Annual Report 2004-2005


As the Society enters its 30th year, I would like to thank the members for their continuing loyalty and support. Founded in 1975, by Dr. Stanley Frost (our Honorary President), Dr. Edward Bensley, and Dr. Robert Nicholls, the James McGill Society continues to be a forum for meeting people, and exchanging information and ideas about McGill University and its history.

Again this year, the Executive Committee has put together what we hope will be an interesting program, covering a wide range of topics. As part of my work on Volume III of the history of McGill, 1970-2002, I have accepted an invitation to continue my saga of the Principals of that era.

Proposed Meetings for 2005-2006

  • 130th Meeting, Tuesday, September 20, 2005

    Professor Peter F. McNally on “David Lloyd Johnston: Fourteenth Principal and Vice-Chancellor, 1979-1994."

  • 131st Meeting, November 2005

    Professor Chris Milligan and Mr. Wes Cross on the Memorial Chapel and the commemoration of war and peace.

  • 132nd Meeting, February 2006

    Professor Jarrett Rudy on Smoking.

  • 133rd Meeting, April, 2006

    Professor Deborah Buszard on Macdonald College.

Last year, four speakers gave presentations on topics of great interest:

126th Meeting, Monday, September 27, 2004

Professor Peter F. McNally, “Physicist and Principal: Robert E. Bell, Thirteenth Principal and Vice-chancellor." (Faculty Club).

  • 127th Meeting, Monday, November 15, 2004

    Professor Valerie Pasztor, “Lumpers and Splitters: Biology at McGill, from Dawson to the Present." (Macdonald-Harrington Building).

  • 128th Meeting, Thursday, February 17, 2005

    Professor Leanore Lieblein. "Hamlet, Prince of Quebec." (Moyse Hall). (Note: on short notice, Professor Lieblein replaced Professor Paul Yachnin. The evening was co-sponsored with the Faculty of Arts.)

  • 129th Meeting, Monday, May 2, 2005

    Ms. Johanne Pelletier. "The Secret Life of Things: Perspectives on Collecting at the McGill University Archives,”

    Presidential Address and Maysie MacSporran Lecture.

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A major focus for this year's Executive Committee will be the intertwined issues of membership and attendance. A new member of the Committee, Mr. Chris Lyons, Assistant History of Medicine Librarian, Osler Library, has agreed to serve as Communications Secretary and handle the Society's web site. Although it is certainly our intention to continue communicating with members through surface mail, there will be increasing emphasis upon electronic formats. Please remember that the Society's web site is , and the History of McGill Project's is .

A number of important landmarks occurred this year. In July, Dr and Mrs. Robert Nicholls celebrated their 60th wedding anniversary. After serving for nearly 25 years as Secretary to the Vice-Principal (Development and Alumni Relations), the Society's Treasurer and Membership Secretary, Ms. Susan Button, has assumed new responsibilities as a Bequests and Planned Gifts Associate. She will, however, remain at Martlet House. Our President, Ms. Johanne Pelletier, in addition to serving as University Archivist, is now Associate Secretary-General. Our late colleague, Dr. Martin Entin, had published posthumously this year Edward Archibald, Surgeon of the Royal Vic (Fontanus Monograph Series, McGill University Libraries). The Faculty of Engineering published a very helpful chronology of its history, Building the Future: The History of the Faculty of Engineering at McGill University, 1855-2004. In celebration of its 75th anniversary, last October the Osler Library published 75 Books from the Osler Library, edited by Faith Wallis and Pam Miller. Macdonald College will be launching a two-year celebration this year to mark its centennial.

A number of members and friends of the Society passed away this year: Dr. Phyllis Shapiro, wife of former Principal Bernard Shapiro, Professor Raymond Klibansky, Judge Alan Gold, Mrs. Isobel Oswald, and Professor David Frost. Our sympathy and support are extended to their family and friends. Particular sympathy is expressed to Dr. Pauline Frost and Dr. Stanley Frost.

As always, appreciation must be shown for the support of members and friends in ensuring the continued success of the James McGill Society in its endeavours on behalf of McGill's historical heritage and memory. Dr. Stanley Frost remains a beacon of inspiration to us all. Susan Button's efforts ensure that the wheels continue turning in the right direction. Ms. Johanne Pelletier's effective leadership over the past two years has been appreciated by everyone.

At the first meeting of the new season, on September 20, the Executive Committee will nominate to succeed Ms. Pelletier as President, Mr. John Hobbins. Mr. Hobbins, head of the Nahum Gelber Law Library, has spoken before the Society on Professor John Humphrey and his role in drafting the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. With your support, we look forward to another interesting and successful year.

Respectfully submitted,

Peter F. McNally
Executive Secretary