Fonds 1512 - C. B. Macpherson fonds

Identity area

Reference code

UTA 1512


C. B. Macpherson fonds


  • 1933-1986 (Creation)

Level of description


Extent and medium

7.03 m of textual and graphic records, sound recordings, and artifacts (33 boxes)

Context area

Name of creator


Biographical history

Crawford Brough Macpherson was born in Toronto Ontario on November 18, 1911, and was known as C.B. He received his Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of Toronto in 1933 and his Masters in Economics at the University of London, England in 1935. Macpherson went on to receive his D.Sc. in Economics in 1955, D.Litt at Memorial University of Newfoundland, and his LL.D. at Queens University. He married Kathleen Margaret Walker in 1943 and had three children, Susan Margaret, Stephen Denis, and Sheila Jane.

From 1935 until 1942 and 1944 to 1945 Macpherson was a lecturer at the University of Toronto focusing on Political Economy. 1942-1943 he was a professor in Economics and Political Science at the University of New Brunswick. During the years 1943 through 1944, Macpherson was the executive officer of the Wartime Information Board in Ottawa and returned to the University of Toronto in 1944 to become an assistant professor in Political Science. He was made associate professor in 1951 and a full professor in 1975. In 1958, Macpherson was made a fellow of the Royal Society of Canada, and in 1973 he was elected to the Royal Historical Society in England. In 1976, Macpherson was appointed an officer of the University of Canada.

Throughout his academic tenure, Macpherson’s academic achievements were lauded by his peers. In addition to his involvement with the societies mentioned previously, Macpherson was also active in the International Political Association from 1950-1958 and was the president of the Canadian Political Science Association from 1963-1964 as well as many other societies and associations. Macpherson was also a visiting professor at Hebrew University of Jerusalem in 1972, Aarhus University in 1975, and Arizona State University in 1979. Additionally, he was a visiting research fellow at Australian National University in 1973.

Macpherson’s publications have been translated into several languages and include "The Political Theory of Possessive Individualism: Hobbes to Locke" published in 1962. This work was considered a cornerstone in the field of Political Theory and helped bolster Macpherson’s reputation in international scholarly circles. In 1971, Macpherson refused to lecture in South Africa due to the apartheid and vocally supported the Civil Liberties Association.

C.B. Macpherson died July 21, 1987 at the age of 75 in Toronto.

Archival history

Immediate source of acquisition or transfer

Content and structure area

Scope and content

Fonds consists of three accessions:

  • B1987-0069: Files transferred from his home, including lecture notes, trip arrangements, requests to speak, write and translate, c.v.'s and publicity materials, correspondence regarding publications and reviews for various journals, current writing projects (1970-80's), correspondence, lectures relating to "Life and times of Liberal Democracy", mss and correspondence of publications "Real World of Democracy", Possessive Individualism", "Democratic Theory: Essays in Retrieval"; papers on the university; private journals (photocopies) 1933-1935; M.A. thesis; CBC Massey lectures "The Real World of Democracy" 1965 (audio tapes). Office files: correspondence, conference files, graduate student files, letters of recommendation, research and teaching files. Publications (journal articles, book reviews) on or about C.B. Macpherson, 1937-1984. [30 boxes, 1933-1986]

  • B2013-0016: A letter to 'The Times' re "rights of man" (1939), and a file on the proposed Canadian Bill of Rights (1947), and 11 audio-cassette tapes of lectures delivered by Professor Macpherson to his Political Science 200 course, 'Political Theory', in 1977-1978. [1 box and 2 folders, 1939-1978]

  • B2018-0004: Correspondence, certificates and photographs relating to honours bestowed on Professor C. B. Macpherson, most of which relate to the accompanying C. B. Macpherson Memorial Quilt, designed and made for him in 1989 by Ellen Adams from six of his academic hoods. Also includes two photographs of Macpherson receiving the Order of Canada from Governor General Jules Léger at Rideau Hall in 1977. [2 boxes and 2 photographs, 1977-1989]

Appraisal, destruction and scheduling


System of arrangement

Conditions of access and use area

Conditions governing access

All boxes are open, with the exception of the following:

  • B1987-0069/015-/019: Graduate Student files
  • B1987-0069/022: Letters of recommendation

These files have been restricted to protect the privacy of third parties and are restricted for 75 years until 2062. Please contact the University Archivist for permission to access these records.

Conditions governing reproduction

Copyright held by Estate of C.B. Macpherson.
Permission to publish is required.

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Finding aids

Attached finding aid is for accession B1987-0069 only.

Uploaded finding aid

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Dates of creation revision deletion

Added to AtoM by E. Sommers, June 2017




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