Fonds MG 4235 - Elizabeth Shapiro Fonds

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Elizabeth Shapiro Fonds

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  • Textual record

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CA MUA MG 4235

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  • 1920-1990 (Creation)
    Shapiro, Elizabeth

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Physical description

.75 m of textual records

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Biographical history

Elizabeth Shapiro was born on November 17, 1918, in Montreal Quebec, the 3rd of 4 children to Burt and Hazel McDonald. Between 1924 and 1942 the McDonald family lived in Pelham New York, Toronto Ontario, Montreal, Evanston Illinois, and Detroit Michigan, finally settling in Bronxville New York in 1942. Elizabeth Shapiro graduated from secondary school in Bronxville New York in 1936, and after working a year as a nanny, attended McGill University in the fall of 1937, beginning in Arts and changing to Science in 1938.

Shapiro lived at McGill University’s Royal Victoria College throughout her degree and was active in campus activities. While at RVC Shapiro was House President (1941-1942), an elected position representing resident student interests to the RVC Warden. Shapiro was also one of the first female cheerleaders at McGill, though the initiative was short-lived. After joining the male cheerleaders at only one football game, Shapiro was threatened with expulsion by then Warden (Muriel Roscoe) and Principal Cyril James, claiming the practice was “unladylike”. Cheerleading and sports were very shortly after interrupted entirely by the start of WWII, ceasing all intra-mural sports on campus.

Elizabeth Shapiro graduated with a B.Sc. in Bacteriology in 1941. During the summers of 1927-1940 she also attended Camp Wapomeo, one of the Taylor Statten camps in Algonquin Park, Ontario. After graduation she worked for a year as a technician at the Montreal General Hospital, where she met her husband Dr. Lorne Shapiro, then a senior resident in Pathology. After their marriage in 1942 Lorne Shapiro enlisted in the Air Force, followed by postings to Toronto, Halifax, Trenton, Belleville, and Ottawa. After the end of the War, the Shapiro’s spent a year in London where Lorne was studying and returned to Montreal in 1948. The Shapiro’s remained in Montreal where they had 7 children (David, Ellen, Jean, Mary, William, James, Thomas). In 1968 Elizabeth Shapiro accompanied her husband to Kenya to set up a medical school at the University of Nairobi (in association with a World Health project).

Upon returning to Montreal in 1969 Elizabeth Shapiro worked for one year as a technician with Dr. Elaine Newman at Concordia University, while taking Microbiology refresher courses. From 1971-1986 she taught a first year biology course at McGill. Upon her retirement and the death of Lorne Shapiro in 1987 she enrolled in an Arts program at McGill, graduating in 1989 with B.A. in Classics. This degree led to Latin studies with a private tutor. The two following years were spent as a volunteer tutor in the School of Social work at McGill under the “Match” program. She volunteered with McGill University Archives from 1991-2008.

Custodial history

This material was transferred to the MUA in collaboration with the Donor between 2003 and 2004.

Scope and content

The Elizabeth Shapiro fonds consists of correspondence, diaries, course notes and personal papers created and accumulated between 1925 and 2003. The correspondence between Shapiro and her mother detail her time as a student at McGill University between 1938 and 1941. The accession also includes course materials related to Shapiro’s studies in biology and classics, as well as selected materials from her childhood.

Finding Aid is only paper

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Deposited by Elizabeth Shapiro, 30 March 2003


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Accession nos.

1996-0115; 2003-0067

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Johanne Pelletier 07/05/2003

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