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


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 at Glasgow. They had three daughters. Their Winnipeg home was designed by architect Herbert B. Rugh.

He died at Winnipeg in 1953. 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.


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.

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

This page was prepared by Gordon Goldsborough.

Page revised: 27 August 2014

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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