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Memorable Manitobans: Thomas Beattie Roberton (1879-1936)

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Thomas Beattie Roberton
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Journalist.

Born at Glasgow, Scotland on 20 October 1879, son of George Roberton (1856-1935), he apprenticed with a printing firm before moving to Canada in 1910. He market gardened in Alberta, set type in Calgary and Victoria, and ended up in Winnipeg working as a printer for the labour newspaper The Voice. He joined the Manitoba Free Press in 1918 and remained there until his death, serving as Associate Editor (1929-1931) and Assistant Editor-in-Chief (1931-1936).

Roberton had no experience as a reporter, and was a critic/commentator from the outset of his journalistic career. He wrote on a variety of topics under the nom de plume “T.B.R.” His subject matter ranged from Robbie Burns to a defence of political agitators, to jazz, to Canadian literature. A collection of his essays, edited by J. B. “Hamish” McGeachy, appeared in 1936 as TBR: Newspaper Pieces. It was recognized with an inaugural Governor General's Literary Award.

He and wife Elizabeth Allen (1879-1958) had four girls and three boys.

He died of a heart attack at his Winnipeg home, 104 Rose Street, on 13 January 1936 and was buried in the Elmwood Cemetery.

Sources:

“T. B. Roberton, noted Winnipeg writer, passes,” Winnipeg Tribune, 14 January 1936, page 3.

Death registrations, Manitoba Vital Statistics.

“J. B. McGeachy,” Winnipeg Free Press, 1 September 1966, page 13.

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

This page was prepared by Gordon Goldsborough.

Page revised: 5 September 2021

Memorable Manitobans

Memorable Manitobans

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