Department of Political Economy

Title:  University of Toronto. Department of Political Economy fonds

Date(s) of creation: 1916-1976

Physical description: 18.66 metres of textual and graphic records

Admin. history/Biographical Sketch: The Department of Political Economy at the University of Toronto has undergone two major name changes in the course of its history. Originally known as the Chair of Political Economy and Constitutional History, the department was established under this name in 1888. In October 1892 the name was changed to the Department of Political Science; this name was used until January 1924, when it was changed to the Department of Political Economy, which remained its name until the department was dissolved in August 1982.
Under the leadership of its successive Heads/Chairmen (see list of Department Heads), the Department of Political Economy grew from a small unit with a simple administrative structure into a large, decentralized department. Many scholars of international reputation taught on the staff, such as Harold Innis, Alexander Brady, C.A. Ashley and Vincent Bladen. Their contributions to the field included Innis' The Cod Fisheries, Bladen's Introduction to Political Economy and Brady's Democracy in the Dominions. The Department offered a wide variety of courses in Sociology, Accounting, Commerce and Finance, Economics, and Political Science, and was able to broaden its curriculum as the staff size expanded. The Department experienced considerable growth during the post-war boom, with 48 staff members in 1948-49, and contracted again during the early 1950's, with 36 on staff in 1952-53. The department's administrative structure remained relatively straightforward until the mid-1960's, with each departmental Chairman or Head having direct access to the University President. In the early 1960's, however, in response to the university's increasing size and diversity, the position of Provost was created in the administration, and the Dean of each faculty became a budgetary officer. In 1965, W.T. Easterbrook, Chairman of the Department of Political Economy, to appointed an Associate Chairman and a number of administrative assistants to help with departmental administration.

By 1982 the Department of Political Economy no longer occupied a central position in the University, due to the growth and diversification of similar departments at other universities. Competition from the Faculty of Management Studies (FMS) for new staff also affected the Department's Commerce program. The FMS had originated in the Department of Political Economy in 1950 and had become a separate entity by the mid-1960's. Throughout the 1970's the Department's policy was to appoint its own staff in the areas of finance and accounting and to rely on the Faculty of Management Studies for "most instruction in organizational behaviour". Therefore, many professors were cross-appointed from FMS at various times during the 1970's. When the Department of Political Economy was dissolved in 1982, most of its commerce faculty moved to FMS, while economists from FMS moved to the newly-created Department of Economics in the Faculty of Arts and Science.

A) Professor of Political Economy and Constitutional History (Title used from 1888-1922)
W.J. Ashley 1888-1892
James Mavor 1892-1923
B) Head, Department of Political Economy (Title used from 1922 to 1953)
R.M. Maclver 1922-1927 (Acting Head, 1922; took over as Head, 1923)
E.J. Urwick 1927-1937
H. A. Innis 1937-1952
C.A. Ashley, Acting Head 1952-1953
C) Chairman, Department of Political Economy (Title used from 1953-1982)
Vincent Bladen 1953-1960
C.A. Ashley 1960-1961
W.T. Easterbrook 1961-1970
J.S. Dupre 1970-1974
Harry Eastman 1974-1977
Ian Drummond 1977-1979
Bennett Kovrig 1979-1982

Scope and content: Departmental administrative records of heads of the department such as Edward Johns Urwick, Vincent W. Bladen, W. T. J. Easterbrook, Harold Adam Innis, Charles Allan Ashley and James Everil Smyth including correspondence, appointments, memoranda, reports including those relating to the Harold Adams Innis Memorial Fund and the Rockefeller Foundation grants.  Photographs

Access/Use: Restricted. Subject to review under Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act.

Finding aids:  Finding aids available in Reading Room. See also  Inventory to the Records of the Dept. of Political Economy A1976-0025

Related records in a different fonds: Charles Allan Ashley, Harold Adam Innis, Vincent W. Bladen, W. T. J. Easterbrook

Accruals:   Further accruals are not expected.

Corresponding accessions: A1965-0005/A1969-0007/A1974-0004/A1976-0025/A1979-0028