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Lawrence J. Burpee



Lifetime: 1873 - 1946 Passed: ≈ 76 years ago

Lawrence Johnstone Burpee was a Canadian librarian, historian and author.


Born in Halifax, Nova Scotia, he moved to Ottawa at an early age, where from 1890 to 1905 he worked as private secretary to three federal ministers of justice. The following seven years he was librarian at the Ottawa Public Library, before becoming Canadian Secretary of the International Joint Commission in 1912, a post he occupied until his death.


Burpee helped found the Canadian Historical Association in 1922 and was its first president until 1925. He also was president of the Royal Society of Canada in 1936/37. He published many books and articles mainly related to Canadian history and geography and was the founding editor of the Canadian Geographical Journal.


Burpee was a supporter of many causes, from the need for a national library to the independence of Poland. On the latter he published a 1939 wartime article "Poland’s fight for freedom" in the Canadian Geographical Journal. On his way to Warsaw in 1946, Burpee died at Oxford, England. He is buried there, although he is also memorialized on a stone in Beechwood Cemetery.


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