Museum and Dawson family - news from our connections


Published: 13Aug2020

The Dawson family and McGill have a long and storied connection. Sir John William Dawson, founder of the Museum in 1882 and Principal of McGill for 38 years died in 1899. His great grandaughter Kathleen Godfrey, graduated in 2019 with Masters in Anthropology. You can read about her conservation and social justice work here. On August 10, 2020, Kathleen's grandmother, Joan Harrington, died at the age of 101. Joan Harrington was married  to Conrad Harrington, former Chanceller and grandson of Sir John William Dawson.  You can read Conrad's obituary here and you can read about Joan here. In both obituaries you will notice references to the Joan and Conrad Harrington Scholarships.  

Conrad Harrington's grandfather was Professor Bernard Harrington. Prof. Harrington trained generations of McGill students in applied sciences suchas mining and metallurgy for over 36 years. Harrington had a hand in developing the plans for the Macdonald Chemistry Building, opened in 1898, of which he was the proud director until his death in 1907. You an read about Bernard Harrington in the Dictionary of Canadian Biographies here.

This family photo shows Conrad Harrington as a baby seated on the lap of his grandmother, Lady Dawson. The photo was taken at the Dawson summer home in Metis where Joan lived until 2015. The obituary for Joan memorializes  "summers spent in Metis Beach surrounded by grandchildren and lifelong friends of all ages ... Her grandchildren will remember her impishly competitive nature, her never-ending supply of homemade cookies, her laugh, and her stalwart support and gentle wisdom: "It's all milk under the bridge!"

Photo from McGill University Archives PR000252.

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