The Renaissance of Canadian History: A Biography of A.L. Burt
This work describes the thought and career of the historian A.L. Burt, a key figure in the period of Canadian historical scholarship which spans the second and third decades of this century. Burt (1888-1971) was influential as a teacher and a scholar in Canada and the United States from 1913 to 1957. As a writer of school texts, a public speaker, and an author of periodical articles he expressed forcibly his views on international relations, the importance of a better understanding between French and English in Canada, and the significance of western Canada in the development of the nation. His major works, The Old Province of Quebec and The United States, Great Britain, and British North American from the Revolutionary War to the Establishment of Peace after the War of 1812, were in the mainstream of contemporary historiography and are now classics.
Until the 1920s little use had been made by Canadian historians of the materials assembled in the public Archives in Ottawa. A.L. Burt’s initiative in exploiting this latent wealth set a pattern for others, and gave leadership to a revision of Canada’s early history through a return to original sources. He was tireless in his search for facts in the documents, discriminating in weighing them as evidence, acute in his conclusions and generalizations, and tireless in striving for effective literary expression. In 1933 he published The Old Province of Quebec, the first fruit of cultivating of this intensive cultivation of archival material. His venture into the archives became, in effect, a ‘movement,’ as witnessed by the historians who joined in, such as G de T. Glazebrook, Harold A Innis, A.S. Morton, and Frank Underhill.
This book is singularly revealing of Burt’s thought, based as it is on his correspondence and published addresses. It will be a useful contribution to the intellectual history of Canada, in which historians, the interpreters and custodians of our collective memory, have always occupied a prominent yet largely unrecognized role.
- Series: Heritage
- World Rights
- Page Count: 206 pages
- Dimensions: 6.0in x 0.0in x 9.0in
LEWIS H. THOMAS was the Provincial Archivist of Saskatchewan from 1948 to 1957, and was a professor of history at the University of Alberta. He is the author of The Struggle for Responsible government in the North-West Territories 1870-1897.
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