Fonds 1-2001 and 8-2003 - Evan McDonald Whidden Fonds

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Evan McDonald Whidden Fonds

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CA MCK 1-2001 and 8-2003

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  • 1915-1936, predominant 1917-1922 (Creation)

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6 cm textual records
one photograph album : c. 110 b/w photos

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Name of creator

Biographical history

Evan McDonald Whidden (1898-1980) was born in Galt, Ontario to Dr. Howard P. and Katherine Louise Whidden. He was educated at Brandon College. Following service in the Great War he graduated Bachelor of Arts from McMaster University (Brandon College) in 1921. He obtained a Master of Arts in history (McMaster [n.d.]) and in 1928 a Bachelor of Divinity degree from Yale. Dr.Whidden married Frances Margaret Billington in 1941. Together they had three children: Howard John (b.1943), Roberta Katherine (b. 1945) and Eric Christopher (b. 1947). Dr. Whidden served in Baptist churches in Saskatchewan and Manitoba before joining the faculty of Brandon College in 1936. In 1938, he was appointed Thomas J. Armstrong Professor of church history at Acadia University. He became Dean of the School of Theology at Acadia in 1954 and served in that capacity until 1963. He retired from the faculty of Acadia University in 1967. Dr. Whidden has written in the field of church history and education. He was awarded honorary degrees by the Pine Hill Divinity Hall, Halifax, N.S. (1950), McMaster University [n.d.]and Acadia University (1969).

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Administrative history

Brandon College was established by the Baptist Union of Western Canada in 1899. Classes commenced in the Fraser Block on Rosser Avenue on October 2, 1899. Construction of the original College building began in 1900; classes commenced in the new College building October 1901. Brandon College was incorporated under provincial statutes in June 1900. The College included a men's residence, a dining room, kitchen, science laboratory, reception room, office, library and nine classrooms. Originally, it possessed the following departments: Academic (for students completing matriculation), Arts, Theology, and Business and Stenographic Department. In 1905, plans commenced for the building of a women's residence to adjacent to the original Brandon College building. Clark Hall was completed in 1906. Brandon College affiliated with McMaster University after several unsuccessful attempts to acquire a university charter from the Province of Manitoba. In 1938, the Baptist Union of Western Canada withdrew financial support from the College. In order to continue to operate, Brandon College was transformed into a non-denominational college affiliated with the University of Manitoba. Brandon College became Brandon University in 1967 through an order in council approved by the Progressive Conservative government of Duff Roblin.

Custodial history

Since his death in 1980, the fonds has been in the custody of his widow, Mrs. Frances Margaret Whidden. The records were donated to the McKee Archives in April, 2001.

Scope and content

The records contain Evan Whidden's reports to family members, in particular to his father and mother, on his experience as a member of the Canadian Expeditionary Force during the years 1917-1919. Records also include correspondence from his mother, Katherine Louise Whidden (née Ganong), to Evan during these years. Evan Whidden records his impressions of military life through his training in Canada and England and his experience of war in Europe with the Canadian Expeditionary Force from 1917-1918. He was involved in the conflict only briefly at the conclusion of the war. His letters provide an account of life in France, Belgium and Germany in 1918. Fonds also contains correspondence dating from the early 1920s from Chester New, a history professor at McMaster, who had previously taught at Brandon College, and from Whidden's father, Howard Primrose Whidden, President of Brandon College 1912-1922 and, from 1922-1949, Chancellor of McMaster University. This correspondence deals principally with the progress of Evan Whidden's education and his choice of a career in the church or the academic world. Fonds contains several publications containing work of Evan Whidden, mostly on religious themes. It also includes newspaper clippings and convocation programs dealing with Dr. Whidden's graduation from Yale and the presentation of honorary degrees to him at Pine Hill and Acadia. Fonds contains newspaper stories on the occasion of the retirement of Howard Primrose Whidden following his lengthy career as Chancellor of McMaster University. Death notices for Dr. H.P. Whidden and his wife are also to be found. Fonds also includes a copy of the Brandon College Quill from the year 1921 and an assortment of photos from Whidden's college days in Brandon,principally c. 1921, as well as other unidentified pictures including a group photograph of three Brandon College Presidents: Dr. A.P.McDiarmid, Dr. H.P.Whidden, and Dr. J.R.C. Evans.

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McKee Archives, Brandon, MB

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N/A as of February 2002

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  • English

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