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 J. William Dawson

J. William Dawson

Birth
Pictou, Pictou County, Nova Scotia, Canada
Death 19 Nov 1899 (aged 79)
Montreal, Montreal Region, Quebec, Canada
Burial Outremont, Montreal Region, Quebec, Canada
Plot Section M2
Memorial ID 11754 · View Source
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Canadian Scientist, Author, Educator. He was a noted nineteenth-century geologist and paleontologist; the only person to be president of both the British and the American Associations for the Advancement of Science; and founded the Royal Society of Canada. He was educated at the University of Edinburgh graduating in 1842. He was appointed as Nova Scotia's first superintendent of education holding the post from 1850 to 1853. He was an energetic reformer of school design, teacher education and curriculum. In 1850, he published a pamphlet entitled, "School Architecture; abridged from Barnard's School Architecture". From 1855 to 1893, he was professor of geology and principal of McGill University in Montreal, an institution which under his influence went from a moribund state to one of the world's leading schools. As a Christian, he was one of the leading critics of Charles Darwin's theory of evolution. He lectured against Darwin's theory of evolution and wrote "The Origin of the World, According to Revelation and Science” in 1877 and "Facts and Fancies in Modern Science: Studies of the Relations of Science to Prevalent Speculations and Religious Belief" in 1882. Dawson’s religious convictions were to be an integral part of his life, profoundly influencing his views on science and education; at one point, he seriously entertained the thought of becoming an ordained minister in the Presbyterian Church. He was appointed to the Most Distinguished Order of Saint Michael and Saint George in 1881 and knighted by England's Queen Victoria in 1884. Besides his texts on creation, he published over 350 articles and a half-a-dozen books on geological subjects with his last being "The Canadian Ice Age" in 1894. The mineral Dawsonite, which was discovered during the building of Redpath Museum, a natural science museum located on McGill's campus, was named in the honor of Sir James William Dawson. With his health declining, he retired from McGill in 1893. In the "Times of London”, his obituary read that McGill University under his care ranked "second only to Harvard in North America,” and listed his survivors as his wife Lady Dawson and their five children.

Bio by: Linda Davis


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  • Maintained by: Find A Grave
  • Added: 14 Aug 2000
  • Find A Grave Memorial 11754
  • Find A Grave, database and images (https://www.findagrave.com : accessed ), memorial page for J. William Dawson (13 Oct 1820–19 Nov 1899), Find A Grave Memorial no. 11754, citing Cimetière Mont-Royal, Outremont, Montreal Region, Quebec, Canada ; Maintained by Find A Grave .