16 The Ways of the Fifties, 1951-1957

Curriculum and enrolment. Style and manners of students. Lives of professors. Distrust of publication in Arts. Science departments, strengths and weaknesses. The Massey Commission and its effects. The 1953-4 row between president and Medical Faculty. The Law Faculty. Dentistry and its new building. Changes in the Board of Governors.

The Gazette’s 1951 recipe for creating a Dalhousie graduate was as follows:

  1. Take One Student Body
  2. Soak Thoroughly
  3. Add Exams Freely
  4. Pluck Well
  5. Keep Steaming for 8 1/2 Months
  6. Cool for a Summer
  7. Repeat Several Times

Dalhousie’s BA in the early 1950s was much the same as it had been for the past half-century. It retained its old emphasis on classics; two of the twenty classes had to be either Greek or Latin. Also required was one class in a modern language, two classes in English, one each in mathematics, science, and history 1, European civilization. The other twelve classes represented a creative curriculum designed to give the student a major subject, while offering three electives that allowed some rudimentary versatility.

It had not been all that different in 1904-5. The Dalhousie student of the 1950s had a few more options, one year less of compulsory Latin or Greek, one year less of German or French. Many freshmen were now admitted to a three-year program with Grade 12, and an important course became English 2, C.L. Bennet’s Shakespeare and Milton, the campus common denominator. Even B.Sc. students could not escape that. Altogether it reflected an attitude that Principal W.A. Mackintosh of Queen’s described in 1951: “One cannot master knowledge in general. One must master it in particular… It is well to know something about many things but only in mastery is higher education attained.” One difference between Queen’s and Dalhousie in these years was that the principal of Queen’s understood what first-class meant; President Kerr of Dalhousie really did not. Fortunately the professors at Dalhousie who did helped the university get past the sirens who sang of secretarial science and home economics, the dangers of which Kerr, with his love of numbers and enrolment, never really understood.

The curriculum of the early 1950s that had stood virtually unaltered for so long began to change in 1956. In April that year there was a general debate in the Faculty of Arts and Science about curriculum. Dean Wilson was concerned with strengthening standards, in English, French, history and other humanities disciplines. But what caused the most debate was a proposal from classics that, some said, went the other way: the abolition of compulsory Latin 2. (Latin 1 was senior matriculation Latin.) The substitute for Latin 2 was now to be classical literature in translation. Some spirits in faculty fought this change, but as one professor noted, a student’s having completed Latin 2 did not mean that he or she was able to have any substantial skill in Latin literature, or much appreciation of it. That view was endorsed by the Classics Department, somewhat uncomfortable but resolute. Faculty approved the change, and so Dalhousie’s longstanding requirement of two years of Latin (or Greek) came to an end.

That was not necessarily bad. Classical Latin was difficult to teach and no easier to learn. Classical literature in translation allowed the rounding out of the discipline into its many diversities – history, culture, society, architecture – without the severe concentration on grammar and philology. While some regretted the loss, for English, of Latin’s terseness, turns of phrase, its grammatical sure-footedness, for many classicists it was “a blessing in disguise.”[1]

By 1953-4 Dalhousie’s enrolment had declined to 1,409 and not until 1956-7 did it reach what it had been in 1950-1, 1,553. The enrolment percentages in 1953-4 were consistent for most of that period:

Arts and Science 61%
Medicine 19%
Law 10%
Dentistry 4%
Graduate Studies 4%
Public Health Nursing 2%

The religious affiliations of students were:

United Church 33%
Anglican 26%
Roman Catholic 15%
Baptist 9%
Presbyterian 7%
Jewish 5%
Lutheran 1 %
Others 4%

Three-quarters of Dalhousie students were men, and they lived all over the city. Their eating places were few; there was the Lord Nelson Tavern, Diana Sweets on Coburg Road, and on campus Roy Atwood’s gym shop, now being called the Canteen, as it moved from the gym to the unlovely Arts Annex.

In arts and science 31 per cent of the students were women, with the proportion in law, medicine, and dentistry being about 5 per cent. Of the 335 women students at Dalhousie, one hundred lived at Shirreff Hall, which tended to function as Dalhousie’s social centre though only for special occasions. Shirreff Hall functions had style; that had been Jennie Shirreff’s intention from the beginning. Its dances, for example, had a certain gala quality that she would have liked. Shirreff Hall was also indispensable for certain state events such as convocation teas.

The warden of Shirreff Hall from 1947 to 1955 was Miss Mary Mowat, whose salary was $1,000 a year with a small suite for her use. She was a lady in her mid-fifties of poise and of a charm faintly sad; in years gone by she had been disappointed in love and remained single ever since. She looked more tractable than she was, and she could be offended easily, not least by President Kerr. She expected Shirreff Hall rules to be followed, and she ran the Hall with aplomb, though some of her views were old-fashioned. Late one Saturday evening she observed one of her charges in one of the stone alcoves (the tales those stones could tell!) in a too ardent embrace with a young man. On Sunday morning Miss Mowat called the young woman up on the carpet. “But, Miss Mowat,” she protested, “I love him!” “I should certainly hope you do,” was Miss Mowat’s unrelenting reply. Shirreff Hall girls told this story with some amusement, recognizing that Miss Mowat’s attitudes from the 1930s were not the ways of the 1950s.

The fact was, as related by Helen Reynolds, Mary Mowat’s successor, that girls in residence did rather better on examinations that those that lived outside. She told faculty that at Christmas 1958, 13 per cent of Shirreff Hall girls made averages over 80; 17 per cent had failing averages. For those who lived outside, the figures were 2 per cent and 27 per cent respectively. That marked difference bespeaks something of the character of life at Shirreff Hall.[2]

Although enrolment in the 1950s was about 50 per cent higher than in the 1930s, apart from the new A. and A. Building and a few wartime shacks, Dalhousie was not all that different. It still dealt with the familiar problem: developing in students love of learning, hunger for research, appreciation of the world’s knowledge, its sciences, languages, and literatures. Many students came from backgrounds that had little pretence to learning; how could the professors get them to value those things, instill in them something of the wonder and excitement of intellectual life? On the other hand, brilliant students would sometimes let the professor know, by a distant sign, if the lecture did not come up to their high standards. It was from those rare students that professors learned. Most professors could discern the glazing over of the minds of ordinary students and would try to counter it with some fresh explanation, some invented metaphor, to explain the point; but it was vital to meet the high standards, almost always unspoken, that radiated from the brilliant student. One Dalhousie student put into poetry what Bishop Berkeley had set down as philosophy, esse est percipi (to be is to be perceived), about colour:

Colour is not real; it seems to shine
And hover like a butterfly; above
The flower, the book, the gown, whatever things
Would like to claim the colour as its own.
The green of grass could thin like morning mist
And vanish in the trembling heat of noon;
A pitcher is inside its veil of blue,
Its halo.[3]

The minds of most Dalhousie students of the 1950s came in conservative guises. The veterans had been vigorous and outspoken, but they were leaving, and their influence had largely passed. Dalhousie undergraduates were unused to the questioning of assumptions, unused indeed to questions, apt to be unclamorous; they were ready to soak up ideas and information if conveyed in the right way. That meant some performance by the professor, thespian as well as intellectual, to arouse interest. Some Dalhousie professors could take a class through municipal finance and keep the students fascinated; some could not. Students could usually recognize a good lecture, even though they could not always determine a bad one. It was too easy to assume a dull lecture meant a weak professor with unsatisfactory material. Students had their own names for the idiosyncrasies they met up with – for example, “Whispering Willie” for W.R. Maxwell, head of Economics, whose too soft voice and calm manner disguised, too easily, an able mind and a progressive thinker.

Students tended to dress conservatively. With the men, jackets and ties predominated, though after the veterans left sweaters slowly came to be accepted. In January 1957 there was a letter in the Gazette complaining that some students did not dress properly; collar and no necktie was “sloppiness and laziness.” The Gazette commented that Dalhousie had no rules about dress and hoped it would continue. But the pictures in the Gazette tell the story: neckties were generally the rule.

Although female dress appeared casual, it usually was not, being a casualness carefully studied, elegantly sweatered, and almost always with skirts. Slacks were rarely seen at classes. Some young women were dressed in a fashion quite breathtaking, and almost certainly so intended. One young professor of English had in one of his classes a beautiful Canadian princess who came nearly always three minutes late, usually clad in a fur coat, the rest of her ensemble to match. When she arrived, all communication between the professor and his class stopped. Some senior professors were less susceptible. Burns Martin of King’s (English), a fierce but talented grammarian, preferred brilliant women in his classes; they seemed to tolerate his occasional frankness. Engineers loved him. Martin delighted in such novels as Hawthorne’s Scarlet Letter, Flaubert’s Madame Bovary, Tolstoy’s Anna Karenina, all on fallen women. On the other hand, most Dalhousie professors were careful not to strain recognized conventions too far.[4]

From time to time, there were laments about what some perceived as lack of college spirit. Dalhousie was a city university and its student life inevitably reflected the diversities, disparities, and distances of Halifax. Dalhousie was also different from the other universities – Acadia, Mount Allison and St. Francis Xavier; they were residential colleges; virtually everyone in them was from out of town. They had few cliques, nothing to compare, for example, to the Queen Elizabeth High School clique at Dalhousie. Moreover, at Dalhousie the professional schools tended to segregate themselves, with their own functions and esprit de corps-, those professional students that came from Acadia or St. Francis Xavier were not so much part of Dalhousie as belonging to a tightly knit group in the Law School or Medical School. These were distances and separations at Dalhousie as much mental as physical.

Dalhousie was also older in tone and attitude. As H.L. Scammell, out of Pictou County and Dalhousie registrar from 1947 to 1952, remarked, “Students who came here from high schools, or colleges like high schools, felt that the atmosphere at Dalhousie was by comparison, cool, restrained and stuffy. It was difficult for us to realize that we were to act like adults and be treated like adults.” To C.L. Bennet, the spirit of a college revealed itself by the absence of obtrusive display of college spirit. In the 1920s, he recalled, two student leaders called a well-advertised meeting to discuss “What’s wrong with Dalhousie?” and drew a total attendance of five. Dalhousie students had enough common sense, said Bennet, to realize that “little good has ever been done by mass meetings, vigilance committees and pep rallies.” Dalhousie’s students were “quiet and restrained, self-contained and self-sufficient.” It was not a bad description.[5]

Nevertheless Dalhousie students, like most, loved to poke fun, needle academic government, occasionally test tolerances. A Gazette offering, “The Miracle of Sunova Beach,” in January 1953 set the university on its ear. Written by “S.O.S.,” it was a burlesque on the Miracle of Fatima, the Portuguese village north of Lisbon where a new basilica, dedicated to the Virgin Mary, was being consecrated that year. The “Sunova Beach” story was about a drunk who saw two suns and persuaded others in a similar condition that they were seeing a miracle. Since 15 per cent of Dalhousie students were Catholics, and Halifax had two Catholic universities and a considerable Catholic population, the repercussions can be imagined. One young lady in second-year law remarked that “S.O.S.” was something you cleaned pots with, and recommended the author do the same. The pages of the Gazette for the next three weeks rang with similar messages. President Kerr wrote complaining not only of the article but of the time he had had to devote to people whom the article had offended. On 3 February, with almost the whole Gazette devoted to letters, the editor closed the correspondence down. The Senate Discipline Committee met and reminded the editor of the Gazette of his duty to consult the Student Advisory Committee if any article promised to be controversial. The editor replied, too ingenuously, that he had not thought “Sunova Beach” was. There it ended.[6]

In the autumn of 1953 there was a row over initiation. George Grant, chairman of the Student Advisory Committee, had succeeded in establishing a rule that “hazing that inflicts personal indignity upon any student is not in accordance with the true conception of the university.” Grant banned such goings on, leaving only the wearing of beanies optional, aiming at an initiation without indignities and without compulsion. Students did not take kindly to his rules. The real indignities were probably few, although at an open forum on 13 October 1953, Grant cited from other universities a litany of broken ribs, mental anguish, cold water baths, cod liver oil hair rubs, and such. Although conceding the importance of student opinion, he held the freedom and dignity of the individual student had priority. Senate’s action, the Gazette admitted a year later, came as the result of some personal indignities. Nevertheless in February 1955 it urged the return of initiation, promising the absence of oil, molasses, flour, or other noxious substances. Professor John Graham of Economics claimed that it had not been Senate’s intention to ban initiation but simply to stop hazing, that is, “all elements of compulsion.” So in the autumn of 1955 initiation returned, largely shorn of excesses, although these would resurface from time to time as they had for the past ninety years.[7]

Professors and Their Lives
Between the years 1951 and 1957 Dalhousie had a full-time staff of about fifty in Arts and Science, eighteen in Medicine, seven in Law, and one lone full-time professor in Dentistry, the professions relying heavily on part-time lecturers from downtown, who were also paid a pittance. Most Dalhousie professors were also paid very modestly and lacked outside income. The younger ones looked forward to a spartan life of genteel poverty; as the Mail-Star pointed out in 1957, “some lecturers get less than [the] janitor who sweeps out the classroom, assistant professors less than plumbers.” Older professors assessed their pensions ruefully, hoping that they might somehow, against all the evidence, meet the costs rising up around them. The preoccupations of the 1920s and the years of penury since 1930 had exacted their toll, not only on salaries, but also on the library, breaking its runs of periodicals, squeezing its purchases of books. The sciences, pure, applied, and medical, had to get along with antiquated equipment; a professor of biochemistry had to apply to his dean even to get a new beaker. The amount of money and time available for research was meagre.

The new Arts Building, opened in the autumn of 1951, demonstrated to faculty and students the priorities of president and board. The building was needed as accommodation, but every stone seemed to carry its price, as if each were holding down some part of the faculty’s thin budget for salaries. It seemed to bear out J. McG. Stewart’s remarks when he laid the cornerstone on 15 November 1949: “Poverty is a badge of every good college… It forces us to prefer simplicity to profusion.” Stewart made a virtue of necessity, but Alistair Fraser, on the board since 1952, regretted that the carrying charges for the $600,000 necessary to finish paying for the building precluded “doing anything for raising staff salaries.” Even professors’ cars parked behind the big new building were an ironic juxtaposition. They were usually ancient ones that limped through the world trailing the smell of burnt oil and ancient seat covers. New cars seemed to belong either to the president or to a student who had temporarily sequestered the family car.[8]

Photograph of Princess Elizabeth signing Dalhousie’s guest book, November 1951
Princess Elizabeth signing Dalhousie’s guest book, November 1951. In three months she would be Queen. From l. to r., Miss Lola Henry (the president’s secretary), Princess Elizabeth, the Duke of Edinburgh, and Colonel K.C. Laurie, Chairman of the Board.

Dalhousie was a small university by Canadian standards, with fourteen hundred students, about two-thirds of the enrolment at Queen’s. There were limitations to smallness; it was certainly possible to be, as Principal Mackintosh of Queen’s put it, “cosy but second-class.” Most Dalhousie professors fought hard to make Dalhousie better than cosy, trying to keep it abreast of the great world of learning and science, but the facilities available were nearly always inadequate.

Dalhousie had always allowed its professors, even younger ones, considerable room to follow their bent. A junior professor would be assigned the classes the department wanted taught, but told little about how or what to teach in it. Lectures, examinations, essays, were given, set, marked, according to the professor’s lights. Freshman classes were normally taught by experienced senior professors, their character and traditions gradually made manifest to junior staff. Failure rates were heavy enough in first-year classes, especially at Christmas. The students’ most salutary day of reckoning was the first day of classes in January, when the Christmas marks went up, as Sam Peeps put it, on the “Great Weeping Wall” in the Arts Building. One could note the following passing rates in freshman classes at Christmas, 1954:

Class Number of Students Passing Rate (%)
English I 137 65
English IA 50 38
History I 96 70
Latin I 38 42
French I 88 49
Psychology I 84 85
Economics I 69 64
Mathematics I 202 52
Biology I 153 55
Chemistry I 191 57
Geology I 53 43
Physics I 185 53

There was only one soft option (Psychology) in that list! A too generous passing ratio was apt to be considered a reflection of a too great naivete or too low standards. Fundamentally the young professor was thrown upon his or her own resources and made to feel the weight of responsibility.[9]

That had been a long tradition, the independence of the professor, old and young. Various professors in ancient days had commented on it, MacGregor, Seth, MacMechan; some professors had exploited it, such as H.L. Stewart, and had gradually brought philosophy low in consequence; the contumely of his colleagues was the price he paid for radio and publication fame. This tradition of academic independence probably came from the Senate’s role in the university’s academic life. The board provided the money and overall legal sanction for everything that was done: the academic authority was worn by the professors in Senate. Senate was not easily aroused and a wise president usually went to some pains to take it into his confidence. Carleton Stanley had never really learned that. It remained to be seen if his successor was skilful enough to manage it. Though formally composed of all full professors and heads of departments, about fifty in all, it was in fact a working group of about twenty-five members, meeting once a month from October until May. In the early 1950s it developed a stronger bond as its distrust slowly grew of the ways and means of President Kerr.

Although Dalhousie had increased in size since the 1930s, the smallness and the essential kindliness of the place lingered. For new assistant professors, breathless from a long, hard run at a single discipline, the collegiality of Dalhousie could be exhilarating. Young professors could explore other disciplines, other faculties, go to each others’ lectures, watch experiments. Over the winters, they could skate in the new Dalhousie rink, except on Sunday when it was severely closed; there was also skating out-of-doors at Chocolate Lake, Frog Pond, Williams Lake, or the marvellous reaches of the Dartmouth Lakes. Dinner parties allowed young faculty to meet old. Faculty wives were often good cooks, and faculty bachelors watched and imitated. Dinner parties could be punctuated with periodic hunts in the Britannica (eleventh edition, of course) to settle some point of learning, or to a row of Baedekers.

Through it all the younger men, especially those on the arts side of Arts and Science, were taught to distrust publication. The Arts professors at Dalhousie who had published could be numbered on the fingers of one hand: Lyall, Schurman, MacMechan, H.L. Stewart, three of them philosophers. Stewart had brought publishing into disrepute. At Dalhousie one read one’s subject. Publication was the refuge of drones; German academics had started it, and American ones had taken it up with enthusiasm. So they chiselled their cherry stones, and published their little pieces in the academic journals. What mattered in Arts at Dalhousie was not adding a meagre drop to the ocean of truth, but to measure its depths and distances. In the 1950s what a professor wrote did not matter all that much; it was his or her reading, the weight of knowledge that counted. In Arts it could be said that all generations in the past were equidistant from the present, that Plato, Dante, Shakespeare, Descartes, Goethe, Tolstoy were each severally relevant to the world of learning, their value measured by their substance, not by their distance from a too obtrusive present.

Photograph of Senate meeting, January 1952,
The first Senate meeting, January 1952, in its new A. and A. home. Front row seated, l. to r., Dixie Pelluet, Dean Horace Read (Law), Dean J.H.L. Johnstone (Graduate Studies), C.L. Bennet, President A.E. Kerr, Dean George Wilson (Arts and Science), Dean J.S. Bagnall (Dentistry), Dr. H.L. Scammell (Registrar), Dean H.G. Grant (Medicine). Back row, standing, l. to r., H.P. Bell, C.B. Weld, D.J. Tonning, C.H. Mercer, W.J. Chute, H.R. Theakston, W.R. Lederman, R.S. Cumming, J.H. Aitchison, John A. Aldous, George Grant, A.S. Mowat, G.V. Douglas, R.S. Hayes, C. Lamberston, Burns Martin, A.K. Griffin, J.A. McCarter, Charles Walmsley.

The Dalhousie Sciences
Science was fundamentally different, cumulative in essence. Truth was what the latest research said it was. Archimedes, Newton, Faraday, Pasteur, Osier, Fleming were of historical interest, but they counted only as history. Good Dalhousie science was research science and so measured. J.G. MacGregor, Dalhousie’s first Munro professor of physics, was elected Fellow of the Royal Society, London, on the basis of his research; A.S. MacKenzie crossed over from research to administration probably because he could not command the money, apparatus, or time at Dalhousie. J.H.L. Johnstone made his reputation in experimental physics that developed into practical naval research. W.J. Archibald (BA ’33, MA ’35), brought to Dalhousie in 1943 to underpin physics while Johnstone and Henderson were on war research, believed the physics he had learned in the 1930s was well out of date; Dalhousie was still teaching Niels Bohr’s atomic theory that dated from the First World War. Archibald believed that it was probably impossible to build a great research department in Nova Scotia, simply because Dalhousie lacked the critical mass.[10]

Dalhousie’s Department of Chemistry also had good men, beginning with George Lawson and Ebenezer Mackay; its first research professor, Douglas McIntosh, was a considerable scientist, who left to direct research at Shawinigan Chemicals. His successor, more teacher than researcher, was C.B. Nickerson, head of the department from 1930 to 1940, and dean of arts and science from 1936 to 1940, who had published one good paper on inorganic analysis. He spent his summers at Boothbay Harbour in Maine, and was known as the “Rural Dean.” But his successor, Carl Coffin (BA ’24), was an experimentalist, ingenious and efficient. Elected a member of the Royal Society of Canada at the age of thirty-two, he became Harry Shirreff professor of chemical research. The main bent of his work was the application of radioactive tracers to chemical processes. By 1945 he was wholly preoccupied with the flood of veterans which saturated Chemistry with the biggest classes of any in Arts and Science, taking up, it was said, every broom closet and lavatory. Though well liked both as a chemist and a person, Coffin had what Henry Fielding used to call “an amiable weakness,” that could produce domestic consequences not so amiable. One night in 1948, working in the laboratory, he drank methyl alcohol mistaking it for ethyl. By the morning in hospital he was blind. He continued to work and to publish, but died in 1954 at the age of fifty-one.[11]

Another Dalhousie professor with such problems was Professor Raymond Bean, appointed in 1923 to be a one-man department of Histology and Embryology in the Medical Faculty, his PH.D. incomplete. His wife Elizabeth, in the same field, had hers and had several publications to her credit. After producing a daughter, she went to work as Bean’s assistant in 1927, with the full approval of President MacKenzie. By the end of the 1930s Bean’s research had largely stopped because of his alcoholism, the burden of his teaching supported by his talented and devoted wife. That arrangement came to an end in 1951; Laurie and Kerr had had enough of his binges and he was retired with his wife.[12]

The Department of Geology was eccentric. G.V. Douglas, the Carnegie professor whom Carleton Stanley hired in 1935, liked tramping the hills and rocks of Nova Scotia and Labrador. The female student taking Geology 1 as her compulsory science course was advised to buy the tallest-lacing boots she could find and wear them every day of the week including Sunday. Douglas’s science was rudimentary and his geology too close to handbooks. He once found some strange blue rocks in Labrador and sent them to Toronto for analysis, to be told that the seagulls had been eating lots of blueberries that summer![13]

A stronger science department was Biology, headed after 1930 by Hugh Bell, a botanist appointed in 1920. Genial, noisy, and well-liked, he was a good researcher. Dalhousie was fortunate in replacing the talented and notorious Gowanloch, fired in 1930, with Ronald Hayes, a terse, able, demanding, fishery zoologist. When Bell retired in 1954, Hayes became head of the department. His specialty was comparative vertebrate anatomy, one of the toughest of the science courses, and required of all prospective medical students. If a student were very good, Hayes would try to persuade him to go on in zoology, though often his best students ended up as doctors of medicine. He was also death on illiteracy. At an oral examination on the anatomy of a cat, Hayes pointed to something and asked his student, “What is it?” “That,” said the student from Guysborough County, “is your renal artery.” A nerve was pointed out. “That is your sciatic nerve.” The answers were correct, but the student failed. He asked why. Hayes said, brutally, “They were not mine; they were the cat’s.” It was understood that doctors should be literate.[14]

Women Faculty Members
In 1934 Ronald Hayes married Dixie Pelluet, the assistant professor of biology, an able specialist in cell biology. They became a husband-and-wife team of substance and reputation. She had been appointed in 1931 on her own merits by President MacKenzie, who had formed a well-developed respect for women academics while professor at Bryn Mawr. The couple had no children and worked as professional academics. In 1941 Dixie Pelluet was made associate professor by Carleton Stanley, a promotion he said was both deserved and belated, though without an increase in salary. Not only could Dalhousie not afford it, but there was a general view in society, stemming from the depression, that two jobs in one family was taking more from the economy than it should decently stand. Thus the attitude to hiring and keeping married female professors was based on what was perceived as a double taxing of the limited job market.

President Kerr feared women on the faculty, especially clever and articulate ones like Dixie Pelluet; she was never deterred by social niceties from speaking her mind with startling clarity. In 1949 Dalhousie adopted as future policy not to employ both husband and wife on permanent staff above the rank of lecturer. While this did not apply to Dixie, she felt the burden of the attitude. In 1949 at the age of fifty-three, doing excellent work both in teaching and research, she felt her promotion to full professor long overdue. Both Dr. Kerr and Colonel Laurie went to see her in December 1949 to explain that a new pay scale, effective 1 January 1950, by which associate professors would get $4,000 a year, would not apply to her. Not only did she not get promoted, she would not even get the new salary for her old rank. What she got was $250 raise in pay. She was not pleased. “You should feel,” she told them, “that I have been kind to you in not becoming very angry.” Three years later she reiterated that she was being unjustly penalized for being a woman, “which I cannot help,” and by being married to another Dalhousie professor, “which is my private concern and does not interfere with the fulfilling of my academic duties.” The board had also added an anti-feminist rule in 1946, which decreed that retirement for women was to be at sixty years of age, though in exceptional circumstances they might continue until sixty-five. As it turned out, under a different president, Dixie Pelluet retired when she was almost sixty-eight.[15]

Kerr did not like husband-and-wife combinations. When Dean Wilson thought of hiring a young woman to teach English, he told the president, “Do not be frightened. She is not married to a member of the staff and she was a remarkably fine student.” But even with single women professors, President Kerr feared difficulties might arise. Dr. Louise Thompson, formerly head of psychology at the University of New Brunswick, was hired in 1949 as a clinical psychologist under a federal health grant. She did not stay single. At Christmas 1951 she married a Halifax businessman and in June 1953 presented Dalhousie with its first case of a pregnant professor. The baby was due in October and Dr. Louise Thompson Welch (as she now was) wanted to go on three-fifths time and three-fifths salary after the baby was born, continuing her classes and supervising research. President Kerr and Colonel Laurie reacted to this proposal in old-fashioned ways. They were aghast that any “woman teacher, in an advanced state of pregnancy” would appear before innocent students at Dalhousie. Dean Wilson thought in ordinary circumstances having a baby ought to end a woman’s appointment. “She can’t eat her cake and have it too,” was his metaphor for it. But Dr. Welch’s circumstances were not ordinary; she was a full professor with tenure, in a government-supported position. Wilson therefore suggested they leave well enough alone; change might invite attention from the government and “our rivals might even take advantage from the fact.” Let Dr. Welch have her baby and start her classes two weeks late; they were mostly for advanced students anyway. That was the way it worked out. Dr. Welch took three-fifths time for 1953-4 and had two advanced classes. With the support of Hilton Page, head of psychology, she did exactly what she said she would do. But after discussion in 1956 between Senate and board the president got what he wanted – that marriage by a woman faculty member was deemed to terminate her appointment, though the university might propose continuance under special contract. Thus the old ethos continued to prevail. Married women ought to be at home; if they thought and did otherwise they had to make their way as best they could. It was not easy.[16]

The Evolution of Federal Support for Universities
Although federal health grants were added to Dalhousie’s strength and diversity after 1949, it was still dependent on endowment; in 1953-4 endowment, with a book value of $5 million and a market value of $7.5 million, gave Dalhousie 22 per cent of its income. The AUCC estimated the norm for Canadian universities was 8 per cent. Provincial grants, nearly all of it for medicine and dentistry, accounted for 16 per cent as against the AUCC norm of 33 per cent. Fees accounted for 44 per cent of Dalhousie’s income. Income from veterans’ fees and support grants had been 10 per cent in 1951, but fell rapidly as veterans completed their degrees, though there was a slight bulge in medicine and dentistry into 1952 and 1953. By 1953-4 Dalhousie’s income from veterans’ fees was down to 2 per cent.[17]

This era of declining numbers and increasing costs squeezed the universities badly and as early as 1948 the AUCC began putting pressure on the federal government. The initiative for the Royal Commission on the Arts, Letters and Sciences came from student Liberals, who proposed it to the Liberal leadership convention of August 1948 that chose Louis St. Laurent as successor to Mackenzie King. Brooke Claxton, minister of national defence, took it up and so did Jack Pickersgill, the prime minister’s influential secretary. The Massey Commission reported in June 1951- It was a remarkable survey, perhaps the most remarkable of the many royal commissions sponsored by the federal government since Confederation. Donald Creighton described its view of Canadian cultural life, past and present, in his opulent prose: “The Massey Commission surveyed this dismal [cultural] scene with panoramic amplitude and pitiless detail.” The recommendation it brought forward with the greatest reluctance was the one the St. Laurent government first seized upon. “I think many of us recognize increasingly,” he said to the University of Toronto in October 1950, “that some means must be found to ensure to our universities the financial capacity to perform the many services which are required in the interest of the whole nation.” Within the Massey Commission Larry MacKenzie of UBC pushed that policy hard; two others, Hilda Neatby, professor of history at the University of Saskatchewan, and Georges-Henri Lévésque, dean of social sciences at Laval, came round to the same way of thinking, and in the end Massey accepted it.[18]

On 19 June 1951, St. Laurent announced that for the academic year 1951-2 each province would be given 50 cents per head of population for its universities. That formula severely penalized Nova Scotia, which had more university students per capita than any other province. By this formula in 1953-4 Newfoundland received $477.56 per student, Ontario $144.55, and Nova Scotia $89.70, the lowest in the country. Dalhousie’s share came to $109,572.40. For a principle that was national in concept, this formula created ten different rates for ten different provinces. Nova Scotia MPs protested, especially Colonel S.R. Balcom, MP for Halifax and a member of the Dalhousie board, and George Nowlan, MP for King’s, on the Acadia board. But constitutional impediments to revising the formula proved insurmountable.

Thus did the Nova Scotian universities get federal funding. And though it was in a highly unsatisfactory form, compared to what other Atlantic provinces universities received, it was a great deal better than nothing. It did not, however, cure Dalhousie’s chronic annual deficit, nor the accumulated shortfalls from building projects. As of 30 June 1954, Dalhousie’s total accumulated deficit was $852,668.

The cost of running the Medical Faculty was especially burdensome. In 1953-4 the four Atlantic provinces together contributed 23 per cent of its total cost of $525,786 but with gross disproportions, Nova Scotia paying almost three-quarters, New Brunswick only one-sixth. Federal health grants, channelled through the provinces, had begun in 1949-50, and contributed 20 per cent; Halifax chipped in $20,000, or 4 per cent, for the Public Health Clinic. That left Dalhousie somehow having to supply the remaining 53 per cent.

President Kerr and the Medical Faculty, 1953-4
Every university president whose jurisdiction comprehends a medical faculty tends to fear it; the scale, costs, necessities (real or alleged), habits of working and thinking, are all very different from arts, and they require experience, intelligence, and patience to understand and weigh. Doctors are used to wielding authority and turf wars among them are not infrequent, aggravated by being about money as well as status. The dean of medicine since 1932, H.G. “Pat” Grant, was genial and easy-going, apt to embrace new projects, taking on more than circumstances warranted. But he had a perceptive eye for good people. Dalhousie could not always import able doctors, and where possible it liked to grow its own. Grant kept track of exceptional students, encouraged them to go abroad for specialized training, and trusted that their Nova Scotian roots would bring them back.

Robert Orville Jones was quintessential Nova Scotian, out of Bridgetown High School, who worked in the summers at Digby Pines, which his father managed. While there in the summer of 1930 he took a young waitress for a walk to Point Prim; as they were sitting on a lobster pot admiring the view, he kissed her and promptly announced that he was going to medical school and couldn’t marry her for six years! They were married in 1937. Encouraged by Dean Grant and Benge Atlee, Jones went to London for postgraduate training in psychiatry. He and his wife were back in Canada in the summer of 1939, planning to return to London in late August in the Athenia, when he was told he had been awarded a two-year fellowship at Johns Hopkins. So they called off their return to London. It was as well they did, for the Athenia was sunk on 3 September by a German submarine, with the loss of 112 lives. At Johns Hopkins Jones studied under Adolf Meyer, a Swiss who was much influenced by the Harvard psychologist William James.

With the help of the Nova Scotia Department of Health, Jones was brought back to Halifax as assistant professor of psychiatry in 1941. He wore doctrines pragmatically, as William James had done. He liked to remind medical students of Dr. Hattie’s philosophy that one-third of the patients coming into their offices in future would suffer from no organic illness at all. By 1948 he managed to establish the Dalhousie Department of Psychiatry, and from there developed community psychiatry in eastern Canada. In 1951-2 he became the first president of the Canadian Psychiatric Association. That was when he was offered a professorship at the University of Colorado, where the increase in financial rewards would be considerable; but he had built up a strong department at Dalhousie and wanted to stay with it. A decade later, in 1966, he would refuse the University of Toronto on the same grounds. It was a good indication of Jones’s character that he used neither the Colorado offer nor the Toronto one as a bargaining counter for more money, only for better facilities for psychiatry at the Victoria General. He was the only psychiatrist ever to be made president of the Canadian Medical Association in 1965-6.

Another Grant appointment of the Carleton Stanley years was Dr. Richard Lorraine de Chasteney Holbourne Saunders (1908-1995), a young South African. Born in Grahamstown of Scottish parents (his father was a doctor) Saunders ended at Edinburgh, where he studied medicine and became lecturer in anatomy from 1933 to 1937. Dalhousie needed a new man in anatomy, and the Campbell professor since 1930, Dr. Donald Mainland, was in Britain in 1937 and found Saunders. He came in January 1938.

Saunders set up the Medical Museum that same year. In 1948 he was made professor of pathological anatomy and director of medical museums, an appointment that may have owed something to developing strains between Saunders and Mainland. Saunders was ambitious and was never prone to underestimate his own talents; he also liked to make sure that others didn’t either. At times he could be a terrible curmudgeon. Mainland gradually found that he couldn’t stand Saunders, and in 1950 left to take an appointment at the Bellevue Centre in New York. Beecher Weld (1899-1991), professor of physiology, remarked that it was the only occasion where he had seen a junior man drive out the senior one. Saunders in 1950 took over Mainland’s job as Campbell professor of anatomy, and celebrated the occasion by carving the Dalhousie mace, for he was a man of many talents. He would be professor of anatomy for the next twenty-three years.

Saunders was a consummate stylist; he fascinated students not only with his lectures but with his anatomical drawings, using both hands at once. His anatomy teaching was well ahead of its time, ranging well into physiology. He was European in manner, and expected much from his students, often more than they could deliver. Authoritarian he was. Professors of anatomy, observed Dr. Rudolph Ozere, have tended to be that way for several centuries. Who can dispute their expertise in their dissections of the human cadaver? As Saunders grew older, his authoritarian style became more pronounced; but to the end of his long Dalhousie career he was an exceptional and forward-looking anatomist.

Photograph of R.L. deC.H. Saunders, Professor of Anatomy, 1937-74, with the new electron microscope.
R.L. deC.H. Saunders, Professor of Anatomy, 1937-74, with the new electron microscope.

President Carleton Stanley had left Dean Grant to do his own thing down at the Forrest Building, not much liking medicine, doctors, or the financial burden they imposed on Dalhousie. But President Kerr from the beginning set about establishing control over the Faculty of Medicine. As Dean Grant grew older he grew more casual, and when President Kerr started to interfere in many matters that might well have been considered within the dean’s compass, Grant let him. When R.O. Jones requested a part-time secretary, Kerr met him on the street, told him the board had approved it, and added, “Let me know when you have candidates to interview.” Kerr wanted to be there; Jones could not even select his own secretary. Some doctors said that Kerr would insist on interviewing cleaners and support staff.

Kerr also wanted to give prior approval to medical research grant applications. One of a list of topics discussed with Dean Grant in 1951 was whether a medical professor could initiate research grant applications without the president’s (and the dean’s) approval. Grant did not mind, but the president did. Kerr could also be picayune. One day in 1951 he summoned heads of all medical departments to an emergency meeting. “Gentlemen,” said he portentously, “I have called you here today to discuss an emergency… the Faculty has a $7,000 deficit!” (It was 1 per cent of the total faculty budget.) Dr. Benge Atlee, head of obstetrics and gynaecology, blew up. “J-J- Jesus Christ, Dr. Kerr, did you call us all up here to talk about measly $7,000? I’m a busy man, Dr. Kerr – We’re all busy men. Call us when you have something serious to talk about!”[19]

Kerr irritated people by meanness in little things. Dean Grant, due to retire in 1954, applied in December 1953 for a $250 travel grant to attend, as he always had done, the meeting of the Association of American Medical Colleges, the last time he would go as dean. The president refused. He said that with Grant’s retirement so near at hand the $250 expenditure could not be justified.[20]

Early in 1953 both faculty and president agreed to look for a new dean of medicine. An advisory committee to president and dean was struck for that and other questions. Composed of seven respected senior and junior members, it wanted a good deal of input about the new dean. An inside candidate was Dr. Chester Stewart, professor of epidemiology; the leading outside one came to be Dr. O.H. Warwick, a New Brunswick Rhodes scholar, then on the medical faculty of the University of Toronto. Warwick visited Halifax not only as a possible dean of medicine but also as possible head of the Victoria General’s Department of Medicine, and thus of Dalhousie’s Department of Medicine.[21]

The Department of Medicine – as distinct from the faculty – dealt with human diseases and their cure by non-surgical means, in many ways the centre of any medical faculty. The head of medicine at Dalhousie and at the Victoria General Hospital was Dr. Clyde Holland (BA ’21, MDCM ’23), by 1945 the J.C. Tory professor of medicine, its first “geographic full-time” member. That meant the doctor accepted severe restriction on his private practice, limited generally to two afternoons a week. Dr. Holland was a fine clinician but no administrator, and failed to share his clinical knowledge in ward work. Dean Grant was considering replacing him when in 1952 Holland had a heart attack and resigned, leaving the headship of the Department of Medicine in the hands of an interim committee. The departmental problem was made worse by the resignation of one of its only research men, Dr. Martin Hoffman, who despite strenuous efforts to retain him, resigned in 1952 to go to McGill. Rumour was that Hoffman found disagreeable the anti-semitism in some of the older doctors he had to work with.[22]

Dr. Warwick came to Halifax in October 1953 to survey the ground. He wanted to be both head of the department and dean of the faculty; without both combined he would not accept. By that time the faculty’s advisory committee had concluded that the two positions together created a load impossible for one man, that combining them meant inefficiency in one or the other. When President Kerr visited Dr. Warwick in Toronto in late November he discovered his persistence in wanting both positions. Kerr decided he would have to approach the local candidate for dean, Dr. Chester Stewart.[23]

Stewart’s candidacy arose from his competence, perceptiveness, and patience. Like most able men he had had opportunities to move: Ottawa wanted him at the Department of National Health, and Saskatchewan wanted him to stand as candidate for its dean of medicine. But he liked Halifax and his candidacy was supported by friends, well represented on the medical advisory committee. At the core of Stewart’s support was an informal social world, centred in drinks and talk in each others’ kitchens and dining rooms, but represented more openly by the Izaak Walton Club of Dalhousie. It was an informal group that went every May, after examinations and convocations, to the woods and lakes for fishing. Old Dean Grant was the moving spirit; he, John Aldous of Pharmacology, Beecher Weld of Physiology, and Chester Stewart of Preventive Medicine, had started the club in 1948 and it lasted with subsequent additions until 1976. The only rule was that there be absolutely no mention of Dalhousie, the medical school, or medicine. Fishing mornings began with Grant’s “Eye-Opener”: a good jigger of gin, a quarter lemon in a quarter glass of water, with a heaping teaspoon of Eno’s Fruit Salts added for fizz. It fizzed all right inside and out. Delivered to club members still in their sleeping bags, the cox in the Eno’s speeded mightily the distribution of alcohol. In a few minutes all were warm from head to toe. The club says much about Dean Grant’s way with younger members of his faculty, of whom Stewart was one, though it may have had only indirect influence on Stewart’s actual appointment as dean.[24]

All that was pending when the revolt of the Faculty of Medicine, brewing for several months, broke into the open in January 1954. A number of issues faced the faculty, of which the deanship was only one: the low salaries of full-time professors, the lack of research policy, and, not least, a woeful lack of physical space. Research in the medical sciences was choking for lack of space. In a blistering report in 1953, J.A. McCarter of Biochemistry pointed out that while Dalhousie got 97 per cent of the research funds it asked for from the National Research Council (as against Queen’s 66 per cent), it was last of thirteen Canadian universities in the average value of its grants. Researchers could not request bigger grants because they could not use them.

But what drove the revolt was the insistent, narrow perspectives of President Kerr. Fundamentally the faculty wanted more autonomy for its dean and its professors, especially in a faculty so specialized, so different as medicine. Too many matters about salaries, appointments, technical personnel were being held up in the president’s office at Studley – matters that could have been settled quickly by a good dean. What especially irked the faculty was the president’s regular visitations to its meetings. Indeed, Dr. Kerr insisted that without him no faculty meeting could properly take place. That kept him in touch with medical issues, about which, as a theologian, he had much to learn. Perhaps he learned too confidently; by the 1950s he would not infrequently pre-empt Dean Grant’s function as chairman of faculty.[25]

The meeting called for 26 January promised to be rough. Dean Grant had three scotches before he came. President Kerr was scotchless, pale, but stood his ground. Whatever else he was, Kerr was not craven. Many of the medical professors were angry, Dr. Atlee not least. The coolest but most resolute was Dr. Norman Gosse, who told the president he would do well to remember the fate of Charles I of England. The resolutions, passed unanimously by faculty, comprehended wide changes. The president and Board of Governors should function like the governor general of Canada, with the dean and his council as the effective cabinet government, taking the lead in policy, projects, curriculum, appointments, salaries, budgets. All Medical School resources unallocated should be under the control of dean and council. A statutory meeting with the Board of Governors should be held once a year.[26]

The board clearly could not concede such sweeping powers, which would have meant virtual independence for the Medical Faculty; but it had to give something. At a joint meeting of a special board committee and representatives of the Medical Faculty on 18 February 1954, the medical representatives may have pulled back a little; having presented their arguments, they retired and waited while the board group discussed them. At that point, Alistair Fraser, recently appointed to the board, now also lieutenant-governor of Nova Scotia, came out to talk to the medical committee. Fraser had no love for President Kerr: “You people had that slippery bastard in your sights, and the Board were waiting for you to shoot, but all you had in your gun was bird-shot!”[27]

The majority of the board however supported the president, as they probably had to do. Indeed, six months later they raised his salary by 25 per cent. Chester Stewart for his part was not interested, as he said, in being dean of a grade B medical school, nor even of a grade A one holding its rating by a thread, which he believed Dalhousie’s was. It had to be strengthened and merely appointing a new dean would not do it. There were meetings of sub-committees from both sides at Government House under Lieutenant-Governor Fraser’s auspices. Kerr gave ground with the greatest reluctance. Stewart fought a long battle over Kerr’s insistence that the president have “unfettered freedom” in administering the Medical Faculty. Stewart argued that if such freedom were to exist, there was no point in having any arrangements at all. The phrase was eventually omitted. Negotiations led to compromises – some twenty-eight clauses – that had emerged by March 1954. These included devolution of authority and initiatives to the dean of medicine, which the board believed gave away little as a “constitution” to the Medical Faculty; in fact, the basic system was not changed. What was changed was the way things were done. President Kerr was instructed by Colonel Laurie that “once the new dean is installed, he is to be given a very free hand, even at the cost of some mistakes so as to let the present turmoil settle down.” He was, and it did.

Dean Stewart was appointed in May 1954, and would remain in office for the next seventeen years. His relations with President Kerr from that time on were excellent. They travelled together occasionally and talked freely across many subjects except one – what had happened in January to March of 1954. As Stewart remarked, “that was buried and stayed buried.” But the new working arrangements stood, the first serious check on the president’s power.

In 1954 it had been seven years since Dean Grant had been trying, with indifferent success, to have each of the Atlantic provinces pay an annual operating grant to Dalhousie based upon the average enrolment from each province in medicine and dentistry. Newfoundland and Nova Scotia somehow managed this; New Brunswick and Prince Edward Island, which took its lead from Fredericton, dragged their feet. One of Dean Stewart’s first duties was to persuade the four governments to raise the annual operating grant. Stewart and Dean McLean of Dentistry set off on their rounds, having to deal with a different (and usually indifferent) department in each government, until they got to Newfoundland. There they were shown into the office of the premier, Joey Smallwood. He sat behind a huge desk stacked high with papers, journals, merchandise, and one hip-length fisherman’s rubber boot. They gave him a brief statement of Dalhousie’s position and their needs. Then came Joey’s turn; he fired questions like a machine-gun. He must have liked their answers, for he picked up the phone and got his deputy minister of education on the line. “I have Dr. McLean and Dr. Stewart in my office, and they are coming down to ask you for money for Dentistry and Medicine at Dalhousie. Give them what they are asking for.” He then turned to the two deans and said, “We are a proud people in Newfoundland, we pay our bills. You are providing service to our students which we cannot give here, and we will pay our way.” Replies from the other three provinces had been that Dalhousie had a case but cabinet would have to be consulted, and Dalhousie would have to wait. Not in Newfoundland! Old Dean Grant would have rejoiced.[28]

There was a curious and sad postscript to Dean Grant’s career. His pension on retirement would be all of $100 a month, not enough to live on even in Halifax. Dalhousie pensions had originally been established through the Carnegie Corporation. When Carnegie set up the Teachers Insurance and Annuity Association (TIAA) in 1918 Dalhousie followed; but by the 1930s these pensions had failed to provide sufficient income. The board then put them into Dominion government annuities, which had not done all that well either. The board felt Dean Grant’s $1,200 a year was too thin, and gave him an additional $1,300 a year as an ex gratia pension until his death. Before the Izaak Walton Club could go on its May 1954 expedition, before Grant had drawn a cent of retirement income, he died suddenly of a heart attack on 8 May.

Dean Stewart’s best acquisition was a new head for the Department of Medicine, Robert Clark Dickson (1908-84). Negotiations were worked out in the summer of 1955, mainly concerned with the outside income to be allowed him and how much time he could devote to earning it. In the end it was agreed that the best way of limiting outside work was not by money earned but by time spent. Dickson was allowed two half days a week for that purpose, soon standard for what was designated as “geographical full-time.”

In Dickson Dalhousie got an exceptional doctor and administrator, a rare combination. Dickson came from small-town Ontario, St. Mary’s, west of Stratford, and via good Ottawa schools had ended at the University of Toronto where he graduated with MD in 1934. For the next five years he specialized in gastroenterology. He joined the Royal Canadian Army Medical Corps in 1939, going overseas with the 48th Highlanders of Toronto, and most of the next six years he spent in North Africa and Italy, ending as head of medicine in No. 15 General Hospital, with the rank of lieutenant-colonel. At the end of the war Britain gave him an OBE. He was on staff at the University of Toronto and physician in charge of medical services at the Wellesley Hospital when the Dalhousie offer came.

Robert Dickson was a big man in more ways than one; heavy-set, hearty, generous, he enjoyed life and work, food and drink. He and his brother-in-law, J. Tuzo Wilson, sailed his yacht from Toronto to Halifax. He drove with delight his sporty red MG convertible on his hospital visits. There was nothing abstemious about Bob Dickson – not about his enthusiasms, his care for his patients, or his belief that if competence and knowledge were a doctor’s most important attributes, a close third was compassion. There was no substitute, he said once, for “a hand on the shoulder, a turn in the doorway… with a smile and a word of encouragement.” That applied to staff as well as patients. Medical students named him affectionately, “Daddy” Dickson. The most striking thing about Dickson was his percipience, at judging people, needs, situations; he seemed always able to look forward a few years. He and his wife came to love Nova Scotia and his Dalhousie life; parties at the Dicksons were legendary, Dickson carving the roast and with no dearth of wine and conviviality.

Before Dickson came, the Department of Medicine was a poor cousin to surgeons and surgery, who had rather ruled the roost for the best part of a century. But remedies for human ailments by non-surgical means, which was what medicine was about, had developed remarkably. The first break was with insulin for diabetes in the 1920s. Other drugs followed at the time of the Second World War. Sulfonamides brought in medicines with a great range of curative powers. Up until then pneumonia in Canada killed 30 per cent of those who got it, including robust young adults. Sulfapyridine brought mortality from pneumonia down to 5 per cent. Penicillin and the whole spectrum of antibiotics followed and changed medicine for good. By the 1950s the Department of Medicine was potentially the most significant in the faculty. Much of that was owing to the new drugs, but not a little of what Medicine at Dalhousie became was owing to R.C. Dickson.[29]

Clyde Holland had started the practice of guaranteeing an able bright resident a Dalhousie appointment when he had completed his sub-specialty training and passed the difficult examinations of the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada (FRCPC). Dickson selected his specialists carefully. About seven o’clock one morning a senior resident doing a pulmonary resuscitation was surprised to find the head of the department at his side. “Let me help you, Joe,” said Dickson. Dr. Joseph Sidorov could hardly believe Dickson even knew his name. After a successful conclusion, Dickson urged Sidorov to consider doing specialist training in gastroenterology. After weighing it up, that’s what he did. Dickson also extended Holland’s principle; he wanted his newly qualified specialists to do further training, abroad if necessary, his recommendations backing them up for research positions and money. Dickson would appoint them lecturers at Dalhousie with leave of absence for the time they needed, usually a year. Thus did the strong shoulders of Medicine develop in the subspecialties, among which gastroenterology, cardiology, neurology, haemotology, and nephrology that would help the Department of Medicine sustain the tremendous load of new responsibilities in the 1960s.

Relations Between Senate and Board
The quarrel between the Medical Faculty and the president had concomitants elsewhere in the university. Colonel Laurie’s view of the university was simple and hierarchical; the deans reported to the president, and the president to the board. To Laurie’s mind that was quite satisfactory. By this perception, the president was the critical isthmus of communication between the university and its Board of Governors. Meetings of the Six and Six, a statutory annual meeting brought in by the 1935 act, might have brought opinions to the board other than the president’s; but Six and Six meetings had become pro forma or omitted altogether; they were potentially dangerous to Laurie and Kerr because Senate could thus bypass the president’s control of planning, policies, problems, and balance sheets. As it was, the Senate was woefully handicapped in not knowing the financial background of buildings, endowments, or bequests. In 1949 Professor Beecher Weld asked for a joint board-Senate committee on research bequests, but Laurie replied that it was not the board’s policy to have joint committees.

The July 1952 meeting of the Six and Six revealed some restiveness by the Senate members. The following dialogue ensued:

BRIGADIER LAING: The real residuum of power is in the Board. Board is the overriding authority over Senate. It has an absolute right to veto.
PROFESSOR J.H. AITCHISON: The Board could not take away the power of internal government from the Senate.
PROFESSOR BEECHER WELD: “Subject to the approval of the Board” is the natural safeguard for the Board; but Board and Senate are almost equal partners in the government of the University.
BRIGADIER LAING: The Board is supreme to the Senate.
DEAN HORACE READ: Senate is responsible for initiating policies… Equality is subject to the overriding of the Board.
BRIGADIER LAING: Senate wants to control finances.
PROFESSOR WELD: There is no official information re finances available to members of Senate. There is not enough freedom of information. To do our duty properly in regulating the university we should know more about finances.
BRIGADIER LAING: The Board of Governors take the responsibility to say whether the university can afford anything or not. PROFESSOR WELD: Let us record the thought that this type of meeting gives pleasure to Senate and Board. Senate can learn facts and dispel rumours that may come along regarding policies of the Board of the University.[30]

Six months later, in January 1953, Senate established a committee to study the responsibility of president, deans, and heads of departments in faculty appointments, promotions, and tenure. The committee reported to Senate in March 1954, and asked for a joint Senate-board ad hoc committee. That request aroused the opposition of some of the governors, notably J. McG. Stewart, who was “amazed that the Board would even consent to the appointment of such a committee to discuss such matters with the Senate. They have no possible right to make such a demand.” He was himself unwell, but he wanted the strongest men on the board for that kind of work – men such as Laing, Gordon Cowan, Alistair Fraser, not weaker men, too close to the professors, too apt to lean in the direction of the Glasgow-Edinburgh, Oxford-Cambridge forms of university government.

Nevertheless, the regulations that emerged, approved by the board on 2 February 1956, while they revealed the board’s stiffness about established systems of authority, recognized that academic freedom was “the essence of a university” and required “reasonable security of tenure for scholars.” Rules for tenure were established, as well as something the board had refused in 1949: a system of sabbatical leaves every eighth year, with half pay for twelve months, or full pay for six months, on an approved research program.[31]

That such rules were established reflected changes in the board. The redoubtable J. McG. Stewart died in February 1955, leaving half his estate to his wife, and upon her death 90 per cent of the remainder to Dalhousie. Colonel Laurie, seventy-four years old and feeling it, first resigned as chairman of the board in March 1955 and, although dissuaded briefly, resigned definitely in August, though he continued on the board. The new chairman was Brigadier Horace Vivian Darrell Laing (BA ’20), Dalhousie’s Rhodes scholar of 1921. He had served in the two wars, earned a CBE, and had long been a power in National Sea Products. On the board since 1947, he was chairman of the board’s New Construction Committee, 1947-52, and of Buildings and Grounds since that time. He was an authoritarian, but an able one, and armed with a knack for mastering complicated issues. He had a much better mind than Laurie and was a sophisticated financier. When D.H. McNeill, Dalhousie’s business manager, worried aloud about Dalhousie’s debt in a Board of Governors meeting, Laing remarked, “You pay attention to the books and we’ll find the money.”[32]

The 1954 Dalhousie-King’s Agreement
One problem Laing had largely mastered was Dalhousie’s relations with King’s, and it was Laing, more than anyone, who was instrumental in drawing up for Dalhousie the revised agreement of association in 1954. King’s, in its constant search for a raison d’être, was finding the Carnegie 1923 terms difficult to live with. On the other hand during recent years, to Dalhousie’s expenditures on its new Arts Building, gymnasium, and rink, which totalled $2 million, King’s had contributed exactly nothing. President Kerr had begun charitably enough disposed to King’s, but when its complaints became a constant litany, his attitude hardened. In March 1952 special committees of both boards met to consider the possibilities. One was to dissolve the 1923 Dalhousie-King’s federation, each university taking half of the Carnegie funds, a procedure close to illegality. King’s thought the two committees should concentrate on revising the 1923 agreement, realizing that King’s would gain nothing by breaking up with Dalhousie. Laing put his finger on three main points: King’s recognition of Dalhousie as the central university; the status of the Carnegie grant, the income from which was to be used to the benefit of both institutions; and the payment by King’s of its fair share of Dalhousie’s cost of educating King’s students. Dalhousie felt that King’s had done nothing to increase its Carnegie endowment, and that whatever new monies it had acquired had been channelled into funding King’s Department of Divinity.

The revised agreement was duly signed on 5 November 1954 and passed both boards. Dalhousie would apply for the government grants, remitting to King’s its portion after deducting Dalhousie’s costs. An accountant was charged with assessing Dalhousie’s costs of educating King’s students. King’s could grant degrees in fields not occupied by Dalhousie, not precluding Dalhousie’s future entry to them. It could also grant honorary degrees, and not just in Divinity. While the 1954 agreement did not end tensions between King’s and Dalhousie, it did provide a more ample framework to resolve them. King’s was never satisfied, but the reason was its age (founded in 1789, with an 1802 royal charter), its pride, and its thirst for a status remotely consonant with both. But at least there was also a new and more tractable Anglican as King’s new president, Canon H.L. Puxley.[33]

The Law Faculty: Juxtaposition of Appearance and Reality
The Law School’s normal capacity was seventy-five in all years; when the veterans came there were two hundred. The old practice had been to let in anyone who had the minimum qualifications, relying upon slashing numbers for quality at the end of the first year. In 1945 when A.E. Kerr first came, his dean of law, Vince MacDonald, had to confess he was the only member left of the Law School staff. Three others, all young, were hastily appointed that summer, J.B. Milner, Moffatt Hancock, and a newly graduated student, Thomas Feeney. Milner “lived in a world of balanced probabilities.” His first lecture opened with the word “Suppose,” then followed seventeen questions for which there were no answers. His aim was to make his students think. The most theatrical of the law professors, Moffatt Hancock, managed to dramatize even lectures in Property 1. One student wrote, “You never knew what to expect except that from each dazzling hour would come some vivid and unforgettable impression.”[34]

In 1949-50 the Law School went through another of its periodic disintegrations of staff. Its history had been punctuated with similar disasters, stemming from lack of money, as in 1945, or 1934 when Sidney Smith and Horace Read both left. In 1949 Hancock left to go to California, ending up at Stanford; Milner went to Harvard for graduate work; and early in 1950 the dean himself was appointed to the Supreme Court of Nova Scotia. One unhappy concomitant of the comings and goings of staff was the constant reassignment of classes. In W.R. Lederman’s nine years at Dalhousie Law School from 1949 to 1958, he taught ten different classes in both private and public law. That prevented his too early specialization and opened up new horizons, but it was hard on the professor, harder on the students, and played havoc with research. As the Law School’s historian remarked, “How fragile was the base upon which Dalhousie’s Little Law School’s ‘solid reputation’ rested!”[35]


n 1949 Premier Angus L. Macdonald, knowing the parlous condition of the Law School, had provided public money for a chair in public law to which W.R. Lederman was appointed. Then Sir James Dunn, part of the Dalhousie Law School family network, as Professor Willis has called it, gave an Algoma Steel professorship in law, and money to begin a graduate program in law, whenever staff and library resources permitted it. In 1950 Dalhousie needed most of all a new dean of law; it got Horace Read.

He was the first dean of law at Dalhousie who could properly claim to be a professional law teacher. His predecessors had been co-opted as law teachers from the ranks of professional lawyers. Read came from Cumberland County, and took his BA at Acadia. There he had swept the board, but in his first year at Dalhousie, Judge W.B. Wallace failed him in torts. Read thought his career ruined; it was anything but. Within a year of graduation in 1924, he was appointed lecturer in law. Associate professor in 1933, he was awarded a research fellowship at Harvard. Though intending to return, he could not resist an offer in 1934 to go as full professor to Minnesota, one of the best law schools in the United States. President Carleton Stanley could not match that. Dalhousie was lucky to get him back in 1950; he was earning about $11,000 at Minnesota, and the best Dalhousie could offer was $7,000. But Premier Angus L. Macdonald offered a mighty sweetener – chairmanship of the Nova Scotia Labour Relations Board at $3,500. Read would remain dean, and chairman, until 1964.[36]

He came to ancient premises that he knew all too well; the Law School had occupied old rooms in the north wing of the Forrest Building ever since it had first moved there in 1888. As one student noted, they reeked of the 1880s, literally; the softwood benches, with their low backs, not at all comfortable, were seamed and gnarled with students having distracted their discomfort by carving initials. Both great and lowly were so represented.[37]

Read was shrewd, cool, knowledgeable, proud of his achievements at Minnesota, and especially proud of his Dalhousie Law School. There was not much to be proud of in 1950, but he saw it couleur de rose. He was never short of words either. In the President’s Report, 1950-1954, Dean Wilson’s report on Arts and Science took two pages, Dean Read’s on Law twenty-two. Nor did he ignore what he himself had been doing. Thus all was best in the best of all possible worlds as the Law School moved in 1952, at last, out of the Forrest Building to its new-old building on the Studley campus. Built in 1921, and originally intended for Law, it had just been vacated by Arts and Science in 1951. It was probably the handsomest building on campus, the Darling-Cobb architecture at its most harmonious.

Photograph of Horace Read, Dean of Law
Horace Read, Dean of Law, 1950-64, Vice-President, 1964-9.

A New Dean and New Building for Dentistry
Dalhousie needed a third new dean in the early 1950s, in Dentistry. Dentistry had no endowment whatever, nor any full-time professors except the dean. With Carleton Stanley’s help it scrounged money from Nova Scotia in 1939, Newfoundland in 1943, and shamed Prince Edward Island and New Brunswick into it in 1947. Dean J.S. Bagnall had somehow managed to keep the faculty going, but its facilities in the Forrest Building were worse than unsatisfactory. The Canadian Dental Association, which had recently begun accreditation, visited Dalhousie in 1951 and had been severely unimpressed. Dean Bagnall much resented its unwillingness recognize Dalhousie’s difficulties, but President Kerr thought Bagnall’s resentment too strong, and asked him to draft a more judicious reply. In effect the Canadian Dental Association asked Dalhousie to put more money and effort into Dentistry or risk losing their status altogether.[38]

Bagnall was due to retire in 1954 and in 1952 Kerr sought help from the Canadian Dental Association for a successor. Its nominee was James D. McLean, a part-time professor at the University of Alberta, Edmonton, with a practice on Jasper Avenue. McLean was inclined, said one supporter, “to be very outspoken, a little cocky” and he did not suffer fools easily; but he had energy, determination, and talent. In July 1952 McLean came to look things over. Not that there was much, with twelve students admitted a year, a one full-time faculty member (the dean), and many dedicated part-timers. Dentistry also imperatively needed new quarters. The key members of the board, Laurie, Stewart, and Laing, accepted that and agreed to look for $500,000. Senate was extremely uneasy at this proposal, remembering the doubling of the cost of the Arts and Administration Building; they were assured, during Six and Six meetings, that the dental building would be built with “new money.” McLean also wanted some time for private practice, claiming that even after a few weeks of disuse a dentist’s hand loses some of its cunning. Dalhousie compromised and offered him $1,000 not to set up a practice in the first year, while he kept his hand in with clinical patients that came to the school. He came on staff in 1953, and took over when Dean Bagnall retired in 1954. The new dean’s relations with president and board were good. The president had finally learned the necessity of letting the professional faculties do their own work with as little interference as possible.[39]

Teaching dentistry was, and is, expensive, requiring equipment and machinery of a high order. There were no teaching hospitals; Dalhousie had in effect to create its own, the Dental Clinic. Buildings compounded all of it. Yet it was extremely difficult to get government granting agencies to grasp that fact. Without the Kellogg Foundation, and increases in federal grants, the dental building could not have been built, whatever the Board of Governors might have said about “new money.” Heroic efforts by the dentists themselves produced only $34,000. The cornerstone was laid in November 1956, and the building was completed and occupied in 1958. It had been projected to cost $500,000; it was double that. The best that two Maritime governments, Nova Scotia and Newfoundland, could provide was less than a quarter of that cost. New Brunswick and Prince Edward Island contributed nothing. The W.K. Kellogg Foundation of Michigan put up a full 10 per cent of the cost. But even so, Dalhousie board was still left holding the bag for 62 per cent of the building’s costs.[40] So much for “new money”!

The fourth new dean was in Arts and Science. Dean Wilson, sixty- five years old in 1955, believed it was time to step down, a bit rueful that such was the way of the world. The board wanted to keep him as head of history, however, and gave him a contract to September 1958. For his successor as dean he recommended C.L. Bennet, or W.J. Archibald, or as third choice, Hayes of Zoology. Archibald took the job, hoping to reinvigorate the faculty’s research orientation, get rid of dead wood, and bring in strong new staff. It was easier said than done. President Kerr was ready to accept a famous professor or two on staff but unwilling to provide the salary. In Arts and Science Dalhousie had ambitions but neither the wherewithal nor the capacity to realize them. Even outsiders recognized that somehow Dalhousie’s priorities had got into stones and mortar. Archibald would find this increasingly frustrating; that fact measured the changes since 1951. The results of the medical revolt, and the slowly increasing weight of Senate, had begun to shift the balance of power against the president. New vigour in the board was generally welcomed by Senate.[41]

Aerial photograph of the Studley campus, August 1957
The Studley campus, August 1957. Note the flag: Dalhousie flew the Union Jack, not the Red Ensign, until 15 February 1965 when the new Canadian maple leaf flag was proclaimed.

Sir James Dunn and Dalhousie
In August 1952 Colonel Laurie had proposed for board membership Sir James Hamet Dunn. Dunn had always taken an substantial interest in Dalhousie. He had graduated from Law School in 1898, his marks getting lower year by year, as he discovered the necessity of outside work to keep him going. His mother was a widow and a guardian uncle had squandered whatever money they had had. Once graduated, he moved into finance and made money rapidly. By 1908 Murray Macneill was soliciting him for help to bring in a professor of biology. Dunn put up $1,000 for new microscopes in 1910 and with $25,000 in 1911 helped launch the Dalhousie Forward Movement. When in 1928 R.B. Bennett started an endowment for a Weldon chair of law with $25,000, Dunn added $5,000; the stock market crash stopped the fund at $40,000 but the Bennett gift of 1943 established the Weldon chair properly. In 1949 and 1950 Dunn established two professorships in law, the Algoma Steel and the Sir James Dunn, Bart. Thus of all the many contributors to Dalhousie, Dunn was the longest serving, the most loyal, and one of the most generous. Dunn himself – irascible, headlong, harsh, sentimental, determined, and fastidious – was loyal to the end, loyal to the memory of Dean Weldon and the Law School that had nurtured him. He came on the Dalhousie board in November 1953, being assured that he was not duty-bound to be in active attendance.[42]

Sir James had had three wives. In 1901 he married Gertrude Price, who bore him five children. Divorced in 1925, he married Irene Clarice, the former Marchioness of Queensberry, in 1926, who bore him a daughter. The third Lady Dunn came in by the office door. Marcia Christoforides was hired as his secretary in June 1930 when she was twenty years old and Dunn was fifty-six. Daughter of a Greek Cypriot tobacco merchant, educated at Roedean, she was a high-mettled, handsome young woman, soon indispensable to his business and eventually his bed. In 1941 she and the second Lady Dunn worked out between them which woman was the more important to Sir James; Christofor (as she was known) won. She and Sir James were married in 1942 and were inseparable.[43] He died in St. Andrews, New Brunswick, on New Year’s Day, 1956, at the age of eighty-one, Christofor beside him. His estate was probated at $66 million, half of which went to her. Within three months she was in touch with Dalhousie about the records of her husband’s career and his gifts. There was much more to come, and changes would follow in rapid succession.

  1. On curriculum, see Dalhousie Gazette, 5 Oct. 1951. For Principal W.A. Mackintosh’s 1951 inauguration address, see Frederick W. Gibson, Queen’s University: Volume II 1917-1961: To Serve and Yet Be Free (Kingston and Montreal 1983), pp. 310-13. President Kerr’s designs for secretarial science and home economics were fought off by Dean G.E. Wilson and especially by his successor, Dean W.J. Archibald. Interview with W.J. Archibald, 26 July 1988, Peter B. Waite Fonds, MS-2-718, Box 2, Folder 54, Dalhousie University Archives. For the change in classics, see Faculty of Arts and Science, Minutes, 17 Apr. 1956, Dalhousie University Archives. It was effective the following September. For a perspective on this 1956 change and after, see Rainer Friedrich, “Classical Studies in Atlantic Canada,” Cahiers des études anciennes 21, Université du Québec a Trois-Rivières (1995), pp. 95-100.
  2. For Mary Mowat, see Kerr to Mary Clark Mowat, 6 Mar. 1947, President's Office Fonds, "Mary Clark Mowat," UA-3, Box 98, Folder 11, Dalhousie University Archives; the alcove story was given to me in 1951 by Professor John F. Graham, a close friend of Miss Mowat’s. On Christmas marks of 1958, see Faculty of Arts and Science, Minutes, 15 Jan. 1959, Dalhousie University Archives. Helen Reynolds was warden of Shirreff Hall from 1955 to 1962.
  3. The poem is by "N.B." called “Red,” Dalhousie Gazette, 5 Feb. 1954. Bishop Berkeley’s theories of perception date from the early eighteenth century.
  4. The issue of dress was raised in an anonymous letter, Dalhousie Gazette, 24 Jan. 1957: “One distinction between college students and laborers is in the clothes they wear.” This provoked some correspondence and an editorial, 30 Jan. 1957. For a general view of Dalhousie in the 1950s, see my article, “Allan Bevan’s Dalhousie,” Dalhousie Review (Spring 1983) republished in Dalhousie Alumni News (Summer 1984).
  5. Dr. Guy R. MacLean (BA '51, MA '53), later dean of residence 1960-4, dean of graduate studies 1965-9, dean of arts and science 1969-75, vice-president academic 1974-80, has read this chapter and made suggestions on this point about the character and loyalties of Dalhousie students. H.L. Scammell’s letter is in Dalhousie Gazette, 27 Nov. 1953, and Bennet’s in 6 Nov. 1953.
  6. For Sunova Beach, see Dalhousie Gazette, 13, 20, 23, 27 Jan., 3 Feb. 1953. Also Senate Minutes, 4 Feb. 1954, Dalhousie University Archives.
  7. On initiation, see Dalhousie Gazette, 2, 16 Oct. 1953; 12 Oct. 1954, editorial; Dalhousie Gazette, 5 Feb., 8 Mar. 1955; Senate Minutes, 3 Oct. 1953; 4 Feb. 1954, Dalhousie University Archives.
  8. For observations on salaries, Halifax Mail-Star, 29 Jan. 1957, quoted in Oskar Sykora, Maritime Dental College and Dalhousie Faculty of Dentistry: A History (Halifax 1991), p. 86. For J. McG. Stewart’s speech, see President's Office Fonds, “Buildings - Arts and Administration, 1944-1950," UA-3, Box 233, Folder 6, Dalhousie University Archives. For Alistair Fraser’s comments see letter from Fraser to Eric Harvie, Calgary, 30 July 1953, President's Office Fonds, “Alistair Fraser, 1947-1955,” UA-3, Box 308, Folder 8, Dalhousie University Archives.
  9. Frederick W. Gibson, Queen’s University: Volume II 1917-1961: To Serve and Yet Be Free (Kingston and Montreal 1983), p. 313. On Dalhousie’s Christmas examinations in 1954, see Dalhousie Gazette, 11 Jan. 1955. The Sam Peeps noted here was not the same as in 1948, but G. Burpee Hallett (BA '55, MA '58).
  10. Interview with W.J. Archibald, 26 July 1988, Peter B. Waite Fonds, MS-2-718, Box 2, Folder 54, Dalhousie University Archives.
  11. Walter J. Chute, Chemistry at Dalhousie (Halifax 1986), pp. 31-6. Note the gloss that such internal accounts are apt to render, Carl Coffin’s unhappy adventure with methyl alcohol being put thus: “Unfortunately, Dr. Coffin’s sight was seriously affected in 1948.” For a more robust account of this incident, see interview with W.J. Archibald, 26 July 1988, Peter B. Waite Fonds, MS-2-718, Box 2, Folder 54, Dalhousie University Archives.
  12. See the excellent article by Judith Fingard, “Gender and Inequality at Dalhousie: Faculty Women before 1950,” Dalhousie Review 64, no. 4 (Winter 1984-5), pp. 687-703, especially pp. 694-5. For Laurie’s comments on Bean, see letter from K.C. Laurie to Kerr, 13 Apr. 1950, personal and private, President's Office Fonds, “K.C. Laurie, 1945-1962,” UA-3, Box 335, Folder 6, Dalhousie University Archives.
  13. Interview with W.J. Archibald, 26 July 1988, Peter B. Waite Fonds, MS-2-718, Box 2, Folder 54, Dalhousie University Archives.
  14. Interview with Alan Wilson, 17 Dec. 1993, Peter B. Waite Fonds, MS-2-718, Box 3, Folder 82, Dalhousie University Archives. When this story was told to a medical professor, he said that medical students had to have good English.
  15. Judith Fingard, “Gender and Inequality at Dalhousie,” pp. 695-7; memorandum, 23 Dec. 1949, President's Office Fonds, "Dixie Pelluet," UA-3, Box 99, Folder 9, Dalhousie University Archives; Board of Governors Minutes, 10 May 1946, 6 Dec. 1949, UA-1, Box 52, Folder 1, Dalhousie University Archives.
  16. Letter from Wilson to Kerr, 14 Aug. 1946, President's Office Fonds, "Faculty of Arts and Science, 1945-1947," UA-3, Box 287, Folder 9, Dalhousie University Archives; President's Office Fonds, “Louise Thompson Welch,” UA-3, Box 104, Folder 29, Dalhousie University Archives. Some President’s Office Correspondence was carried over into the files of Henry Davies Hicks, president from 1963 to 1980. These are in thirty-four boxes separate from the President’s Office Correspondence boxes for 1911-63. The Psychology Department correspondence in Henry Davies Hicks’s files goes back to 1949. The references here are Wilson to Kerr, 26 May 1953 and 10 Aug. 1953, both from Perth, President’s Office Fonds, UA-3, Dalhousie University Archives.
  17. President’s Report, 1950-1954, Dalhousie University Archives.
  18. See Donald Creighton, The Forked Road: Canada 1939-1957 (Toronto 1976), p. 185; Report, Royal Commission on National Development in the Arts, Letters and Sciences, 1949-1951 (Ottawa 1951), especially chapter 21, “Aid to Universities,” pp. 352-5; J.W. Pickersgill, My Years with Louis St. Laurent (Toronto 1975), pp. 139-41; Claude Bissell, The Imperial Canadian: Vincent Massey in Office (Toronto 1986), pp. 193-236.
  19. Dr. Rudolph Ozere, long associated with Dalhousie Medical School as professor of paediatrics, has been good enough to comment on this section. So also has the former dean, Chester Stewart. For R.O. Jones, see letter from Jones to H.G. Grant, 7 Oct. 1952, President's Office Fonds, UA-3, Box 123, Folder 33, Dalhousie University Archives; Mail-Star, 28 Aug. 1984; interview with Mary Allen Jones, 8 Jan. 1996, Peter B. Waite Fonds, MS-2-718, Box 3, Folder 16, Dalhousie University Archives. There is an article on Meyer and Jones by David Lumsden, “The Role of Adolf Meyer and his Students in Canadian and Chinese Psychiatry,” in Culture/Health: China and the Western World 9, no. 2 (1992-3), pp. 217-52. For Saunders, see letter from Mainland to H.G. Grant, 4 July 1937, from Edinburgh, President's Office Fonds, UA-3, Box 135, Folder 36, Dalhousie University Archives; interview with Beecher Weld, 12 Jan. 1988, Peter B. Waite Fonds, MS-2-718, Box 3, Folder 80, Dalhousie University Archives; R.L. de C. H. Saunders, “The Dalhousie University Mace,” Dalhousie Review 29, no. 1 (Apr. 1950), pp. 9-14; interview with Dr. J.J. Sidorov, 6 Mar. 1994, Peter B. Waite Fonds, MS-2-718, Box 3, Folder 60, Dalhousie University Archives. Dr. Sidorov worked for a time under Saunders. For Jones’s secretary, interview with Dr. R.M. MacDonald, 7 Nov. 1992, Peter B. Waite Fonds, MS-2-718, Box 3, Folder 25, Dalhousie University Archives; for Atlee, see letter from Alex McCarter to Peter B. Waite, 19 Jan. 1989, Peter B. Waite Fonds, MS-2-718, Box 3, Folder 24, Dalhousie University Archives.
  20. Letter from Grant to Kerr, 15 Dec. 1953; Kerr to Grant, 4 Jan. 1954, President's Office Fonds, “Faculty of Medicine, 1953-1954,” UA-3, Box 279, Folder 5, Dalhousie University Archives. The president said he had consulted the chairman of the board about it, who agreed (according to Kerr) that Grant’s travel grant would be inappropriate.
  21. Members of the Medical Faculty committee were: H.B. Atlee, C.J.W. Beckwith, N.H. Gosse, R.O. Jones, J.A. McCarter, R.M. MacDonald, R.L. deC. H. Saunders. For the background in the Department of Medicine, see R.M. MacDonald and Lea C. Steeves, A History of the Department of Medicine, Dalhousie University, 1868-1975 (Halifax 1995). The main Dalhousie sources are President’s Office Fonds, “Faculty of Medicine, 1953-1954," UA-3, Box 279, Folder 5; “Faculty of Medicine, Committee on Autonomy, 1954,” UA-3, Box 279, Folder 5; “Chester B. Stewart,” UA-3, Box 103, Folder 11, Dalhousie University Archives.
  22. President's Office Fonds, “Dr. Clyde Holland,” UA-3, Box 93, Folder 17, Dalhousie University Archives; letter from H.G. Grant to Kerr, 23 Jan. 1952. Grant mentioned a protest of younger members of the department in March 1951.
  23. There is much detail in President Kerr’s section-by-section comments on the Faculty of Medicine’s protest and resolutions of 26 Jan. 1954. The president’s comments, some twenty pages, are dated 15 Feb. 1954.
  24. The history of the Izaak Walton Club of Dalhousie is by J.G. Aldous, “Trout Tales: Chronicles of the Izaak Walton Club of Dalhousie” (Jan. 1984). Dr. Aldous’s daughter, Joleen Aldous Gordon ('67) has kindly loaned me this manuscript. Comments on the club were also made by Dr. John Szerb in an interview, interview with Dr. John Szerb, 27 Oct. 1994, Peter B. Waite Fonds, MS-2-718, Box 3, Folder 72, Dalhousie University Archives; letter from Dr. Chester Stewart to Peter B. Waite, 30 Nov. 1994, Peter B. Waite Fonds, MS-2-718, Box 2, Folder 44, Dalhousie University Archives
  25. The 1953 McCarter Committee report is a nineteen-page document. See especially pp. 3, 6, 12, President's Office Fonds, “Research, Faculty of Medicine, 1947-1962.” UA-3, Box 266, Folder 4, Dalhousie University Archives.
  26. Letter from J.A. McCarter to Peter B. Waite, 19 Jan. 1989, Peter B. Waite Fonds, MS-2-718, Box 3, Folder 24, Dalhousie University Archives; Medical Faculty resolutions, 26 Jan. 1954, President's Office Fonds, UA-3, Dalhousie University Archives.
  27. Board of Governors Minutes, 3, 24 Feb., 9 Nov. 1954, UA-1, Box 51, Folder 2, Dalhousie University Archives. Lt.-Gov. Fraser’s comments are reported by J.A. McCarter to Peter B. Waite, 19 Jan. 1989, Peter B. Waite Fonds, MS-2-718, Box 3, Folder 24, Dalhousie University Archives. Alistair Fraser came back to Nova Scotia from Montreal in 1952, when he was appointed to the Board of Governors, and shortly after made lieutenant-governor of Nova Scotia. His priority was the former, not the latter; indeed the only reason he accepted the lieutenant-governorship was in order to do something for Dalhousie. Letter from Alistair Fraser to Eric Harvie, Calgary, 30 July 1953, President’s Office Fonds, “Alistair Fraser, 1947-1955,” UA-3, Box 308, Folder 8, Dalhousie University Archives.
  28. Letter from Chester B. Stewart to Kerr, 8 Jan. 1954; drafts of conditions, Mar. 1954, with emendations by Kerr; to the suggestion that he might be assistant dean of medicine until Grant retired in 1954, Stewart replied, “I think I have sufficient administrative experience to handle the Dean’s work without the apprenticeship,” Stewart to Kerr, 5 Aug. 1952, President's Office Fonds, "Chester B. Stewart," UA-3, Box 103, Folder 11, Dalhousie University Archives. Laurie’s position, as chairman of the board, is contained in a handwritten draft of a letter to Alistair Fraser, 15 Mar. 1954, where Laurie said he had instructed Kerr to give the Medical Faculty a free hand, President's Office Fonds, UA-3, Dalhousie University Archives. Dean Stewart’s role and subsequent relations with President Kerr is set out in letter from Stewart to Peter B. Waite, 30 Nov. 1994, Peter B. Waite Fonds, MS-2-718, Box 2, Folder 44, Dalhousie University Archives. The delightful reminiscence of Smallwood is in Dean Stewart’s address to the dental convocation, May 1976. It is in Henry Davies Hicks Fonds, Dalhousie University Archives.
  29. For R.C. Dickson, see especially A History of the Department of Medicine, Dalhousie University 1868-1975 (Halifax 1995), “The Dickson Years, 1956-1974,” pp. 36-51; letter from C.B. Stewart to Dickson, 12 Aug. 1955; Dickson to Stewart, 25 Aug. 1955; Stewart to Kerr, 12, 20 Sept. 1955; Dr. Ian Macdonald, chief of service, medicine, Sunnybrook Hospital, to Kerr, 24 Jan. 1956; Henry Davies Hicks to Dickson, 17 Sept. 1974; Dickson to Henry Davies Hicks, 16 Oct. 1974, President's Office Fonds, "R.C. Dickson," UA-3, Box 114, Folder 3, Dalhousie University Archives. Mail-Star, 12 Jan. 1970, 15 June 1974. Interviews with Dr. J.J. Sidorov, 14 Apr. 1995, 3 Apr. 1996, Peter B. Waite Fonds, MS-2-718, Box 3, Folder 60, Dalhousie University Archives. For Dickson’s 1980 convocation address, President’s Office Fonds, UA-3, Convocation Addresses, Dickson to W.A. MacKay, 28 May 1980.
  30. Letter from J. McG. Stewart to K.C. Laurie, 29 May 1954, President's Office Fonds, “J. McGregor Stewart,” UA-3, Box 274, Folder 3, Dalhousie University Archives; Senate Minutes, 29 Jan. 1953; Senate Committee Report is dated 15 Mar. 1954, Dalhousie University Archives. The regulations were approved by the board on 2 Feb. 1956.
  31. Letter from J. McG. Stewart to K.C. Laurie, 29 May 1954, President's Office Fonds, “J. McGregor Stewart,” UA-3, Box 274, Folder 3, Dalhousie University Archives; Senate Minutes, 29 Jan. 1953; Senate Committee Report is dated 15 Mar. 1954, Dalhousie University Archives. The regulations were approved by the board on 2 Feb. 1956.
  32. Board of Governors Minutes, 22 Feb., 2 Apr. 1955, UA-1, Box 51, Folder 2, Dalhousie University Archives; letter from K.C. Laurie to Kerr, 8 Mar., 25 Aug. 1955, President's Office Fonds, "K.C. Laurie," UA-3, Box 335, Folder 5, Dalhousie University Archives; letter from Laurie to C.F. Mackenzie, 19 Sept. 1955, President's Office Fonds, "Board of Governors Correspondence," UA-3, Box 176, Folder 3, Dalhousie University Archives; interview with D.H. McNeill, 4 Apr. 1990, Peter B. Waite Fonds, MS-2-718, Box 3, Folder 38, Dalhousie University Archives.
  33. President's Office Fonds, "Amended and consolidated Agreement of Association between Dallhousie and University of King's College," UA-3, Box 530, Folder 6, Dalhousie University Archives; Board of Governors Minutes, 10 Dec. 1953, has Brigadier Laing’s memorandum on Dalhousie-King’s relations, UA-1, Box 51, Folder 2, Dalhousie University Archives. The agreement itself, signed by K.C. Laurie and A.E. Kerr for Dalhousie, and the Anglican bishop and the new president of King’s, H.L. Puxley, is in UA-3, Box 530, Folder 6, Dalhousie University Archives.
  34. John Willis, A History of Dalhousie Law School (Toronto 1979), p. 143. Much of this section on the Law School is based upon this delightful history.
  35. John Willis, A History of Dalhousie Law School (Toronto 1979),pp. 165,172-3. President Kerr remarked to an old downtown part-time law professor, and member of the Board of Governors, “as one member of the Board to another, I do not mind saying that I have had some concern, since I became President, as to whether we were maintaining a staff [in the Law School] sufficiently strong to justify our good name.” Letter from Kerr to G.G. Patterson, Mar. 1950, President's Office Fonds, “Judge George Geddie Patterson,” UA-3, Box 331, Folder 8, Dalhousie University Archives.
  36. Letter from G.G. Patterson to Kerr, 13 Mar. 1950, private and personal, congratulating Dalhousie on bringing Read as dean, President's Office Fonds, “Judge George Geddie Patterson,” UA-3, Box 331, Folder 8, Dalhousie University Archives. Patterson recalled how he tried to persuade Judge Wallace not to plow young Read in torts, but the judge was adamant. Patterson told Read to soldier on, that he would make good. For Carleton Stanley’s reaction in 1934, see letter from Read to Carleton Stanley, 13 June 1934, telegram; Carleton Stanley to Read, 18 June 1934, telegram, President's Office Fonds, "Horace Read," UA-3, Box 99, Folder 30, Dalhousie University Archives. President Stanley wanted Read back but was forced to accept the inevitable. See also Willis, Dalhousie Law School, pp. 170-1.
  37. John Willis, A History of Dalhousie Law School (Toronto 1979), p. 163.
  38. See Oskar Sykora, Maritime Dental College and Dalhousie Faculty of Dentistry: A History (Halifax 1991), pp. 86-92; Kerr to Laurie, 13 Dec. 1951, confidential, President's Office Fonds, “K.C. Laurie, 1945-1962,” UA-3, Box 335, Folder 6, Dalhousie University Archives; interview with J.D. McLean, 27 Feb. 1987, Peter B. Waite Fonds, MS-2-718, Box 3, Folder 35, Dalhousie University Archives.
  39. Letter from Walter McKenzie to H.L. Scammell, 9 Mar. 1952, telegram, from Edmonton; Kerr memorandum, 16 July 1952; McLean to Kerr, 20 Nov. 1952, from Edmonton; Kerr to McLean, 7 Dec. 1953, President's Office Fonds, “J.D. McLean,” UA-3, Box 96, Folder 22, Dalhousie University Archives.
  40. Oskar Sykora, Maritime Dental College and Dalhousie Faculty of Dentistry: A History (Halifax 1991), pp. 88-92.
  41. Wilson to Kerr, Apr. 1955, President’s Office Fonds, “Faculty of Arts and Science,” UA-3, Box 287, Folder 10; interview with W.J. Archibald, 26 July 1988, Peter B. Waite Fonds, MS-2-718, Box 2, Folder 54, Dalhousie University Archives.
  42. Board of Governors Minutes, 7 Aug. 1952, 10 Nov. 1953, UA-1, Box 51, Folders 2 and 3, Dalhousie University Archives. There is an interesting collection of Dunn Papers in the House of Lords Record Office, London, in the Beaverbrook Papers, G/39, G/40, with some Dalhousie correspondence. Lord Beaverbrook used these papers to write Courage: The Story of Sir James Dunn (Fredericton 1961). Sir James’s contributions to Dalhousie were listed by Dalhousie at Lady Dunn’s request in 1956, in Beaverbrook Papers, G/39, and also President’s Office Fonds, “Sir James Dunn 1948-1956,” UA-3, Dalhousie University Archives. As to Dunn’s marks at Dalhousie, Beaverbrook says his graduating marks were high (Courage, p. 54) but they were not. Dunn was spending too much time working at jobs outside Dalhousie and made only passes in his last year. (Beaverbrook Papers, G/39, has a list of marks signed by Dalhousie’s registrar, Beatrice Smith, dated 20 Mar. 1956.) The 1909-10 correspondence from Murray Macneill is in G/39; there are also letters from G.S. Campbell and President MacKenzie.
  43. Beaverbrook Papers, G/40, has correspondence between Irene Dunn and Christofor, Nov. 1941, some of which Beaverbrook quotes in Courage: The Story of Sir James Dunn (Fredericton 1961), pp. 156-8, with omissions. There is an extended obituary of Lady Beaverbrook in the London Daily Telegraph, 31 Oct. 1994.


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

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