Robert Alexander Falconer fonds

Title: Robert Alexander Falconer fonds

Dates of creation: 1876-1982, predominant, 1905-1943

Physical description: 0.67 metres of textual and other material

Biographical Sketch: Sir Robert Alexander Falconer (b. Feb. 10 1867.d Nov. 4, 1943) was born in Charlottetown; P.E.I. Falconer spent much of his youth in Trinidad, where his Presbyterian clergyman father had been posted. He was educated at London and Edinburgh universities, where he concentrated on classics and philosophy. He pursued postgraduate work at Leipzig, Berlin and Marburg, Germany. In 1892 he was ordained a minister in the Presbyterian Church in Canada and took up a lectureship in New Testament Greek at Pine Hill Divinity Hall, Halifax. Becoming a professor there in 1895, he was appointed principal in 1904. In 1906, a royal commission appointed to investigate all aspects of the University of Toronto had found administrative chaos and low morale. The commission recommended a complete constitutional reorganization and implicitly a new president. Falconer was eventually asked to replace President James Louden. Much of Falconer's time and energy as President of the University of Toronto (1907-1932) was given to executing the recommendations of the 1906 commission. Falconer inherited a collection of colleges and left behind him an integrated university that led the country in industrial and scientific, as well as humanistic, research. He was much in demand as a public speaker, particularly on the importance of maintaining the British imperial connection, the nurturing of "idealism in national character" (the title of his 1920 collection of wartime addresses), and the integrity and place of the humanities in an increasingly scientific and practical university environment. Falconer retired in 1932, and died in 1943. He was married to Lady Sophia Falconer (b. 1870, Kingston, d. June 10 1968, Toronto) in 1898. They had two sons, James Gilbert Falconer (1901 – 1968) and Robert Douglas Falconer (1909 – 1996).

Scope and content: Correspondence, speeches, reports, photgraphs, notes, publications, films, and other material documenting Sir Robert Alexander Falconer's personal life, undergraduate education at the University of Edinburgh, and career as president of the University of Toronto. Includes a paper written by Barbara Marshall, "The Thought of Sir Robert Falconer", with bibliography of Falconer's publications.

Finding aids: File lists available for accessions B1965-0015 and B2012-0023. Series description available for accession B2012-0023.

Access: Open

Accession number: B1965-0015, B1979-0065, B2009-0023, B2012-0023; A1981-1073, B1965-1068, B1965-1116, B1975-1080, B1976-1016, B1978-1106, B1978-1107, B1979-1115, B1980-1000, B1980-1114, B1983-1017, B1983-1210, B1983-1212

Related records in a different fonds: B1979-0040 (oral history interview about Falconer)