Memorable Manitobans: Salem Goldworth Bland (1859-1950)
Cleric, professor, reformer.
Born at Lachute, Quebec in 1859, he was educated at Queen’s University. He taught at Wesley College in Winnipeg from 1903 until 1917, when he was dismissed for his unorthodox opinions. His major work was The New Christianity, or the Religion of the New Age (1920), which associated Protestantism and capitalism and argued for a reformed Christian religion. He was very influential in Winnipeg social gospel and labour reform circles before and during the First World War. He served as a columnist for the Grain Growers’ Guide from 1917 until he moved to Toronto in 1919.
An influential popularizer of the linkage between liberal theology and socialism, he urged a constant battle against slums, monopolies, and unearned profits. He was an exponent of Henry George’s single tax ideology and was an influential teacher of J. S. Woodsworth, William Ivens, and other social gospellers. Despite his radical enthusiasm, Bland was generally wary of general strikes and labour militancy.
In 1926, he married Mrs. Emma Levell. He died on 7 February 1950. His papers are in Victoria University and the United Church Archives, both at Toronto.
“Former city pastor, Dr. Salem Bland dies,” Winnipeg Tribune, 22 February 1950. [Manitoba Legislative Library, Biographical Scrapbook B10, page 134]
“Free Press Necrology Files,” Winnipeg Elite Study, G. Friesen Fonds, Mss 154, Box 15, File 16, University of Manitoba Archives]
Dictionary of Manitoba Biography by John M. “Jack” Bumsted, Winnipeg: University of Manitoba Press, 1999.
This page was prepared by Gordon Goldsborough.
Page revised: 16 November 2021