the university struggled as best it could, enrolment falling steeply. It was 908 in 1939-40; by 1942-3 it was down to 676, a drop of 26 per cent in three years.[25]

There was a developing backlog of unanswered problems, including some with King’s, which was trying to break some of the 1923 terms. “King’s is chilling,” Stanley told McGregor Stewart in December 1940; “Can it be that they want to advertise to the world that they have flouted the federation we thought we had? Is not the time approaching when the Carnegie Corporation will have to be advised of what is going on?” Nor was Stanley’s attitude improved by an ill-advised article by President Walker in the Halifax Chronicle two months later, a tactless and graceless comment on what Carnegie had done for King’s in 1923, giving it $600,000 on condition that it find a further $400,000. That King’s managed to do by 1927. A further condition of the Carnegie grant was that the combined $1 million be applied to support instruction at both King’s and Dalhousie. Dalhousie had the strong suspicion that some of that income was being used to support King’s program in divinity, something specifically prohibited in the terms of agreement. In December 1941 Stanley was in New York and saw the Carnegie people. R.M. Lester was familiar with King’s violation of the agreement; Keppel, the president, wished to have King’s sued to enforce the terms of 1923, but Stanley claimed that he had persuaded Keppel not to sue. But King’s would have to wait; neither Stanley nor Stewart had the time for it. Two years later Stanley referred to the useful Latin principle, Solvitur amhulando – let time resolve the King’s issue, as time resolved many things.[26]

The Effects of the War on Dalhousie
The war devastated Dalhousie, not by bombs or explosions, but by the tremendous weight of government manpower needs in a vital seaport city, and by the concomitant haemorrhage of staff, of students, of energies. Within three years C.L. Bennet, registrar and professor of English, himself a veteran of the First World War, could say, “You couldn’t form even a platoon of able-bodied men at Dalhousie right now. There aren’t any.”[27]

It helped that the universities now had a collective voice. The National Conference of Canadian Universities (NCCU) had its origins in 1911, but developed in the early months of the First World War, especially through the efforts of Principal Peterson of McGill, supported warmly by President MacKenzie. After the war it continued, usually meeting annually, with presidents taking turns at presiding. Stanley was president of the NCCU in 1935-6. After the Second World War began, the government found the conference increasingly useful as a liaison body with the universities of Canada. J.S. Thomson, president of the University of Saskatchewan and NCCU president at the time, praised the enlightened attitude of Ottawa, especially its acceptance of the principle that the best contribution by students to the war was to finish their courses.[28]

The conference had hitherto been what its name suggested; but by July 1940 it had become the vehicle for the development of manpower policies as they affected the universities. In 1941 more minatory actions by the government made themselves felt. The Wartime Bureau of Technical Personnel was set up by order-in-council in February 1941, and it had dictatorial powers. At the June 1942 NCCU conference severe shortages of engineers and scientists were reported. Some presidents were ready to make their universities into the working instruments of government needs; in November 1942 Cyril James of McGill and R.C. Wallace of Queen’s devised a scheme, the nub of which was that university teaching in law, the humanities, and the social sciences could usefully be shut down for the duration of the war. There was some talk in the Financial Post and the Globe and Mail during the latter part of 1942 that supported such a position. President Stanley was furious with James, “an extremely crude mischief maker,” he told Sidney Smith of Manitoba. Stanley had another reason for his dislike; James had suggested in April 1942 that Dalhousie students finishing third year, by going to McGill for ten weeks, could get a McGill degree at the end of that summer. Stanley replied indignantly that it was a gross attempt to steal students from other universities, and he would have nothing to do with it. He stirred up Cody of Toronto. So the James proposal about abandoning arts came from a president whom others thought a maverick. Cody of Toronto, Smith of Manitoba, Larry MacKenzie of British Columbia, and several others joined Stanley in agreeing that the James-Wallace proposal was thoroughly bad.

Stanley did not much like Sidney Smith, at Dalhousie or anywhere else, but that feud was patched up for the sake of the emergency. Smith was president of the NCCU that year, and wrote Stanley from Winnipeg: “Frankly we wondered – to use a slang expression – whether the two men in question, who are frequently in Ottawa and who are close to governmental authorities, are ‘selling us down the river.’” A special meeting of the NCCU was called for Ottawa in January 1943, the university communities very much on the qui vive, and ready to take up arms. There the whole proposal was shot down; its only supporters were Wallace and James. Not even the government wanted it. The agreement that emerged did what Arthur MacNamara, the sensible deputy minister of labour and director of national selective service, suggested: weed out incompetent students of whatever kind. James had his fingers burnt and was bitter. But in fact the thinking of the prime minister at that point was that the expansion of the military had gone quite far enough.[29]

In 1942 Dr. Lothar Richter, the director of Dalhousie’s Institute of Public Affairs, claimed Dalhousie was the greatest war casualty of any of the Canadian universities. He was not far off that himself; he and his family had to lie low because anti-German prejudice was rife in Halifax. Stanley was angry at the bigoted and unthinking attitudes of Nova Scotians against the Richters, who had after all fled Germany because of Hitler.

And the war brought into prominence sometimes officious and unintelligent people in wrong places. A young Dalhousie law professor, Allan Findlay, got into trouble in 1939 for sending a letter to Denmark that had a crude sketch of Halifax harbour in it, to show his Danish fiancée the geography. Dark rumours circulated in Ottawa about Findlay’s revelations such as aiding German bombing runs over strategic points in Halifax harbour; Scotland Yard in London allegedly affirmed that the address in Denmark housed a Nazi spy centre. Censors never could be brought to realize that the Germans had whole charts of Halifax harbour and its approaches. Findlay mailed the letter on 29 October 1939; on 2 December he was charged under the Defence of Canada Act with having sent a treasonable letter. J. McG. Stewart, chairman of the board, thought Findlay should be fired. Stanley resisted. Stanley had friends in high places, not least the governor general, Lord Tweedsmuir, who saw the letter at External Affairs and told Stanley the young man was innocent. So it virtually proved to be; in the trial before Magistrate Inglis on 28 December, Inglis said that although Findlay was technically guilty, a romantic impulse did not constitute treason. Inglis found him guilty as charged; the fine was $1 plus costs. They were $6![30]

Dalhousie found itself being steadily crimped and crippled by government demands, especially for the loan of staff for technical projects. J.H.L. Johnstone and George Henderson in the Department of Physics were seconded to the National Research Council in 1940 on part-time leave for naval research, as soon as magnetic mines made their appearance. The huge cables that were wound around corvettes just inside the bulwarks resulted partly from the work of Johnstone and Henderson on the principle of degaussing. As of 31 August 1942 both Dalhousie physicists were gone for the duration of the war. Four senior members of Senate and two members of Arts and Science, Vincent Macdonald, dean of law, and some thirteen members of the Medical Faculty, are recorded in the 1944-5 calendar as on leave for the duration.

In December 1940 the Red Cross cheerfully announced that in the event of any real emergency in Halifax the first building they would requisition would be Shirreff Hall. The board even accepted that. Whole sections of the Dalhousie campus were sequestered. The corner of Coburg and Oxford streets became the site by 1943 of a barracks for the Women’s Royal Canadian Naval Service (WRCNS). In September 1941, at government request, King’s leased its whole building to the navy. It informed Dalhousie only when it was a fait accompli and it did not bother informing the Carnegie Corporation at all. Both Lester and Keppel of the corporation told Stanley in December 1941 that, legally and morally, they should at least have been consulted. King’s students went to Pine Hill. The navy arranged to build a mess hall for its officers in training at HMCS King’s on the foundation of the old Dalhousie gym, opposite the Physics Building. The new 1932 gym was used heavily by navy, airforce and army personnel; by 1944 HMCS King’s was taking twenty-four hours a week of the Dalhousie gym. The Canadian Women’s Army Corps wanted accommodation; they took over Shirreff Hall for the summer of 1942, and to Dalhousie’s surprise left it cleaner than it had ever been seen before. Eventually the government would develop a site for a CWAC barracks just off Dalhousie land on Morris Street.[31]

Dalhousie’s financial loss from the war was considerable. By the autumn of 1942 attendance was down 25.5 per cent from that in 1939. Stanley claimed that Dalhousie’s loss of students, male students especially, was much the highest in Canada. Average yearly loss from the shrinkage of student fees alone was $50,000. Dalhousie’s Medical and Dental facilities were being used by the armed services during the early stages of the war; the Public Health Clinic had to cope with VD in the navy and on the merchant ships. Aside from the loss of student fees, Dalhousie calculated in 1943 that it had spent some $124,000 in staff time and overhead, and thought that some compensation from Ottawa was both appropriate and essential:

A – Degaussing ships (Physics) $42,250
B – Precision instrument course (Physics) 12,750
C – National Research Council projects (Chemistry) 700
D – Medical Research, NRC, National Defence, Department of Pensions, Royal Canadian Navy 3,000
E – Medical; Diphtheria immunizations 46,316
F – VD treatment for merchant seamen 2,000
G – Work for armed services by Dalhousie’s Pathology Department 10,310
H – Rent for university buildings 6,000
Total $124,326

This went to C.J. Mackenzie of the National Research Council on 13 March 1943. A similar request had gone forward in 1942, supported by C.D. Howe and Angus L. Macdonald. J.L. Ilsley, the minister of finance, Nova Scotian though he was (BA Acadia, 1913, LL.B. Dalhousie, 1918), was obdurate to both requests. Not even the cost of drugs spent on VD and diphtheria was allowed. Only one minor claim was accepted. When Angus L. Macdonald, minister of naval defence, wrote to Dalhousie on 8 March 1943 asking for permission to build a drill shed, 160 feet by 86 feet, on the campus, Stanley noted an earlier 1942 request of the navy for something similar. The board therefore decided that no further negotiations with any government department for facilities would take place until some settlement had been reached about Dalhousie facilities already granted. In 1944 Stanley told R.B. Hanson, the leader of the opposition in Ottawa, that “the letters we received from the Finance Minister about these matters have to be seen to be believed.”[32]

By 1943, however, Dalhousie’s pressing financial difficulties, while still real, were helped by new and considerable gleams of hope. Fortuitously money began to appear. Alex Ross, Dalhousie’s oldest graduate, whom Dugald Macgillivray had once whiskeyed and nourished, gave via his estate $102,500 for libraries; the George S. Campbell estate gave $108,000 to found a chair in biology; most important of all, in April 1943 there came a personal visit from R.B. Bennett’s secretary, Alice Millar, and R.B.’s brother, Captain Ronald Bennett. They presented Stanley with a missive from R.B. Bennett. “Your letter,” wrote Miss Millar to her employer in England, “shook him to his roots for he had no warning.” It was a gift of $725,000 with the promise of another $250,000 to come. Bennett, then living at his country estate at Mickleham in Surrey, decided at the age of seventy-three to distribute some of his Canadian assets, not being able to get any money out of England. Stanley had once told Bennett of Harvard President Conant’s remark that the value of a university lay not in its buildings but its professors. Bennett listened. Thus the $725,000, with $25,000 that Bennett had earlier given to begin endowment of a Dean Weldon chair of law, would be established to endow at least four professorships, any balance to go to Dalhousie’s endowment:

  • a Mrs. E.B. Eddy professorship in Medicine, preferably connected with Nursing (it came to be in Public Health and Nursing)
  • a Harry Shirreff professorship in Science, preferably connected with pulp and paper manufacture (it came to be in Chemical Research)
  • a law school professorship, the Dean Weldon chair
  • a second law school professorship, the Viscount Bennett chair.

There was to be no publicity for the present; Alice Millar stressed the point, no talk at all. Stanley took her so much at her word that he did not even tell his chairman of the board. It was not until five months later that the Royal Bank, needing signatures in connection with $725,000 of Dominion of Canada bonds, forced Stanley to ask Ronald Bennett if Dalhousie’s good fortune could not be made known to the board. That was done, and the board at once struck an R.B. Bennett gift committee.[33]

The two chairs in medicine and science were new specialties, and thus did not relieve Dalhousie of existing financial commitments; but with the two Law School chairs there followed a tug-of-war with the Law School, which wanted the full weight of the Bennett bequest to come to them. The Law School’s old regimen, “Three men and a boy and a stenographer,” would now be, they hoped, four full-time teachers at $5,000, plus a full-time librarian and a stenographer. At this point, the Law School was actually down to two full-time professors, since Dean Vincent MacDonald was also assistant deputy minister of labour in Ottawa. John Willis, acting dean, solicited MacDonald’s support to help the Law School argue its case with the Board of Governors. Stanley, on the other hand, asserted that the Law School had for some years, along with the Medical School, eaten up money that should have gone to Arts and Science. Stanley’s position was reinforced by McGregor Stewart who would, he said, “definitely oppose the continuing withdrawal of general University funds in order that the activities of the Law School may be extended beyond the present facilities. The Law School has been a great drain on the general funds.” In the end Stewart and the board won their holding action.

Stewart also believed that parts of Dalhousie could be altogether closed for the duration of the war; indeed, sometimes he said all of it. That had arisen, Stanley claimed, several times since 1939; in fact, there was “no part of the University which he has not at one time or other urged me to close down.” Stanley resisted, but it had never come to a quarrel. Stewart was suave; if Stanley objected, that was all right with Stewart, who was too preoccupied with the war labours to fight the issue.[34]

A New Chairman of the Board, 1943
In April 1943 Stewart was no longer chairman of the board. He had to give that up, having too much to do in Ottawa and in Halifax. Stanley regretted losing the leadership of such an able man: “one could hardly imagine a person better qualified.” Stewart was like a great strong horse; even if Stanley no longer fully trusted him, Stewart had tremendous pulling power. But he had been so busy that board meetings had become sporadic and his board colleagues restive. There were two possible successors. One was F.B. McCurdy (1875-1952), appointed to the board in 1928, its leading financial expert, and now its treasurer. He had been a Conservative MP, and a minister in the 1920-1 Meighen government. He also had Liberal connections, married to Florence Pearson, G.F. Pearson’s sister, and in fact took over the running of the Halifax Morning Chronicle, the Liberal standard-bearer, from Pearson in 1926. McCurdy was sixty-eight years old and comfortably rich; McCurdy’s paper was less tolerant of the CCF and socialism than was the Conservative Herald. According to Stanley, his appointment as chairman of the board at Dalhousie would have been a shock to the community and to its conscience.

The other candidate was Lieutenant-Colonel K.C. Laurie, “a fine gentleman and public-spirited citizen,” as Stanley wrote Webster in Shediac, “conscious of his own limitations as compared with the man he would have to succeed.” Opinion on the board was divided; at first there was more support for McCurdy, but by May 1943, perhaps with encouragement from Stanley, opinion began to swing rapidly toward the colonel. J.C. Webster thought it would help if he (Webster) resigned, having always felt his appointment as vice-chairman was a mistake. It would give the board more room for change. Stanley begged the eighty-year-old Webster to stay on; Webster was an ally. On 27 May K.C. Laurie was confirmed as chairman.[35] A soldier born and bred, he looked the part; but he was not chosen for that reason. Why he was chosen in 1943 may have been more a comment on the board and the busyness of the other men and women who composed it. Whatever his strengths and weaknesses, K.C. Laurie would be chairman for the next twelve years.

Photograph of Colonel K.C. Laurie, Chairman of the Board, 1943-55.
Colonel K.C. Laurie, Chairman of the Board, 1943-55: “bluff, affable, kindly… a decent proud squire.”


  1. See Arthur R.M. Lower, My First Seventy-five Years (Toronto 1967), chap. 16, “Some impressions of Nova Scotia,” pp. 214-20. There is an interesting and characteristic picture of G.V. Douglas opposite p. 163.
  2. That there is an enormous literature on the subject of the Second World War goes without saying. Suffice it to mention three books, succinct and eminently readable: B.H. Liddell Hart, History of the Second World War (London 1973), the quotation being from p. 12; C.P. Stacey, Canada and the Age of Conflict, Volume 2: 1921-1948, The Mackenzie King Era (Toronto 1981); James Eayrs, In Defence of Canada: Volume 2, Appeasement and Rearmament (Toronto 1965).
  3. The Skelton memorandum is in J.A. Munro, ed., Documents in Canadian External Relations, Volume 6, 1936-1939 (Ottawa 1972), pp. 1247-8; Halifax Herald, 26, 28 Aug., 4 Sept. 1939. For the story of Bob Chambers’s switch from the Chronicle to the Herald, see William March, Red Line: The Chronicle-Herald and the Mail Star, 1875-1954 (Halifax 1986), p. 260.
  4. I have ventured to suggest the two polarities in Canadian foreign policy in “The Two Foci of an Elliptical Foreign Policy: French-Canadian Isolationism and English Canada 1935-1939,” in Zeitschrift der Gesellschaft fiir Kanada - Studien 1 (1981), pp. 112-28. For Senator Dandurand’s speech, see Marcel Hamelin, ed., Les Mémoires du Sénateur Raoul Dandurand 1861-1942 (Quebec 1967), p. 2730.
  5. The New Brunswick correspondence is cited in Dalhousie University, President’s Report, 1938-1939, pp. 1-2, note 1. The Hardy poem is from “We are Getting to the End” in his Winter Words, published posthumously in 1928.
  6. Letter from R.M. Lester to Carleton Stanley, 16 Dec. 1937, President’s Office Fonds, “Carnegie Corporation,” UA-3, Box 173, Folder 1, Dalhousie University Archives; Dalhousie University, President’s Report, 1938-1939, pp. 7-8.
  7. Dalhousie University, President’s Report, 1938-1939, pp. 4-5.
  8. Letter from Carleton Stanley to Col. C.H.L. Jones, 28 Apr. 1939, President’s Office Fonds, “Board of Governors Correspondence,” UA-3, Box 176, Folder 3, Dalhousie University Archives.
  9. Letter from Dr. Raymond Fosdick, president, to Carleton Stanley, 28 Mar. 1939, President's Office Fonds, “Rockefeller Foundation 1931-1941,” UA-3, Dalhousie University Archives.
  10. Minutes of the Moncton meeting, 29-30 Dec. 1936, President's Office Fonds, “Central Advisory Committee Minutes 1933-1937,” UA-3, Box 325, Folder 6, Dalhousie University Archives. The expenses of the meeting were paid for by the Carnegie Corporation. The text on which Dalhousie set such store is on p. 15. Correspondence from Stewart’s survey is in, Herbert Leslie Stewart Fonds, MS-2-45, Box 41, Dalhousie University Archives.
  11. Carleton Stanley memorandum, 21 Mar. 1939, President’s Office Fonds, “Provincial Government, Nova Scotia, 1936-1945,” UA-3, Box 272, Folder 4, Dalhousie University Archives. Stanley among his other talents could manage some shorthand, how rapidly or accurately is impossible to know. But the conversations are probably his transcription. Carleton Stanley’s memorandum of 22 June 1939, cited above.
  12. Letter from Carleton Stanley to Dysart, 5 May 1939; Dysart to Carleton Stanley, 26 May 1939, President's Office Fonds, “Provincial Governments, New Brunswick 19387-1947,” UA-3, Box 271, Folder 7, Dalhousie University Archives; “University Affiliation as it affects Public Hospitals,” by Dr. Allan Gregg, c. 1937, President's Office Fonds, “Rockefeller Foundation,” UA-3, Box 567, Folder 16, Dalhousie University Archives.
  13. Dalhousie’s position in 1940 on whether to close its medical and dental schools is neatly summarized in letter from Carleton Stanley to Blakeny, 17 Jan. 1942, President's Office Fonds, UA-3, Box 271, Folder 7, Dalhousie University Archives. See also Angus L. Macdonald to Carleton Stanley, 19 Apr. 1940, UA-3, Box 272, Folder 4, Dalhousie University Archives; Board of Governors Minutes, 26 Apr. 1940, UA-1, Box 51, Folder 4, Dalhousie University Archives; letter from Carleton Stanley to J. McGregor Stewart, 15 Apr. 1942, President’s Office Fonds, UA-3, Box 272, Folder 4, Dalhousie University Archives; Board of Governors Minutes, 24 Apr. 1942, UA-1, Box 35, Folder 5, Dalhousie University Archives. For the Rockefeller grant, see letter from Norma Thompson, secretary of the Rockefeller Foundation to Carleton Stanley, 6 Apr. 1942, President’s Office Fonds, UA-3, Box 272, Folder 4, Dalhousie University Archives. The $150,000 grant was to be expended by 31 Dec. 1944. For Psychiatry, see letter from Alan Gregg to Carleton Stanley, 3 Apr. 1934; Norma Thompson to Carleton Stanley, 24 June 1941; Alan Gregg to R.O. Jones, 23 Nov. 1942, President's Office Fonds, “Rockefeller Grant for Teaching in Psychiatry, 1933-1961,” UA-3, Box 353, Folder 3, Dalhousie University Archives.
  14. Letter from J.H.L. Johnstone to A.S. MacKenzie, 23 May 1925, from St. John’s; A.S. MacKenzie to Vincent Burke, 27 June 1925, President's Office Fonds, “John Hamilton Lane Johnstone,” UA-3, Box 94, Folder 1, Dalhousie University Archives. Dalhousie’s relations with Memorial are referred to in Malcolm Macleod, A Bridge Built Halfway: A History of Memorial University College, 1925-1950 (Montreal and Kingston 1990), pp. 118, 184, 234-5.
  15. Letter from Carleton Stanley to Hector Mclnnes, 16 July 1934; Alderdice to Mclnnes, 7 July 1934, President's Office Fonds, “Board of Governors Correspondence,” UA-3, Box 176, Folder 2, Dalhousie University Archives. Frederick Charles Alderdice (1872-1936) was premier of Newfoundland in 1928 and 1932-4. He was appointed to the new Commission government in 1934. See Peter Neary, Newfoundland in the North Atlantic World 1929-1949 (Montreal and Kingston 1988), pp. 12-19. For the 1942 trip, see Carleton Stanley to Raymond Gushue, 6 May 1942; Carleton Stanley to Ira Wild, auditor general of Newfoundland, 26 Aug. 1942; Gushue to Carleton Stanley, 27 Aug. 1942; H.A. Winter to Carleton Stanley, 30 Oct. 1942, telegram, President’s Office Fonds, “Newfoundland 1932-1943,” UA-3, Box 271, Folder 10, Dalhousie University Archives. Some details of the Newfoundland party for Stanley and Grant were filled in through the kindness and energy of Professor Peter Neary of University of Western Ontario and Melvin Baker of Memorial University. Andrew Carnell (1877-1951), mayor of St. John’s, was John Crosbie’s maternal grandfather and a rare old character. The judge is probably Justice William Higgins (1880-1943) and a good friend of Carnell’s. See letter from Peter Neary to Peter B. Waite, 28 Jan. 1993, from London, Ontario, Peter B. Waite Fonds, MS-2-718, Box 3, Folder 47, Dalhousie University Archives.
  16. Letter from Carleton Stanley to C.H. Blakeny, minister of education, 17 Jan. 1942; Carleton Stanley’s report on interview with Blakeny in Ottawa, 20 Feb. 1943; memorandum to government of New Brunswick, Mar. 1943, and report of meeting with Premier McNair, 3-4 Mar. 1943, President’s Office Fonds, “New Brunswick, 1937-1947,” UA-3, Box 271, Folder 7, Dalhousie University Archives. At this point there were forty-two New Brunswickers at Dalhousie in medicine and dentistry. The 1946 refusal is in letter from Blakeny to A.E. Kerr, 31 Oct. 1946, UA-3, Box 271, Folder 7, Dalhousie University Archives. For Prince Edward Island, see letter from J. Walter Jones, premier, to A.E. Kerr, 14 Feb. 1948, President’s Office Fonds, “PEI 1938-1963,” UA-3, Box 264, Folder 10, Dalhousie University Archives. Note the date. Letter from J.J.H. Doone to A.E. Kerr, 23 May 1947, President's Office Fonds, “New Brunswick 1947-1959,” UA-3, Box 271, Folder 8, Dalhousie University Archives.
  17. Letter from J. McGregor Stewart to Carleton Stanley, 25 Feb. 1940, President’s Office Fonds, “J. McGregor Stewart, 1934-1944,” UA-3, Box 274, Folder 2, Dalhousie University Archives.
  18. For some further background, see Peter B. Waite, Lives of Dalhousie, Volume I, pp. 424, 472.
  19. For Birchdale, see letter from F.B. McCurdy to Board, 13 Oct. 1932, President's Office Fonds, “Board of Governors, Finance and Investment Committees 1912-1960,” UA-3, Box 231, Folder 11, Dalhousie University Archives; Board of Governors Minutes, 10, 21 Nov. 1932; 17, 21 Nov., 14 Dec 1933; 13 Mar. 1934; 13, 26 July 1934; 7,12, 20 Mar. 1935, UA-1, Box 5, Folder 8, Dalhousie University Archives; Board of Governors Minutes 27 Feb., 22 May, 11, 18 Sept. 1941, UA-1, Box 1, Folder 4, Dalhousie University Archives. The Carleton Stanley Fonds has correspondence: Carleton Stanley to Stewart, 3 Dec. 1937, 4 Mar. 1938; W.L. Harper to Carleton Stanley, 18 Sept. 1941; Theakston to R.G. Beazley, 12 Mar. 1935, Carleton Stanley Fonds, MS-2-163, Box 2, Folder 79, Dalhousie University Archives. Susequently, when in late 1944 Birchdale became an issue between Stanley and the board, more correspondence ensued: J.C. Webster to K.C. Laurie, 19 Nov. 1944 (copy), and Stanley’s comments thereon, 27 Nov. 1944, Carleton Stanley Fonds, MS-2-163, Box 2, Folder 79, Dalhousie University Archives. These occasioned a defence by J. McGregor Stewart to K.C. Laurie, 27 Nov. 1944 (copy). This letter turns up in the Nova Scotia Archives, MG17, Universities. It is an early xerox copy of a typed original that is not available. The Stewart letter is an accurate recitation of the facts but for one or two minor mistakes and a slight exaggeration of the money to be saved for Dalhousie by the sale of Birchdale. What is absent from the letter is any sense that there was anything wrong with the transaction, which one could attribute to the manners and morals of the time. This letter was brought to my attention by Barry Cahill, of the Nova Scotia Archives, to whom I am most grateful. His paper on J. McG. Stewart’s law firm is published. See Carol Wilton, ed., Inside the Law: Canadian Law Firms in Historical Perspective (Toronto 1996), Gregory Marchildon and Barry Cahill, “Corporate Entrepreneurship in Atlantic Canada: The Stewart Law Firm, 1915-1955,” pp. 280-319. There is a detailed survey of the Birchdale subdivision in Carleton Stanley Fonds, Box 2, Folder 81, Dalhousie University Archives, made 6 Aug. 1941. In that same file is Carleton Stanley to H.P. Duchemin, 11 Nov. 1944 (copy) and other correspondence.
  20. According to W.L. Harper, Dalhousie’s business manager, the lots went as follows: Lot 9, Mrs. Stewart; lot 2, Mrs. Mary L. Cooke; lot 7, Mrs. Mildred L. Doane; lot 8, Mrs. Emily R. Laing; lots 1, 5, and 6, F.C. Manning; lots 3 and 4, Eastern Trust.
  21. Interview with Lola Henry, 19 Jan. 1988, Peter B. Waite Fonds, MS-2-718, Box 3, Folder 73, Dalhousie University Archives. For Professor Beecher Weld, two interviews, with both Kathy and Beecher Weld, 12, 15 Jan. 1988, Peter B. Waite Fonds, MS-2-718, Box 3, Folder 80, Dalhousie University Archives.
  22. Letter from Carleton Stanley to R.M. Lester, 20 Sept. 1943, on the occasion of Keppel’s death, President’s Office Fonds, “Carnegie Corporation 1940-1944,” UA-3, Box 173, Folder 2, Dalhousie University Archives. The assumption that Stanley was thinking of McGregor Stewart is only an educated guess. The Winnipeg Free Press had an editorial about Dr. Keppel on 14 Sept. 1943.
  23. Letter from Carleton Stanley to W.I. Morse, 12 Nov. 1937, President’s Office Fonds, “William Inglis Morse 1936-1937,” UA-3, Box 285, Folder 1, Dalhousie University Archives; letter from Carleton Stanley to K.C. Laurie, 30 Apr. 1940, President’s Office Fonds, “K.C. Laurie, 1939-1945,” UA-3, Box 335, Folder 5, Dalhousie University Archives.
  24. Letter from Carleton Stanley to C.H.L. Jones, 28 Apr. 1939, President’s Office Fonds, “Board of Governors Correspondence,” UA-3, Box 176, Folder 3, Dalhousie University Archives; letter from Carleton Stanley to Morse, 8 Aug. 1939, President's Office Fonds, “William Inglis Morse, 1939-1943,” UA-3, Box 285, Folder 3, Dalhousie University Archives; letter from Carleton Stanley to Dr. R.W. Matheson, of Shawinigan Chemicals of Montreal, 18 Apr. 1940; S.R. Balcolm to Carleton Stanley, 20 Mar. 1940; Balcom to Stewart, 8 Oct. 1941, President's Office Fonds, “Campaigns, 1939 Loyalty Fund, 1939-1949,” UA-3, Box 247, Folder 8, Dalhousie University Archives.
  25. Letter from Carleton Stanley to K.C. Laurie, 3 Dec. 1940, President's Office Fonds, “K.C. Laurie 1939-1945," UA-3, Box 335, Folder 5, Dalhousie University Archives; Senate Minutes do not record the outburst, of course, but they do mention the president’s departure. The meeting continued with Dean Grant of Medicine in the chair.
  26. Letter from Carleton Stanley to J. McGregor Stewart, 2 Dec. 1940 (copy), President's Office Fonds, “K.C. Laurie 1939-1945," UA-3, Box 335, Folder 5, Dalhousie University Archives; Halifax Chronicle, 18 Feb. 1941; Carleton Stanley to K.C. Laurie, 4 Mar. 1941, confidential, President’s Office Fonds, “King’s College, 1931-1945,” UA-3, Box 342, Folder 5, Dalhousie University Archives; Carleton Stanley to Webster, 21 Dec. 1944 (mimeographed copy), Carleton Stanley Fonds, MS-2-163, Box 2, Folder 77, Dalhousie Univerity Archives; Memorandum by Carleton Stanley of issues with Stewart and Laurie, n.d., Carleton Stanley Fonds, MS-2-163, Box 2, Folder 89, Dalhousie Univerity Archives.
  27. The recollection of C.L. Bennet I owe to Dr. Louis W. Collins ('44), telephone conversation, 13 Jan. 1993, Peter B. Waite Fonds, MS-2-718, Box 2, Folder 67, Dalhousie University Archives.
  28. For the history of the NCCU (later called the Association of Universities and Colleges of Canada, AUCC), see Gwendoline Pilkington, “A History of the National Conference of Canadian Universities, 1911-1961,” (PH.D. thesis, University of Toronto 1974); letter from A.S. MacKenzie to Peterson, 15 Dec. 1914, President's Office Fonds, "Conference of Canadian Universities, 1915-1920," UA-3, Box 256, Folder 1, Dalhousie University Archives; J.S. Thomson noted in his memoirs the enlightened views taken by Ottawa; see Yesteryears at the University of Saskatchewan 1937-1949 (Saskatoon 1969), p. 37. The whole issue is well described in Stanley Brice Frost, McGill University: For the Advancement of Learning: Volume II, 1893-1971 (Kingston and Montreal 1984), pp. 219-21.
  29. The meeting of 5 July 1940 is vividly described by Stanley in a speech to the third- and fourth-year medical and dental students and other male students, 6 Nov. 1941. A four-page draft of Stanley’s speech is in President’s Office Fonds, “Department of National Defense, 1934-1944,” UA-3, Box 326, Folder 6, Dalhousie University Archives. For the Wartime Bureau of Technical Personnel, see C.P. Stacey, Arms, Men and Governments: The War Policies of Canada, 1939-1943 (Ottawa 1970), p. 405. The whole James-Wallace episode is elegantly described in Frederick W. Gibson, Queen’s University, Volume 1, 1917-1961: To Serve and Yet Be Free (Kingston and Montreal 1983), pp. 201-7. For Stanley’s reactions, see Carleton Stanley to Sidney Smith, 14 Nov. 1942, personal and confidential; Smith to Carleton Stanley, 20 Nov. 1942, personal and confidential, from Winnipeg; Carleton Stanley to Cyril James, 30 Apr. 1942, telegram; Carleton Stanley to H.J. Cody, 30 Apr. 1942, President’s Office Fonds, "Conference of Canadian Universities, 1939-1942," UA-3, Box 256, Folder 4, Dalhousie University Archives.
  30. Letter from Lothar Richter to Carleton Stanley, 3 Feb. 1942, President's Office Fonds, “Federal Government Assistance, 1941-1944,” UA-3, Box 283, Folder 2, Dalhousie University Archives. For Findlay, see Carleton Stanley Fonds, MS-2-163, Box 2, Folder 84 for a short pencil description for the board meeting of 28 Nov. 1944. John Willis mentions Findlay in A History of the Dalhousie Law School (Toronto 1979), p. 126. There is a vivid account of the Ottawa version of this affair in F.W. Gibson and Barbara Robertson, Ottawa at War: The Grant Dexter Memoranda, 1939-1943 (Winnipeg 1994), based on Dexter’s talks with John MacNeill, the law officer of the crown who advised the mounted police and the censors. MacNeill was opposed to prosecution but in 1940 believed that he was wrong. Dexter was Ottawa correspondent for the Winnipeg Free Press. The Halifax trial is in Chronicle-Herald, 29 Dec. 1939, the reference being given to me by Barry Cahill of the Nova Scotia Archives.
  31. Board of Governors Minutes, 10 Dec. 1940, UA-1, Box 51, Folder 4; 16 June 1942; 18 Sept. 1941, UA-1, Box 35, Folder 5, Dalhousie University Archives; letter from Carleton Stanley to Webster, 21 Dec. 1944, mimeographed copy, Carleton Stanley Fonds, MS-2-163, Box 2, Folder 77, Dalhousie University Archives.
  32. Stanley’s estimate of November 1941 juxtaposed Dalhousie with Queen’s, nearest to Dalhousie in diminution of students, Dalhousie with 25 per cent and Queen’s with 15 per cent. Stanley somewhat exaggerated the 1941 loss. See Stanley’s speech of 6 Nov. 1941, President’s Office Fonds, “Department of National Defense, 1934-1944,” UA-3, Box 326, Folder 6, Dalhousie University Archives. Letter from C.D. Howe to Carleton Stanley, 17 Mar. 1942; Carleton Stanley to C.D. Howe, 30 Mar. 1942; Gordon B. Isnor (MP for Halifax) to Carleton Stanley, 26 May 1943, personal; Carleton Stanley to Angus L. Macdonald, 5 May 1943; Carleton Stanley to R.B. Hanson, 10 July 1944, President's Office Fonds, “Federal Government Assistance, 1941-1944,” UA-3, Box 283, Folder 2, Dalhousie University Archives. The Board of Governors stand can be seen in the minutes for 27 Oct. 1942 and 27 Apr. 1943, UA-1, Box 35, Folder 5, Dalhousie University Archives. There were two major submissions of the board to Ottawa for compensation, also in President's Office Fonds, “Federal Government Assistance, 1941-1944,” UA-3, Box 283, Folder 2, one of 23 Feb. 1942, and the one quoted here, submitted through Carleton Stanley to C.J. Mackenzie, president of the National Research Council, 13 Mar. 1943. Unfortunately I have not found the letters from Ilsley that so offended Stanley.
  33. Gifts to Dalhousie at that time are conveniently listed in the 1944-1945 Calendar, pp. 4-8. The correspondence about the Bennett donation is in letters from Bennett to Carleton Stanley, 29 Mar. 1943, from Mickleham; Carleton Stanley to Bennett, 23 Apr. 1943; Alice Millar to Carleton Stanley, 24 Apr. 1943, from Sackville, NB; Carleton Stanley to Capt. Ronald Bennett, 23 Sept. 1943; Ronald Bennett to Carleton Stanley, 25 Sept. 1943, President's Office Fonds, “R.B. Bennett 1943-1948,” UA-3, Box 41, Folder 3, Dalhousie University Archives; Board of Governors Minutes, 27 Sept. 1943, UA-1, Box 35, Folder 5, Dalhousie University Archives. Alice Millar’s account is in UNB Archives, R.B. Bennett Papers, vol. 936, nos. 589989-92, Millar to R.B. Bennett, 29 Apr. 1943, from Montreal. She writes that President Stanley told her and Capt. Bennett of his difficulties: “I can understand what a burden he was relieved of.”
  34. Letter from John Willis to Vince MacDonald, 3 Dec. 1943 (copy); Willis to Carleton Stanley, 4 Dec. 1943; Carleton Stanley to MacDonald, 25 Nov. 1943; MacDonald to Carleton Stanley, 28 Dec. 1943; J. McGregor Stewart to Carleton Stanley, 3 Jan. 1944, President's Office Fonds, “R.B. Bennett 1943-1948,” UA-3, Box 41, Folder 3, Dalhousie University Archives. The question was still being discussed in February 1945, but wearing the appearance of a fait accompli, see K.C. Laurie to F.B. McCurdy, 24 Feb. 1945, from Oakfield, ibid. See Willis, Dalhousie Law School, pp. 128-9. The only source for the statement that Stewart wanted to close all or part of Dalhousie down during the war is Stanley, and that during his 1944-5 row with Stewart. New Brunswick Museum, J.C. Webster Papers, Carleton Stanley to Webster, 17 Nov. 1944.
  35. For other aspects of Stewart’s 1943 resignation as chairman see Willis, Dalhousie Law School, pp. 111. Stanley’s comments in 1943 are in letters from Carleton Stanley to Webster, 30 Apr. 1943; Webster to Carleton Stanley, 3 May 1943; Carleton Stanley to Webster, 5 May 1943, President's Office Fonds, "Carleton Stanley," UA-3, Box 101, Folder 20 and Box 102, Folder 1, Dalhousie University Archives.


The Lives of Dalhousie University: Volume One, 1818-1925 Copyright © by Governors of Dalhousie College and University. All Rights Reserved.

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