Founding of the HRCC


Dec. 29, 1943 - Founding of Humanities Research Council of Canada

After persuading the government not to restrict university studies in the humanities, some scholars feel they need a permanent body to speak for them. R.H. Coats, President of Section II of the Royal Society of Canada and Chairman of the Canadian Social Science Research Council, appoints a committee to investigate forming a Humanities Research Council of Canada (HRCC). On December 29, 1943, the council is founded. Watson Kirkconnell becomes chairman with sixteen scholars of “Classics, Orientals, English, French, other modern languages, Philosophy and History” rounding out the rest of the group and John Robbins acting as Secretary-Treasurer. While the all-male membership is concentrated in Ontario, every province save Prince Edward Island has at least one representative. Significantly, while the Canadian Social Science Research Council has been founded in part by four “constituent” associations, the HRCC has no similar structure—its representatives are pulled from various disciplines on a more ad hoc basis. Two standing committees are formed to help scholars fund their research and publication, but due to a lack of stable financing, these committees are not yet able to take on many projects.