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Special Collections

John English fonds

English, John, 1945-
John English fonds. - 1971-1998, predominant 1980-1998.

ca. 21.5 m of textual records and other material.


John Richard English has had a multi-faceted career which includes activities as an author, educator, and politician. He was born in 1945 in Plattsville, Ontario and attended Waterloo Oxford District High School, then the University of Waterloo (B.A., 1967) and Harvard University (A.M., 1968; Ph.D., 1973). He has been a Professor of History at the University of Waterloo, Waterloo, Ontario since 1971 and in the course of his academic career has been Director of the Centre on Foreign Policy and Federalism, 1988-1993, Director of International Studies, University of Waterloo, 1988-1991, and Chair of the History Department, University of Waterloo, 1989-1991.

John English's political career began when he ran as a candidate in the 1988 Federal election, although he had long been active in both the Kitchener Provincial and Federal Liberal Associations. In October 1993 he was elected as Member of Parliament for Kitchener, Liberal Party of Canada, served one term to 1997. During that time he filled several roles: Parliamentary Secretary to the President of the Privy Council, Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs and Minister Responsible for Public Service Renewal, 1993-1996; Member of the Special Joint Committee Reviewing Canadian Foreign Policy, 1994; Member of the Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs and International Trade, January 1994-1997 and its Vice-Chair 1996-1997; Chair, Sub-committee on Sustainable Human Development, 1996-1997; Vice-president, Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe - Parliamentary Assembly (OSCE-PA), 1996-1997.

John English's many honours and awards include a Woodrow Wilson Fellowship (1967), Harvard Graduate Prize Fellow (1968-1971), Senior Killam Fellow (1985-1987), Fellow, Royal Society of Canada, (1991- ), D. Litt. (Honoris Causa), Wilfrid Laurier University (1992) as well as several literary and professional awards.

John English's professional activities have been many and varied and include active involvement in organizations, on boards and committees. These include the Canadian Institute of International Affairs (CIIA), of which he was the President from 1990-1992. Prior to that time he was Vice-President and President of the K-W Branch between 1979 and 1986, Chair of the Library Committee 1983-1984, Chair of the Research and Publications Committee 1984-1987. He served as Vice-President of the CIIA from 1988-1990.He also filled several roles in the Canadian Historical Association, including Member of Council 1976-1979, Chairman of the Joint Committee of the Canadian Historical Association-American Historical Association, 1975-1978, Chair of the Canadian Historical Association Committee on the Historical Profession, 1976-1981. Dr. English was Policy Chair and board member of the K-W Branch of the United Nations Association of Canada, 1981-1985, was a member of the Board and of the Publications Committee of the Champlain Society from 1982-1993, and was on the Research Advisory Board of the Canadian Institute for International Peace and Security. In 1981 he was on the Advisory Committee of the Royal Commission on Conditions of Foreign Service. In 1980, and again in 1989-1993 he was on the Advisory Committee of the Department of External Affairs History Project, and from 1984 to 1987 was a Board member of the Canadian Committee on the Second World War.

John English has served on the editorial boards of several historical publications, including the International Journal, 1984-1988, 1991-1992; Historical Reflections/Reflexions Historiques, 1976-1990 and the Canadian Historical Review, 1983-1989. He served as editor of the Canadian Historical Review from 1986-1989.

In March of 1998 John English was appointed by the Honourable Sheila Copps, Minister of Canadian Heritage, to lead a review of the mandates and future roles of the National Library and of the National Archives.

Community involvement in Kitchener-Waterloo has always played an important role in Dr. English's activities, whether as a speaker to numerous local groups such as Kiwanis, Rotary, Church and Seniors Clubs, or as a member of numerous local organizations including Waterloo Historical Society, Kitchener Rotary, Concordia Club, and the Unity Committee. He has served as a Board Member of the Waterloo Regional Heritage Foundation, 1990-1991 and as a Board Member of the Kitchener Citizens Committee, 1989-1990.

John English is the author of The Decline of Politics, 1977 and 1993; Arthur Meighan, 1977; Robert Borden: His Life and World, 1977; Years of Growth, 1986; Shadow of Heaven: The Biography of Lester Pearson, Vol. 1, 1989 (Macdonald Prize and Canadian Author's Association Non-Fiction Prize); The Worldly Years: The Biography of Lester Pearson, Vol. 2, 1992 (Dafoe Prize); co-author of Canada 1900-1945 with Robert Bothwell and Ian Drummond, 1987; Kitchener: An Illustrated History with Ken McLaughlin, 1984 and 1996; Canada Since 1945 with Robert Bothwell and Ian Drummond, 1981; co-editor with J.O. Stubbs of Mackenzie King: Widening the Debate, 1977; with N. Hillmer of Making a Difference, 1992.

Title from content of the fonds.

Donated by John English in 1998.

The materials donated by John English fall into two major categories; those papers generated by his activity as a Member of Parliament for Kitchener 1993-1997, and his personal papers, which reflect all his personal, academic, professional activities from ca. 1971-1998. Thirty series and sub-series are organized under the following headings: Constituency Office, Series 1-12; Parliamentary Office, Series 13-18; John English, M.P., Series 19-24; John English: Personal, Series 25-30.

The individual series titles are:
1. Constituency Office: Constituency Work, 1994-1996
2. Constituency Office: Correspondence: General, 1993-1997
3. Constituency Office: Federal Files from Kitchener Office
4. Constituency Office: Individual Case Files, 1994
5. Constituency Office: Individual Case Files, 1995
6. Constituency Office: Individual Case Files, 1996
7. Constituency Office: Individual Case Files, 1997
8. Constituency Office: Issues A-Z
9. Constituency Office: Organizations
10. Constituency Office: Invitations
11. Constituency Office: Phone Message Logs
12. Parliamentary Office: Departmental Files: Ministries
13. Parliamentary Office: Issues
14. Parliamentary Office: Organizations: Government
15. Parliamentary Office: Non-Government Organizations and Interest Groups
16. Parliamentary Office: Executive Assistant's Files
17. Parliamentary Office: Legislative Assistant's Files
18. Parliamentary Office: Office Operations
19. Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE)
20. Parliamentary Associations
21. Parliamentary Secretary
22. Special Joint Committee Reviewing Canada's Foreign Policy
23. Standing Committee On Foreign Affairs and International Trade
24. Standing Committee On Foreign Affairs and International Trade: Sub-Committee on Sustainable Human Development
25. John English: Personal
26. John English: Personal: Canadian Institute of International Affairs
27. John English: Personal: Correspondence
28. John English: Personal: Liberal Party
29. John English: Personal: Manuscripts
30. Manuscripts by Others.

Some files have restrictions.

Detailed finding aid available.

There have been several accruals to the fonds (2005 accrual, 2010 accrual). Further accruals are expected. 

Call number: GA115

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Last Updated: March 9, 2011