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Lawrence Johnston Burpee was a historian, a civil servant, a librarian and a writer. He was born in Halifax, Nova Scotia, the son of Lewis Johnston Burpee and Alice de Mill. In 1899 he married Maud Hanington. They had three sons and two daughters, Lawrence Hanington, Mrs. John Lowe, Margaret, Edward and Arthur. He died in Oxford, England.
Burpee was educated partly at home and at public and private schools. In 1890 he entered the Canadian federal Civil Service to serve as private secretary to three successive Ministers of Justice. From 1905 to 1912 he was Librarian of the Carnegie Public Library in Ottawa. From 1912 until his death, he was Canadian Secretary of the International Joint Commission.
Burpee was one of the founding members of the Canadian Historical Association; National President of the Canadian Authors’ Association; editor of the Canadian Geographical Journal; founding member of the Board of Directors of the Canadian Writers’ Foundation; Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada (1911), Honorary Secretary (1926-1935), and President (1936-1937). He received the Medaille de Vermeil award from the Académie Française for work in Canadian history and the Tyrrell Gold Medal from the Royal Society of Canada.
Burpee published extensively in the areas of Canadian bibliography, geography and history. His publications include: A Bibliography of Canadian Fiction (1904, co-editor: L.E. Horning), Canadian Life in Town and Country (1905, co-author: H.J. Morgan), A Little Book of Canadian Essays (1909), A Century of Canadian Sonnets (1910), An Index and Dictionary of Canadian History (1911, co-editor: Arthur G. Doughty), Humour of the North (1912), Sandford Fleming, Empire Builder (1915), An Historical Atlas of Canada (1927, editor), Journals of LaVerendrye (1927, editor).
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Accession 2018.15 was purchased from Lord Durham Rare Books by the Victoria University Library in 2018.
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Revised by BC: October 24, 2018