Memorable Manitobans: William James Healy (1867-1950)
Journalist, historian, librarian.
Born at Belleville, Ontario on 15 April 1867, son of William Healy and Elinor McCarthy of Queenstown, Ireland, he joined the staff of the Toronto Telegram in 1887 and was its Ottawa correspondent until 1888, then became Ottawa correspondent for the Toronto Daily Mail (1891-1895). He was secretary of the Parliamentary Press Gallery (1892-1895). With A. T. Wilgress, he bought and operated the Brockville Times (daily and weekly) from 1895 until 1899, when he came to Winnipeg as Associate Editor for the Manitoba Free Press, a position he held from 1899 to 1918.
Between 1911 and 1920, he was Western Canadian correspondent for the Commercial Intelligence Branch of the British Board of Trade Department, and Chief Associate Editor of the Grain Growers’ Guide from 1918 to 1920. In 1920 he became Provincial Librarian of Manitoba, succeeding J. P. Robertson. He wrote the Introduction to Pioneers and Prominent People of Manitoba (1925) and produced two works of local history, Women of Red River (1923) and Winnipeg’s Early Days (1927), as well as a biography of Sir John Thompson (1894). He served on the provincial diamond jubilee committee in 1930. He retired as Provincial Library in June 1936 and was succeeded by John Leslie Johnston.
On 8 April 1896, he married Emily Maud McCullough (?-?), daughter of William McCullough of Brockville, Ontario, with whom he had a daughter.
In retirement, he moved to San Francisco, California where he died on 24 August 1950. His papers and correspondence are held at the Archives of Manitoba.
Pioneers and Prominent People of Manitoba, Winnipeg: Canadian Publicity Company, 1925.
“Ex-Free Press Associate Editor, author dies, 83,” Winnipeg Free Press, 24 August 1950, page 11.
This page was prepared by Gordon Goldsborough.
Page revised: 3 September 2017
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