Fonds MS-2-42 - Charles Macdonald fonds

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Charles Macdonald fonds

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  • Textual record

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Physical description

18 cm of textual records

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Name of creator


Biographical history

Charles Macdonald taught mathematics at Dalhousie University from 1862-1901 and was the namesake of the Macdonald Memorial Library. Born in Aberdeen in 1828 to Elizabeth and John Macdonald, he graduated from the University of Aberdeen in 1850, where he distinguished himself as the recipient of the Hutton Prize for the arts curriculum. After receiving his MA, he studied divinity and became a licentiate in the Church of Scotland, but turned his energies to teaching. He was at the Aberdeen Grammar School in 1862 when he was selected by the Church of Scotland in Nova Scotia as its nominee for the chair of mathematics at the newly re-opened Dalhousie College in Halifax.

Beloved among his students and a popular public speaker, Macdonald lectured on whimsical topics such as β€œOn Fun,” as well as giving more contentious addresses on evolution and education. In 1882 he married Susan Morrow, who died after childbirth one year later. Macdonald did not remarry, raising his son as a single father.

Macdonald died in 1901 at the age of seventy-two after contracting pneumonia. In his will he left $2,000 to buy books for the university library, which prompted a movement among alumni to build a proper library in his honour. The Macdonald Library was built in 1916 and served as the university library until the 1970s.

Custodial history

The materials were accessioned by Dalhousie University Archives in 1970. The custodial history is unknown.

Scope and content

Fonds consists of handwritten and printed sermons and lectures and an open letter to the Chancellor of the University of Halifax (1877). It also includes a convocation address (1870) and the order of service for Macdonald's funeral (1901).

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  • English

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Restrictions on access

There are no access restrictions on these materials. All materials are open for research.

Terms governing use, reproduction, and publication

Materials created by Charles MacDonald are in the public domain. Materials do not circulate and must be used in the Archives and Special Collections Reading Room.

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Associated materials

See MS-1-Ref Box 72, Folders 31-32 for related material.

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Further accruals are not expected.

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