Fonds 1513 - Macpherson Family fonds

Identity area

Reference code

UTA 1513


Macpherson Family fonds


  • 1933-1992 (Creation)

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Extent and medium

0.59 m of textual and graphic records (6 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.

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Biographical history

Kay Macpherson was born in England 1913 and immigrated to Canada in 1935. Macpherson practised physiotherapy in Montreal, Fredericton and Ottawa in the 1930s and 1940s before settling in Toronto with her husband, political scientist, C.B. Macpherson.

Her career as a social and political activist began in the 1950s in Toronto, with the Association of Women Electors, which has been described as a "city hall watchdog group". Macpherson was one of the founders of the Voice of Women (a national peace organization) in 1960, and served as national president for several years. In 1968 she toured Hanoi on behalf of the Voice of Women in their opposition to the Vietnam War and arranged for Vietnamese women to visit Canada.

Macpherson was consulted by the Royal Commission on the Status of Women, and was a founding member of the National Action Committee on the Status of Women in 1971, serving as national president during 1977-1979. She is also a founder of Women for Political Action and has herself run for election (unsuccessfully) in the federal riding of York East (in 1972, 1974 and 1980). Macpherson's writings have appeared in such periodicals as Canadian Forum, Canadian Women Studies, and Chatelaine. Macpherson was named a member of the Order of Canada in 1982.

Please see When in Doubt, Do Both: The Times of My Life by Kay Macpherson with C.M. Donald (University of Toronto Press, 1994) for more biographical information.

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Scope and content

Correspondence, diaries, greeting cards, photographs, lists of contents of library, obituaries, letters of condolence, and other material documenting the lives of Crawford Brough (C.B.) and Kathleen (Kay) Macpherson and the professional activities of C.B. Macpherson as professor of political science at the University of Toronto. B2019-0044 includes correspondence (1943-1954) documenting their courtship and the early years of their marriage.

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

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Notes area


In file listing, CBM = Crawford Brough Macpherson

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Dates of creation revision deletion

  • Added to AtoM by E. Sommers, June 2017
  • B2019-0044 added by E. Sommers, Feb. 2020
  • File lists imported to AtoM by E. Sommers, Sep 2022




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