Quebec Studies

Mason Wade July 3, 1913 - January 6, 1986

Quebec Studies (1986), 4, (1), 1–2.


MASON WADE JULY 3,1913 -JANUARY 6,1986 Mason Wade did as much as anyone in the past forty years to introduce English Canadians and Americans to the history of French Canada. He did that principally through his French Canadian Outlook (1946, still in print) and the 1100 pages of The French Canadians, 17G0-19G7 (1955 and 1968). Those two influcntial books accompanied Wade's career as author or editor of seven other books, recipient of the Donner Medal in 1977, president of the Canadian Historical Association in 1964-1965, history professor at the University of Rochester (1955-1965) and the University of Western Ontario 0965-19721, and recipient of honorary degrees from the Universities of Ottawa, Laval, Vermont, and New Brunswick. Wade did not begin his career in Qu6bcc studies, nor get there through the normal route of graduate study. He published four books before he was thirty years old. His Margaret Fuller (1940, still in print) was still called "the best existing biography" by the 1978 Radcliffe Biography of that nineteenth-century fcminist. His Francis Parkman (19-12, still in print) led him, like his subject, from New England to French Canada. By 1955 a Gugcnhcim grant, an M.A. from McGill, service at the American embassy in Ottawa, scholarly articles, and the two books on French Canada took him to the University of Rochester. Certain themes run throughout Wade's work on French Canada. For one thing, he was, as Guy Frbgault characterized him, an arbitre honnSte between what Wade called "the scpnratc histories of two peoples who have jointly made a nation." Being an American outside that French vs. English conflict helped make that possiblc. Yet, whether because of his Catholic faith or his roots in what was in those days a very francophone New England or the American predisposition for the underdog, Wade more frequently took the French side over the English one. A second theme was his conception of French Canada. While Qu6bcc was its center, i t also included Acadia and the Qu6-

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Author details

Doty, C.