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Albert Trueman

Albert William Trueman, BA, MA, DLitt, LLD, O.C., (January 17, 1902 - June 29, 1988) was a teacher, professor, cultural and university administrator with an exemplary career. Though born in the United States, he was educated in Canada and Britain. Trueman graduated from Mount Allison University, Sackville, NB in 1927, and finished his M.A. in English Literature at Exeter College, Oxford University in 1932. He then served as a high school teacher, a school superintendent, and later as an experienced and skilled university administrator, serving as President of the University of Manitoba between 1945 and 1948, and President of the University of New Brunswick from 1948 until 1953. He was Principal and Dean of University College at the University of Western Ontario from 1965 until 1967. He was Chancellor of the University of Western Ontario from 1967 until 1971. He returned to academic life and had an extended term as visiting professor of English at Carleton University in Ottawa from 1967-1981.


He also had a distinguished career as a cultural administrator, first as Government Film Commissioner and Chairman of the National Film Board of Canada from 1953 to 1957, and then as the first Director of the newly created Canada Council for the Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences, serving from 1957- 1965. In these positions, he made major contributions to Canadian cultural policies, primarily by promoting the roles and influence of both agencies. He also served on the Board of Governors of the CBC,The Canadian Broadcasting Corporation.


He was given many honorary degrees. He was a Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada since 1964, and was invested as an Officer of the Order of Canada in 1974. He published A Second View of Things: A Memoir in 1982 (Young, 1985), (Ottawa Citizen, 1988), (Creighton, 1992).

His son Peter Trueman, himself a well-known television journalist, remembers his father in the memorial entry for the Royal Society:

"Although he loved baseball and Robert Frost, he was born into an old Maritime farm family and he soon put down Canadian roots, spending much of his life in this country's public service. In later life he protested that he was not a scholar, but he certainly had a scholarly nature. Throughout his career as university professor, superintendent of city schools, president of two Canadian universities, and senior civil servant, he maintained his academic interests. He was a serious student of Shakespeare and Elizabethan literature, a devotee of Dr. Samuel Johnson, and spent many happy hours tracing the origins of our language. While he was Commissioner of the National Film Board, for example, he translated Beowulf from beginning to end, just for the exercise. In his youth, he had a trained and resonant baritone voice. During the late 1930's, when he was a young English professor doing summer courses at Columbia University in New York City, he was urged strongly by one of the city's most respected voice coaches at that time, Wilhelm Van Giesen, to consider singing professionally. My father was tempted, but he opted instead to remain in academic life. He sang frequently for relaxation, however, and gave concerts well into his fifties ... Until his death in 1988, he regarded a day without mental exercise as a day wasted." (Trueman, 2002)

Claude Bissel described Trueman in these words:

"Albert Trueman was a tall man, with a commanding physical presence, measured and a little formal in speech, but without pomposity. He had a deep, resonant voice that he used on the public platform with calculated dramatic effect, hinting at the operatic career that he might well have had. He was a genial and a witty companion, given occasionally to bouts of hamletian self-analysis, from which he would rapidly emerge with renewed vigour and undiminished joviality. He took satisfaction in the honours he had received - honorary degrees from a number of universities and membership in the Order of Canada - but he rejoiced most in the love that encompassed him in his family and in the affectionate esteem in which he was held by friends and colleagues everywhere.." (Bissel, 1982, p.8)


  • Bissel, Claude. "Introduction" in Trueman, Albert (1982). A Second View of Things: A Memoir, Toronto, ON: McClelland & Stewart. ISBN 0-7710-8638-5
  • Young, Christopher. "Government Interference in the Canada Council Goes Back Decades", Montreal, PQ: The Gazette, Thursday, August 8, 1985, P. B1.
  • Staff Writer. "Former NFB Chairman Known as Great Educator", Ottawa, ON: The Ottawa Citizen, Monday, July 4, 1988, p. C2.
  • Creighton, Judy. "Trueman Loves Leisure", Windsor, ON: Windsor Star, Thursday, July 30, 1992, p. C9.
  • Trueman, Peter (2002). "Albert William Trueman, 1902-1988", Ottawa, ON: Proceedings of the Royal Society of Canada, Seventh Series, Volume 1.


  • Trueman, A. W. (1946). The Story of the United Empire Loyalists, Toronto, ON: Copp Clark Co.
  • MacNutt, W. Stewart (1952), edited by A.W. Trueman. New Brunswick and Its People: The Biography of a Canadian Province , Fredericton, NB: New Brunswick Travel Bureau
  • Trueman, A. W. (1952). Canada's University of New Brunswick: Its History and Its Development, New York & Montreal: Newcomen Society in North America.
  • Trueman, A. W., Canadian Editor, with Wright, E.H. and Wright, M. H. (1957). Richards Topical Encyclopedia, New York, NY: Richards Company.
  • Trueman, A. W., Davies, Robertson, Berton, Pierre; edited by D.C. Williams (1962). The Arts as Communication, Toronto, ON: University of Toronto Press.
  • Trueman, A. W. (1963). The Canada Council and the Culture of the Country, Victoria, B.C.: University of Victoria
  • Trueman, Albert (1982). A Second View of Things: A Memoir, Toronto, ON: McClelland & Stewart. ISBN 0-7710-8638-5

External links