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Memorable Manitobans: James George “Jim” Blanchard (1948-2022)

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James George Blanchard
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Librarian, historian.

Born at Minnedosa on 27 June 1948, the third of four children of Alvin Gourlay Blanchard (1911-1988) and Mabel Lois Burnett (1915-2004), he grew up in Brandon. He received a BA in History from Brandon University (1969), an MA in History from University of Manitoba (1976), and an MLS from the University of Western Ontario (1977).

He worked as a professional librarian in Saskatchewan and Manitoba, serving as a reference librarian at Winnipeg Public Library, as the Librarian of the Canadian Grain Commission, Director of Public Library Services for the Province of Manitoba, and Head of Reference Services at Elizabeth Dafoe Library at the University of Manitoba until retirement in 2014.

His keen interest in Winnipeg history and his droll sense of humour were evident in several acclaimed scholarly and popular books:

He also wrote book chapters, including one on the life of early Manitoba Premier Rodmond Roblin, along with numerous magazine and journal articles, newspaper columns, and book reviews. In his later years, he was a staunch advocate for the reopening of the City of Winnipeg Archives in its former home in the Carnegie Library on William Avenue. An active member of the Manitoba Historical Society, he served as Chair of its McWilliams Award Committee in the early 1990s, President (2000-2002), and Co-Chair of the Dalnavert Museum Management Committee (2004-2005).

His articles for the Manitoba Historical Society:

The Garnet Wheat Controversy, 1923-1938
Manitoba History, Number 19, Spring 1990

Manitoba Bibliography / 1994
Manitoba History, Number 30, Autumn 1995

Manitoba Bibliography / 1995
Manitoba History, Number 32, Autumn 1996

The Machray Scandal
Manitoba History, Number 33, Spring 1997

Manitoba Bibliography / 1996
Manitoba History, Number 34, Autumn 1997

Manitoba Bibliography / 1997
Manitoba History, Number 36, Autumn / Winter 1998-1999

Manitoba Bibliography / 1998
Manitoba History, Number 38, Autumn / Winter 1999-2000

Manitoba Bibliography / 1999
Manitoba History, Number 40, Autumn / Winter 2000-2001

Reviews: Frances Russell, Mistehay Sakahegan: The Great Lake, the Beauty and Treachery of Lake Winnipeg and Jake MacDonald,The Lake: An Illustrated History of Manitoba’s Cottage Country
Manitoba History, Number 41, Spring/Summer 2001

Manitoba Bibliography / 2000
Manitoba History, Number 42, Autumn / Winter 2001-2002

Manitoba Bibliography / 2001
Manitoba History, Number 44, Autumn / Winter 2002-2003

Manitoba Bibliography / 2002
Manitoba History, Number 46, Autumn / Winter 2003-2004

Manitoba Bibliography / 2003
Manitoba History, Number 48, Autumn / Winter 2004-2005

Manitoba Bibliography / 2004
Manitoba History, Number 50, October 2005

Manitoba Bibliography / 2005
Manitoba History, Number 54, February 2007

Martin Kavanagh Arrives in Brandon
Manitoba History, Number 56, October 2007

Review: Tim Cook & J. L. Granatstein (eds.), Canada 1919: A Nation Shaped by War, UBC Press, 2020
Prairie History, Number 3, Fall 2020

In 2019, he received a Lieutenant Governor's Award for Historical Preservation and Promotion in recognition of his work in promoting awareness of the history of Winnipeg. He was married twice and had three children.

He died at Winnipeg on 23 September 2022.

Sources:

Marriage registration [Alvin Gourlay Blanchard, Lois Mabel Burnett], Manitoba Vital Statistics.

“Hundreds of Brandon U. students earn degrees,” Brandon Sun, 14 May 1969, page 5.

Obituary, Winnipeg Free Press, 8 October 2022.

Grave transcriptions, Brandon Municipal Cemetery.

This page was prepared by Gordon Goldsborough.

Page revised: 24 September 2022

Memorable Manitobans

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