Memorable Manitobans: William Talbot Allison (1874-1941)
Born at Unionville, Ontario in 1874, he was educated at the University of Toronto (Harbord Collegiate) and Yale University. He was Editor of “The Harbord Review” while at school, and a reporter at the Toronto News and The Star. He wrote a volume of poetry entitled “The Amber Army.” He served as pastor of the Presbyterian Church in Stayner, Ontario, until his appointment to Wesley College in 1910.
In 1920, he became Assistant Professor at the University of Manitoba. Allison was active in journalism, syndicating a weekly book review feature in leading Canadian newspapers. He was Literary Columnist of the Winnipeg Telegram and Montreal Daily Star, and Literary Editor of the Winnipeg Tribune. He was a founder of the Canadian Authors’ Association and one of the first educators to take advantage of the medium of radio, lecturing over CKY as early as 1924. He was the author of Bolshevism in English Literature (1921).
He and wife Annie Josephine Cunard Dawson (?-?) had three children: Frederick Gerard Allison, Gerald Carlisle Allison, and Mary Allison (1913-?, wife of Colin Ashdown).
He died at his Winnipeg residence, 600 Gertrude Avenue, on 4 February 1941. A scrapbook of newspaper clippings is held in the Archives of Manitoba.
Birth registration [Mary Allison], Manitoba Vital Statistics.
Pioneers and Prominent People of Manitoba, Winnipeg: Canadian Publicity Company, 1925.
“Dr. W. T. Allison dies Tuesday at age of 66,” Winnipeg Free Press, 4 February 1941.
“Professor W. T. Allison,” Manitoba Calling, Vol. 12, No. 3, March 1948, page 9.
Dictionary of Manitoba Biography by John M. “Jack” Bumsted, Winnipeg: University of Manitoba Press, 1999.
We thank Rebecca Wilson for providing additional information used here.
This page was prepared by Gordon Goldsborough.
Page revised: 6 June 2022