Arthur Doughty

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Sir Arthur G. Doughty
Sir Arthur G. Doughty.jpg
Sir Arthur G. Doughty c. 1912–13
Born(1860-03-22)22 March 1860
Died1 December 1936(1936-12-01) (aged 76)
AwardsFlavelle Medal (1927)

Sir Arthur George Doughty, KBE CMG FRSC (22 March 1860 – 1 December 1936) was a Canadian civil servant and Dominion Archivist and Keeper of the Public Records.

Born in Maidenhead, Berkshire, England, the son of William Doughty, Doughty was educated at the public schools in Maidenhead, at Lord Eldon School in London, and at New Inn Hall, Oxon. He emigrated to Canada in 1886 settling in Montreal. He was appointed to a position in the revenue department of the government of Quebec and in 1897 became private secretary to the Minister of Public Works. In 1900, he was named joint librarian of the Legislative Assembly of Quebec and in May 1904 was appointed as the second Dominion Archivist and Keeper of the Records. He served in this post until 1935.[1][2] Under his leadership, the Public Archives of Canada undertook to locate and list important archival material in different areas of Canada. He wrote or edited a number of books, on topics such as the Siege of Quebec and the Battle of the Plains of Abraham, 1759; Canadian constitutional documents, and the 23-volume work Canada and its Provinces, which Doughty edited with Adam Shortt.[3]

In 1900, he was elected a Fellow of the Royal Historical Society. He was also a Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada.[1] In 1927, he was awarded the Royal Society of Canada's Flavelle Medal. In 1905 he was created a Companion of the Order of Saint Michael and Saint George.[1] He was created a Knight Commander of the Order of the British Empire.[4] He encouraged the creation of archives by the provincial governments and served on the Board of the Public Archives of Nova Scotia when it was reconstituted in 1929.

Across the world, one of the most quoted statements made by Sir Arthur George Doughty in 1924 concerned the essential value of keeping and maintaining good and full records in an organised national archive when he said:

"Of all national assets, archives are the most precious, they are the gifts of one generation to another, and the extent of our care of them marks the extent of our civilisation. As a rule the papers of a given generation are seldom required after their reception and primary use; but when all personal touch with that period has ceased, then these records assume a startling importance, for they replace hands that have vanished and lips that are sealed." Such words in this 21st century are poetic gold.

Following his death, a statue of Sir Arthur was erected behind the National Archives of Canada, overlooking the Ottawa River[5] This is one of only two statues of civil servants erected in Ottawa, both during MacKenzie King's tenure as Prime Minister.[citation needed]



  1. ^ a b c "A history of Quebec, its resources and people, vol. 2". Internet Archive.
  2. ^ The correct date of his appointment as Dominion Archivist is given in Report on Canadian Archives for 1904. (Canada, Sessional Paper No. 18, A. 1905)
  3. ^ "A Real Companion and Friend: The diary of William Lyon Mackenzie King - Behind the Diary - A King's Who's Who Biographies - Sir Arthur George Doughty (1860-1936)"
  4. ^ IAN E. WILSON. "Arthur George Doughty". The Canadian Encyclopedia. Retrieved September 29, 2013.
  5. ^ "Sir Arthur George Doughty". Library and Archives Canada.

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