William Dawson LeSueur

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William Dawson LeSueur
Portrait of William Dawson LeSueur.jpg
Born(1840-02-19)February 19, 1840
Quebec City, Quebec
DiedSeptember 23, 1917(1917-09-23) (aged 77)
Ottawa, Ontario
Resting placeBeechwood Cemetery, Ottawa, Ontario
OccupationCivil Servant, author
CitizenshipBritish subject
Alma materUniversity of Toronto

William Dawson LeSueur (February 19, 1840 – September 23, 1917) was a Canadian civil servant and author.[1]


Born in Quebec City, the son of Peter LeSueur and Barbara Dawson, LeSueur studied Latin and Greek at the High School of Montreal. In 1856, he joined the provincial Post Office Department after moving to Toronto. He received a Bachelor of Arts degree in 1863 from the University of Toronto and studied law for a bit at Osgoode Hall Law School but never practiced. He continued to work as a clerk for the post office eventually becoming chief secretary in 1888. He retired in 1902.

A writer, LeSueur published over 80 articles on a wide variety of topics. He was a freelance journalist for the Montreal Daily Star, the Montreal Gazette, and the Ottawa Citizen.

In 1906, he published a biography of Louis de Buade de Frontenac. He then wrote about William Lyon Mackenzie, one of the first truly critical biographies written in Canada. However, Mackenzie's grandson William Lyon Mackenzie King succeeded in not having it published and it wasn't until 1979.

In 1903, he was made a Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada and served as its president from 1912 to 1913. He was awarded an honorary Doctor of Laws degree from Queen's College in 1900.

He died in Ottawa in 1917 and is buried in Beechwood Cemetery.

Selected publications[edit]


  1. ^ "William Dawson Lesueur," Proceedings and Transactions of the Royal Society of Canada, Vol. XII, 1919, pp. iv–vi.


  • "William Dawson LeSueur". Dictionary of Canadian Biography (online ed.). University of Toronto Press. 1979–2016.

Further reading[edit]

  • William Dawson LeSueur, A. B. McKillop (1977). A Critical Spirit: The Thought of William Dawson LeSueur. McClelland and Stewart. ISBN 0-7710-9802-2.
  • Clifford G. Holland (1993). William Dawson LeSueur, 1840-1917, a Canadian man of letters: the sage of Ottawa. Mellen Research University Press.

External links[edit]

Professional and academic associations
Preceded by
William Frederick King
President of the Royal Society of Canada
Succeeded by
Frank Dawson Adams