18 Firing Carleton Stanley, 1943-1945

The Dalhousie of 1943. K.C. Laurie of Oakfield. President Stanley’s strengths and weaknesses. The 1944 issues with Laurie and McGregor Stewart. Trying to force Stanley’s resignation. The battle begins, November 1944. And ends, February 1945. Publicity good and bad.

The Dalhousie that Colonel K.C. Laurie now superintended in 1943 was heavily permeated with war. King’s College had one hundred young naval officers in training, trooping across the campus past the Murray Homestead to the dining hall (where the old gym was), doing their early morning exercises in front of King’s, and practising their signals the rest of the time in semaphore and Morse. There were uniforms everywhere one went. Halifax was thronged with people: lineups at all the downtown restaurants, especially good ones like the Green Lantern; taxis difficult to find; the city and its institutions bursting at the seams. The sheer grimness and griminess of Halifax in that wartime had to be seen and experienced to be understood. One rather starchy New Englander, John Marshall, from the Rockefeller Foundation, found Halifax in April 1942 the dirtiest city he had ever visited, and the public amenities virtually non-existent. Halifax’s public library was housed in one small and dingy room in City Hall, and operated on a budget of under $6,000 a year. Perhaps Marshall might have remembered that Halifax had been the centre of the Atlantic coast war operations for three years, and for every service, navy, army, airforce, and whole fleets of merchant ships; the strain of it was showing.

The students were no better off than anyone else. The usual student boarding houses were expensive and tended to be crowded out by wives and families of servicemen. Wherever one went on campus, there were stories of harsh treatment of students by Halifax landlords and landladies; you would hear the stories in classes or at Roy Atwood’s gym store. The latter was the nearest approach to a student common room on the whole campus. Atwood started it in 1930 by arrangement with President MacKenzie in the old gym, and after it burned down in 1931, he moved to the basement of the Arts Building, then in 1933 to the new gym. Much talk and philosophy was dispensed there. One student remarked that talk with his fellow students was the most valuable part of his Dalhousie years, “time to sit around and see where we were going and what to do about it.” Roy’s was the one place on campus you could do it.[1]

Campus Life
War or no war, students were students. Life and dances, work and flirtations went on. In the same 1941 issue of the Gazette that condemned three provincial premiers (Pattullo of British Columbia, Hepburn of Ontario, and Aberhart of Alberta) for refusing to discuss the Rowell-Sirois recommendations, an advertisement for Cousins Dry Cleaning suggested other interests than political or academic:

In whispering taffeta, velvet, sheer,
In net or rustling satin,
The Tech Ball finds her more at ease
Than does a class in Latin.Ah, she’ll not decorate the walls,
Nor “sit them out” in dozens,
She’s learned that to be really chic
Her dress must go to Cousins.

At Shirreff Hall formals it was still de rigueur for men to wear tuxedos, and there were even occasional flashes of white tie and tails, reminiscent of older days when they were the only formal clothes a gentleman could wear to a ball. By 1942 the favourite dance band was that of Glenn Miller, who specialized in a svelte trombone sound; but he was closely followed by the Canadian band, Mart Kenney and his Western Gentlemen, whose theme song, “The West, a Nest and You, Dear,” emanated from the Royal York, Toronto. Shirreff Hall girls were told to hang on to their medical students; lawyers were too clever, taught to see through strategies, even female ones, “whereas doctors are so beautifully simple.” Servicemen were preferred by Shirreff Hall girls to the callow, less well-mannered students. They were more interesting and they treated you like a lady; when you came into a room, they rose to their feet, as gentlemen should. If you went out with them, they had planned their evenings; true, they might take the odd drink now and then, but a girl never had to worry about how she would get home.[2]

Photograph of student convocation committee in 1942
A sunny convocation committee in 1942 on the steps of Shirreff Hall. Standing, l. to r., Kenneth Bate, Louise Bishop, Penny Patchett, Andrew Dunn; seated, Edward Rettie, Catherine Hicks.

The first Dalhousie sweater queen was announced in November 1941. Oh, shades of Archie MacMechan! Any co-ed was eligible who had ever worn a sweater, any type of sweater. Women could vote as well as men. There were striking differences in male and female attitudes to sweaters; most co-eds preferred loose-fitting ones, several sizes too big; male students, not surprisingly, preferred sweaters (on women, that is), two sizes too small. The 1941 sweater queen at Dalhousie was Susan Morse (’45). As to those indispensable items of female clothing, silk stockings, they had become nylons in 1939, both stronger and better. As nylon came to be used for parachutes and many other war functions, nylon stockings became harder to get, and there was a wartime propensity to opt for lisle. Some 60 per cent of Shirreff Hall girls tolerated them, and 40 per cent hated them. Said one negative Shirreff Hall girl, “The same thing happens to girls that wear lisle stockings as it does to girls who wear black woollen stockings – NOTHING!”[3]

The favourite campus comic strip in 1941 was Blondie, closely followed by Li’l Abner, though student opinion reversed itself by 1942 with Li’l Abner ahead. Sadie Hawkins day, in February, had been going since before the war.[4]

A longstanding grievance on campus was the sexual segregation of the reading room in the Macdonald Library, men at the east end, women at the west end. Some girls liked the segregation for they could flirt with impunity behind the stern enforcement and occasional cautions of Miss Ivy Prikler, the librarian. Most students wanted the system changed but it remained until after the war. Worse than that, the stacks were hallowed ground; the gate was guarded by vestal virgins of steely eyes and unbending hearts; the only students who were allowed in were honour and graduate students. Undergraduates were allowed only two books out at a time.[5]

By Christmas 1942 failure at examinations began to have more serious consequences. A federal order-in-council of 21 October 1942 made it clear that failure at Christmas meant for male students being made immediately eligible for military service, though President Stanley explained that it was Dalhousie that determined whether a student was in good academic standing or not. In both 1942 and 1943 the Christmas casualties were light.[6]

The New Chairman of the Board
The students’ first meeting with their new chairman of the board was something of a social disaster. At a fall convocation, probably 1943, Colonel Laurie, very new to addressing students or any other academic gathering, was tackling his prepared text. Just as he was getting into his stride a dog wandered onto the stage. Titters from the students; Laurie raised his voice. Then there were two dogs, then three. No one was doing anything about them; Colonel Laurie ploughed inexorably on, speaking louder and louder to a totally distracted audience. It was more than Dixie Pelluet, associate professor of biology, could stand. She marched into the middle of the centre aisle and called out in her strident, clipped voice, “Grab the bitch!” Someone did and the dogs disappeared. All this time Colonel Laurie never stopped. It was a sort of military triumph.[7]

Laurie had been appointed to the board in 1939, a tall, spruce, fifty-eight-year-old man with a military bearing. Although born in London, England, he was brought up on his father’s estate at Oakfield, on Grand Lake, twenty miles north of Halifax. His first memories were of being taken by his father, Major-General J. Wimburn Laurie, to the Intercolonial railway line, which ran near the estate, to cheer the Halifax militia going west to the Northwest Rebellion of 1885. Laurie was schooled in Nova Scotia and in London, ending, as his father had done, at the Royal Military College at Sandhurst, serving in the Boer War and the Great War; in the meantime he had married Violet Boardman, the daughter of an admiral of the Royal Navy. They retired to Oakfield in 1922 and became the country squire and the chatelaine of the district.[8]

Laurie’s familiarity with universities was thin, to say the least. A Sandhurst education, admirable no doubt for its purposes, was not adequate for a position that required familiarity with finance, with universities, and with the ways of the world in both. Laurie would have to be taught perhaps by the former chairman, J. McGregor Stewart, perhaps by Carleton Stanley, especially since Dalhousie lacked a resident vice-chairman. When Laurie first visited his vice- chairman at Shediac, probably in the summer of 1943, he impressed Dr. Webster with his “marked humility” in the face of his lack of academic experience.[9]

Unlike other members of the board who were businessmen or lawyers with a great deal else to do, Laurie had the advantage of being a gentleman of leisure, or as much as running a large estate with a herd of prize cattle (and other animals) would allow. Laurie was not brilliant: he was bluff, affable, kindly, in some ways intellectually naive. His spelling and syntax were precarious. Nor was he a hard-drinking, hard-riding army officer; he and his wife were Anglican teetotallers. If you were invited to the Lauries to dinner (and he believed in inviting professors to dinner, especially younger ones), you received not wine but quantities of sweet, purple grape juice, made from Concord grapes. Laurie took his duty as governor earnestly; it was his form of noblesse oblige, what one owed to the Nova Scotian community. Laurie was a decent, proud squire, doing the best he could, though with military penchants.

In November 1943, six months after becoming chairman, Laurie felt inspection of his command was in order – that is, to attend some Dalhousie lectures and see how the professors managed their classes. When Stanley heard about that idea, he drove out to Oakfield to dissuade Laurie. He had talked about it before, but Stanley did not believe he was serious. Now he was. Laurie said, “I am now the Colonel of the Regiment: it is my duty to find out what the subalterns are doing with the privates.” Stanley pointed out that Dalhousie was not the military, that Colonel Laurie knew little of academic procedure, and he would do his standing in the university great harm. Stanley claimed Laurie promised he would not do it.

Then Laurie wanted two King’s professors promoted to full professor, S.H. Prince in Sociology and W.R. Maxwell in Economics. The Dalhousie board, by clause 15 of the Dalhousie-King’s agreement, had to approve such promotions as it had to approve all King’s academic appointments. Neither McGregor Stewart nor Stanley thought much of either professor, and the promotions had been turned down. President Walker, now that an Anglican was chairman of the Dalhousie board, had thoughtfully opened the question up again. Laurie argued that he knew more about King’s than Stanley and Stewart, and went on to ask if Stanley would have any objection if the two promotions were rushed through a meeting? Stanley said:

Why rush that, or anything, through a meeting? If you want to bring it up, I have no objection; but why not, in bringing it up, admit that the request was previously over-ridden, and give your reason for re-opening the matter? Then give the Board a month or two to think it over?

Whatever the mode, Stanley agreed that the two professors could not do Dalhousie much more harm as full professors than as associates. A revealing exchange then developed over Stanley’s hard-working secretary, Lola Henry. She had been underpaid for years, doing virtually the work of three, and thought she should have a raise; she even talked of resigning at the end of 1943. Laurie broke in with vehemence, “You leave her to me. I’ll give her a damned good talking to.” Stanley replied quietly, “Colonel Laurie, if you do that Dalhousie will lose her.” Laurie said there were plenty of others to take her place. Stanley was not having that:

Colonel Laurie, please! Will you not ask others, if you cannot see it yourself, that it would take years and years to train up another person… to take Miss Henry’s place. After fifteen years of filing Miss Henry knows, in many ways, more about the University than any one living. You have always said you wanted to help me. Don’t you see that I cannot possibly go on bearing all the burdens I bear if Miss Henry gets ill even – to say nothing of having her leave.

Stanley followed that with a note. No one knew how hard he had driven Lola Henry. “I am blessed, or cursed, with an ability to work quickly. And she, up till lately, has wonderfully kept pace… The business pace in Halifax is the most leisurely in the world I know. And these men presume to tell me that I am no more over-worked than they, & that consequently the lady is no more over-worked than other helpers!” At the board meeting three days later, the two promotions were rushed through. Miss Henry did get her increase (to $2,100 per annum as of 1 December 1943), some board members even suggesting that she should have someone to help her.[10]

Whatever Colonel Laurie had promised about not “inspecting” classes, John Willis at the Law School found him at the back of his class one day. After the lecture Laurie said to Willis apropos one student’s questions, “Why, that student’s a socialist!” “So,” said Willis, “am I.” Willis probably was not. The colonel’s next encounter was with J.G. Adshead’s class in mathematics. That day Adshead was dealing with the parabola. “Ladies and gentlemen,” said Adshead, “we are singularly fortunate today in having with us Colonel Laurie, who has specialized in artillery and has considerable experience in the practical applications of the parabola. Perhaps, Colonel Laurie, you would like to explain how you handle the mathematics of it?” Laurie thought his mathematics too rusty. Both Willis and Adshead were furious. Had Laurie asked the professors first, his attendance might possibly have been tolerated at least once; as it was, abrupt and unexpected, it wore the face of an inquisitory exercise. Nor was Laurie just trying on his innocence; while that mode of surveying his new command came to an end, it did not prevent Laurie from making comments to Stanley on the teaching he had encountered during his ill-advised progress.

Laurie had other weaknesses. While it was an advantage to have a chairman who could devote time to his job, Laurie knew only a little of university business and not much more of the ways and thinking of businessmen. And a fund-raiser he was not. Not only did he not speak their language, but he was too decent. He told Stanley, “I think I am a hopelessly bad beggar! I can be put off far too easily!!”[11]

The Style and Character of President Stanley
Stanley, on the other hand, believed himself to be both businessman and philosopher. He had in his time been fairly successful in business. He claimed he had spent more time in business than in universities. He left school when he was thirteen, finally as he thought. His education had been peculiar. An older sister taught him Latin; he could already speak German. Eventually he got more languages and a great deal of theoretical mathematics. Together they helped him, he said, as nothing else could have done, to meet the practical world he encountered as a businessman in Montreal. He thought it was inevitable that in North America young people would be drawn to practical pursuits. He was certainly not against business on principle, but by the late 1930s he had become a philosopher first. He was close to the CCF in many ways, especially in his sharp criticism of the business establishment, not as business but as unthinking establishment, too cocooned in its own comfort. The economic injustices of the 1930s bothered him terribly. He told Senator W.H. Dennis, in response to Dennis’s pamphlet on a bill of rights for Nova Scotia, how justice and equity once won, never stayed won. They had always to be fought for again. As for economic injustice, the late 1930s reeked of it: “The neglect of public health; the folly with which we destroy forest lands; the unscientific and unsocial way in which we use all land; the planlessness of our cities.”[12]

Stanley hated other kinds of injustice as well. In August 1942. three Austrian Jewish refugee medical students in Canada applied for admission to fourth-year medicine. Stanley, having consulted Ottawa and the dean of medicine, promised them admission. When the three applications came before the Medical Faculty, said Stanley, “Hell broke loose.” Seventy per cent of the faculty were part-time, in effect downtown practitioners and members of the Medical Society of Nova Scotia, and the fourth and fifth year examinations were conducted jointly by Dalhousie and the Medical Society. The members of the society threatened to plow those three students, no matter how well prepared they were. Stanley chaired the meeting and tried to get an explanation. All he got was bogus patriotism, but then one old doctor shouted, “You are taking the bread out of our mouths!” The downtown practitioners won. It was not Dalhousie, nor its dean, nor its full-time professors who effected that nasty exclusion. Stanley roundly told the part-time faculty and the Medical Society of Nova Scotia that they were fighting the very cause of the enemy. It was, he said, the first struggle for academic freedom that he had ever lost, and he did not like it. He quoted Goethe’s play Torquato Tasso, to William Inglis Morse, as if it were a description of himself,

Es bildet ein Talent sich in der Stille,
Sich ein Charakter in dem Strom der Welt.[13]

He and his old friend, Professor Frank Underhill of the University of Toronto, had many things in common, including leftish political ideas and a willingness to speak out. In August 1940 Underhill made some fairly innocuous remarks about the effects of the recent Ogdensburg Agreement between Roosevelt and Mackenzie King; we in Canada, said Underhill, “can no longer put all our eggs in the British basket.” Underhill had already irritated newspapers and governors; now it was almost as if they were waiting to get him. Pulled out of context, Underhill’s remarks created a storm that lasted six months and more. President H.J. Cody of the University of Toronto was fed up with Underhill and recommended his dismissal. Stanley had known Underhill a long time, since they were students in Oxford and travelled England and Germany together. Stanley wrote to Cody:

I know how trying Underhill can be… I know how irresistible he finds it to say a thing which is clever though it may wound his friends. I, too, have professors who do not please certain sections of the community and who, time and again, write or say things which give me endless trouble…

Now, what I have to say is this. If there is any more talk of Underhill being asked to resign, or being forcibly dismissed, I shall resign both my university degrees from Toronto, and I shall do so in the most public way possible.

Something like that, he assured Cody, will strengthen your hand in helping Underhill. Underhill escaped in the end, thanks to similar kinds of pressure brought to bear; although a majority of Cody’s board still wanted Underhill’s head, Cody backed away.[14]

Stanley’s defence of Underhill was not just that due to an old friend and colleague of thirty years’ standing. It was fundamental to his perception of academic freedom and independence. In the struggle to save R.A. MacKay from R.B. Bennett’s wrath over the 1931 Beauharnois article, the real leader had been the chairman of the board, G.F. Pearson; but Stanley had his own role. J. McG. Stewart, then just two years on the board, suggested that Stanley consider dismissing MacKay, otherwise Dalhousie might lose a great deal of future Bennett money. Stanley was not having that. He replied that if the board were called for that purpose, it would have his resignation also. “I have read the article the professor wrote, and I see nothing wrong in it, and quite a lot that is right.” And he added to himself, “While I am head, Dalhousie University is not for sale.” A few months later, when Wilson, Bean, Smith, and Bronson were involved in the Pearson affair, Stewart thought they might be dismissed. Since Dean Smith of Law was the principal offender, Stewart delicately suggested that as the University of Manitoba was known to be looking for a president, and since he, Stewart, had powerful connections in Winnipeg, if Stanley really wanted to get rid of Smith, there was no better way than giving Smith an enthusiastic letter of recommendation. Stanley asked, was it fair (he thought of using the word “honourable”) to recommend as president for the University of Manitoba a man whom he wanted to be rid of as dean of law at Dalhousie? It was, replied Stewart apparently unabashed, “a great opportunity.” It was not done. Smith did go to Manitoba as president in 1934, but on his own merits. Nor were the three other professors dismissed.[15]

Stanley believed that the Board of Governors had little to do with the hiring (or firing) of professors. That was the president’s job. The real function of the board was to find money, and nothing else. Before he came to Dalhousie as president, he had been assured by Pearson and MacKenzie that he would never have to worry about finance. At his first board meeting he was given the same assurance. The staff of a university, he said, can help the president in many ways, as can the students: “But the Board of Governors can help him in only one way… that is, to find the money to maintain the institution… if this is not the Board’s chief and supreme function, what function have they?” Other university presidents, such as F.W. Patterson of Acadia, were not as scornful of fund-raising; probably it was something Stanley did not do well and knew it, and so relegated it to the board. It was a function hardly more than alluded to in the 1863 act. Certainly section 4 indicated that the board had a great deal more to do than raise money: the approval of appointments, of buildings, of monies, of, in short, the superintendence of the university.[16]

Dalhousie’s Board of Governors of 1944-5 was a mixture: old and pious well-wishers, Alumnae and Alumni, women and men with varied and rich experience of business or academic life. There were thirty-three in all (Stanley included), with two governors absent representing King’s college whom the college had not nominated. Some of the most useful members of the board could not always be there. S.R. Balcom was busy in Ottawa on war work, as were others such as Stewart, who was federal coal controller until July 1943. Judge G.G. Patterson of Pictou and J.C. Webster of Shediac were octogenarians who disliked travel and the strain of meetings; Raymond Gushue was in Newfoundland, H.P. Duchemin ran the Sydney Post; both were in Halifax infrequently. Two men on the board were in the Medical Faculty, Dr. J.G. MacDougall, professor of surgery, and Dr. J.R. Corston, associate professor of medicine. Two others were part-time in the Arts and Science Faculty, D.C. Harvey, Nova Scotia archivist and lecturer in Canadian history, and J.W. Logan, lecturer in classics. Dr Roberta Nichols, widow of Professor E.W. Nichols who died in September 1939, was an Alumnae representative. Three Alumnae and six Alumni representatives leavened, one might say, the Halifax businessmen who carried much of the weight of the board’s work.

All of the governors were unpaid and had other jobs. Dalhousie got their spare time and energy. They were governors from a sense of public duty and educational obligation. Most of the businessmen were on other corporation boards, though it is doubtful if they behaved any differently around Dalhousie’s boardroom table. Governors were the organization’s conscience some of the time, fund-raisers at others, and provided ultimate control over the functioning of the president. They were not so much running the university as auditing it and its president.[17]

Stanley, then, was powerful, and he had influenced the appointment of a number of governors, including Duchemin, Gushue, and Webster. He had inherited others, important governors such as Mitchell, McCurdy, and Stewart. Colonel Laurie had been suggested by Dugald Macgillivray. Where the initiative lay in appointing governors was unclear, but it was probably between the president and the chairman of the board – a rapport so essential to the ongoing work of the institution. After J. McGregor Stewart took up war work, and Laurie became chairman in May 1943, Stanley found his role enhanced and his power increased. Laurie lived twenty miles distant; he knew just enough of Dalhousie to get into trouble if he ignored Stanley’s advice. By that time Stanley was used to getting his own way, with methods and ideas of his own. He had been right so often! Those who had opposed him had been broken or silenced: Pearson broken, Macneill silenced, the board executive proved wrong on the appeals to Maritime governments for the Medical and Dental schools. There are presidents who handle their boards with some contumely. One president was reported to have said, “You treat the board like mushrooms – keep them in the dark and feed them a little manure now and then!” That grossièreté exaggerates Stanley’s position, for in a small university he had to carry his board with him; but, quick, sharp and determined, he had considerable independence, and he exercised it.[18]

With students he was kind and generous. He took trouble to meet the new students; he was cordial, gracious, and he listened; when he met them on campus afterwards, he remembered. He loved walking and the situation of Dalhousie that made walking so pleasant. He would take students, usually one on one, for his favourite walk, down to the little ferry at the foot of Oakland Road and across the Arm (for 10 cents) to the Dingle, for half an hour and then back again. There was some early disapproval of Stanley’s practice – the president with a student! – but Stanley simply faced it down. One student remembers being asked to go walking with the president and found the experience, far from being intimidating, agreeable. Stanley talked vivaciously and well. One graduate student from UNB, J.R. Mallory, who came to Dalhousie in 1940 to study under R.A. MacKay in political science, remembered “the civil and charming presence of Carleton Stanley, whom I much admired.” Stanley met all new students personally, and freshmen students would often be invited by Mrs. Stanley to tea, shy socially though she was. “They were always so hungry,” Stanley’s daughter Laura remembered. He made great efforts to help needy students. Once in Lunenburg he met a promising lad of humble origin and encouraged him to come to Dalhousie. Some weeks later the young man arrived at the door of 24 Oxford Street, suitcase in hand, expecting to stay there. Stanley found lodging for him. Within his own family, however, Carleton Stanley was an uncertain quantity, gentle with his daughter, peremptory and demanding with his son.[19]

Photograph of R.A. MacKay, Professor of Political Science and his son, W.A. MacKay
R.A. MacKay, Professor of Political Science, 1927-47, is on the left; his son, W.A. MacKay (’50) was appointed to the Law School in 1957.

With some of his staff he was respected as a thorough academic, as ready to defend professors as to denigrate those who were, in his judgment, incompetent. One day, probably in 1938, a new lecturer arrived to teach French; Stanley spoke to him in French, and discovered the lecturer could not speak it. Stanley revoked the hiring on the spot. But by 1943 even those of the staff who had hitherto supported him were gradually finding, in countless little ways, that he could not be trusted. His word was not necessarily his bond. Stanley undoubtedly thought it was; but he could bend facts to suit his subjective thinking. He had always set great store by the truth; his children were brought up with that constantly before them. The difficulty was, what truth? Whose? Stanley’s came from the confidence of a first-class mind at ease with itself. It also betrayed a supreme egotist. In 1943 W.J. Archibald met Stanley in the Chateau Laurier in Ottawa for a job interview in the Physics Department. Archibald primed himself nervously for it, but he need not have bothered. Stanley asked Archibald not a question; he spent the hour talking about himself. Archibald accepted the job at Dalhousie; he thought its president decidedly self-centred.[20]

Dr. Beecher Weld, an able physiologist from UBC and Toronto, was hired by Stanley in 1936 on the recommendation of C.H. Best of the Connaught Laboratories, in the teeth of Medical Faculty resistance. It was not easy for Weld; Murray Macneill never would speak to him, assuming Weld was a Stanley creature. Yet Weld was not a Stanley loyalist. By 1943 he had come reluctantly to the conclusion that Stanley was “a continuous and incorrigible liar.” That was increasingly the opinion among the faculty. Stanley seemed incapable of dispassionate assessment. If you opposed his arguments, you were opposed to him. And he could distort. He said in 1944 that Stewart ordered him to fire the four offending professors in 1932; what Stewart actually said was, “Why don’t you consider recommending dismissals?” Stanley had properly countered with the argument of academic freedom, said Stewart; they then discussed how far that went. Stewart was sensible and listened. “If I had been pressing for dismissals I assure you I would have brought the matter before the Board. But I was satisfied with the decision and I dropped it.” Working with Stanley, Stewart told the board in 1945, was not easy and it was not getting easier. And what was the problem?

I will tell you. And I will tell you in a nutshell – this is from my own experience. The President cannot treat seriously any opinion that differs from his own. He resents and ascribes wrong motives for it in every case. If two or more agree to differ with him, then they are in a foul plot against him… Not only that, he cannot conceal his contempt for those who disagree. And by this unfortunate attitude, he has built up hostility and enmity that is mounting as the years go by. Dr. Stanley has not had an easy row to hoe at Dalhousie. Things were difficult for him from the start… and yet, gentlemen, we have had twelve years since in which he might have made his adjustments. Twelve years is a long time… yet I have the temerity to assert that never has there been less cooperation and less confidence than there is right now.

Stewart went so far as to claim that Stanley aimed at reducing both Senate and board to rubber stamps for his own ideas, and by 1944 it had begun to appear to Stewart as if Stanley were succeeding.[21]

Stanley did not have a dean of arts and science any more. C.B. Nickerson had died suddenly of coronary thrombosis in December 1940. Thereafter no dean was appointed. The probability is that Stanley could not find a professor whom he trusted and who would have been acceptable to the faculty. It is a comment on Stanley that in 1941 he reverted once more to being his own dean of arts and science. Faculty did not like it and tried to push Stanley into having a dean. Stanley would not be pushed.

Many in faculty and not a few on the board felt Stanley’s stiffness. He had few close friends. The secretary of Senate, George Curtis, said he had no Halifax friends at all. He could not reach out to people. One of his closest friends, his father-in-law, W.J. Alexander, died during a visit to Halifax in the summer of 1944. As one sympathetic board member, the secretary, C.F. MacKenzie, remarked one day, “President Stanley is a lonely man.”[22]

The lonely man had a strong social conscience. Though never ostensibly a member of any political party, he was closer to Bennett than King – that is, to the Bennett of the CBC, Bank of Canada, and “New Deal” legislation of 1935. He may well have been closer to the CCF than to Liberals or Conservatives as such. Canada’s social safety net was meagre; old age pensions for the needy were introduced in 1927, but that was all until unemployment insurance in 1940. Family allowances (called the baby bonus) came in July 1944, a Liberal attempt to steal votes and platform from the CCF. Stanley had long been upset by the living conditions in Halifax, especially in the North End, and he was fiercely critical of a social system that could produce slums and poverty so degrading. In his twelve years he had spoken out against the Nova Scotian educational system, and against fascism whether Spanish, Italian, or German. Some of that he published anonymously in local papers under the name “Sam Slick,” at other times in addresses to students and to convocations. He might even have agreed with Arthur Morgan, the principal of McGill from 1935 to 1937, that the aim of universities was to “produce great societies, not great men.” Stanley would at least have argued for both.[23]

This restiveness with the social system grew; two months before Mackenzie King launched family allowances, Stanley pointed out to the graduating class of 1944 that “a university city which is largely a slum is not merely a contradiction in terms; it is an unexploited human dynamic.” That statement in the presence of governors, parents, alumni, was Stanley the social reformer, speaking words made more imperious by his sincerity. It was alleged by his daughter, and others, that from that time onward governors began to ask themselves privately about the suitability of Stanley for his role. Such speeches may have helped to draw needed attention to Halifax’s slums, but it did not do much for a university 90 per cent dependent on endowment and fees. Dalhousie was still, and would be for many a year yet, virtually a private university, needing private money.[24]

A Stanley speech a month later in Ottawa also caused trouble. The chairman of the Ottawa Dalhousie Alumni was John E. Read, former dean of law and now a powerful figure in the Department of External Affairs. He was Dalhousie’s Rhodes scholar of 1911 and took an Oxford double first, BA in 1912, and BCL in 1913. After entering practice in Halifax, he joined the Canadian Artillery in the First World War, and was lucky to escape with wounds, being invalided home in 1918 with the rank of acting major. He returned to the Halifax law firm he had started in, and in 1921 became full-time professor of law at Dalhousie at the age of thirty-three. He became dean of law in 1924, and in 1929 O.D. Skelton, under-secretary of state for external affairs, told President MacKenzie that he had to have Read in Ottawa for several important international cases. MacKenzie reluctantly let Read go and brought Sidney Smith back from Toronto as dean.[25]

The basis of the enmity between Read and Stanley is not clear. John Read said many years later that Stanley wanted “to drive out of the Law School any Harvard influence there might be.” Read was not from Harvard, though he had had a year at Columbia and was close to Harvard influences in Sidney Smith. Stanley attributed to John Read the federal government’s determination to have Allan Findlay prosecuted late in 1939. Whatever Stanley said to the Ottawa alumni in June 1944 – the speech was off the record – Read took considerable exception to it. Stanley had criticized, Read said, the work of his predecessors, though not by name, saying that Dalhousie’s financial affairs had been badly mismanaged during the presidency of A.S. MacKenzie and the chairmanship of G.S. Campbell. The second point Stanley made, again by inference, was that low standards of admission prevailed during the Forrest and MacKenzie regimes, that Dalhousie had much improved its standards since those wicked days. The answer of Halifax-educated Read was that many of Dalhousie’s best students came from country schools, even though they could not obtain full matriculation. Stanley claimed such students lowered the standard of their classes. S.R. Balcom, a board member and Stanley supporter, said Read’s attitude was “unwarranted prejudice.” Stanley’s secretary, Lola Henry, thought Read had a persecution complex; he had been in her father’s law firm, where her father thought him an “awful lemon.” But as legal scholar and professor Read was a tremendous success in that intimate, intense little group at the Dalhousie Law School. Donald Mclnnes (LL.B. ’26) remarked fifty years on that “John Read was altogether a darling soul.” Read’s power at External Affairs and with Dalhousie alumni explains why his allegations worried Stanley and why he went to some trouble to refute them.[26]

That was followed in August 1944 by Laurie’s insistence that Miss Anna MacKeen, warden of Shirreff Hall, be fired. Just prior to the board meeting of 22 August, Laurie asked Stanley to telegraph her to that effect. There had been criticism of Miss MacKeen; there was a row in 1939 when the Gazette attacked her for refusing to allow a Delta Gamma dance. The Gazette’s argument was that Shirreff Hall was the nearest place Dalhousie had to a social centre; Miss MacKeen said there had been quite enough dances at Shirreff Hall without adding one more. In July 1944 Donald A. Cameron, an official with Sun Life and an important alumnus, presented criticisms of Miss MacKeen’s regime at Shirreff Hall, raised by eight ex-residents, not one of whom had a good word to say about her. Stanley refused to be coerced by what he felt was a small minority of carpers, on very slim grounds. He reminded Colonel Laurie that the Board of Governors had, a few months since, established a Shirreff Hall committee, chaired by Mrs. F.H. Pond, and that such a matter should go to that committee. It reported that Miss MacKeen was a particularly good warden, and in fact she would remain until 1947.[27]

There followed the question of appointing the new Bennett professor of epidemiology and public health. J. McG. Stewart and Laurie wanted to appoint their favourite, an able Halifax doctor, H.L. Scammell. Stanley did not want Scammell, whom he associated with the Medical Society’s refusal to admit the Austrian Jewish refugees to the Medical School in 1942. Dean Grant and Stanley had been working for some time to find the best man possible, and it was not J. McG. Stewart’s candidate. It was Chester B. Stewart, no relation.

Chester Stewart was a Prince Edward Islander, from Prince of Wales College, who came to the Medical School via a B.Sc. from Dalhousie. An incident at the Medical School in 1936-7 reveals something both of young Chester Stewart and President Stanley. The medical students that year became exercised over a course called Materia Medica, taught by George Burbidge, dean of the Maritime College of Pharmacy, a Dalhousie affiliate. Two hours a week in second-year medicine were devoted to pharmacy work and prescriptions. The course was severely practical, required a test a week, and seemed to absorb half the students’ time. They questioned the relevance of so much effort in studying the making of pills, the proper position of the arm when using a mortar and pestle, or the scientific definition of cotton wool! The students wrote a letter to Burbidge about the course. A week later he failed to come to class. Chester Stewart thought the letter was a poor piece of work, but that the students were right about the issue. He was designated their spokesman when the students were summoned to the dean of medicine’s office. They half expected the summons; they did not expect to find President Stanley in the dean’s chair. Stanley proceeded to berate them without mercy. Chester Stewart, both angry and scared, replied. The next day he was called to Stanley’s office. Stanley would not admit he had been in the wrong, but he was solicitous about the students’ workload in Materia Medica. The course was eased off and changed the following year.

Chester Stewart took his MD in 1938, having distinctions in thirty-one of thirty-three subjects, unprecedented in Dean Grant’s experience. He was a doctor for the RCAF in Toronto when Dalhousie began to look for a good man for the Bennett chair. Chester Stewart was interested. One Toronto colleague told him: “If I were offered a chair of anything I would take it!” However good Dr. Stewart was, Stanley believed in seeing him first, especially after the nasty surprise of the lecturer in French. Appointing professors without seeing them, as Principal Fyfe of Aberdeen (late of Queen’s) told Stanley, was perilous, seldom ventured without regret. So in the summer of 1944 Chester Stewart came down to see Stanley at his summer place at Seabright on St. Margaret’s Bay. Stanley clearly approved.[28]

The Quarrel between Stanley and the Board
On the morning prior to the board executive meeting of 15 September 1944 J. McG. Stewart and Colonel Laurie came to see Stanley and Dean Grant. For an hour Stewart sternly urged the appointment of Dr. H.L. Scammell. Dean Grant replied that he thought the appointment of Scammell would be improper and gave reasons. Stanley concurred. As Stewart and Laurie were leaving, Stewart turned and said, “If you don’t make the appointment, you will live to regret it.” At first Stanley thought that Stewart meant to suggest that Dean Grant and Stanley would live to see they had made a mistake; but, he reflected to himself later, “perhaps it was a threat.” Dr. Chester Stewart was appointed at the board executive meeting that day. He was an excellent choice, but it was the last victory Stanley won. The forces moving against him were already marshalling.[29]

That same evening, the full board met to discuss the future financial campaign. It would go forward, the board agreed, but there were great practical difficulties. A small committee of five was to make recommendations on organization, needs, and personnel; it would be chaired by Colonel Laurie, who was given power to choose the other four members. These were: Mr. Justice John Doull, J. McGregor Stewart, C.F. MacKenzie (nephew of the late president and board secretary), and George Farquhar. It met a fortnight later and came to the unusual conclusion that a financial campaign was much needed but impossible: it could not proceed given “the antagonism which – rightly or wrongly – exists in the constituency to the present President.”[30]

The slant, the wording, was meant as an offer, not unkind in the circumstances, for Stanley quietly to resign the Dalhousie presidency, without fuss, publicity or loss of face. McGill got rid of a president in the 1930s that way, Arthur Morgan, an English mistake, in twenty months. President Loudon of the University of Toronto was fired in 1907 when he was replaced by Robert Falconer of Pine Hill; there a royal commission eased the change, though it was public enough. Stanley however believed that he was fighting only a cabal of his board that wanted him out; although it was powerful, he believed that with support from Senate, Alumni, other governors, he could send the cabal packing. He had fought the chairman of the board in 1932. and won; who was to say he could not do the same thing again in 1944?

Thus when Laurie and McGregor Stewart came to see him on 24 October, and read the letter embodying the committee’s conclusion, Stanley had no hesitations. When he was asked for a statement for the Pre-Campaign Committee, he replied tersely that he would give no statement; instead, he wanted to know what specific charges the committee was pressing. Outside of the sweeping but general allegation of antagonism, all Laurie and Stewart could specify was the Read letter from Ottawa and that Professor G.V. Douglas sending his two daughters to Mount Allison was the greatest scandal in Dalhousie’s history. The latter was easily refuted; Douglas’s daughters wanted to do music and drama, not available at Dalhousie. The following dialogue then ensued:

STANLEY: Till now you have said nothing definite, either of you, except about Prof. D.
STEWART: Nothing except that you have no friends but many enemies.
STANLEY: A tub of lard has no enemies; but a man who does things, or even tried to do them has enemies.
STEWART: And the same goes for the University: it has too few friends, and too many enemies.
STANLEY: Because of me?

As to what he would do, Stanley gave no hint or answer.[31]

Colonel Laurie then went to Shediac to see the vice-chairman, J.C. Webster. A day later, Stanley arrived at Shediac and Webster laid before him Laurie’s arguments and got explanations. Webster took the position that Dalhousie was more important than any single person connected with it; certainly charges that any person in authority was creating enemies should be fairly and fully investigated. But, Webster wrote Laurie, the charges made by the Pre-Campaign Committee had nothing to do with Stanley’s ability, morals, scholarship, or success in bringing in money. The main allegation against him, said Webster, seemed to be, “dictatorial manner, obstinacy, egotism and self-glorification.” For that you want his resignation? There was no justification for such action; certainly it ought not to have been proceeded with without first having consulted the entire board. The catalogue of the president’s alleged sins was wholly inadequate; some were ridiculous. John Read’s Ottawa account was biased and unfair. The whole thing, said Webster, came from the animus of a few individuals; if you continue this misguided attempt to force Stanley’s resignation, you will open up a sharp, even violent debate that can do no good to anyone. For my part, Webster concluded, “I stand by the President. If this attack on him continues I shall communicate with prominent alumni, including Lord Bennett. I shall, also, feel it my duty to give full information to the Carnegie and Rockefeller people… If the attack should succeed, I shall resign from the Board and make my reasons known to as wide an audience as can be reached.”[32] That was laying it down in earnest. Those who saw things in a cooler light thought Webster’s threats deleterious to his cause. Behind Webster’s strong words, however, was Stanley’s determination to fight it out. He was not going to be pushed from his presidency of Dalhousie by a cabal, by a gang (he used both words); he believed he could win such a fight. With support from the rest of the governors he could face down and vanquish the “Gang of Five.”

Stanley did not have a contract with Dalhousie. He had not had one at Toronto, nor at McGill; he doubted whether there was a president in Canada who had one. His tenure as president of Dalhousie was without term; he could work until such time as he chose to retire or until the board chose to retire him. At fifty-eight years of age, in vigorous health, he was some distance yet from retirement.[33]

Stanley said that the real reason for the attack was not himself or enemies he may have made. It was because he refused to appoint incompetent people, such as to the Bennett chair in epidemiology, and because he refused to dismiss professors and staff unjustly charged, among them the four professors of 1932 and Miss Anna MacKeen in 1944. Friends of Dalhousie, he told Viscount Bennett in Mickleham, think that “the whole future is threatened if I give in.” Webster told Stanley that he “must fight with bare fists if necessary. You cannot lie down before their attack.” Stanley made one effort to heal the breach. After his weekend visit to Webster, the following Tuesday morning he arranged a visit to J. McG. Stewart downtown,

to see whether he and I could not do something in Dalhousie’s interest despite all the beans that had been spilt. I told him that it had been my idea entirely to see him, but that one or two honourable gentlemen with whom I had discussed matters, after they had heard things from the other side, had concurred with me in the belief that he, Mr. Stewart, was able to do much, even at this late hour, to prevent a widening out of the scandal – though these gentlemen had urged me also, for the good of Canadian affairs, as well as Dalhousie’s, not to let the game go by default.

Stewart was not unfriendly, and said he would be in touch very soon.[34]

What happened next seems to have been a decision by the five colleagues, “the Gang of Five” as Stanley now called them, that they needed broader support if they were going to succeed in ousting Stanley. On 8 November Colonel Laurie telegraphed board members for a meeting on the 10th. It was a meeting of “the majority members of the Board.” The call amazed H.P. Duchemin of Sydney; he had never heard of a meeting called that way. There were nineteen governors present at the meeting. The vote in favour of the Pre-Campaign Committee’s recommendation to get Stanley to resign would appear to have been ten; the others did not vote. Ten of thirty-three members was not overwhelming support for pressing Stanley’s resignation; but the Gang of Five were sufficiently confident to send an envoy to Stanley to persuade him to resign.[35] The envoy was Dr. D.C. Harvey, Nova Scotia archivist, part-time lecturer in history, and an Alumni representative on the board. Harvey, civilized, earnest, and scholarly, hated the confrontation he was now facing. He met Stanley on Monday, 13 November, agitated, unhappy, but wanting the whole issue to be settled quietly as gentlemen should. He said how sorry he was for Stanley, how he hoped Stanley would not do anything to hurt Dalhousie, how often Stanley had come to him in the past for advice; all of that Stanley in his cool, assured way referred to as “irrelevant personal stuff.”

HARVEY: …on Dalhousie’s behalf, I make this suggestion to you: What are you going to do if the Board draws up a resolution against you? Are you still going to try to run Dalhousie without a Board? I know that the Board will make a most generous arrangement with you, if you will back down and go away… Don’t you think you ought to do this to save Dalhousie?…

STANLEY: Harvey… I am only beginning.

tanley’s last word was that any possibility of negotiations had been taken out of his hands by the abruptness of the attack against him.[36] A main battle therefore would be at the next meeting of the full board, a fortnight hence, on 28 November.

To avoid such a battle cooler heads now suggested caution. Donald A. Cameron was a former Alumni governor who had been called in during 1944 to look at Dalhousie’s finances, preliminary to the campaign. Stanley sent him a report, with some paranoia embedded in it. “You speak of ‘intrigue’,” replied Cameron, “Dr. Webster of ‘animus’… Perhaps I am dumb, but I never discovered either.” Webster had in any case nullified whatever he might have said in your defence, Cameron went on, by the threats at the end. Stanley answered that many things at Dalhousie recently were hard to believe. As for the board, Stanley said, only three of the thirty-three were knaves, but those three had great influence, notably J. McGregor Stewart. Nevertheless Stanley thought their influence would reach only ten or eleven governors. Cameron was incredulous; to think that any of the board was impelled by motives inimical to Dalhousie “is beyond me.” But, he said, whether you win or lose, the result of any contest would be bad. Your best course would be to say to the board: for thirteen long and trying years I have served you faithfully. “If that’s not good enough, good-bye and God bless you.”[37]

Cameron’s cool counsel counted for little. One of Stanley’s rules of conduct was, so he said, “when in any doubt about a course of action don’t take it.” Obviously he had no doubts and by now he had the bit between his teeth. He now began looking for even proxy votes. At least three of his supporters – Webster, G.G. Patterson, and S.R. Balcom – could not attend a board meeting. Lola Henry reported that proxy votes looked very doubtful; Stanley claimed however that at the last board meeting of the Pearson era, in June 1932, R.B. Bennett had telegraphed his vote. That was simply not true. Either Stanley had forgotten details of events a decade before, which was possible, or he was able to twist the truth even when communicating with his trusted friend, Clarence Webster. The strain of events was now starting to show, more on Mrs. Stanley than on her husband. On 19 November they flew to Montreal for a few days’ rest.[38]

The board met at 8 PM on Tuesday, 28 November in the Dalhousie Library. Some twenty-five of the thirty-three governors were present: all the Alumni governors; of the three Alumnae governors, only Georgene Faulkner was missing and she was anti-Stanley; Gushue came from Newfoundland, Duchemin from Sydney, both Stanley supporters. After routine business there came the report of the Pre-Campaign Committee, introduced by J. McGregor Stewart, that the campaign could not begin so long as President Stanley remained. Stanley had great qualities, but hostility to him was now strong in Senate, in government, in the board, in the Alumni, in King’s, in the Halifax and Nova Scotian community. “I have spent,” said Stewart, “ten years of my life defending Dr. Stanley, but there is a wall of hostility, and we are losing the constituency to which we must appeal.” There were questions. What was the purpose of such a motion, asked one governor, to “get money or get Stanley?” Was Stanley’s resignation being asked for? No, said Stewart; passing the resolution meant postponement of the campaign. Everyone there knew, and no one said, that it was an open, pointed invitation for Stanley to resign.[39]

Stanley had no such intention. He gave a thirty-minute fighting speech. One of the handsomest men on campus, he stood like an Apollo, as one Alumnae governor felt, giving crisp, spirited, and sometimes convoluted and tortured answers to questions. Then, holding up two letters of Colonel Laurie’s, his arms flung wide, Stanley asked him, “Are these letters in your handwriting?”

COL. LAURIE: Yes, they are.

STANLEY: And in your spelling too. [Speech is not spelled] s-p-e-a-c-h.

Stanley could not then resist a further cutting remark on Laurie’s grammar. It was a tactical blunder. Stanley had always been privately contemptuous of his chairman’s syntax and spelling; here he ridiculed him in open meeting. It revealed to board members hitherto disposed to be neutral that the things that Stewart and others were saying about Stanley’s arrogance might possibly be right.

After three hours, it was clear Stanley’s supporters were struggling. The debate was heated; they wanted the meeting cooled off and urged postponement of the vote. Mayor Lloyd, a Stanley supporter, moved an amendment that the board meet again the next evening; meanwhile let all governors sleep on it. The amendment was defeated, twelve to eleven. The main motion, approving the Pre-Campaign Committee’s resolution, passed, sixteen to six. The atmosphere of the meeting Stanley described as “mephitic,” poisonous. The six Stanley loyalists were Gushue, Duchemin, Mayor Lloyd, Chesley Allan, Major Logan, and T. C. Coffin, the only Alumni governor to vote for him. None of the women supported him, not even Mrs. Pond of whom Stanley had been fairly confident three weeks before. All had different reasons. Dr. Roberta Nichols hated Stanley, a quarrel of some years over her children’s fees; Margaret Pond worshipped him, but felt the pressure against him; Eileen Burns was taken aback by the crudeness of Stanley’s attack on Colonel Laurie, whom many regarded as decent and amiable, if slightly bumbling.[40]

For there was decency in Colonel Laurie all through; he may have been possessed of no blazing intelligence, he may have been unread, used the King’s English in ways more suited to the army than the university, but he was honest. There is a ring of truth in his letter to Stanley a month earlier:

I hope that you can realise, and believe how miserable I have felt about this whole matter. Having a great admiration for your abilities and the tireless way in which you have worked your hardest year in, year out, for the University…

I stand to lose the companionship and contact with my greatest friend at Dalhousie… and I can assure you I would have evaded this had I seen any way of doing so consistent with what I believe to be my duty.[41]

The morning after the board meeting Raymond Gushue called on Stanley; he begged him, for his own happiness, to resign. Stanley would have no part of it. He was off to New York to look for money, meetings that had been in train for some time. While in New York he saw Alan Gregg of the Rockefeller Foundation, R.M. Lester of the Carnegie, as well as the John and Mary Markle Foundation who had contributed $6,000 to equip Dalhousie’s Anatomy Department. All three foundations, according to Stanley, agreed not to contribute a sou to Dalhousie as long as “the reptiles” were running things. At the urging of all three Stanley went to Washington and talked to the American Association of University Professors. Their chief interest was academic freedom; for their six investigators they wanted six sets of Dalhousie documents, which Stanley had prepared in the offices of the Carnegie Foundation. Stanley went on to Ottawa to see the cabinet ministers whom he was alleged by Stewart to have offended.[42]

Thus did he gird himself for the next battle, a full board meeting now called for 23 January 1945. Several friends suggested he call off the war. G.G. Patterson of New Glasgow, on the board but too old to travel, recommended Stanley not wait until the board carried a resolution demanding his resignation. From Toronto J.M. Macdonnell said the same, for good reason:

I would not make this suggestion if I felt that in a struggle with the Board you would have overwhelming or even substantial support from the Staff or the Graduates. Though I say it with great regret, such information as I have would make me doubt you have this… if you embark on a struggle without such support the result will be disastrous.

Stanley measured things differently. He had his supporters, notably Major J.W. Logan, who went around to governors individually and argued vociferously in favour of Stanley. One Alumnae governor remembers Logan going at it for two hours, during which the major was not always being able to control his temper. Stanley solicited support from Viscount Bennett in England, who weighed in with a 365-word cable to K.C. Laurie. It was almost incredible, said Bennett, that “sixteen adult Maritimers” could put on record such a resolution as that of 28 November. Bennett had also sensible advice: if you fire Stanley, where are you going to find your next president? “No really competent man will accept presidency” where his position would be dependent on such allegations, not upon his capacity.[43]

The board had been looking for new grounds for its attack. In December it had sought the records connected with Stanley’s appointment in 1931 and found nothing. The resolutions proposed by the board in mid-January 1945 were still general but were put on a different basis; they noted the necessity of confidence between board, president, and staff – confidence that had deteriorated under Stanley and which had “imperilled” relations between Dalhousie and its constituency. If Stanley resigned by 7 February and agreed to leave the president’s house by 30 June 1945, he would receive his salary to 30 June 1946. These terms were presented to the board meeting of 23 January, with twenty-four governors present. Letters supporting Stanley were read; Bennett’s cable was read – twice. To Bennett’s criticisms, Stewart replied he did not see how the board could have done other than it did.

I know I have tried, and the Chairman has tried, to make this whole incident as easy as possible… On October 24, we tried to put it on a basis that would not hurt him in the first instance. By his continuous failure to realise the situation as it exists, he is making it more difficult as time goes on. Lord Bennett has not seen that side of him.

Laurie enlarged on this last point in a letter to Bennett:

Those who have not had to work closely with Dr. Stanley naturally know best his attractive qualities. That was my own experience until a couple of years ago. There is, however, another side that is far from attractive or admirable, and this is the side so frequently presented to those whose duty it is to try to work with him.

As George Farquhar pointed out, either the president or the board had to go. Farquhar claimed that the teaching staff did not trust President Stanley: “When they have an interview with him they go out and make a memo of it for their own protection.” The board voted eighteen to five in favour of Stanley’s resignation. The last words recorded in the minutes were Stanley’s: “The matter is simple. I am not resigning.”[44]

That position was fundamentally untenable. The initiative now lay with lawyers, but Stanley had also consulted a Dalhousie alumnus lawyer in New York, who suggested using Dalhousie’s necessity to extract better terms. The original terms had not been very generous. Dalhousie needed not only Stanley’s resignation but especially his silence; publicity was not that far off. So there were lawyers’ negotiations and new terms. It was agreed that if Stanley resigned he would hold office until 30 June 1945 and his house to 31 August 1945. Dalhousie would pay him a monthly, retiring allowance, on the basis of $5,000 a year until he was sixty-five (that is, until 1951) or his death, whichever came first; if the latter, half his income would go to his wife. The condition attached to these terms, not spelled out in the board minutes, was that as long as Stanley remained president, or received his Dalhousie pension, he would not attempt to “prejudice or impair” the work of the board or its dealings with staff, students, or alumni. He was to shut up; the board feared what he might yet do in a convocation address, in his presidential report, or through his many newspaper connections.[45]

Publicity was now in the wind. One of Stanley’s old friends from the 1920s, when Stanley was Canadian correspondent for the Manchester Guardian, was John Stevenson, editorial writer at the Toronto Globe and Mail. Stanley had kept him informed. Stevenson showed the papers to George McCullagh, president of the Globe and Mail. McCullagh took great interest, and Stevenson was sure he would be allowed to write a fine, smashing editorial. But on 31 January McCullagh decided he would not touch it. Stevenson thought this was owing to Sidney Smith, president-designate of the University of Toronto, of which McCullagh was a governor. Stevenson put it with an old Scots proverb, “corbies [ravens] don’t pick out other corbies’ eyes.”[46] Stanley believed that his ouster was an attack on academic freedom and he sought to establish it. He was fired, he said, because he had refused to promote, to appoint, or dismiss professors on improper grounds. The American Association of University Professors was doubtful this point could be established; in any case the Dalhousie Board of Governors refused them permission to attend the board meeting of 23 January on Stanley’s behalf. The board simply said academic freedom was not the issue. Saturday Night carried an editorial on Dalhousie on 24 February 1945, but neither the board nor Stanley (now reluctantly silent) were giving anything away. The reasons given publicly were simply that differences between Stanley and the board were based on temperament, not on academic questions. An editorial in the Sydney Post-Record, on 1 March 1945 said much the same, adding that Stanley’s “erudition, integrity of purpose, unflagging industry and passion for service” would be difficult to replace.

So they would be. For although board members might say (as many did) that Stanley was becoming increasingly impossible to work with, Dalhousie would not so soon again have a president who read and spoke German and French with ease, who could (and would) give the students Pericles’ funeral oration in Greek just for the sound of it, who quoted Lucretius or Goethe at will, whose friends sent him papers on G.E. Moore (the philosopher) and who had published a book on the writings and life of Matthew Arnold. Stanley was a lively and vigorous scholar, with a scholar’s sense of superiority over the petty minds around him, and with his own arrogance towards the grubbiness of businessmen and politicians. His private estimate of Angus L. Macdonald was venomous.[47]

Judith Robinson, a Toronto freelance reporter, writing in the New York Nation, admitted Stanley lacked tact. “He is difficult, exacting, inclined to be high-handed with his staff. But he has resolutely defended the integrity of his university from outside interference.” She made a political issue of Stanley’s being fired. So did J.V. McAree in the Globe and Mail, who claimed that the issue at Dalhousie was whether “a group of moneybags shall direct the fortune of one of the most honourable seats of learning in the country.” Every Canadian university, he said, should be concerned about what had happened at Dalhousie. McAree said it was Stanley’s remarks about “the slums of Halifax” that cost him his Dalhousie presidency. That of course was only one part of a much more complex truth.[48]

There is a postscript to this strange story. After the board meeting of 23 January that demanded Stanley’s resignation, an Alumnae board member, Eileen Burns, one of the eighteen who voted for it, telephoned the news to Mrs. Fred Pearson.[49] At the other end of the line, in the house on Francklyn Street with its stretch of snowy garden down to the Arm, Agnes Pearson, gracious and graceful as always, allowed herself an audible sigh of satisfaction. “Ah,” said she, “at long last, after thirteen years, my husband is vindicated!”


  1. For an account of Halifax in wartime, see Thomas H. Raddall, Halifax, Warden of the North (Toronto 1948), pp. 309-15; for John Marshall’s views, see Charles R. Acland and William J. Buxton, “Continentialism and Philanthropy: A Rockefeller Officer’s Impressions of the Humanities in the Maritimes, 1942,” Acadiensis 23, no. 2 (Spring 1994), p. 79. On Halifax housing see Dalhousie Gazette, 16 Oct. 1942; on Roy Atwood, Dalhousie Gazette, 12 Jan. 1945, and the canteen’s campus function, Dalhousie Gazette, 15 Nov. 1940.
  2. Rowell-Sirois Commission and Cousins juxtaposed, Dalhousie Gazette, 15 Jan. 1941; on formals and dance bands, Dalhousie Gazette, 9 Oct., 6 Nov. 1942; on servicemen as escorts, Dalhousie Gazette, 20 Feb. 1942 (co-ed edition).
  3. On sweaters and their queen, Dalhousie Gazette, 24 Oct., 7 Nov. 1941; on stockings, Dalhousie Gazette, 13 Feb. 1942.
  4. On comic strip preferences, Dalhousie Gazette, 28 Feb. 1941; 30 Jan. 1942.
  5. On the library, Dalhousie Gazette, 31 Jan., 21 Nov. 1941. Also the recollection of Dr. Louis W. Collins, interview with Dr. Louis W. Collins, 13 Jan. 1993, Peter B. Waite Fonds, MS-2-718, Box 2, Folder 67, Dalhousie University Archives.
  6. On Christmas examinations, Dalhousie Gazette, 27 Nov. 1942; 14 Jan. 1944.
  7. This occasion is well known, but was given to me, with some amusement, by Dr. Beecher Weld, interview with Dr. Beecher Weld, 15 Jan. 1988, Peter B. Waite Fonds, MS-2-718, Box 3, Folder 80, Dalhousie University Archives.
  8. Col. Laurie’s recollection of the troops in 1885 was given to me in the 1950s.
  9. The account of Laurie’s visit to J.C. Webster is based on Stanley’s account, in letter from Carleton Stanley to J.C. Webster, 21 Dec. 1944, Carleton Stanley Fonds, MS-2-163, Box 2, Folder 77, Dalhousie University Archives.
  10. Stanley claimed to have a full record of his meeting with Colonel Laurie at Oakfield, 26 Nov. 1943. It is in the Carleton Stanley Fonds as a memorandum drafted for the board meeting of 28 Nov. 1944. It is marked, “Use only if debate forces,” which, it would appear, the debate did not. Stanley was at a very anti-Laurie stage, so his account should be used with caution. On the other hand, the tone of Laurie’s 1943 utterances, as reported by Stanley, is quite in character, Carlton Stanley Fonds, MS-2-163, Box 3, Folder B-109, Dalhousie University Archives. There are two letters about the issues Stanley raised with Laurie: Laurie to Carleton Stanley, 5 Nov. 1943, and Carleton Stanley to Laurie, 26 Nov. 1943, Carleton Stanley Fonds, MS-2-163, Box 3, Folder B-109, Dalhousie University Archives.
  11. here is no doubt of Laurie’s classroom visits. Two professors, John Willis and J.G. Adshead, gave me their recollections in the 1950s. That the intention of the visits was not a neutral inspection was suggested to me by Miss Eileen Burns (MA '24), alumnae governor, 1944-50, in a telephone interview: interview with Miss Eileen Burns, 23 Mar. 1993, Peter B. Waite Fonds, Ms-2-718, Box 2, Folder 62, Dalhousie University Archives. For Laurie’s disclaimer of himself as fund-raiser, see letter from K.C. Laurie to Carleton Stanley, 27 Dec. 1943, President's Office Fonds, “K.C. Laurie, 1939-1945” UA-3, Box 335, Folder 5, Dalhousie University Archives.
  12. For Stanley’s point about practical education, see letter from Carleton Stanley to H.H. Wetmore (principal of Yarmouth Academy), 26 Jan. 1940, President's Office Fonds, “Secondary Schools, Nova Scotia, 1931-1949, N-Z,” UA-3, Box 268, Dalhousie University Archives. Stanley’s discussion with Senator Dennis is in letter from Carleton Stanley to Dennis, 16 Sept. 1937, President's Office Fonds, “W.H. Dennis, 1924-1944,” UA-3, Box 314, Folder 5, Dalhousie University Archives.
  13. he Medical Society story is given by Stanley in a letter to Hardolph Wasteneys, professor of biochemistry, University of Toronto, 7 Aug. 1942. He repeated it in a draft brief, “Memorandum A.1,” c. November 1944, Carleton Stanley Fonds, MS-2-163, Box 2, Folder 84, p. 3. The focus of Stanley’s animus against the NS Medical Society seems to have been Dr. H.L. Scammell. See "Memorandum A.1" p. 119. The William Inglis Morse correspondence is Carleton Stanley to Morse, 12 Nov. 1937, President’s Office Fonds, “William Inglis Morse, 1936-1937,” UA-3, Box 285, Folder 1, Dalhousie University Archives. The quotation from Goethe is added as a postscript to this letter. The German is not well transcribed by Miss Lola Henry, being from Stanley’s handwriting, and I have corrected the quotation from Goethe. Torquato Tasso was an Italian poet, about whom Goethe wrote a play in 1788. The lines are from act 1, scene 2. A free English translation might be: Talent develops in quiet reflection, Character thrives on stress and action.
  14. For the Underhill affair, see R. Douglas Francis, Frank H. Underhill, Intellectual Provocateur (Toronto 1986), pp. 115-27. On page xiv there is a 1911 photograph of Underhill and C.N. Cochrane with Carleton Stanley standing between them, a head taller than both, en route to Oxford. For the correspondence, see letter from Carleton Stanley to Cody, 25 Feb. 1941; Cody to Carleton Stanley, 3 Mar. 1941. Also Underhill to Carleton Stanley, 18 Sept. 1940, Carleton Stanley Fonds, MS-2-163, Box 2, Folder 56, Dalhousie University Archives.
  15. This is based on Stanley’s recollections, Carleton Stanley Fonds, MS-2-163, Box 2, Folder 69, a series of specific comments put together 18-19 Nov. 1944; also Carleton Stanley Fonds, MS-2-163, Box 3, Folder B-115, under J. McG. Stewart. Note, however, Stewart’s account of this incident, referred to in note 21.
  16. Carleton Stanley Fonds, MS-2-163, Box 2, Folder 74, page 1 of Carleton Stanley’s submission to the board, 23 Jan. 1945.
  17. See Michael Hatton, “University Boards - A View from the Profit Sector,” paper presented at the annual meeting of the Canadian Society for the Study of Higher Education, Victoria, BC, 4 June 1990.
  18. For the relations of presidents or chief executive officers (CEOs) to boards, see Murray G. Ross, Canadian Corporate Directors on the Firing Line (Toronto 1980), p. 93.
  19. The Rev. G.A.A. Beveridge (BA '36), minister emeritus of St. Matthew’s Church, remembers being taken on just such a walk by President Stanley, about 1934. Interview with G.A.A. Beveridge, 12 Feb. 1993, Peter B. Waite Fonds, MS-2-718, Box 2, Folder 57, Dalhousie University Archives. For J.R. Mallory, see “A Year at Dalhousie,” 28 Aug. 1990, Peter B. Waite Archive. Mallory was professor of political science at McGill from 1946 to 1982. For Laura Katherine Stanley ('41), now Mrs. L.B. Woolner, see “Memories of My Father,” written in 1991, Mrs. Woolner to Peter B. Waite, 8 Apr. 1992, Peter B. Waite Fonds, MS-2-718, Box 3, Folder 85, Dalhousie University Archives.
  20. The story of the lecturer in French comes from Professor John Hibbitts ('45), of King’s College. Interview with John Hibbitts, 10 June 1988, Peter B. Waite Fonds, MS-2-718, Box 3, Folder 10, Dalhousie University Archives. Mrs. Woolner pointed out how her father insisted upon truth. See her “Memories of My Father,” p. 2, Peter B. Waite Fonds, MS-2-718, Box 3, Folder 85, Dalhousie University Archives. See also interview with W.J. Archibald (dean of arts and science 1955-60, and former professor of physics), 25 July 1988, Peter B. Waite Fonds, MS-2-718, Box 2, Folder 54, Dalhousie University Archives.
  21. Dr. Beecher Weld explained the contrast between Stanley’s emphasis on truth and others’ belief that he was an inveterate liar by concluding that Stanley was a highly subjective thinker. Interview with Dr. Beecher Weld, 12 Jan. 1988, Peter B. Waite Fonds, MS-2-718, Box 3, Folder 80, Dalhousie University Archives. For J. McGregor Stewart’s gloss on the 1932 discussion with Carleton Stanley, see Board of Governors Minutes, 23 Jan. 1945, p. 14, UA-1, Box 35, Folder 5, Dalhousie University Archives.
  22. The comment on the missing arts and science dean was made by George F. Curtis, Dalhousie’s secretary of Senate, 1941-5. He then became UBC’S dean of law, 1945-71. Interview with George F. Curtis, Vancouver, 30 May 1990, Peter B. Waite Fonds, MS-2-718, Box 2, Folder 74, Dalhousie University Archives. C.F. MacKenzie’s comment on Stanley is in Board of Governors Minutes, 23 Jan. 1945, p. 7, UA-1, Box 35, Folder 5, Dalhousie University Archives.
  23. Stanley’s writing an anonymous column in the local papers comes from his daughter’s “Memoirs of My Father,” p. 4, Peter B. Waite Fonds, MS-2-718, Box 3, Folder 85, Dalhousie University Archives. For Principal Arthur Morgan’s comment at McGill, see Stanley Brice Frost, McGill University: For the Advancement of Learning: Volume II, 1895-1971 (Kingston and Montreal 1984), p. 19.
  24. The text of Carleton Stanley ’s 1944 convocation address is in his Annual Report 1943-1944, pp. 23-4. Reference to it is made by his daughter, “Memories of My Father,” pp. 4-5, Peter B. Waite Fonds, MS-2-718, Box 3, Folder 85, Dalhousie University Archives. It is quoted in J.V. McAree’s column in the Toronto Globe and Mail, 26 Feb. 1945. Note the hiting comment in the Toronto News, 10 Feb. 1945: “For the wealth which would have to be tapped for contributions to Dalhousie endowment is sensitive about slums, having a vested interest in them.” There is also a reference to this aspect of Stanley’s problems in Halifax in a Saturday Night editorial, 24 Feb. 1945. That editorial may have been “inspired” by Stanley, for it had more than one revealing inaccuracy. Stanley was said to have been assistant principal at McGill, when he was actually assistant to the principal. The wish was doubtless father to the error. More glaring was the statement that after Sir Arthur Currie’s death in 1933, McGill sought Carleton Stanley’s release from the Dalhousie presidency in order that he become principal of McGill. There is no evidence in either the Carleton Stanley Fonds or Dalhousie ones of any such thing. Principal Cyril James wrote to Saturday Night that from the McGill files there was no indication that McGill sought Carleton Stanley as Currie’s replacement. McGill University Archives, RG 2, C43, F. Cyril James Papers, James to B.K. Sandwell, 25 Feb. 1945. This letter is in Saturday Night, 10 Mar. 1945
  25. The career of John Erskine Read is summarized in the Halifax Echo, 29 June 1924. More recently, in 1990, for Professor Ronald St. John Macdonald’s course at Dalhousie in international law, Hugh Patton produced a 34-page essay, “John Erskine Read: A Lifetime of International law.” The correspondence with O.D. Skelton is O.D. Skelton to A.S. MacKenzie, 7 Mar. 1929. MacKenzie replied, 22 Mar. 1929: “I owe you a grudge in having taken Dean Read away from us, and I suppose that I should accordingly be just as disagreeable as possible... However, this is Lent...” President's Office Fonds, “John E. Read,” UA-3, Box 99, Folder 31, Dalhousie University Archives.
  26. For Read on Stanley, see John A. Yogis, “Interview with John Read: Recollections of Dalhousie Law School,” Ansul (May 1974), p. 1; for Stanley on Read and the Allan Findlay affair, see draft notes for the 28 Nov. 1944 board meeting, Carleton Stanley Fonds, MS-2-163, Box 2, Folder 84, Dalhousie University Archives. For Read’s views of Stanley’s Ottawa speech, see letter from Read to Laurie, 25 June 1944, from Ottawa, copy, Carleton Stanley Fonds, MS-2-163, Box 2, Folder 61, Dalhousie University Archives. S.R. Balcom’s views are in letter from Balcom to Laurie, 22 Aug. 1944 (copy), Carleton Stanley Fonds, MS-2-163, Box 2, Folder 65, Dalhousie University Archives. Miss Henry’s sharp comments on Read are in letter from Lola Henry to Carleton Stanley, 4 Aug. 1944, replying to Carleton Stanley’s letter of 2 Aug. 1944, Carleton Stanley Fonds, MS-2-163, Box 2, Folder 74, Dalhousie University Archives. Donald Mclnnes’s recollections of John Read are in Ansul (13 Jan. 1976), “In My Day at Dalhousie Law School,” p. 36.
  27. Stanley gives a summary of Laurie’s moves against Miss MacKeen, Carleton Stanley Fonds, MS-2-163, Box 2, Folder 85, Dalhousie University Archives. The 1939 row about the Delta Gamma dance is in Dalhousie Gazette, 21, 28 Jan. 1939, and Halifax Star, 22 Jan. 1938. The 1944 criticism is in letter from Donald A. Cameron to Carleton Stanley, 31 July 1944, from River John, President’s Office Fonds, “Board of Governors Correspondence,” UA-3, Box 176, Dalhousie University Archives. The Shirreff Hall committee reported to the board on 28 Nov. 1944 through Mrs. F.H. Pond.
  28. Interview with Dr. Chester B. Stewart, 9 June 1988, Peter B. Waite Fonds, MS-2-718, Box 3, Folder 69, Dalhousie University Archives; letter from Chester Stewart to Dean Grant, 19 Aug. 1944, from Toronto; Grant to Carleton Stanley, 22 Aug. 1944; Grant to Laurie, 12 Sept. 1944, President's Office Fonds, “C.B. Stewart,” UA-3, Box 103, Folder 11, Dalhousie University Archives. For Fyfe’s opinion on appointments, see letter from Fyfe to Carleton Stanley, n.d. (Apr. 1938) from Aberdeen, President's Office Fonds, “Carleton Stanley,” UA-3, Box 101, Folder 19, Dalhousie University Archives.
  29. For the four-way interview on the morning of 15 Sept. 1944, the source is “Memorandum A.1,” p. 3, Carleton Stanley Fonds, MS-2-163, Box 2, Folder 84, Dalhousie University Archives; Board of Governors Minutes, 15 Sept. 1944, UA-1, Box 35, Folder 5, Dalhousie University Archives.
  30. Letter from K.C. Laurie to Carleton Stanley, personal and confidential, 24 Oct. 1944, from Oakfield (copy), Carleton Stanley Fonds, MS-2-163, Box 3, Folder B-109, Dalhousie University Archives.
  31. This paragraph is partly based on Stanley’s account of events compiled probably in January 1945. Stanley had the habit, already noted but now brought to extensive use, of writing up the substance of important conversations and interviews at the first opportunity after they ended. He would probably have as aide-memoire shorthand notes. Miss Henry would then type them up, Carleton Stanley Fonds, MS-2-163, Box 2, Folder 74, Dalhousie University Archives. The other source is letter from Carleton Stanley to Lola Henry, Sunday, 19 Nov. 1944, Carleton Stanley ’s instructions for a letter to J.C. Webster, p. 2, Carleton Stanley Fonds, MS-2-163, Box 2, Folder 73, Dalhousie University Archives.
  32. Laurie visited Shediac on Friday, 27 Oct. and Stanley may actually have encountered him there. Stanley was accompanied by G.V. Douglas, who was no doubt visiting his daughters at Mount Allison, for Stanley met Webster alone. Webster’s letter to Laurie is from [2?] Nov. 1944, from Shediac (copy), Carleton Stanley Fonds, MS-2-163, Box 2, Folder 77, Dalhousie University Archives.
  33. Letter from Carleton Stanley to Robert R. Ludlum, association secretary, American Association of University Professors, Washington, 7 Feb. 1945 (copy), Carleton Stanley Fonds, MS-2-163, Box 3, Folder B-99, Dalhousie University Archives.
  34. Letter from Carleton Stanley to R.B. Bennett, 29 Oct. 1944, cable; same date, airgraph; also 31 Oct. 1944, a four-page, single-spaced typed letter. See also J.C. Webster to Carleton Stanley, 29 Oct. 1944, quoted in Carleton Stanley to R.B. Bennett, Carleton Stanley Fonds, MS-2-163, Box 2, Folder 65, Dalhousie University Archives. Stanley’s account of his interview with Stewart is in Carleton Stanley to Webster, 31 Oct. 1944, in the John Clarence Webster Papers in the New Brunswick Museum, Saint John, brought to my notice by Barry Cahill of the Nova Scotia Archives.
  35. Letter from Duchemin to Carleton Stanley, 9 Nov. 1944, personal, from Sydney (copy), Carleton Stanley Fonds, MS-2-163, Box 2, Folder 81, Dalhousie University Archives. In the same file there is a report to Carleton Stanley, probably by Major Logan, of the meeting of 10 Nov. It is undated, but internal evidence suggests the date.
  36. Stanley’s record of the Harvey interview, transcribed in the manner referred to in note 31, Carleton Stanley Fonds, MS-2-163, Box 2, Folder 73, Dalhousie University Archives.
  37. D.A. Cameron was the Sun Life Assurance Company’s representative in Boston, whom Stanley seems to have found sympathetic. Letter from Cameron to Carleton Stanley, 13 Nov. 1944; Carleton Stanley to Cameron, 15 Nov. 1944; Cameron to Carleton Stanley, 20 Nov. 1944; Carleton Stanley to Cameron, 23 Nov. 1944, from Montreal, Carleton Stanley Fonds, MS-2-163, Box 2, Folder 66, Dalhousie University Archives. See also letter from Carleton Stanley to Webster, 6 Nov. 1944, Carleton Stanley Fonds, MS-2-163, Box 3, Folder B-119, Dalhousie University Archives.
  38. There is a question whether a board of directors, or of governors, can entertain proxy votes. Miss Henry consulted two Halifax lawyers and got a strong “no” from one, and a “possibly” from another. Letter from Lola Henry to Webster, 23 Nov. 1944; Carleton Stanley to Webster, 24 Nov. 1944, draft telegram; Lola Henry to Webster, 21 Nov. 1944, very confidential, Carleton Stanley Fonds, MS-2-163, Box 3, Folder B-119, Dalhousie University Archives. Stanley’s twisting the truth is worth a note. On 24 Nov. 1944, he drafted and probably sent the following telegram to Webster: “R.B. Bennett for one telegraphed his support [in 1932], and it was read. That made the Board unanimous against Pearson” (ibid., Folder B-119). In fact there were two meetings in June 1932, and at neither of them did Bennett’s name come up. In the first meeting, on 6 June, Bennett apparently asked that his name not be mentioned. Stanley wrote to him the next day, “By the way, no letter from you was read, nor was your name mentioned at the meeting.” For the following meeting, on 10 June, Stanley solicited Bennett’s support by telegram. But Bennett was out of town, and the day of the board meeting Bennett’s secretary, A.W. Merriam, telegraphed to Stanley that Bennett was away and would not return until the following week. These latter references are in UNB Archives, R.B. Bennett Papers, vol. 908, nos. 569021 et seq., Carleton Stanley to Bennett, 7 June 1932, confidential; Carleton Stanley to Bennett, 10 June 1932, telegram; A.W. Merriam to Carleton Stanley, 11 June 1932, telegram.
  39. There are two sets of minutes for the 28 Nov. meeting, one that is in the regular Board of Governors series, which is remarkably comprehensive, and a second version, slightly fuller with mostly minor but sometimes important additions. I have used the second version, which is in Carleton Stanley Fonds, MS-2-163, Box 2, Folder 84, Dalhousie University Archives. For Stewart’s remarks, see pp. 14-15, 5, 7-8. The question, “to get money or get Stanley?” is not in either set of minutes but is referred to by Carleton Stanley as having been asked at the time, letter from Carleton Stanley to J.A. Walker (his Halifax lawyer), 20 Apr. 1945 (copy), Carleton Stanley Fonds, MS-2-163, Box 2, Folder 76, Dalhousie University Archives. As to the Pre-Campaign Committee’s recommendation, that a campaign could not be put in motion as long as President Stanley remained, the fairest interpretation that can be put on it was that it was an attempt to give Stanley the easiest possible way out. That is what Stewart said, in effect, on 23 Jan. 1945. All Stanley had to do was to resign, and the matter would have been closed.
  40. Stanley could not then resist a further cutting remark on Laurie’s grammar. It was a tactical blunder. Stanley had always been privately contemptuous of his chairman’s syntax and spelling; here he ridiculed him in open meeting. It revealed to board members hitherto disposed to be neutral that the things that Stewart and others were saying about Stanley’s arrogance might possibly be right. After three hours, it was clear Stanley’s supporters were struggling. The debate was heated; they wanted the meeting cooled off and urged postponement of the vote. Mayor Lloyd, a Stanley supporter, moved an amendment that the board meet again the next evening; meanwhile let all governors sleep on it. The amendment was defeated, twelve to eleven. The main motion, approving the Pre-Campaign Committee’s resolution, passed, sixteen to six. The atmosphere of the meeting Stanley described as “mephitic,” poisonous. The six Stanley loyalists were Gushue, Duchemin, Mayor Lloyd, Chesley Allan, Major Logan, and T. C. Coffin, the only Alumni governor to vote for him. None of the women supported him, not even Mrs. Pond of whom Stanley had been fairly confident three weeks before. All had different reasons. Dr. Roberta Nichols hated Stanley, a quarrel of some years over her children’s fees; Margaret Pond worshipped him, but felt the pressure against him; Eileen Burns was taken aback by the crudeness of Stanley’s attack on Colonel Laurie, whom many regarded as decent and amiable, if slightly bumbling.
  41. Letter from Laurie to Carleton Stanley, 25 Oct. 1944 (copy), Carleton Stanley Fonds, MS-2-163, Box 2, Folder 87, Dalhousie University Archives.
  42. Letter from Carleton Stanley to Webster, 29 Nov. 1944, Carleton Stanley Fonds, MS-2-163, Box 3, Folder B-119, Dalhousie University Archives; letter from Carleton Stanley to Webster, 21 Dec. 1944, Carleton Stanley Fonds, MS-2-163, Box 2, Folder 77, Dalhousie University Archives.
  43. Letter from G.G. Patterson to Carleton Stanley, 13 Jan. 1945, Carleton Stanley Fonds, MS-2-163, Box 2, Folder 81, Dalhousie University Archives; letter from J.M. Macdonnell to Carleton Stanley, 15 Jan. 1945, Carleton Stanley Fonds, MS-2-163, Box 2, Folder 70, Dalhousie University Archives. For Major Logan’s intercession of Stanley’s behalf, see interview with Miss Eileen Burns, 22 Feb. 1993, Peter B. Waite Fonds, MS-2-718, Box 2, Folder 62, Dalhousie University Archives. For R.B. Bennett, see letter from Carleton Stanley to Bennett, 19[?] Jan. 1945, draft cable; Bennett to Laurie, 22 Jan. 1945 (copy), night cable, Carleton Stanley Fonds, MS-2-163, Box 2, Folder 65, Dalhousie University Archives.
  44. C.F. MacKenzie, the secretary, asked Lola Henry to send him for the use of the board, all letters, correspondence, and memoranda about Stanley’s appointment. Miss Henry replied that there was no trace of such correspondence. There are two possible explanations: one, that Stanley did not propose to surrender it; two, the more probable, that during the 1931-2 quarrel G.F. Pearson had it. See letter from MacKenzie to Lola Henry, 13 Dec. 1944; Lola Henry to MacKenzie, 14 Dec. 1944, President's Office Fonds, “Carleton Stanley,” UA-3, Box 101/102, Dalhousie University Archives. As chapter 2 noted, there is material on Stanley’s appointment in his own papers, and in President MacKenzie’s private papers.
  45. The New York lawyer for Stanley was C.C. Ives, of Handelman and Ives. Letter from Carleton Stanley to J.A. Walker (Stanley’s Halifax lawyer), 31 Jan. 1945; Donald Mclnnes (Dalhousie’s lawyer) to J.A. Walker, 7 Feb. 1945, Carleton Stanley Fonds, MS-2-163, Box 2, Folder 76, Dalhousie University Archives. Stanley believed the board feared what he might do. See Carleton Stanley to J.C. Webster, 10 Feb. 1945, Carleton Stanley Fonds, MS-2-163, Box 3, Folder B-120, Dalhousie University Archives.
  46. Letter from John Stevenson to Carleton Stanley, 31 Jan. [1945], on Globe and Mail letterhead, Carleton Stanley Fonds, MS-2-163, Box 2, Folder 74, Dalhousie University Archives.
  47. Letter from Carleton Stanley to J.A. Walker, 20 Apr. 1945, Carleton Stanley Fonds, MS-2-163, Box 2, Folder 76, Dalhousie University Archives; Carleton Stanley to R.C. Wallace, principal of Queen’s, 7 Feb. 1945, ibid., Box 2, Folder 73. Stanley said much the same to Viscount Bennett, Carleton Stanley to Bennett, 1 Feb. 1945, ibid., Box 2, Folder 65. As to the American Association of University Professors, see Carleton Stanley to R.P. Ludlum, 7 Feb. 1945, ibid., Box 3, Folder B-99, and C.C. Ives to Carleton Stanley, 29 Jan. 1945, ibid., Box 3, Folder B-105. There is important correspondence in President’s Office Fonds, “K.C. Laurie, 1939-1945,” UA-3, Box 335, Folder 5, Dalhousie University Archives: Robert Ludlum to Carleton Stanley, 10 Jan. 1945; Laurie to Ludlum, 20 Jan. 1945, from Oakfield; Ludlum to Laurie, 22 Jan. 1945, telegram; Laurie to Ludlum, 30 Jan. 1945, from Oakfield (copy). Carleton Stanley’s private opinion of Angus L. Macdonald is in a letter signed “Hibbert Journal” (one of the journals Stanley read and contributed to), addressed to John Stevenson at the Globe and Mail, 16 Dec. 1940 (copy): “But he is per se, and in his own right, a cad; and though il ment comme un Jesuit, he has not learned the Jesuitical cleverness... Absolutely shameless and crude in accepting money... A sponge of flattery; a leach of pelf; a chameleon in politics; a rat and a weasel in revenge and vindictiveness; apt in perversion of History, and adroit in captivating little souls like Vincent Massey.”
  48. New York Nation, 10 Mar. 1945, “Dalhousie Drops a President,” pp. 274-5. Similar views are expressed in the Toronto News, 10, 17 Feb. 1945. McAree’s comment is in the Globe and Mail, 26 Feb. 1945.
  49. This recollection is from Miss Eileen Burns, interview with Eileen Burns, 22 Feb. 1993, Peter B. Waite Fonds, MS-2-718, Box 2, Folder 62, 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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