The Dictionary of Canadian Biography

I was hired by the Dictionary of Canadian Biography at the University of Toronto in 2014 as a researcher working on volume 17 (the 1940s). In 2015 I became the Special Projects Editor (and now a Manuscript Editor), working on thematic features that highlight the biographies in the dictionary.

Here are a few of our recent projects:

Confederation

"Canada is one of the oldest nations among the 193 members of the United Nations in 2017. When the architects of Canadian confederation shaped a new nation in the 1860s, they were acutely aware of the failed experiments of the United States of America and Simón Bolívar’s united Spanish America. They also understood the power of nationalism that was creating the newly united states of Germany and Italy. The promoters of confederation had visions of a similarly new Canadian nationality, expressed poetically by Thomas D’Arcy McGee, politically by Sir John A. Macdonald and Sir George-Étienne Cartier, and musically by Henry Herbert Godfrey. Canada came together in that decade and, despite serious challenges, it has survived and grown in the 150 years that have followed confederation." - John English 

 

Sir John A. Macdonald

"Drawing mostly on biographies of Canada's first Prime Minister, Sir John A. Macdonald, and his contemporaries that were written for the Dictionary of Canadian Biography during the 1980s, this collection examines the relationship between his political career and the broad issues facing British North America during the 19th century." - David Wilson

 
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Responsible Government

"The principle of responsible government was established in Great Britain in the second quarter of the 19th century, but the idea of individual and subsequently collective, ministerial responsibility emerged as early as the 17th century and evolved over the course of the following century. In British North America the concept took shape in Whig political       thought." - Robert Fraser