Memorable Manitobans: John Braithwaite Wallis (1876-1962)
Educator, naturalist, entomologist.
Born at Erith, England on 26 December 1876, he emigrated to Canada in 1894 where he began a life-long teaching career in Manitoba schools. After teaching at Pelican Lake School (1899) and Russell School (January to June 1903), at the invitation of Daniel McIntyre, he became Supervisor of Nature Study for Winnipeg schools and was later appointed Principal of Machray School (1904-1921), and finally Assistant Superintendent of Winnipeg public schools. He was President of the Manitoba Educational Association (1928-1929).
A close friend of R. D. Bird, the men shared a passion for entomology. Wallis wrote many scientific articles on insects and, in 1927, the book “A Colour Key to the Manitoban Butterflies.” His greatest interest was in Odonata, Lepidoptera and Coleoptera, and later water beetles and tiger beetles, about which he wrote an important monograph. He made insect collections for the museum at the University of Manitoba and, after his retirement, he made field trips around Canada on behalf of the federal government. He was made an honorary life member of the Entomological Society of Canada. He was a member of the Scientific Club of Winnipeg and a founding member of the Manitoba Naturalists Society, serving as its President in 1927-1928. He was an original member of the Men’s Musical Club and he helped organize the Manitoba Musical Festival.
1901 Canada census, Automated Genealogy.
“Two Principals are selected,” Manitoba Free Press, 9 March 1904, page 3.
Obituary, Winnipeg Free Press, 15 March 1962, page 30.
The History of the Manitoba Educational Association by Ernest Butterworth, MEd thesis, Faculty of Graduate Study and Research, University of Manitoba, 1965.
And So ... Ninette, 1879-1919 by Eva Calverley, circa 1966.
Norman Criddle: Pioneer Entomologist of the Prairies by N. J. Holliday, Manitoba History, Number 51, February 2006.
We thank Charles Bird for providing additional information used here.
This page was prepared by Gordon Goldsborough.
Page revised: 18 October 2014
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