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Memorable Manitobans: John MacLean (1882-1977)

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John MacLean
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Born at Glasgow, Scotland on 22 October 1882, one of ten children born to grain merchant John R. MacLean (1853-1913) and Isabel Campbell (1863-?), brother of Donald R. MacLean, George C. MacLean, and Isabel MacLean Hunt, in 1890 he came to Manitoba with his family and attended Aberdeen School. In 1904, he graduated with a BA degree from Manitoba College. He was Manitoba’s first Rhodes Scholar that same year. While living in England to attend Oxford University, he married Rosetta (?-1978). They had no children. Later, he taught at the University of Calcutta before applying to the Indian Educational Service, part of the civil service administering India, and served there eight years before joining the Canadian Expeditionary Force as a member of the 78th Winnipeg Battalion. Returning from military service, he was admitted to the Manitoba Bar in 1920. He then formed a law partnership with his brother Donald in the firm of MacLean and MacLean. He served on the Winnipeg School Board from 1926 to 1928 and was a councillor for the RM of St. Vital for three years and was its magistrate. He was a Liberal candidate for the Winnipeg constituency in the 1927 provincial general election. He was made a King’s Counsel in 1942. He became President of the Winnipeg branch of the League for Social Reconstruction. He published actively in philosophy. He died at the St. Boniface Hospital on 25 October 1977.


1901 Canada census, Automated Genealogy.

Obituary [John MacLean], Winnipeg Tribune, 11 April 1913, page 8.

“New Year’s honors,” Winnipeg Free Press, 1 January 1942, page 4.

Souvenir Programme, Golden Jubilee, Aberdeen School, 20 November 1942.

“Historic school recalled” by Vince Leah, Winnipeg Tribune, 23 December 1972, page 6.

Obituary, Winnipeg Free Press, 27 October 1977, page 126.

Obituary [Rosetta MacLean], Winnipeg Free Press, 20 January 1978, page 114.

Dictionary of Manitoba Biography by John M. “Jack” Bumsted, Winnipeg: University of Manitoba Press, 1999.

This page was prepared by Gordon Goldsborough.

Page revised: 20 June 2018

Memorable Manitobans

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