Wednesday, April 27, 2011

John T. Saywell, 1921-2011

Readers of the Canadian Legal History Blog will have already seen my post on the death of Jack Saywell, but since Chris hasn't posted on it (yet) and I haven't seen it on any other history blogs (yet) I am re-posting here.

The death of John T. Saywell is very sad news for his many fans--former students, colleagues and readers of his acclaimed works on Canadian political, constitutional and legal history. Professor Saywell had a long and distinguished academic career and touched the lives of many. He will be missed.

From his obit in the Globe today:

Throughout his long and distinguished career, he took 'many roads less travelled.' In the process, he deepened Canada's knowledge and understanding of itself, from the constitution and federalism to the offices of the Lieutenant-Governor and the Governor-General. He also chronicled Canadian history, economics, politics, culture and society as Editor of the Canadian Historical Review (1957 - 1963), and as Editor of the Canadian Annual Review (1960 - 1979), reviving and revitalizing these two journals. John's ground-breaking scholarship was recognized through a number of major awards. His 1957 book, The Office of Lieutenant-Governor: A Study in Canadian Government and Politics, won the Delancey K. Jay Prize at Harvard University. Another, the 1991 'Just Call Me Mitch': The Life of Mitchell F. Hepburn, won the Floyd Chalmers Award for the best book on Ontario history. His 2002 study of the Supreme Court of Canada, entitled The Lawmakers: Judicial Power and the Shaping of Canadian Federalism, won the John W. Dafoe Prize for 'distinguished writing on Canada and/or Canada's place in the world'....
A private family cremation... was held on April 23rd. In lieu of flowers, the family requests that a donation in John's memory be made to the John T. Saywell Prize for Canadian Legal History (c/o the Osgoode Society for Canadian Legal History (, to the Toronto East General Hospital (, or to a charity of choice. Friends and colleagues are invited to 'The Way It Was: Remembering Jack', a celebration of his life, to be held on Father's Day, Sunday, June 19th from 11:30 A.M. at the Japanese-Canadian Cultural Centre, 6 Garamond Court (off Wynford Drive, west of the Don Valley Parkway) in North York, 416.441.2345. Condolences
Chris adds: Thanks for this, Mary.  My review of his The Lawmakers (not online at the moment) was, ah, a tad sceptical, but I saw him make a presentation about it, and he was on fire.  We should all hope to have that kind of passion and commitment to the work.
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