Doctor of Letters
Born in Hamilton, Ontario, Marjorie MacDonald received a Bachelor of Arts degree from McMaster University as well as a Master of Science degree from Northwestern University (1940). The following year she began her journalism career in Saint John, New Brunswick, a city and a province which she would serve extremely well with her historical research and her writings.
Following the tradition of many women of her generation, Ms. MacDonald put her career on hold for many years to raise her children. However, she never lost her scholarly interests and, by the early 1970's, she had found the opportunity to combine her journalism background with her first love, history, when Chatelaine magazine commissioned her to write a series of historical portraits. Thus was launched a remarkable career as an active and consistently productive researcher, writer and curator?. Her book Fortunes and La Tour bought to life the power struggles in the early days of Acadia and was ?characterized by high-quality research, including innovative use of handwriting analysis and elegant writing.
Apart from her writings, 3 books; at least 20 publications of articles and papers; numerous lectures and talks 5 exhibitions; a number of TV and movie presentations, plus miscellaneous research and communications, Mrs. MacDonald has been a researcher since 1982, with the New Brunswick Museum, Humanities Division, focusing on pre-loyalist history and articles. Most of her work at this Museum has been on an unpaid basis.
Her work is ongoing. As recently as September 2004 she presented a paper on Charles de la Tour to a major conference in early Acadian history. Her current project is to compile and edit the remarkable letters of her late husband, Harold MacDonald, written almost daily during his five years of World War 11 when he served with the North Shore regiment in England and during the liberation of Europe. Some of these have already been published (2001-2003) in the journal Canadian Military History and a larger collection may be published in the book form.
Her nominees for an honorary degree have suggested that ?in another era, she most certainly would have gone on to complete a Ph.D. and to pursue a traditional academic career.
Indeed, her scholarship is more than sufficient in every way to justify an earned doctorate at the most prestigious of universities. In one sense, her career path has typified that of many intellectual women of her generation who, putting family responsibilities first and without the benefit of formal appointments, still managed to make significant contributions to their fields. Yet MacDonald is also exceptional having excelled in the quality of her attainments. She has had a long and distinguished scholarly career by any standards - a career she commenced at a stage in life when most people would be starting to think seriously about retirement, and in which she is still highly productive some thirty years later.
Her example and her scholarship fit closely with the aims of both the Atlantic Canada Studies programme as well as the Women's Studies programme at Saint Mary,s University.
Marjorie-Anne MacDonald's daughter Catharine MacDonald graduated from Saint Mary's with a Bachelor of Arts degree in 1974. Also, Saint Mary,s University,s Dr. Martha MacDonald, Professor of Economics is a niece of Marjorie-Anne MacDonald.
Her future plans include an upcoming article in Canadian Military History, The Long Wait, Canadian Infantry Training in England, June 1942, June 1944. Also a book on a military theme is in preparation.