Laying the foundations : Arthur Silver Morton and his early Saskatchewan heritage activities
Champ, Joan Elizabeth
This study examines Arthur Silver Morton's (1870-1945) Saskatchewan heritage activities. From 1914, when he arrived to teach history at the University of Saskatchewan in Saskatoon until his death thirty-one years later, Morton worked to collect, preserve, and commemorate the textual and material remains of the province's past. He is best known for his historical writings, including his major work, A History of the Canadian West to 1870-71 (1939). Morton's accomplishments, however, went much further than his writings for an academic audience. He was, in many ways, a pioneer in the field of public history in his efforts to bring historical knowledge to a general audience. Morton founded and was active in several local and provincial historical societies. An avid explorer of historic sites, Morton also discovered the remains of many fur trading posts in Saskatchewan. Finally, Morton's concern for the preservation of historical documents led to his appointment in 1937 as Keeper of the Public Records for the province's Historical Public Records Office--the precursor of the present-day Saskatchewan Archives Board--at the University of Saskatchewan. This side of Morton's career has never been examined by Canadian historians. This study first recounts Morton's background and examines what motivated him to immerse himself in the history of his adopted province. It goes on to describe and appraise his heritage activities in Saskatchewan. The principal sources for this work were the papers of A.S. Morton held at the University of Saskatchewan Archives and the Saskatchewan Archives Board.