Craig Brown, Professor Emeritus of History, passed away on September 22

September 26, 2016 by Department of History Staff

Our former colleague and long-serving department chair, Robert Craig Brown, passed away on September 22, following complications from surgery.

Craig was a generous, spirited, and loyal colleague. He was passionate about history generally and about our History Department in particular, and he worked hard to advance both. 

Born in Rochester, New York, on 14 October 1935, Craig took his MA (1958) and PhD (1962) at the University of Toronto, working with Donald Creighton. 

He began his teaching career at the University of Calgary, and in 1966 returned to the University of Toronto. He was made full professor in 1970, and he served our Department in many ways:  as director of graduate studies in 1972-1973, as associate chair from 1974-1977 and as chair from 1992 to 1998, which was the year he retired from the U of T.

Beyond our own Department, Craig was a generous University citizen who gave his energies to an extraordinary number of committees and senior administrative appointments in the Faculty of Arts & Science, the Faculty Association, University of Toronto Press, the University generally, and many academic and professional groups. 

Outside the university, he was an appraiser of numerous history departments across the country, served as editor of the Canadian Historical Review (1968-73), president of the Canadian Historical Association (1980), and chair of the Joint Committee of the Canadian Historical Association/American Historical Association. In 1984 he was elected to the Royal Society of Canada.

Through all of this, Craig Brown also found time to publish extensively: 1 single and co-authored books, beginning with Canada’s National Policy, 1883-1900 (1964), including a two-volume biography of former Prime Minister Robert Laird Borden (1975 and 1980), and extending most recently to a history of the Faculty of Arts & Science at the University of Toronto (2013). Beyond this, Craig wrote numerous articles, entries for the Dictionary of Canadian Biography, and countless reviews. 

Craig was always especially generous and supportive of his students. In 1998, the Robert Craig Brown Travelling Fellowship was created and has since helped over 80 graduate students travel for dissertation research. The family has asked those who wish to honour Craig’s memory to do so with a donation.

For the obituary and memorial details, please visit this page.