The James McGill Society presented four well-attended meetings during the past year that attracted both members and general audiences.  Social media has proven highly effective in extending our reach into the community.  Although traditional mailings will continue, new channels of communication will be actively pursued.  Thanks to the generous support of members, the Society continues meeting in various venues and enjoying lively and convivial receptions. 

For the coming year – 2017/18 - Council proposes the following program:

Tuesday, October 10, 2017, “McGill @Expo 67” Annmarie Adams, Jennifer Garland, and David Theodore.  Colgate Room, Rare Books and Special Collections, McLennan Library. The Stanley Frost Annual Lecture. 178th Meeting

Monday, November 27, 2017, McGill Observatory, Victoria Slonosky, McGill Faculty Club.  179th Meeting

February, 2018, New Directions for McGill’s Visual Arts Collection, Gwendolyn Owens. 180th Meeting – Place and Date to be determined

April, 2018, Sir Edward Beatty, Donald Nerbas. The Maysie MacSporran Annual Lecture, 181st Meeting – Place and Date to be determined. 


Last year – 2016/17 – the Society presented the following lectures:

Monday, September 26, 2016. “An Ocean of Noise: H E Reilley, and the Fight Against Noise in Montreal,” by Professor Jarrett Rudy. Presidential Address & Stanley Frost Annual Lecture. Faculty Club - Main Dining Room. 174th Meeting

Monday, November 14, 2016. “Edward Lear: Naturalist, Artist, Illustrator, Author, and Poet,” by Robert McCracken Peck. Co-sponsor, Friends of the Library. Redpath Museum Auditorium. 175th Meeting

Tuesday, March 7, 2017. “Documenting McGill’s Architectural Heritage” by Julia Gersovitz. Macdonald-Harrington Building, School of Architecture, 176th Meeting

Monday, April 24, 2017. “The Maude Abbott Medical Museum, 1822 – 2017,” by Dr. Richard Fraser. Maysie MacSporran Annual Lecture. Strathcona Anatomy & Dentistry Building, 3640 University Street, 177th Meeting


One hundred years ago, 1917, Sir William Macdonald - McGill’s greatest benefactor –– died. Fifty years ago, 1967, Canada celebrated the centenary of Confederation and Expo’67; at McGill student unrest and the Fekete Affair dominated the news. Forty years ago, 1977, “The French Language Charter,” Bill 101, was adopted.


Among those in the McGill community who passed away this year are Professors Essau Hosein (Biochemistry), Joe McClelland (Religious Studies), Donald Patterson (Chemistry), Howard Stutt (Education), Barbara Haskel (Political Science), Peter Roper (Medicine), Blema Steinberg (Political Science), Mark Wainberg (Medicine), and Eleanor Stubley (Music).  Gretta Chambers, McGill’s 16th Chancellor, 1991-99, and first woman to hold the office, passed away September 9, 2017.

Fontanus from the Collections of McGill University, v. XIV (2017), [http://fontanus.mcgill.ca/] with articles on McGill’s history appeared recently. It is co-edited by former JMS President, Gordon Burr, and is dedicated to another former President, Dr. Robert H. Michel.  Gordon Burr retired in August’17 from the McGill University Archives, but will continue his JMS association.

At the Annual General Meeting, Tuesday, October 10, 2017, Council will bring forward in nomination as President, 2017-2019, Mr. Christopher Lyons, formerly Osler Librarian, and now Head of Rare Books and Special Collections, McLennan Library.  Other names will be brought forward for two-year terms on Council, and for Honorary Life Membership.  As always, special thanks are due to Mr. Tom Thompson and Ms. Susan Button for their loyal service to the Society.  Thanks are also due to Martlet House for handling donations to the Society, and bookkeeping service.

I know that I speak on behalf of all members in thanking Prof. Jarrett Rudy for his leadership and dedication over the past two years as our President.  His appreciation of the importance of McGill’s history inspires us all.

Finally, I would like to thank Council and the entire membership of the James McGill Society for their continuing and unwavering support and encouragement.

I look forward to seeing you at our meetings, during the coming year. 

Respectfully submitted

Peter F. McNally
Executive Secretary