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The Dr. George F.G. Stanley Book Collection

 

Knowing I lov'd my books, he furnish'd me

From mine own library with volumes that

I prize above my dukedom.

William Shakespeare

The Tempest. Act 1, Scene 2

 

In the vast wealth of English literature, William Shakespeare's character Prospero and his library most vividly symbolize how an individual is shaped by the books which she or he has collected and studied. We often think we know a person by the books which they own and in studying a person's life, particularly if that person has made a significant contribution to our country's culture, we wish to know what books influenced the development of that scholar, writer, scientist, artist, etc.

 

Public institutions are sometimes fortunate to house complete libraries of a few individuals in order to document to some extent this portion of the cultural fabric of Canada. The Dr. George F.G. Stanley Book Collection is available for research at the University of Calgary Library. It demonstrates in its breadth and depth the books which he studied as well as the many books which he produced.

 

We are fortunate to have had the guidance of Dr. Donald B. Smith, Department of History, University of Calgary whose friendship with Dr. George F.G. and Mrs. Ruth Stanley has made this donation possible. The book collection is enhanced by Mrs. Stanley's donation of a bronze bust of Dr. Stanley created by the distinguished Canadian sculptor Elizabeth Bradford Holbrook ,  RCA.

 

Apollonia Steele 

Special Collections Librarian

 



Dr. Donald B. Smith

Department of History

University of Calgary

  

The University of Calgary is delighted that Professor George F.G. Stanley, a former Lieutenant-Governor of New Brunswick, has donated his library to the University Library in its Special Collections division.

 

Professor Stanley, a Companion of the Order of Canada, the  recipient of twelve honorary degrees from universities across Canada, a winner of the Royal Society of Canada's coveted Tyrrell Medal for Historical Writing, has had a long and distinguished academic, military and public career. For over half-a-century his writings on the Native Peoples, French Canada, and Canadian military history, have made an important contribution to our understanding of Canada. How fitting that his library has come to Calgary, the city in which he was born, in which he went to elementary and secondary school, and which he has continually revisited over a seventy year period.

 

Born in Calgary in l907,  Dr. Stanley received his B.A from the University of Alberta in Edmonton. As the Rhodes Scholar from Alberta  he went to Oxford University in l929, and there earned a B.A., M.A., M. Litt., and D. Phil. His first book, The Birth of Western Canada, a study of the Canadian plains in the l870s and l880s, a work that is still in print, appeared in l936.  That same year he returned to Canada to head the  history department at Mount Allison University in New Brunswick, where he taught until l940.

 

During World War Two Professor Stanley served as an infantry training officer in Fredericton, and then as an historian in the Historical Section at Canadian Army Headquarters in London. He became Deputy-Director of the Section and was discharged as a Lieutenant-Colonel. In August l946 he married Ruth Hill of Montreal. The Stanleys had a family of three daughters.

 

After the war Professor Stanley taught Canadian history  at the University of British Columbia until his appointment as head of  the history department at the Royal Military College (RMC) in Kingston in l949. He  taught at RMC for twenty years, and served as the first Dean of Arts from l962 to l969. While at the College Stanley wrote Canada's Soldiers, and other volumes including Louis Riel, and New France: The Last Phase. Also, while at RMC, Dr. Stanley suggested the basic design for our Canadian flag which was adopted in l965.

 

After twenty years at RMC Stanley returned to Mount Allison University in l969 to establish the first programme in Canadian Studies at a Canadian university. He retired from Mount Allison in l975. His study, War of 1812: Land Operations, appeared in l983.

 

The previous year he became Lieutenant-Governor of New Brunswick, and served in the office to l987. The position required that Stanley be fluently bilingual, a skill that he had begun learning as a schoolboy in Calgary. While  Lieutenant-Governor he continued to act as the General Editor of The Collected Works of Louis Riel, which appeared in l985, in five volumes, the collective work of five Canadian scholars. After completing  his term as New Brunswick's Lieutenant-Governor, George and Ruth Stanley returned to their home in Sackville, New Brunswick.  His eighteenth book, The Role of the Lieutenant-Governor, appeared in l992.

 

Dr. George Stanley's library is a wonderful gift for The University of Calgary.

 

(C) Dr. Donald B. Smith. Used with permission.

 

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For further information, contact Apollonia Steele, Special Collections Librarian asteele@ucalgary.ca

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Last update: November 2001
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