Memorable Manitobans: Chester Baily Martin (1882-1958)
In the University of New Brunswick, of which he was a graduate, he evinced promising abilities, and became in 1904 a Rhodes Scholar, the first from this continent. At Balliol he set a good pace for a long line of successors, winning Gladstone Memorial prize, Brassey studentship, and Beit scholarship. In 1909, he was appointed Professor of History at the University of Manitoba and here he developed a first-class department. From time to time he was a member of various government Commissions, and was Counsel for the Province of Manitoba before the Federal Resources Commission. In 1920, he was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada.
While in Manitoba, he published Lord Selkirk’s Work in Canada (1916), “The Natural Resources Question” The Historical Basis of Provincial Claims (1920), The Colonial Policy of the Dominion (1922) and Empire and Commonwealth (1929). He also served as President of the Canadian Historical Association (1928). Martin represented Manitoba at the commission of inquiry on the transfer of Manitoba’s natural resources from federal to provincial responsibility. Along with C. N. Bell and W. J. Healy, he helped to revive the Manitoba Historical Society in late 1920s and early 1930s.
In 1929, the year he was awarded an honorary doctorate by the University of Manitoba, he succeeded Professor Wrong in Toronto, and upheld with distinction the great traditions of that Department of History. Those achievements, together with his output of many books and other publications, based on thorough research and solid learning and written in pregnant and measured style, gave Martin an eminent position among Canadian historians. He chaired the history department until his retirement in 1952. Among his later works was Foundations of Canadian Nationhood (1956).
He died at Toronto, Ontario on 2 April 1958.
“Deaths yesterday,” Winnipeg Free Press, 3 April 1958, page 2.
Based on information, in part, from www.rsc.ca.
This page was prepared by Gordon Goldsborough.
Page revised: 30 July 2018
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