The Margery Trenholme Chair in University Libraries is the first of its kind in Canada, and it brings McGill closer to achieving a higher profile for libraries. A bequest of $433,000 from Miss Trenholme’s estate, a gift of $300,000 from members of her family and two anonymous gifts totaling $1,500,000 combine to establish this unique Chair.
When she graduated in 1935 with a first class honours degree in Classics, Margery Trenholme wanted to pursue a law degree. Women were not admitted to the Quebec Bar at that time, however, and she became an elementary school teacher. An inheritance from an aunt enabled Margery to take her degree in Library Science, and in 1946 and 1947 she was employed as a librarian at the Harvard University Law Library. On her return to Montreal, she worked in the McGill Commerce Library and, with a special grant from the Kellogg Foundation, she established the library of the McGill School for Graduate Nurses and Physiotherapists. This library was an important resource for nurses wishing to become nursing administrators after the war. In 1950, Margery was appointed Chief Librarian of the Fraser Hickson Institute, one of Montreal’s finest public libraries. During her 33 years with the library she re-established the circulation department and added a children’s library, a music appreciation room and a rare books room. Margery Trenholme died in 2000, at the age of 87.
The contributors to the Margery Trenholme Chair in University Libraries share Miss Trenholme’s understanding of the importance of libraries in any community. These gifts provide one of the best funded chairs in the University, and help McGill respond to the challenge of keeping pace with library resources across the country.
The first appointee to the Margery Trenholme Chair was Frances Groen, followed by Janine Schmidt in February 2005 and Colleen Cook in January 2011.