Revisionism at LAC, 2012

So I was walking along the hallway on the third floor after taking a rest break.  LAC have newly repainted it a charming black and have hung pictures of its past National Librarians, National Archivists and Dominion Archivists.  All a distinguished looking lot.  Thing is the pictures don’t call them that.  They are all, and I mean all, refered to as Deputy Heads of Library and Archives Canada.  But they weren’t.

 

I am quite sure that Marianne Scott, who was the National Librarian, and was a trained librarian to boot, would not be too impressed at being called ‘Deputy Head.’  And Jean-Pierre Wallot, who was a gifted historian, and National Librarian would not like to see his role reduced in this way.  The same goes for the rest of them.  They were Archivists and Librarians, that was their job title and that is how the pictures should refer to them.

Such revisionism is quite foolish really.

“Of all our national assets, Archives are the most precious; they are the
gift of one generation to another and the extent of our care of them marks
the extent of our civilization.”

Arthur Doughty, Dominion Archivist

 

From Wikipedia is a list of the Librarians and Archivists of Canada.

The Librarian and Archivist of Canada is the deputy head of Library and Archives Canada.

  • 2009–present Daniel J. Caron

 Former Librarian and Archivist of Canada

  • 2004–2009 Ian E. Wilson

Former National Librarians

  • 1999–2004 Roch Carrier
  • 1984–1999 Marianne Scott
  • 1968–1983 Guy Sylvestre
  • 1953–1967 William Kaye Lamb

 Former National Archivists

  • 1997–2004 Ian E. Wilson
  • 1985–1997 Jean-Pierre Wallot
  • 1969–1985 Wilfred I. Smith
  • 1953–1968 William Kaye Lamb

Former Dominion Archivists

  • 1948–1953 William Kaye Lamb
  • 1937–1948 Gustave Lanctot
  • 1904–1935 Sir Arthur George Doughty (A statue of Doughty is located on the north side of the Library and Archives building.)
  • 1872–1902 Douglas Brymner
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About gilliandr

A historian and traveller
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3 Responses to Revisionism at LAC, 2012

  1. Doréus says:

    Slight correction: Wallot was National Archivist (and I had him as a professor in his spare time), not Librarian as you have it posted in the second paragraph (but correctly in the following list). And yes, this kind of revisionism is both pointless and dangerous, as it emphasises the corporatisation of State institutions.

    • gilliandr says:

      I was so ticked at seeing the “deputy head” thing that I wrote the post in the LAC reference room right away…. Of course Wallot was National Archivist. He was on my Master’s thesis defence, charming man!
      It just seems so stupid to rewrite history like that. To what end? Does it make the current, and so far only “deputy head” feel better about himself and his position?

  2. Doréus says:

    But if they are deputies, who the heck is the “head”?

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