Northeastern Section - 40th Annual Meeting (March 14–16, 2005)

Paper No. 6
Presentation Time: 10:10 AM


MIDDLETON, Gerard V., School of Geography and Geology, McMaster Univ, 1280 Main St W, Hamilton, ON L8S 4K1,

The Royal Society was founded in 1883. The first President was J.W. Dawson. T. Sterry Hunt was President of Section III (Mathematical, Physical and Chemical Sciences), and A.R.C. Selwyn of Section IV (Geological and Biological Sciences). Other founding members included Loring W. Bailey, Robert Bell, E.J. Chapman (Section III), George M. Dawson, Edwin Gilpin, B.J. Harrington (Section III), David Honeyman, J-C-K. Laflamme, John Macoun, George F. Matthew, Alexander Murray, and J.F. Whiteaves. In all there were 78 earth scientists elected in 50 years: a large number compared with the number of Mathematicians, Physicists, and Chemists (103) and Biological Scientists (about 50). Thus the RSC included all of the prominent geologists in Canada (H.Y. Hind was an exception).

All the geological fellows were born in the nineteenth century. They were immigrants from Britain (mainly Scotland or Northern Ireland, so from a Presbyterian or dissenting Protestant rather than an Anglican or Catholic background); or they were sons or grandsons of such immigrants; or they were sons or grandsons of Loyalists, or Americans who immigrated to Canada to obtain land not many years after the revolution. Most were employed by the Geological Survey of Canada, and many were lifelong employees. Those academics who lacked this experience were mostly appointed before the GSC was well-established (L. W. Bailey, J. W. Dawson, E. J. Chapman, G.F. Matthew). After 1910, R. W. Brock insisted that geologists appointed full-time by GSC should earn a doctorate, and made this possible by facilitating the field work that was the main basis for most doctorate degrees. Most fellows were from Ontario (29), and Quebec (15, mostly from Montreal or anglophone communities). Most fellows had a university degree, generally from McGill (12), Toronto (15), or Queens (13). Other Canadian universities included Acadia (3), Royal Military College (2), Manitoba (2), and UBC, UNB, Laval, King’s College NS, and Dalhousie (one each). 4 fellows obtained Canadian doctorates, including: Parks (Toronto, 1900) and Bancroft (Ph.D., McGill, 1910). 29 obtained doctorates in the US (12 from Yale), and 7 in Germany: several others studied in these two countries without obtaining a higher degree.