Fonds MG1056 - Clement Henry McLeod Fonds

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Clement Henry McLeod Fonds

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  • 1868-1968 (Creation)
    McLeod, Clement Henry, 1851-1917

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12 cm of textual records and photographs

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Biographical history

Born in Cape Breton, C. H. ("Bunty") McLeod received his Bachelor of Applied Science from McGill in 1873 as part of the first graduating class in this Faculty. After his graduation he took charge of the McGill Observatory, where he had been trained in his student days as an assistant observer. He also worked for the railways on problems of time-keeping, and for the Newfoundland government as a surveyor. In 1876 he joined the teaching staff at McGill, and rose to become Vice-Dean of the Faculty of Applied Science. As a scientist, McLeod's major work was done in connection with the McGill Observatory which he directed for over forty years. It was here that he established the exact longitude of Montréal in 1892. Under his direction, the Observatory became the base station for Canada; its time-signals constituted one of the most widely-distributed time services of the period.

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Very few of the McLeod papers actually concern the Observatory. However, his work for the railways and in Newfoundland is documented, as are his views on the education and employment of engineers. The basic record for the early part of his career is a diary kept from 1870 to 1875, regarding student days and early work on the Observatory. An essay, "Winter under canvas" (1868) describes an early surveying job, and a letter from his father (1872) inquires about his academic progress. His work for the railways is documented by three letters of recommendation, and two letters (one from Stanford Fleming) on the work of his colleagues in the West. The Newfoundland survey (1875) is described in McLeod's diary, a manuscript essay "Across Newfoundland" (1876), his printed reports and three letters. His work at McGill is represented by six letters (largely official acknowledgements of appointments), and McLeod's manuscript notes on McGill history. McLeod's concern with the engineering profession is reflected in two addresses on education and professional development, and copies of about a dozen letters to Sir Wilfrid Laurier (1906-1908), C.A. McGrath and E.F. Wurtele (1912), largely on the employment of engineers in the civil service.

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