No Ordinary Man: George Mercer Dawson 1849-1901

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Dundurn, Jun 30, 1993 - Biography & Autobiography - 208 pages

George Mercer Dawson was indeed no ordinary man. Born in 1849, son of the first Principal of McGill University, Dawson defied health circumstances that would have defeated many people and went on to become one of our most exceptional Canadians.

As a geologist in the British North American Boundary Commission between Canada and the U.S.A. and as Director of the Geological Survey of Canada in 1895, Dawson examined and explored every aspect of Canada’s unknown territories.

This collection of writings, letters, diaries and essays begins with the young George and moves through his developing years to his adult life.

"He climbed, walked and rode on horseback over more of Canada than any other member of the Geological Survey of Canada at that time – yet to look at him, one would not think him capable of a day’s hard physical labour .... It was his hand that first traced upon vacant maps the geological formations of the Yukon and much of British Columbia."

- Lois Winslow-Spragge

"To read about him is like taking a drink of water from a cool, unpolluted spring. His sense of values was so great that he once said he didn’t care much for money or possessions. All he wanted was what he could hold in his canoe."

- Anne Byers, Ottawa

 

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Contents

The Little Doctor George Mercer Dawson
9
A Brief Biography
11
George and His Grandfather
13
Childhood Essays
19
A Boyhood Diary
27
A Voyage to Great Britain with Father
33
Summers on the Lower St Lawrence River
43
A Voyage by Sail to Great Britain
49
Dawson and the Yukon
Ethnological Endeavours
Glimpses at Georges Personal Life
An Enduring Friend
A Loyal Son and Sibling
The Bering Sea Commission
A WideRanging Mind
Selected Poems of George Mercer Dawson

First Year at the Royal School of Mines London 186970
57
Summer 1870 with Parents in Scotland
69
Second Year at the Royal School of Mines 187071
71
A Summer of Field Work in the English Lake District
79
Third Year at the Royal School of Mines 187172
84
GeologistNaturalist on the British North American Boundary Commission
101
Enduring Achievements with the Geological Survey of Canada
Life and Exploration on the Western Frontier
Science and Exploration in Canada
The Lasting Legacy of George Mercer Dawson
For Further Reading
About the Author
About the Editor
Visual Credits
Index
Copyright

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About the author (1993)

Lois Winslow-Spragge was the first teacher of drawing at Miss Edgar's and Miss Cramp's School for Girls in Montreal, a member of the Canadian Handicrafts Guild and one of the first female groups of Montreal potters. Her love of rocks and minerals came naturally to her and in the 1970s she exhibited her Rock Art Paintings at the International Geologists Congress held at McGill University.

Bradley Lockner is an historical editor and professional librarian with a special interest in British Columbia history. He has collaborated on two other volumes on George Dawson, and is currently working on another volume of Dawson's later journals. He has also been involved in several other historical editing projects, including the journal of the fur trader Alexander Walker, and the letters of Gilbert Malcolm Sproat, Indian Land commissioner in B.C. during the 1870s.

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