Manitoba Historical Society
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Memorable Manitobans: Matthew Archibald Parker (1871-1953)

Educator.

Born at Renfrewshire, Scotland in 1871, son of John and Annie Parker, he was educated at Glasgow and Heidelberg. He was a lecturer in organic chemistry at the Glasgow Technical College from 1901 to 1904. He came to Winnipeg in 1904 where he was Professor of Chemistry at the University of Manitoba, one of the first six professors hired by the University. The others were Frank Allen (Physics), Gordon Bell (Bacteriology), Reginald Buller (Botany & Geology), Robert Rutherford Cochrane (Mathematics), Matthew Archibald Parker (Chemistry), and Swale Vincent (Physiology and Zoology). In 1905, Parker and his colleagues founded the Scientific Club of Winnipeg.

Parker served as Official Analyst to the Government of Manitoba and was a Fellow of the Chemical Society of London, and a member of the American Chemical Society, Society of Chemical Industry, British Association for the Advancement of Science, and American Association for the Advancement of Science. He helped found the Canadian Institute of Chemistry. He received an honorary doctorate from the University of Manitoba in 1924. He retired in 1937.

In 1904, he married Elizabeth Blackie (1880-1973) at Glasgow, Scotland. They had three daughters: Frances R. Parker (wife of ? Stevens), Elizabeth Rose Parker (wife of ? Smith), and Jocelyn Parker (wife of ? Currie). One of their family homes was designed by architect Herbert Bell Rugh.

He died at his Winnipeg home, 365 Waverley Street, on 29 November 1953 and was buried in the Garry Memorial Park. His papers are at the University of Manitoba Archives & Special Collections. He is commemorated by the Parker Building at the Fort Garry campus of the University of Manitoba.

See also:

Historic Sites of Manitoba: Robinson House (48 East Gate, Winnipeg)

Sources:

Marriage registrations, Manitoba Vital Statistics.

Who’s Who in Western Canada: A Biographical Dictionary of Notable Living Men and Women of Western Canada, Volume 1, edited by C. W. Parker, Vancouver: Canadian Press Association, 1911.

“Ex-U prof. M. A. Parker dies at 82,” Winnipeg Free Press, 30 November 1953, page 15.

Obituary, Winnipeg Free Press, 30 November 1953, page 29.

Obituary [Elizabeth Blackie Parker], Winnipeg Free Press, 16 November 1973, page 31.

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

This page was prepared by Gordon Goldsborough.

Page revised: 26 December 2021

Memorable Manitobans

Memorable Manitobans

This is a collection of noteworthy Manitobans from the past, compiled by the Manitoba Historical Society. We acknowledge that the collection contains both reputable and disreputable people. All are worth remembering as a lesson to future generations.

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