Fonds MG2001 - H. Rocke Robertson Fonds

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H. Rocke Robertson Fonds

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  • 1912-2015 (Creation)
    Robertson, H. Rocke (Harold Rocke), 1912-1998

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Physical description

4.6 m of textual records and other materials.

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Name of creator


Biographical history

Born in Victoria, British Columbia, on August 4, 1912, Harold Rocke Robertson, known as H. Rocke Robertson or “Rocke”, received his primary school education at St. Michael’s School and his secondary school training, from 1926-1929, at Brentwood College in Victoria. From 1925-1926, accompanied by his sister, Marian, he studied near Geneva, Switzerland, where he acquired French. In 1929 he moved to Montreal where he attended McGill University, receiving a B.Sc. (1932) and an M.D.C.M. (1936). He also completed an internship at the Montreal General Hospital under Dr. Fraser B. Gurd and he studied pathology under Dr. Pop Rhea. Following this, Robertson earned a medical fellowship at the Edinburgh Royal Infirmary, Scotland, where he studied from 1938 to 1939. In 1937 he married Beatrice Rosyln Arnold, known as “Rolly” at Arncliffe, her family home, in Senneville, Quebec, and had four children: Tam, Ian, Bea, and Stuart, known as “Tooie or Toopot”.

H. Rocke Robertson died on February 8, 1998, Ottawa, Ontario. His funeral was held at McGill University.

Custodial history

The fonds were donated by Stuart Robertson, the son of H. Rocke Robertson on February 13, 2006. Prior to their donation to McGill, the fonds were transferred to Stuart Robertson, following Robertson’s death.

Scope and content

The fonds document H. Rocke Robertson’s personal and family life, including his early education, his athletic abilities, his experiences during WWII in Britain, Sicily, and Italy, as well as some aspects of his professional life, including articles, speeches, and correspondence on his activities as a surgeon, surgeon in chief, professor of surgery, and as McGill’s principal, inclusive 1912-1998. In particular, his tenure as McGill’s principal is characterized by records in diverse formats such as personal diaries, correspondence files, newspaper and magazine clippings, photographs, and related ephemera reflecting his administrative duties, including the changes he implemented at McGill, as well as his efforts to cope with radical student behaviour and the Quebec government’s unwillingness to provide McGill with much needed financial assistance. Robertson’s retirement activities are also reflected in the records. Also included are numerous documents that reveal his interest in rare English dictionaries, rare books, and the history of medicine, in particular the history of surgical techniques. The fonds consist of 18 boxes with some files arranged into subject categories while others have a chronological arrangement scheme.

The series consist of 1) Diaries; 2) Publications and Research Notes; 3) Speeches; 4) Personal and Family Related Materials; 5) Student Years at Brentwood College and McGill; 6) Medical and Professional Activities; 7) McGill Principalship and Administrative Activities; and 7) Awards and Honours.

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Mainly English, with some French.

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The diary beginning January 1971 (post-McGill years) will be closed for 20 years until December 31, 2005.

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0000-0165; 0000-0181; 0000-0243; 0000-0363; 0000-0518; 0000-0704; 2006-0026; 2007-0132; 2010-0029

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