Fonds 1233 - William Thomas James Easterbrook fonds

Identity area

Reference code

UTA 1233


William Thomas James Easterbrook fonds


  • 1933-1983 (Creation)

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3.04 m of textual and graphic records (23 boxes)

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Name of creator


Biographical history

William Thomas (Tom) James Easterbrook was a professor of Political Science and Chair of the Department of Political Economy from 1961-1970.

He was born in 1907 in Winnipeg, Manitoba. He earned his Bachelor of Arts in 1933 from the University of Manitoba. Five years later, he earned his Doctorate in Economics from the University of Toronto. He taught for a time at Brandon College, earning a Guggenheim fellowship for his research into the economic history of the Pacific Northwest, before joining the University of Toronto faculty in 1947.

Easterbrook wrote a number of books including Canadian Economic History, a textbook that he co-authored with Hugh Aitken; Farm Credit in Canada; and Approaches to Canadian Economic History, a work he co-authored with Mel Watkins. Easterbrook was also Chairman of the Department of Political Economy during an important period in its history. According to Stefan Dupré, who succeeded Easterbrook as chair of the Department from 1971 to 1974 [1], “[D]uring his decade from 1961 to 1970 as head of the family, [Easterbrook] literally created the modern Department of Political Economy, both in size and in scope.” [2] In addition to leading the Department during a time of rapid growth, Easterbrook was partly responsible for the creation of the Institute for Policy Analysis.

Easterbrook died in March 1985. He left behind a daughter, Jane, and two sons, Michael and Joel. Hs wife, Mary, predeceased him.[3]

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This fonds consists of a mix of documents and records pertaining to Easterbrook’s various professional roles, including those of teacher, researcher, and administrator. Of the three accessions that make up the fonds, B1975-0030 consists of correspondence with Harold Innis as well as assorted notes, including those taken from discussions with Innis during his final months; B1979-0039 consists of correspondence, memoranda, reports, notes, and manuscripts documenting Easterbrook’s roles as professor and head of the Department of Political Economy; while B1985-0011 consists of textual and graphic records documenting Easterbrook’s teaching activities and term as Chairman of the Department of Political Economy. There is thus considerable overlap between the aforementioned accessions. The organization of the fonds into series consequently reflects this overlap such that several accessions often appear in a single series.

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