Lifetime: 1884 - 1970 Passed: ≈ 54 years ago


Professor, Librarian, Author



W. Stewart Wallace

William Stewart Wallace was a Canadian historian, librarian, and editor. His historical reference works were considered 'of inestimable value in Canadian studies'.

Canadian professor of political economy Harold Innis (1894 – 1952) was influenced by a maxim of the then McMaster University professor Wallace, 'that the economic interpretation of history is not the only interpretation but is the deepest interpretation'.

Dr Wallace was educated at Toronto and Oxford (Master of Arts) universities, and taught history (1906 – 1920) at the universities of Western Ontario, McMaster and Toronto. In 1920 he became an assistant librarian, then in 1923, the librarian at the University of Toronto until his retirement in 1954 with title Chief Librarian.

It is given Wallace in total wrote over thirty books and hundreds of articles. The works were not without its critics. Laura Secord is considered a heroine of the War of 1812, a war between the United States of America and Great Britain in Upper Canada (1812 – 1814). Wallace's 1932 study downplayed the importance of her contributions in that war and resulted in great debate: of those contributions, the emerging professional historian, and subsequent interpretive gender bias by historians.

Wallace was the founder and first editor (1920 – 1930) of the Canadian Historical Review, editor (1923 – 1943), president (1943 – 1948), and honorary president (1963 – 1970) of the Champlain Society, honorary editor (1937 – 1945) of the Royal Society of Canada, and a long-standing member of the Bibliographical Society of Canada.

One of Wallace's long-term interests was the history of the famous North West Company and its partners, whose careers he investigated in minute detail. The "Biographical Dictionary of the Nor'Westers", published as part of his Documents Relating to the North West Company (1934), is full of evidence of the extensive correspondence he carried on with descendants of the partners, trying to locate new letters, journals and account books. Although articles in the Dictionary of Canadian Biography have expanded knowledge of some of the Company's partners, Wallace's work remains a fundamental source. One of his most important discoveries, near the end of his active career, was the correspondence of the Company's partner Æneas Cameron, then in the possession of descendants in Scotland and now at the Hudson's Bay Company Archives in Winnipeg. This collection of manuscripts was a key source for Elaine A. Mitchell's Fort Temiskaming and the Fur Trade (1977, University of Toronto Press).

William George Wallace and Maggie Marie Stewart were married in Toronto, Ontario, Canada on Thursday, 28 June 1883. Stewart's Scottish-born father was a Baptist pastor and teacher in Ontario. The Reverend William George Wallace MA DD was part of the officers of the inaugural general council in Toronto in June 1925 for the United Church.

Their son William Stewart Wallace was born on Monday, 23 June 1884 in Georgetown. Aged 29, on 24 October 1913 in Ontario, Wallace married Isabel Dora Graeme Robertson (b. 27 October 1883, Toronto), the daughter of James Alexander and Julia Delmage (née Carry) Robertson. They had two children, Marcia and Ian.

During the First World War, he reached the rank of major in the Canadian Expeditionary Force (1915 – 1918), serving overseas, and involved in the Khaki College as the commanding officer.

He retired at seventy years of age and from 1954 was the proprietor of the well-known Dora Hood's Book Room booksellers. Wallace died on Wednesday, 11 March 1970 in Toronto and was buried at the Mount Pleasant Cemetery, Toronto, survived by his wife and children.

Books by W. Stewart Wallace

Chronicles of Canada Volume 13 - The United Empire Loyalists: A Chronicle of the Great Migration Cover image

Chronicles of Canada Volume 13 - The United Empire Loyalists: A Chronicle of the Great Migration

History Non-Fiction
Politics Migration Early Modern Persecution

Volume 13 of The Chronicles of Canada Series. This volume sheds light on the often misunderstood Americans who chose to remain loyal to the Crown of England during and after the American Revolution. While the vast majority of American writings which...

Chronicles of Canada Volume 24 -The Family Compact : a chronicle of the rebellion in Upper Canada Cover image

Chronicles of Canada Volume 24 -The Family Compact : a chronicle of the rebellion in Upper Canada

Rebellion Jacobins

This is the 24th volume of Chronicles of Canada.