1 Towards University Federation, 1921-1925

The 1920 King’s fire. The 1921 Carnegie report on Maritime education. A Maritime federated university. First federation meetings, July 1922. The October 1922 conference. Acadia withdraws, February 1923. King’s joins Dalhousie, 1 September 1923. Mount Allison postpones federation. Central Advisory Committee and Memorial College, Newfoundland, 1924-5. Carnegie grant to Dalhousie, 1925. Some concluding reflections.

Arthur Stanley MacKenzie, Dalhousie’s widower president, had two great loves: his daughter and his university. Marjorie, a graduate of Bryn Mawr, was twenty-six years old in 1922 and occasionally acted as unofficial Dalhousie hostess. MacKenzie had never returned to active physics research after 1911; Dalhousie was too poor to afford much equipment, and his replacement in physics, Howard Bronson, had come to Dalhousie knowing that, and had become a teacher more than a researcher. MacKenzie could have escaped Dalhousie gracefully; in October 1920 the National Research Council invited him to be its chairman. But he was not much drawn to the offer; the question with MacKenzie was whether his going was good or bad for Dalhousie. Dalhousie was at a stage where he seemed to be the only one who saw its final shape, and the stages by which that could be reached. So he stayed.[1]

By 1922 MacKenzie’s desk was laden with serious questions; knowing that, Archie MacMechan sent the following:

Methusaleh ate what he found on his plate,
And never, as people do now,
Did he note the amount of the calorie count,
He ate it because it was chow.
He was never disturbed,
when at dinner he sat,
Destroying a roast or a pie,
By the thought it was lacking in granular fat,
Or a couple of vitamins shy.
He cheerfully chewed every species of food,
Untroubled by worries or fears
Lest his health should be hurt by some fancy dessert,
And he lived over nine hundred years.[2]

MacKenzie could use that light-hearted counsel. It was not just Dalhousie; the campus was busier and more filled with students than ever, and those big new numbers produced problems. But it was university federation that had come to preoccupy him.

University consolidation, union, federation – it had names as varied as its several forms – had long been a question not far from the centre of Dalhousie’s raison d’être. Lord Dalhousie had founded his non-denominational college in 1818 intending it as the provincial university. King’s College was for Nova Scotia’s Anglicans, at that time 20 per cent of the population but gradually shrinking. In 1823 union of King’s and Dalhousie was proposed and accepted by both institutions, only to be blocked by the Archbishop of Canterbury. The one-college idea of the 1840s failed. The University of Halifax movement of the 1870s was an attempt, abortive in the end, to bring the Nova Scotian colleges together within a comprehensive system. There were movements for the union of King’s and Dalhousie in 1884-5 and again in 1901-2. Both failed.

Some children playing with matches changed all that. They started a fire in the upper floor of the steward’s quarters at King’s on 5 February 1920; it caught the wallpaper and then spread via the tar roofing to other sections. The fire hydrant outside was frozen up, and by the time it was got working, the whole wooden building was in flames. By the next morning all that stood amid smoking ruins were four chimneys and the stone walls that divided the bays, along with the stone chapel. Few were yet ready to concede what the Halifax Herald said that day, “it remains true – and the churchmen feel it with a sense of chill – that old King’s has passed away.”[3] King’s struggled manfully to keep going, using whatever was left and leasing Windsor houses for residences. There was talk of rebuilding, even talk of an appeal to the Carnegie Foundation.

Having for the past ten years received applications for money from Maritime province colleges for every kind of project the ingenuity of administrators could devise, the Carnegie Foundation of New York in 1921 decided to make a general inquiry as to the state of higher education in the Maritime provinces. It would suggest directions for a constructive overall policy. Dr. William S. Learned of the Carnegie Foundation staff, and Kenneth C.M. Sills, president of Bowdoin College in Maine, were asked to undertake it, and they visited the provinces and colleges in October and November of 1921.

The study that emerged over that winter concentrated more upon Nova Scotia than the other provinces; that was where most of the colleges were and most of the requests originated. It was a cool, dispassionate, and judicious report. Learned and Sills praised much. They appreciated the quality of the Maritime people and their traditions, they admired unreservedly the best in the public school system, especially the high schools at Truro and Halifax where the senior mathematics was better than in most American schools. The same was true of Latin grammar. Nonetheless, Nova Scotia public schools were weak in science and social science. Maritimers, especially Nova Scotians, excused weaknesses on the ground that obstacles were not a bad thing for students to learn to surmount; there was virtue in being challenged and in meeting challenges. On the other hand, Learned and Sills believed not enough thought was given to the obligation of provincial educational systems to fit a student to handle his “duties as an intelligent citizen.”[4]

The Nova Scotian colleges all admitted students with incomplete matriculation, some with as many as three subjects lacking, on condition that they finish them before the BA was awarded. Most of this incomplete work was in mathematics and Latin. Dalhousie offered a class in elementary Latin to help remedy weaknesses, which met for four hours a week. In 1922-3 it had sixty students.

Learned and Sills gave high marks to Dalhousie. They pointed out that Dalhousie’s religious orientations still followed Lord Dalhousie’s liberal principle: President MacKenzie was Anglican; of the thirty-four professors only thirteen were Presbyterians, nine were Anglicans. Half the student body were Presbyterians, 14 per cent Anglican, 13 per cent Roman Catholic, 9 per cent Baptist.*

*The religious specificity of the other colleges in 1922-3 was:

Mount Allison 238 students 62.6% Methodist
Acadia 278 students 75.9% Baptist
King’s 83 students 77.1% Anglican
St. Francis Xavier 201 students 95.5% Roman Catholic

The University of New Brunswick, with 138 students, had the most even religious distribution among the Maritime colleges: Anglicans 28%, Baptists 24%, Presbyterians 21%, Methodists 14% and Roman Catholics 13%. (See President’s Office Correspondence, UA-3, Box 342, Folder 3, Dalhousie University Archives; letter from C.C. Jones to Arthur Stanley MacKenzie, 22 Feb. 1923, A-195, C.C. Jones to ASM, 22 Feb. 1923.)

Acadia had a better library than Dalhousie, which had only 32,000 volumes and no permanent professional librarian. Learned and Sills were severe on all the colleges for lack of libraries and of science equipment and, not least, for low academic salaries. What had been a Munro professor’s substantial salary in 1885, $2,500 a year, had ceased to be so by 1911. Although some salary increases had been given, the endowment for them did not yet exist. The maximum salary level for good senior men should be, they said, close to $6,000 per annum. With existing endowment there was no prospect of affording able new men. The Nova Scotian colleges, Dalhousie not excluded, were coasting on the loyalties of old and faithful staff, some of whom were worth retaining, some not. Thus, underfunded, undermanned, under-equipped, with no money at all from the Nova Scotian government, Nova Scotia’s colleges were fundamentally in parlous condition, struggling not so much to meet national standards as to survive. They were unable to compete with other Canadian universities; even Dalhousie, weighed down by the heavy costs of medical education, was in some difficulty. Thus, said Learned and Sills, “to seek to perpetuate present arrangements… is foregone defeat.” They recommended a scheme they called Confederation of the Colleges, using funds not to extinguish colleges but to bring them onto one campus where their best teachers could collectively be brought to bear on one group of students. For a long time past, said the report,

Dalhousie has figured as the prospective host, and has offered such generous terms of participation that, as was discovered by repeated interviews, the college has actually educated her alumni and friends to the unselfish and far-sighted view that Dalhousie would undergo almost any sacrifice of prestige, control, and even of name, if thereby the educational facilities of the province could be placed upon a permanently satisfactory and well-ordered foundation.[5]

Each constituent college, once moved to the Halifax campus, would keep its name but would hold in abeyance its degree-granting powers, except in theology. A new Board of Governors would be chosen, to which Dalhousie would relinquish all her buildings and endowments, retaining only Shirreff Hall and University Hall as its own college residences. The Arts Faculty of this new Maritime university would be bifocal, as at the University of Toronto: certain subjects would be taught and supported by the university, and others offered within the federating colleges. Subjects such as languages or history would be college subjects, science would be a university field. Thus the scheme would establish a Halifax university of several colleges, each of which would retain its original denominational base; perhaps even a Presbyterian college could be created from Dalhousie and Pine Hill. The best professors would be retained, ineffective ones gradually retired. The new Maritime university so created might begin to rival McGill or Toronto in quality, if not in numbers.

President MacKenzie saw the Carnegie report in February 1922 as a confidential draft and liked it very much. He thought that a federation scheme equitable to each college would not be difficult to produce; the question was mainly one of will. If the denominational colleges did not want it, there was nothing Carnegie or Dalhousie could do.

One point MacKenzie made to Learned was that Dalhousie’s experience suggested that wealthy men and women preferred to give their money to a larger institution rather than a small denominational one. Two of Dalhousie’s largest Nova Scotia donations in recent years were from Senator Dennis, a Baptist ($100,000 for a chair in political science and government), and W.A. Black, a Methodist ($60,000 for a chair in commerce). Mrs. Eddy’s $700,000 came from her Presbyterian background.[6]

For Dalhousie loyalists, however, the college federation scheme posed difficulties. Looked at critically, it boiled down to this: the central Maritime university, in which Dalhousie would be only one of several on a central Board of Governors, would be an institution to which Dalhousie would give everything it had – grounds, buildings, endowment, equipment – and into which the other colleges would put nothing. They would keep their names and their endowments for themselves. Even the cost of moving to Halifax and putting up new buildings there would, it was presumed, be subsidized. Seen that way, college federation looked to many Dalhousians, old and new, as unreasonable, giving far too much and getting far too little. R.B. Bennett warned that the Dalhousie alumni he had talked to in Ottawa and the West had “a very great opposition to the blotting out of the name ‘Dalhousie’.” That was the most disheartening element, the loss of the old Dalhousie name, traditions, and educational ideals for which they had all struggled for so long. Dalhousie had to hold its alumni; that could not be done if it were to make all the sacrifices, while the only sacrifice the other colleges had to make – a big one, perhaps – was one of location. Could the name Dalhousie be kept, perhaps, and given to the new overall Maritime university? The colleges could retain their names, and the arts college to be created from Dalhousie’s Arts Faculty could be called University College, rather like the one at the University of Toronto. Dalhousie University could thus be the umbrella name. Suggestions to this effect were made by MacKenzie to President Robert Falconer of the University of Toronto, an old friend, on the basis of the confidential draft of the Carnegie report. Would Falconer write the Carnegie people with those considerations in mind?[7] When the report finally appeared in May 1922, that part dealing with Dalhousie’s name and its preservation was probably the result of those MacKenzie-Falconer representations. Thus the quid pro quo for Dalhousie’s giving up its grounds, buildings, and financial resources to a wholly reconstituted university was that the new university would be called Dalhousie. As Learned and Sills put it, “it would be a well-deserved tribute if the distinctive university structure that may be created should bear the Dalhousie name, representing as it would that common service to all for which in principle Dalhousie College was originally established.”[8]

Implied rather than stated in the whole endeavour was the most important consideration of all: once federation of the Maritime colleges was achieved, it could be confidently predicted that at last the Nova Scotian government would be brought into the funding of college education. Medicine and science, which cost Dalhousie so much, would at last be subsidized, not by the ignominious process of scrounging private money to sustain them, but by the only body capable of doing it properly. As MacKenzie put it to Dalhousie students at New Year’s, 1923, Dalhousie favoured “some scheme of [college] confederation because she sees that would bring state aid.”[9]

Learned and Sills estimated that such an institution as the new Maritime university, whatever it was called, would need some $4.5 million in endowment. Half of that was already on hand, that is, the $2.5 million in the endowments of the five colleges. The report said nothing of what the Carnegie Foundation itself had in mind, should the scheme be accepted. But President MacKenzie knew roughly how the land lay. The Carnegie idea was to give each college (Acadia, King’s, Mount Allison, and St. Francis Xavier, and it was presumed Dalhousie too), a grant of $500,000, of which $200,000 would be used for putting up a new building on or near the Dalhousie campus. It was a big scheme, and two new aspects made it more cogent than ever before: outside money to the tune of about $2.5 million would be put into it; and, as MacKenzie put it to Falconer, “the approaching, if not present dissolution of King’s.”[10]

After the 1920 fire King’s was having a difficult time. It asked for and got an informal meeting in February 1920 with Dalhousie, kept as quiet as possible at King’s request. Negotiations then broke off, perhaps owing to Carnegie’s provision of an emergency grant of $20,000 for 1921. In February 1922, as Dalhousie was beginning to assess the draft Carnegie report, the King’s board officially requested formation of committees to discuss federation with Dalhousie. The Carnegie Corporation thought this might be a useful beginning, a nucleus that would attract others. It did not seem so to MacKenzie. He told Carnegie on 20 February that while his board members seemed able to contemplate the big federation scheme and even “the passing practically away of the name of ‘Dalhousie’ ” with a surprising degree of equanimity, there was no enthusiasm for the same sort of sacrifice in a federation with King’s alone. There seemed to be no point in an expensive central superstructure if only King’s was to be added. Dalhousians, as MacKenzie put it, “cannot see that the addition of a weak sister like King’s was sufficient reason for trying to merge the two into a new institution.” Moreover, King’s had so little money that in Halifax it could not support more than divinity and build its classrooms. If King’s were to insist upon Dalhousie and King’s going into a new central university, the discussions would not, in MacKenzie’s opinion, go very far.

On the other hand, Dalhousie did not wish to undercut in any way the larger federation movement: “We are going into the whole question with purely one aim in mind, viz.: – to better the higher educational position in these Maritime Provinces, and anything that really looks as if it would solve that situation we will go into with full heart.” In the meantime, whatever Dalhousie and King’s did, they would notify the other colleges what was afoot. Dalhousie had to avoid at all cost anything that was not above board. The colleges were very touchy, MacKenzie told Learned, their presidents especially, and he had had some recent experiences of it.[11]

Learned in New York accepted MacKenzie’s reasoning. It seemed sensible, therefore, that while Dalhousie should not reject King’s initiative, it should treat it in the context of the wider scheme of federation. The wisdom of this proceeding was illustrated when Dr. Tompkins, vice-president of St. Francis Xavier, and Dr. Cutten of Acadia were in town, and when told of the meeting with King’s, seemed keenly to regret it, as prejudicing the larger scheme. MacKenzie was away, but G.F. Pearson, vice-chairman of the Dalhousie board, was able to quiet such fears. After that, MacKenzie wrote all the presidents personally explaining what Dalhousie was doing in discussions with King’s.[12]

These took place in March. Not much was accomplished from Dalhousie’s point of view. King’s brought a plan for federation with Dalhousie: after Dalhousie gave them a site, they would come to Halifax with whatever they had, dividing power equally, in policy and administration, over a new central university. To MacKenzie it seemed that King’s did not understand their relative positions at all. In any case, it was agreed that further talks be postponed until after the Carnegie report was actually released and the general federation discussed. Privately MacKenzie told the Carnegie Corporation that the King’s proposals had been “unreasonable,” almost foolish. Dalhousie did not want to tell King’s that directly, but since Carnegie were subsidizing King’s to the tune of $20,000 a year just to keep it going, they could tell King’s how unreasonable their proposals were.[13]

Four college presidents (St. Francis Xavier, uncertain and divided, did not attend) met on 22 March to exchange information over what confederation would mean to each. Most felt they should know what the financial inducements from Carnegie might be. Pursuant to the need for more information, Learned called a meeting in New York for 13 April. G.F. Pearson warned MacKenzie that he should not assume that the other colleges were “meet for repentance.” They might enjoy “picking the carcase of Dalhousie, but they fear the old bird might in some manner come to life again and gobble them all up.” There were also some points that MacKenzie should make privately to the Carnegie people ahead of time. An important one was that Dalhousie could not be a Presbyterian college in the new central university, as hinted in the Learned-Sills report. If it were to have a college at all, it would have to be a non-sectarian one. Moreover, before much more time was spent on federation, King’s, Acadia, and Mount Allison should get their governing bodies to accept the basic principle of college federation. Pearson claimed that Dr. Cutten of Acadia had a scheme up his sleeve for a three-college Protestant federation based at Wolfville. Pearson put it to MacKenzie, “If Dalhousie is to be sunk ‘without a trace’ we must at least ensure that the entity which takes her place shall have a Board of Governors chosen irrespective of the religious affiliations of its members and solely on merit.”[14]

The discussions at the Carnegie Corporation took the whole day. Carnegie took the position that small grants had been useless, that big money was needed to effect big changes. That was, indeed, why the Maritime situation appealed to them.

MacKenzie was then asked to state Dalhousie’s position. He said that Dalhousie’s charter of 1863 contemplated just such a union as the Carnegie report had suggested, and current conditions enjoined it more than ever, with university costs rising so rapidly. One point he did emphasize: that Dalhousie’s commitment to university federation was predicated on the central Board of Governors being absolutely non-sectarian. Dr. Borden of Mount Allison then bluntly asked how much money the Carnegie Corporation was willing to provide to effect so desirable a change. Carnegie refused to be specific about that, saying only they would give generous support. The next move was up to the colleges.

The first meeting between King’s, Acadia, Mount Allison, and Dalhousie was called for 7 July 1922. King’s brought a long document they wished to discuss clause by clause, but MacKenzie thought they should deal instead with general principles, and he got his way. As to the basic principle of college federation, Mount Allison expressed the hope that it could be put through. Acadia refused to be drawn out as to its general position. St. Francis Xavier was not present, owing to the antagonism of President MacPherson to federation. His vice-president, J.J. Tompkins, however, was favourable. So were Halifax Catholics. Pine Hill, the Presbyterian theological college, was not invited. MacKenzie believed this was a mistake and said so. At that G.B. Cutten of Acadia remarked that if they would also invite the Masons and the Oddfellows, he would accept the presence of Pine Hill. King’s also objected to Pine Hill. Nevertheless, the invitation to Pine Hill was eventually accepted.[15]

The group then appointed two committees, one to study a constitution for a federated university, the other the financial implications. MacKenzie was on the constitutional committee, which met at his house on 17 July with three other university presidents – Boyle of King’s, Borden of Mount Allison, and Cutten of Acadia, along with Dr. Kent of Pine Hill. The University of New Brunswick was not represented.

Photograph of university federation meeting at Dalhousie, July 1922.
University federation meeting at Dalhousie, July 1922. President MacKenzie is standing in front of the pillar to the left of the door. On his right is Dean Howard Murray. G.F. Pearson is front row, extreme left. G.S. Campbell is just to the left of the pillar to the right of the door. President Borden of Mount Allison is last row, extreme right. President Cutten of Acadia is third row from the front, extreme right. President Boyle of King’s is front row, third from right. The lady in the second row is Eliza Ritchie.

By this time the Carnegie suggestion that the name of the proposed central university be Dalhousie was public knowledge. This did not seem to create a problem, nor did the principle of selecting its new Board of Governors on the basis of merit. The split came over the inclusion of a non-denominational college within the federated university. Dr. Cutten said no one would come to such a college, to which Dr. Boyle added, “Except atheists.” The problem really was Dalhousie’s desire for its own college. It was one thing for Dalhousie to go out of business completely leaving only her name behind, like the Cheshire cat’s smile, as the mark of its contribution to Nova Scotia’s higher education; that is what the Carnegie federation plan envisaged, what MacKenzie and the Dalhousie Board had accepted, and what the other colleges expected. It was rather another to have a University College that reproduced Dalhousie’s principles, perhaps even ambience, under a new name. Such a possibility has been alluded to in the Learned-Sills report, but in the form of a Presbyterian college with Pine Hill participating. Two things made a Presbyterian college impossible. One was the proposal, already in train, of union between the Presbyterian and Methodist churches as the United Church of Canada. In that case Mount Allison might well take up Dalhousie’s Presbyterian constituency. The second was Dalhousie’s long and honourable non-sectarian tradition that it had fought (and bled) for since 1818. Dalhousie was, after all, only 50 per cent Presbyterian, and it had always stood to its founding principles.

But to some others it seemed that Dalhousie was having it both ways – its name on the central university, and a non-denominational college to help perpetuate its principles. In that context Cutten’s position at the constitutional committee meeting is partly understandable, if his rudeness was not. His attitude was, according to Pearson, one of “carping criticism approaching nastiness.” He accused Dalhousie of selfishness and of plotting to bring the whole federation movement to naught; under the guise of self-sacrifice, Dalhousie was giving up nothing and really gobbling up the other colleges. Cutten kept interrupting MacKenzie’s exposition of the confederation proposal and at the end of it half rose, buttoned his coat, and said if that was Dalhousie’s proposal, he was going home to Acadia. Much as MacKenzie “felt like allowing him to go, and even supplying any necessary additional momentum,” to do so would have been playing Cutten’s game. The other presidents made no move to follow Cutten, and he stayed. If college federation in Halifax failed, with King’s on the verge of collapse, and Mount Allison’s financial position desperate, it was possible that Acadia could become the major Protestant college. Mount Allison shared some of Cutten’s suspicions of having Dalhousie coming at them from two positions, at the top with the name and the site, and at the bottom as University College, the latter bringing with it all of Dalhousie’s non-denominational traditions. In Cutten’s and Borden’s view, there might well be too much Dalhousie.[16]

There is not a scrap of evidence to support such a distorted interpretation, and it seems far from the spirit that animated MacKenzie and Pearson. But as Learned conceded, it was a possible gloss on Dalhousie’s strong support for college federation. By the autumn of 1922, however, Cutten was appointed president of Colgate University, a Baptist institution in Hamilton, in upstate New York, and Pearson was hopeful his replacement would prove less querulous. Learned made the point privately to Pearson that to an outsider all the results Carnegie wished for could be achieved simply by adding outside colleges to Dalhousie as it stood. That was precisely the suspicion in Cutten’s mind. It was, of course, impossible politically. Learned also felt that Dalhousie exaggerated its need for a non-denominational college. All the colleges accepted students regardless of religious affiliation. What made the non-denominational college important with the Carnegie officers was the hope of including the University of New Brunswick.

President C.C. Jones of UNB thought the Learned-Sills report had been too critical of New Brunswick education, though in fact Nova Scotia fared rather worse. In any case, the circumstances of UNB fitted none of the others since it was provincially supported and the others were not. Still, money talked, even in New Brunswick, and if the participation of UNB were contingent upon the establishment of a non-denominational college in Halifax, then so be it. “I would go far to make it possible,” Learned said. And don’t rush things, he told Pearson. If you go slowly enough, the Catholics may come on side, and perhaps Acadia, with its new president, will be more favourably disposed. The Carnegie Corporation was really tempted by this great opportunity: “After surveying so attractive a possibility as this, I am sure the Corporation would be sorry to pass it by and leave these six struggling institutions to continue in their present helpless straits.”[17]

By October 1922 Dalhousie had worked out what it would surrender in buildings and endowment to the central university. With buildings it was virtually the whole campus, for Dalhousie would give those that were related to the central university’s future functions – that is, Science, Medicine, Law, and Dentistry. On the Forrest campus Dalhousie would surrender the Forrest Building, and the new Medical Sciences Building and the Public Health Clinic, both as yet unfinished; on the Studley campus, the Science Building, the Law (temporary Arts) Building, and the Macdonald Memorial Library. Dalhousie’s endowment would be split. Science, medicine, and law endowments, about $800,000, would be given to the central university. The rest, about $700,000, the endowment used for arts, would be reserved for the non-denominational college. It was that proposal, and the Carnegie grant to go with it, that was tempting UNB.

By the time of the next full meeting, the importance of college federation had broadened. It was a big conference of some fifty delegates that met in Province House on 24 October 1922. Newfoundland sent three representatives, including its minister of education. New Brunswick was represented by its premier, W.E. Foster, Nova Scotia by its premier, E.H. Armstrong, a cabinet minister, R.M. Macgregor, together with Dr. F.H. Sexton, head of the Nova Scotia Technical College, and Dr. Melville Cumming, principal of the Nova Scotia Agricultural College. Prince Edward Island sent a representative. Then there were the colleges: Acadia with its acting president, Dr. F.E. Wheelock, and three others; King’s with R.E. Harris, chairman of the board and chief justice of Nova Scotia, who chaired the meeting, with Archbishop Worrell, President Boyle and five others. Mount Allison was represented by President Borden and five others; UNB by President C.C. Jones and one colleague; Pine Hill by Dr. Clarence Mackinnon and four others. St. Dunstan’s of Prince Edward Island sent a representative. Nor was this the end, for the archdioceses of Halifax and Newfoundland between them sent six representatives. Only St. Francis Xavier was missing.

The constitutional committee duly reported, recommending the principle of a federation of colleges at Halifax under the name Dalhousie University, with a non-denominational college included in the federation. Much of that day, however, was spent in discussing that terrifying Dalhousie name. As W.W. Judd of King’s remarked, the debate over “what the name of this [central] University should be, epitomizes the whole situation.” MacKenzie and Pearson were furious with King’s and Acadia, for both colleges had agreed in committee to accept the Dalhousie name, and then in full conference went against it. Privately MacKenzie told Robert Falconer afterward, “You see what a breed of cattle we were dealing with, really not gentlemen and Christians, but slippery and hypocritical tricksters. We had to keep our tempers and patience during the conference, but we were driven to the very limit of endurance in doing it.”[18] What MacKenzie said in conference was much milder: that it would be advisable to wait until the baby were born before trying to name it; that if a satisfactory college federation could be evolved, if everyone went into it, and if Nova Scotian government support were assured, Dalhousie would not ruin such a fair prospect by cavilling at the name. On the other hand, neither would the Dalhousie representatives commit themselves to giving it up. The names of the university, and of the non-denominational college, were in the end left to a future meeting. Pearson pointed out that the six colleges – UNB, St. Francis Xavier, Acadia, Mount Allison, King’s, and Dalhousie had 1,759 students between them, of which 40.5 per cent were at Dalhousie. The total endowment of all six colleges was about $3,350,000. That was the same as the endowment of Bowdoin College in Maine, which had only five hundred students.

The conference had its difficulties. There was a great need to bring all the delegates’ information to the same level; politicians were fearful of saying too much. Nevertheless, by the time of the evening meeting of that long day, there were hopeful signs. The University of New Brunswick declared that it was not impossible that part of its work, in senior years especially, might conceivably be moved to Halifax; the Catholics of the Halifax archdiocese and of Newfoundland declared positively they wished to have a constituent college; the Newfoundland government delegates promised to recommend a government grant for the central university. Prince Edward Island remained mute, but it was apparent that St. Dunstan’s were thinking along the same lines as the delegates from Newfoundland. John Bell, the premier of Prince Edward Island, was soon in touch with President MacKenzie for details.[19]

The two committees on constitution and finance were now merged, and the new committee met on 22 and 23 November in Halifax. As Pearson had earlier pointed out, for each college there was “an infinitude of detail which every College is entitled to be consulted about.” Nevertheless, considerable headway was now made, and a scheme of college federation unanimously adopted and presented to another full conference held on 12 December. A small group went to New York to meet with the officers of the Carnegie Corporation on 21 December. Three weeks later, on 12 January 1923, the executive of the Corporation agreed to give $3 million to the project, provided all colleges joined. The boards of King’s and Mount Allison ratified the arrangement, as did Dalhousie’s board on 29 January. Dalhousie added a note of gratitude “to the impartial, helpful and sympathetic attitude of the officers of the Carnegie Corporation.”

Dalhousie’s position in this considerable enterprise was one of enlightened interest in developing Maritime higher education; but there was more to it than that. What was driving MacKenzie and Pearson was the distinct realization that Dalhousie was simply out-running its resources; that the $2.5 million it had acquired by luck and a good reputation in the 1920 campaign had been valuable in meeting the doubling of its students, but even with that it was increasingly difficult to consolidate these gains. None of the changes, said President MacKenzie, had had much effect in improving the education the university was offering. If student numbers had doubled, costs had quadrupled; furthermore, the

breadth and scholariness of the training we are giving has not greatly improved… With all we can reasonably hope for from our friends in the future, we cannot see how we can do more than hold our own. And it is not good enough. Do the officials of other colleges see better things in their cases?… Confederation would first of all make for economy, and secondly it would force adequate state aid. Hence its necessity.

Some, MacKenzie said, raised the bogey of the big college and praised the virtues of small ones. Smallness alone was not a virtue, and the Maritime population was hardly large enough to sustain a big college. It is often pointed out, he said, how well Maritime students do when they have gone abroad to other universities. It was, indeed, “astonishing what we have accomplished in the past with so little. It was more due, however, to the students than to the Colleges… I do not for a moment contend that what we did was not good; but it was not good enough.” And the opportunity now presented for Maritime higher education would not come again.[20]

The whole outcome, however, hinged upon Acadia. The Acadia board met on 16 February 1913 and declared that “it was in the interests of Higher Education that Acadia should continue to carry on her work in Wolfville, as in the past, and not enter the proposed Federation.” On the 19th, the Halifax Chronicle came out with a blistering editorial against the Acadia board. Its actions would not, said the Chronicle, “be supported by any substantial body of informed opinion.” No one could deny the right of the Acadia board to say no to federation, but to base that refusal on the grounds of the best interest of higher education was absurd. No responsible university president could say that university federation was not in the best interest of higher education in the Maritimes. That was G.F. Pearson speaking, no doubt, but there were certainly important Baptist laymen in Halifax who opposed the action of the Acadia board. Their pressure could well be felt when the Baptist conference met to ratify the Acadia decision. On the other hand, there was much talk in Baptist circles of the spiritual values of higher education whose roots, it was believed, were in the soil of Wolfville, and Wolfville alone, and which could never grow in Halifax. That sentiment was the one that prevailed at the Baptist conference at Moncton in April. It declared that it was not in the interest of Baptist ideals that Acadia join university federation.[21]

Federation was now fairly halted. The University of New Brunswick had indicated in January that it would not join, as had St. Francis Xavier. But those defections, although unfortunate, were not crucial. New Brunswick had always been doubtful. As for St. Francis Xavier, if the Halifax archdiocese were in favour, federation could survive uncertainty in Antigonish. But Acadia’s withdrawal, while it did not sink the project, left it without momentum, awash in the slow, receding swells of a project long laboured over and now perhaps moribund. MacKenzie was puzzled as to what his next move should be. President Borden of Mount Allison and his board still supported the idea; even with Acadia out, the Methodist Board of Education believed that King’s, Mount Allison, and Dalhousie could still join. Hopes were not at an end, but they sagged in the absence of drive from any quarter. Dalhousie wanted it, but she was thought to be parti pris. President Borden would not, perhaps could not, move actively.

King’s parlous circumstances now enjoined action. It sent a delegation to New York in April 1923 to tell Carnegie that something had to be done at once. What emerged in New York was an interim plan of union between King’s and Dalhousie, to be effective within a few months, but not precluding King’s joining a college federation should that eventually be resuscitated. But the Carnegie Corporation were not going to give any more money to keep King’s alive at Windsor, as they had been doing to the tune of $20,000 a year since 1921. If King’s wanted Carnegie money to continue, they would have to move to Halifax. MacKenzie, in New York just before the King’s delegation arrived, suggested ameliorations of the proposed Carnegie terms. Carnegie were going to offer King’s $600,000 as endowment on condition the college would find another $600,000. MacKenzie suggested King’s would have difficulty raising that much and recommended the smaller sum of $400,000. And there was another Carnegie condition that MacKenzie succeeded in having eased. Carnegie wanted to insist that King’s be not allowed to give separate classes to its own students but that all classes be held in common to students of both Dalhousie and King’s. MacKenzie suggested that King’s be allowed to offer separate freshman classes; that would allow their student body to acquire some solidarity and their staff to become acquainted with King’s students.[22]

Neither MacKenzie’s interventions nor his familiarity with the Carnegie terms was known to King’s officials. On their return from New York, they asked for a conference with Dalhousie, to meet on 16 May 1923. Before that happened, however, the Anglican archbishop published in Church Work the minatory suggestion that if “Dalhousie is determined to take advantage of the present economic weakness of King’s and push it to the wall crushing out all that King’s holds dear,” then the King’s alumni, and the Anglicans of Nova Scotia, would have to rise, rally round and defend the integrity of the old college. But Dalhousie had not even approached King’s on any ground other than to offer temporary help in 1920 after the fire; MacKenzie found Archbishop Worrell’s message incomprehensible, not to say querulous. President Boyle of King’s explained that the archbishop was trying to patch things up within King’s Anglican constituency, fractured as it was. But he admitted the archbishop’s language was unfortunate; in particular the verb should have been in the subjunctive, not the indicative mood, and should have read, “if Dalhousie were determined…” So said Boyle. But that minor, though significant, rendering of the verb left “a feeling of intense indignation among the friends and supporters of Dalhousie.”[23]

Dalhousie insisted that Mount Allison attend the King’s-Dalhousie meeting on 16 May so that they could keep in touch with developments. When the two committees, King’s and Dalhousie, met that day, to Dalhousie’s great surprise King’s laid out a new and quite preposterous scheme of federation, with a central university and two colleges, one that in no way resembled the Carnegie scheme that King’s had already accepted in New York. That presentation taxed MacKenzie’s patience to the limit. King’s had to be brought down to earth. He asked if this strange scheme was King’s understanding of what they had already agreed to in New York. There was a gasp from the King’s committee. “Do you know those terms?” they asked. There could in fact be no federated university between Dalhousie and King’s. There would have to be some sort of union, and it would have to be on terms that King’s divided counsels found difficult to accept. What they had agreed to in New York did not sit well in Windsor.[24]

Thus negotiation of the terms of association between Dalhousie and King’s went through a number of vicissitudes. King’s wanted to keep its teaching of history, psychology, and philosophy independent, supposing that Dalhousie’s instruction in those disciplines to be unorthodox. Dalhousie held to the Carnegie principle of a curriculum common to all students. Another wrinkle King’s had in mind was to permit the whole Dalhousie-King’s affiliation to be cancelled by either party on a year’s notice. MacKenzie wasn’t having that. “I hope,” he said, “we have not been spending all the time and thought and energy which we have given to this matter to make a temporary arrangement which may be upset at any time on a year’s notice. Our Board would not have anything to do with this scheme of affiliation unless it were a permanent one until the larger and much-desired federation can be brought about.”[25]

King’s found all this trying and difficult. Finally the board met on 27 July 1923 and agreed to affiliation with Dalhousie. Although the Chronicle said it was unanimous, President Boyle remarked to MacKenzie, a little sadly, that it was very far from unanimous. The divisions on the King’s board did not inspire him as president with any enthusiasm for the work that now devolved upon him. Nor would he stay. He had come to King’s in 1916, and would resign in 1924. MacKenzie was not without sympathy for King’s reluctance to give up a style and way of life that had endured, somehow, for well over a hundred years. He knew well enough, as he told the King’s College Record,

the strength of the associations which bind one to the old walls, the old spot, the old ideas and the old ways. I can well remember the keen regret with which we who had been students in the original Dalhousie College on the Parade saw it removed to Carleton Street. We learned later to look upon it as a blessing. But I still cannot forgive the act of vandalism of those who tore down that beautiful old building to make way for the present City Hall.[26]

The Agreement of Association negotiated between Dalhousie University and the University of King’s College became effective on 1 September 1923. King’s was to move to Halifax and locate on or near the Dalhousie campus. If King’s wished it, Dalhousie would provide, within three years, a piece of the Studley campus, up to five acres. King’s could erect whatever buildings it thought desirable, using an architectural style in keeping with Dalhousie’s. Plans of King’s buildings were to be approved by Dalhousie’s consulting architect, Andrew Cobb. King’s would hold in abeyance its power of granting degrees, except in divinity, which it retained. It would continue to hold its own funds and endowments. The new Carnegie money, $600,000, would not go to King’s directly but to a trustee, since the capital, ultimately, would be for the joint benefit of both Dalhousie and King’s. All appointments to the King’s teaching staff would require Dalhousie’s prior approval; the departments to which they would be appointed would be governed by the needs of both Dalhousie and King’s. The curriculum was to be the same at both institutions, as were salaries. King’s staff would have the same rights to membership on the Dalhousie Senate as Dalhousie professors. King’s name would appear on the BA and BSc. Dalhousie degrees that King’s students were awarded. All students, except those in divinity, would register with Dalhousie and pay Dalhousie fees. Dalhousie would in turn pay those fees to King’s, retaining fees paid for Dalhousie science classes and $25 per student for the use of Dalhousie facilities by King’s students. King’s would transfer its library to Dalhousie, the books being marked as King’s property. Dalhousie would give King’s two vacancies on its Board of Governors. King’s Law School at Saint John would be discontinued as soon as the students enrolled finished their courses. King’s would retain the right to enter the college federation scheme, if and when it were revived, as a corporate and sovereign entity. In that case its affiliation with Dalhousie would cease.

Behind King’s reluctant move to Halifax lay stark necessity. King’s Anglican constituency simply was not strong enough to keep it going once the main buildings had been lost by fire. Carnegie offered $600,000 as new endowment on condition that King’s find an additional $400,000 from Anglicans. That was not easy; it would take until the end of 1927, and it was a near thing. In the meantime, Carnegie agreed to pay King’s the interest on that sum per annum, $30,000, as salaries for professors to keep King’s going. In July 1923 King’s asked for a lease on Birchdale, the Dalhousie men’s residence. Dalhousie was loath to give up Birchdale, its only men’s residence and only direct access to the North-West Arm; the fact that there was really nowhere else for King’s to go settled the matter. King’s got an initial two-year lease on Birchdale at $6,000 a year, but it would hold Birchdale until October 1930. That was when the new King’s buildings, on the five-acre piece of land on the north-west part of Studley, were finally opened.[27]

The arrangements with Dalhousie were not all sweetness and comfort to King’s. It chafed under its new regime – in effect, a condition of quasi-tutelage – and it found old habits difficult to shake, for it had long been able to decide things for itself. Now it would search for (and find) chinks and holes in the affiliation agreement by which its own life could be expanded and nourished, something of its old independence recovered. It was not easy for either King’s or Dalhousie. For the affiliation was not, it could not be, a union of equals. In September 1923 King’s had, to MacKenzie’s surprise, only fifty-one students. They could fill Birchdale, their new home, but Dalhousie counted over twelve times that many. For its part, Dalhousie found King’s new president, Dr. A.H. Moore of Montreal, rather less tractable than President Boyle had been.

Seven weeks after King’s affiliation with Dalhousie took effect, Mount Allison’s Board of Regents announced that they would take no further action on university federation until a decision was made about the union of the Presbyterian and Methodist churches. This led to the union of Mount Allison’s Methodist theological faculty with the Presbyterian one at Pine Hill in Halifax. Mount Allison’s postponement of federation did not mean rejection, as Dr. J.C. Webster, on the Mount Allison board, pointed out to MacKenzie in October 1923. Two years later, in June 1925, church union took place, and in December Pine Hill became the theological college of the United Church of Canada in the Maritimes, with Mount Allison as its arts and science college.[28]

Dalhousie’s gloss on these later events was that Mount Allison was having it both ways: staying where it was in Sackville, New Brunswick, and getting (or trying to get) Dalhousie’s Presbyterian students. Dr. Webster believed that it was a sordid and unworthy attempt by Mount Allison’s new president, G.J. Trueman, to use church union to keep Mount Allison exactly where it was. By that time, Mount Allison was sliding away from its commitment to federation; though lot yet public knowledge, those on the inside knew. Slowly, with painful reluctance, officials at the Carnegie Corporation watched the project for which they had given so much energy, had promised so much treasure, cloud over with Maritime sectarianism. College federation by 1925 was dying.[29]

But it left a bantling behind. Out of the three years of resolutions, talk, and treachery, there came something less grandiose than federation, but something that worked. Its cumbersome name was the Central Advisory Committee on Education in the Maritime Provinces and Newfoundland, and it reported to the Carnegie Corporation. It would bring into being the Memorial College of Newfoundland.

In December 1923 the Carnegie Corporation received a request from Newfoundland about funding a junior college at St. John’s. Newfoundland had tried it in 1917 and in 1919 without success, but its needs had been mentioned briefly in the 1922 Learned and Sills report. Just before Christmas of 1923 the premier of Newfoundland, William Warren, an old friend of G.F. Pearson, was visiting in Halifax. He was taken around Dalhousie and was much impressed. “This is the place for our Newfoundland boys,” he told Pearson. Dalhousie heartily approved of a junior college in St. John’s and embraced the further Carnegie idea that current discussions on federation could be used to generate a Maritime province committee that could advise the Carnegie Corporation on educational requests from all four Atlantic provinces. As G.F. Pearson wrote to F.P. Keppel, “We sadly need in these Provinces some body or group thoroughly representative of all interests which could discuss and come to agreement upon our problems of higher education and bring harmony and co-operation where distrust and competition now prevails.”[30]

There were meetings in New York in January 1924 about forming such a committee. But dangerous Dalhousie could not take such an initiative. Nor should the Carnegie Corporation. In March 1924 the presidents of Dalhousie, Mount Allison, and Acadia met on neutral ground in Truro. Neither Trueman of Mount Allison, nor F.W. Patterson, the new president of Acadia, liked the idea of a committee of that kind; there was too strong a whiff of federation about it. In the meantime, however, the Carnegie Corporation had decided, in principle, to give the Newfoundland Council for Higher Education $15,000 a year for five years to establish a junior college, and needed a Maritime province committee to decide on conditions and the appropriateness of such a grant. After much discussion of ways and means, the Central Advisory Committee came to be a committee of presidents, MacKenzie going to some trouble to get Acadia to agree to serve on it. Patterson thought that the Carnegie Corporation was giving Newfoundland too much money, and MacKenzie was concerned about political conditions in Newfoundland. As he put it to Keppel in New York, “The lack of responsibility, not to use a stronger word, which the men in political life in Newfoundland have shown for some years makes it necessary… that there should be no chance for the frittering away of the Corporation’s money or the utilization of it for other purposes.” The Carnegie Corporation took the loftier, if less realistic, view that it was unwise to appear to distrust those to whom the money was being given, once it was allocated.[31]

These preliminaries were the background to the first official meeting of the Central Advisory Committee, which was held at Dalhousie on 28 October 1924. There was still uneasiness about federation, as if, like a spectre, it threatened to exude from those sinister Dalhousie walls! But the meeting went well. Father Vincent Burke, the deputy minister of education of Newfoundland, and the moving spirit in St. John’s behind the push for a junior college, came to Halifax to answer questions. The presidents of UNB and Nova Scotia Technical College moved that the committee recommend to Carnegie that $15,000 a year be given for five years towards the establishment of a junior college at St. John’s. It passed unanimously and was, of course, accepted in New York. It was a very important gift. The Carnegie grant for the next five years would represent 40 per cent of Memorial’s annual income.[32]

The next determination of the Central Advisory Committee that day was also dramatic. For the past four years, while federation and King’s amalgamation was afoot, Dalhousie had forsworn any further financial campaigns. And Dalhousie had been running into difficulty, from the usual, and still often unexpected, result of growth. The university was falling steadily behind on current account. Law and dentistry deficits were $2,000 a year each, and while the deficits in medicine were being covered by income from Rockefeller and Carnegie money, that situation could not continue. New members of staff and the full expenses of running the two new medical buildings would bring Dalhousie’s deficit for 1924-5 to $19,000. Patterson of Acadia moved that the Central Advisory Committee recommend that the Carnegie Corporation wipe out Dalhousie’s accumulated deficit and give it an annual grant of $20,000 for the next five years. It was open, generous, and it delighted MacKenzie. Said Patterson (via MacKenzie’s paraphrase),

Dalhousie was carrying a burden of education which was really a state duty, and the least the rest of the colleges could do was to aid us [Dalhousie] in every way to get help in carrying this burden, because it was for the good of every college, of every denomination and of every part of the Maritime Provinces.

That motion was approved by every member of the committee. MacKenzie positively beamed at the good will evinced around the table that day in the Dalhousie board room. He explained to Keppel, “I think it marks a turning point in the relations of our various institutions. They have in this manner proved that they can throw petty jealousies aside in the interests of higher education.”

MacKenzie hoped the resolution would have effects in New York. It did. Within a week came a telegram from Keppel offering Dalhousie $90,000 for the past deficits and $20,000 a year for five years for the future ones. MacKenzie wired Pearson in Montreal the news, adding, “Bring wherewithal for celebration.” Pearson wired back at once, “Hurrah! Leaving tonight to join in…” Thus Pearson arrived at the president’s old house on Hollis Street bearing his Montreal liquor. The Carnegie offer would be effective in just over seven weeks, at the beginning of the new year.[33]

There was more to come. In November 1929 Carnegie told MacKenzie that, as of 1 July 1930, Dalhousie would be given $400,000. It was the capitalization, calculated from 5 per cent, of the $20,000 per year that Dalhousie had been receiving since 1925. R.M. Lester, of the Carnegie Corporation, wrote in 1930 that sending that money gave him “almost as much pleasure as to sit out on Square Lake with you, Hughie [a guide?], and the obliging fishes.” MacKenzie was touched by the spirit that animated Lester’s letter, and replied how typical it had been of Dalhousie’s happy experience with everyone at Carnegie.[34]

As to college federation, in July 1929 the Carnegie Corporation’s offer of $3 million to fund university federation in the Maritime provinces finally lapsed. College federation was dead. Probably the Carnegie Corporation underestimated the depth and intensity of Maritime sectarianism and the devotion of religious constituencies to the colleges for which they had made such sacrifices. Acadia went along with the movement towards federation because it was sponsored by a powerful and rich American foundation whom it would be unwise to offend by outright refusal. But, as Joseph Howe remarked a little ruefully in 1849, “You may withdraw your public money, but there will be more socks and mittins [sic] knit in the hills of Wilmot – more tubs of butter made – more fat calves killed – and more missionary travellers sent through the country – and Acadia college will stand on the hillside in spite of withdrawal of our [Government] grant.”[35] President George Cutten’s defence of Acadia, querulous as it often seemed to others, had the virtue of a strong perception of those Baptist realities which were, in their own way, as admirable as they were sometimes restrictive.

f naiveté were to be attributed, Dalhousie might not be exempt. Perhaps Dalhousie’s necessities, the desperate need to bring government funding to bear, with Carnegie’s willingness and generosity, drove Pearson and MacKenzie to nourish the hope that even should Acadia refuse federation, provided Mount Allison and the Halifax Roman Catholics accepted it, Acadia might be forced eventually to come in. As it turned out, Acadia, like the others, was left to stand on its own on the hillside at Wolfville, its back to Halifax, facing Blomidon and the great valley over which it was still academic master.

University federation was shown to be unrealizable, and perhaps for a long time. King’s move to the Dalhousie campus was not the nucleus of federation. It brought an accretion of needed academic strength to Dalhousie in arts, but King’s also created difficulties of its own over points in the 1923 agreement. Dalhousie now gathered itself together and began to address its own concerns, its own neglected constituency.

Dalhousie was proud of what it had accomplished since 1863; Dalhousians could see whence their university had come. But they found it less easy to perceive the distance Dalhousie still had to go. A visitor from a European university coming to Dalhousie in the 1920s would not have been impressed. The raw North American environment, its society commercial to the core, made North American universities, especially Canadian ones, training grounds more for the professions and the job market than places for the development of the mind, or the enlargement of the soul. Too much of North American, and Dalhousie’s, education was forced feeding. For seven months a year students were driven by lectures, tests, examinations; once released from university exigences in April, they tended to revert to their primordial state. Their summers were usually lost, academically speaking, to other pursuits, often in finding enough money to finance their next year. That in itself was not without concomitant virtues. But it was taken up as if the worth of a summer’s reading had not been grasped, nor that longer perspective, the cost of losing it, ever fairly weighed.

The European system took the long view. Examinations were at the end of three or four years’ work, when the students thought they were ready; in Britain examinations were usually both written and oral; on the Continent they were often just oral, the questions drawn from a hat, the candidate dressed with whatever formality she or he could muster, and in full public view of students, family, friends. If candidates survived that ordeal, intellectually and psychologically, it could be reasonably concluded that they had the strength to serve the state, embassy, or civil service, fit eventually to help run an empire, domestic or abroad.[36]

Henry James felt the gap between North America and Europe as few other North American writers and he measured it ceaselessly. An example of reverse shock is in President MacKenzie’s contemporary, Principal William Hamilton Fyfe of Queen’s University, appointed in 1930. Fyfe came from England; he found Queen’s students dreadful and the professors almost as bad. Fyfe believed university education was for an aristocracy of mind and spirit that loved learning and scorned utility. Queen’s students, probably not unlike Dalhousie’s, he found inactive physically, spoon-fed intellectually, confusing memorizing with knowing, rejoicing mainly in gladiatorial spectacles like football games. Lowering the academic ladder to help such students was for Fyfe a betrayal of what a university stood for. Queen’s was, declared Fyfe, a place where false pearls were thrown before real swine.[37]

The answer to such views was the vast difference between Canada and Europe. In English Canada there was little social foundation for the type of student Principal Fyfe sought at Queen’s, or that MacKenzie might have liked at Dalhousie. The difference between Fyfe and MacKenzie was that Fyfe was a British intellectual who after six years at Kingston was glad to return to Britain as principal of the University of Aberdeen; MacKenzie had grown up in Nova Scotia with Canadian realities. He and others worked to raise Dalhousie to levels of learning and aspiration recognizably international. The academically gifted of Dalhousie’s students would have cherished such ideals; certainly MacKenzie never really despaired of the hope that enough learning, and even more the love of it, would develop in students to justify, perhaps even occasionally to glorify, the name of Dalhousie University.

  1. Letter from Arthur Stanley MacKenzie to Falconer, 1 Nov. 1920, President’s Office Correspondence, “Sir Robert Falconer 1911-30," UA-3, Box 283, Folder 1, Dalhousie University Archives.
  2. Letter from MacMechan to Arthur Stanley MacKenzie, 19 Nov. 1922, “Archibald MacMechan,” UA-3, Box 96, Folder 25, Dalhousie University Archives.
  3. Halifax Herald, 6 Feb. 1920.
  4. William S. Learned and Kenneth C.M. Sills, Education in the Maritime Provinces of Canada (New York 1922), p. 29; for a judicious and well-balanced modern survey, based upon both the Carnegie and Rockefeller archives, see John G. Reid, “Health, Education, Economy: Philanthropic Foundations in the Atlantic Region in the 1920s and 1930s,” Acadiensis 14, no. 1 (Autumn 1984), pp. 64-83; see also Reid’s Mount Allison University: A History, to 1963, vol. II:1914-1963 (Toronto 1984), pp. 48-53.
  5. Learned and Sills, Education in the Maritime Provinces, p. 36.
  6. Letter from Arthur Stanley MacKenzie to W.S. Learned, 1 Apr. 1922, President’s Office Correspondence, “Carnegie Corporation, 1922,” UA-3, Box 260, Folder 7, Dalhousie University Archives.
  7. Letter from R.B. Bennett to Arthur Stanley MacKenzie, 22 Nov. 1922, from Calgary, President’s Office Correspondence, “R.B. Bennett, 1912-1928”, UA-3, Box 40, Folder 8, Dalhousie University Archives; Letter from Arthur Stanley MacKenzie to Falconer, 20 Mar. 1922, confidential, President’s Office Correspondence, UA-3, Box 283, Folder 1, Dalhousie University Archives.
  8. Learned and Sills, Education in the Maritime Provinces, p. 42.
  9. Dalhousie Gazette, 10 Jan. 1923.
  10. Letter from Arthur Stanley MacKenzie to Falconer, 20 Mar. 1922, confidential, President’s Office Correspondence, UA-3, Box 283, Folder 1, Dalhousie University Archives.
  11. Letter from Learned to Arthur Stanley MacKenzie, 15 Feb. 1922; Arthur Stanley MacKenzie to Learned, 20 Feb. 1922; Learned to Arthur Stanley MacKenzie, 23 Feb. 1922, President's Office Correspondence, “Carnegie Corporation of New York, 1922,” UA-3, Box 260, Folder 7, Dalhousie University Archives.
  12. Letter from Arthur Stanley MacKenzie to Learned, 2 Mar. 1922, enclosing text of the Dalhousie Board of Governors resolutions of 28 Feb. 1922, President's Office Correspondence, UA-3, Box 260, Folder 7, Dalhousie University Archives.
  13. Letter from Arthur Stanley MacKenzie to Learned, 8 Mar. 1922, President's Office Correspondence, UA-3, Box 260, Folder 7, Dalhousie University Archives.
  14. Letter from G.F. Pearson to Arthur Stanley MacKenzie, 9 Apr. 1922, President’s Office Correspondence, “Confederation of Maritime Universities, 1922,” UA-3, Box 254, Folder 10, Dalhousie University Archives.
  15. Letter from Arthur Stanley MacKenzie to Walter Murray, 13 July 1922, President’s Office Correspondence, UA-3, Box 254, Folder 10, Dalhousie University Archives.
  16. Letter from Pearson to Learned, 19 July 1922, confidential, President’s Office Correspondence, UA-3, Box 254, Folder 10, Dalhousie University Archives.
  17. Letter from Learned to Pearson, 5 Sept. 1922, President’s Office Correspondence, UA-3, Box 254, Folder 10, Dalhousie University Archives.
  18. A full account of this meeting was published. See Archives of Nova Scotia, vertical file, vol. 312, no. 1, Minutes of the Second Conference of Representatives of the Universities, Colleges and Governments of the Maritime Provinces and Newfoundland (Halifax 1922): Judd’s intervention is on p. 81. For MacKenzie’s private reaction to this debate, see letter from Arthur Stanley MacKenzie to Falconer, 3 Nov. 1922, President’s Office Correspondence, “Confederation of Maritime Universities, 1922-1923,” UA-3, Box 326, Folder 4, Dalhousie University Archives.
  19. Letter from Arthur Stanley MacKenzie to John H. Bell, 18 Nov. 1922, replying to Bell’s of 14 Nov. This is a most useful letter, a summing up, for the benefit of the Prince Edward Island premier, of the current state of financial negotiations. President’s Office Correspondence, UA-3, Box 326, Folder 4, Dalhousie University Archives.
  20. Minutes of the Second Conference..., p. 101; Board of Governors Minutes, 29 Jan. 1923, UA-1, Box 15, Folder 3, Dalhousie University Archives; MacKenzie’s reflections on this subject are in his New Year’s 1923 message to the students (Dalhousie Gazette, 10 Jan. 1923) and also in an argument for federation, perhaps set out for a speech, dated 22 Mar. 1923, and from whence the quotations come. See President’s Office Correspondence, “King’s College 1922-1938,” UA-3, Box 323, Folder 1, Dalhousie University Archives.
  21. See Morning Chronicle, 19 Feb. 1923; Letter from Arthur Stanley MacKenzie to Learned, 17 Feb. 1923, in Carnegie Corporation Archives, New York, Maritime provinces education federation files, cited in Reid, Mount Allison University, p. 54; Letter from Arthur Stanley MacKenzie to J.C. Webster, 27 Feb. 1923, President’s Office Correspondence, UA-3, Box 254, Folder 11, Dalhousie University Archives.
  22. Letter from Arthur Stanley MacKenzie to B.C. Borden, 20 Apr. 1923; Arthur Stanley MacKenzie to J.C. Webster, 15 Nov. 1923, President’s Office Correspondence, UA-3, Box 254, Folder 11, Dalhousie University Archives.
  23. Church Work (Springhill, NS), 15 May 1923; Letter from Arthur Stanley MacKenzie to T.S. Boyle, 26 May 1923; Boyle to Arthur Stanley MacKenzie, 29 May 1923; Boyle to Arthur Stanley MacKenzie, n.d. [1 June 1923], personal; Pearson to Archbishop Clare Worrell, 5 June 1923, President’s Office Correspondence, “King’s College, 1920-1925,” UA-3, Box 342, Folder 3, Dalhousie University Archives.
  24. Letter from Arthur Stanley MacKenzie to J.C. Webster, 15 Nov. 1923 (my italics), President’s Office Correspondence, UA-3, Box 254, Folder 11, Dalhousie University Archives.
  25. Letter from Arthur Stanley MacKenzie to Boyle, 13 July 1923, President’s Office Correspondence, UA-3, Box 342, Folder 3, Dalhousie University Archives.
  26. Letter from Boyle to Arthur Stanley MacKenzie, Friday, n.d. [received 14 July 1923], personal; Arthur Stanley MacKenzie to King’s College Record, 9 Jan. 1924, President’s Office Correspondence, UA-3, Box 342, Folder 3, Dalhousie University Archives.
  27. Minutes of Special meeting of Board of Governors executive with King’s, 26 Feb. 1925, President's Office Correspondence. H.E. Mahon, Alumni representative on the Dalhousie board, explained about the Birchdale lease. For the text of the Agreement of Association between Dalhousie University and the University of King’s College, see Appendix 2.
  28. Letter from J.C. Webster to Arthur Stanley MacKenzie, 20 Oct. 1923; 30 Apr. 1926, President’s Office Correspondence, Dalhousie University Archives.
  29. Reid’s Mount Allison University: A History, to 1963, vol. II:1914-1963 (Toronto 1984), pp. 68-81 has a judicious account of this process.
  30. Letter from Pearson to F.P. Keppel, 29, 31 Dec. 1923, President’s Office Correspondence, “Central Advisory Committee, 1923-1930,” UA-3, Box 168, Folder 1, Dalhousie University Archives. The Learned and Sills report mentions Newfoundland in the context of federation (p. 48), with reference also to a possible junior college at St. John’s.
  31. Letter from Arthur Stanley MacKenzie to Keppel, 14 Feb., 17 Mar. 1924; Keppel to Arthur Stanley MacKenzie, 7 Apr. 1924; Arthur Stanley MacKenzie to Keppel, 21 May, 13 June 1924, President’s Office Correspondence, UA-3, Box 168, Folder 1, Dalhousie University Archives. For Newfoundland, see F.W. Rowe, A History of Newfoundland and Labrador (Toronto 1980), pp. 379-81; for Memorial, see Malcolm Macleod, A Bridge Built Halfway: A History of Memorial University College, 1925-1950 (Montreal and Kingston 1990), pp. 19-21. According to Macleod, until the autumn of 1924 hope for a Carnegie subsidy was only that, a hope; but evidence in the Central Advisory Committee papers at Dalhousie suggests that the matter was decided in principle in February 1924. See letter from V.P. Burke to F.P. Keppel, 15 Mar. 1924, from St. John’s, with reference to Keppel’s letter of 6 Feb. 1924, copy, President's Office Correspondence, UA-3, Box 168, Folder 1, Dalhousie University Archives.
  32. Letter from Arthur Stanley MacKenzie to Keppel, 1 Nov. 1924; Arthur Stanley MacKenzie to F.W. Patterson, 29 Oct. 1924, President's Office Correspondence, UA-3, Box 168, Folder 1, Dalhousie University Archives; Macleod, Memorial College, pp. 21, 202.
  33. Telegram from Arthur Stanley MacKenzie to Pearson, 7 Nov. 1924; telegram from Pearson to Arthur Stanley MacKenzie, 7 Nov. 1924; letter from Arthur Stanley MacKenzie to Keppel, 8 Nov. 1924, President’s Office Correspondence, “Carnegie Corporation, 1923-1927," UA-3, Box 260, Folder 8, Dalhousie University Archives.
  34. Letter from Robert M. Lester to Arthur Stanley MacKenzie, 22 Oct., 18 Nov. 1929; Lester to Arthur Stanley MacKenzie, 4 June 1930; Arthur Stanley MacKenzie to Lester, 7 June 1930, President’s Office Correspondence, A-356, “Carnegie Corporation, 1927-1932," UA-3, Box 260, Folder 9, Dalhousie University Archives.
  35. Novascotian, 16 Apr. 1849, reporting Howe’s speech in the Assembly debates for Saturday, 24 Feb. 1849.
  36. Vice-President Denis Stairs, Dalhousie’s Rhodes scholar for 1961, has made pertinent suggestions to the last pages of this chapter.
  37. This wicked Oxford aphorism was put by Fyfe less pungently, “imitation pearls before genuine swine.” This paragraph owes much to Frederick W. Gibson, Queen’s University 1917-1961: To Serve and Yet Be Free (Kingston and Montreal, 1983), especially pp. no, 128-30.


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

Share This Book