Advanced Search 

Home - introductions to the site
Search - a searchable database of letters/essays/etc.
Genealogy - short biographical information of each family member
Photographs - various images pertaining to the McQuesten family
Thesis - essays on the McQuestens and lifewriting by Mary Anderson
Timelines - a chronological list of events in the McQuesten family and corresponding historical events

Search Results

Correspondence between Dr. John Bacher and Dr. Mary J. Anderson

Apr 18 2012
To: Dr. Mary J. Anderson Dr. Mary J. Anderson Ancaster. Ontario
From: Dr. John Bacher, E-Mail exchange St. Catharines Ontario

John Bacher: Thank you for a most informative letter. You have a good grasp on this [Field Naturalists] material and I think that RBG would be glad to have you speak to them, you would certainly have material for at least one hour. Also, I think it might be a good idea if I put this material ONLINE on the Whitehern web site, under your name. Do you agree? I could link it to Ruby's letters about the Field Naturalists in Ottawa. [and to Rev. Calvin's letters] Mary A

E-Mail From: John Bacher Sent: Wednesday, April 18, 2012 3:08 PM To: Mary Anderson Subject: Re: Zavitz, Fletcher, Cauchon, Ruby

Thanks Mary. The Hamilton Bird Protection Society was formed in 1919 and at some point--I think in the 1940s changed its name to the Hamilton Field Naturalists. I agree with you that Calvin is unappreciated--doing a book on him would be a good idea. I have a published history of the group (an article in a book--also has short history of PALS), which I will try to dig out. I believe it was published by University of Waterloo.

It is important to realize that during the whole lifetime of the McQuestens that starting in 1919 to when Calvin died in 1968 they held their meetings at the Hamilton Public Library, which at that time as you know was just a block away from Whitehern. I have visions of the McQuestens and their friends coming home after these meetings to further develop their insights over tea--although I have not seen any documentary evidence of this. Some of what actually went on would be perhaps most accurately detailed in a novel.

For my still unpublished biography of Mel Swart I went to the Ontario Archives to read the papers of the Hamilton Field Naturalists. This was because they were so important in the beginnings of Escarpment protection and the creation of the Bruce Trail. The Archives have these papers from the founding till around 1973, although material for the first decade is a bit thin. The club intersected closely with the RBG in a number of important ways. One stunning way is that the papers show how a dedicated McMaster biology professor did research in Cootes Paradise to document how muskrat in the marsh were being killed off by DDT.

One of the moving things to discover via the research of the Archives is that the papers show how the Hamilton Naturalists shared Tom's high ideals of blending beauty, art, the protection of the environment and economic efficiency. This I saw in connection with material from the late 1950s concerning the planning of new oil refineries in the Burlington-Oakville area. The group wanted very much for these factories to be beautiful, to protect nature and have aristic works. To a suprising degree they succeeded. The oil refeneries were surronded by forests and parks. (ie. Shell Park). It is unfortunate that many of these refineries have been closed down. Since they were surrounded by wealthy homes they worked without the emission problems that have caused so many blights in low income areas. I believe about half of the refineries were shut down. If one had access to corporate files, I would not be surprised that part of the reason was cheaper operating costs in pollution havens. What is distressing is that a big issue for conservative Republicans in the US is lack of oil refining capacity--which is blamed on over zealous environmental regulation. If this is actually the case, why were so many refineries up here shut down? (the market is continental)

One of the surprising things I found from the Archives is that a founding member of PALS, Jack Travers was a member in the late 1950s when they decided to get into Escarpment protection.

PALS, like CONE (Coaltion on the Niagara Escarpment- the group that sponosred my talk) was founded in 1976 by Ontario legislator Mel Swart, working closely with his close friend and fellow NDP legislator, Stephen Lewis. We are the Preservation of Agricultural Lands Society [PALS} and our goal is to stop urban sprawl. (this also involves threatened forests in our countryside). To know more about our group, google our name PALS and CONE and see the website.

Sincerely, John Bacher

1 Dr. John Bacher, see also his article on the Niagara Parks and Thomas B. McQuesten: Box 14-120. Bacher's recent book is about Edmund Zavitz and his reforestation efforts: Two Billion Trees and Counting: The Legacy of Edmund Zavitz : John Bacher, Kenneth A. Armson: Books.

2 Both Ruby and Calvin McQuesten were members of the Field Naturalists, also an earler name called the Bird Protection Society. See Ruby's letter W-MCP2-4.048 & W8084 which contain many links.

Rev. Calvin McQuesten was President of the Hamilton Field Naturalists in the 1930s, see letter W8084 containing many links and also links to images of Calvin and Jack Miner.

Home | Search | Thesis | Family | Timelines
Photographs | Whitehern | Sitemap | Credits

Copyright 2002 Whitehern Historic House and Garden
The development of this website was directed by Mary Anderson, Ph.D. and Janelle Baldwin, M.A.
Please direct questions and comments to Mary Anderson, Ph.D.

Hamilton Public Library This site was created in partnership with and is hosted by the Hamilton Public Library. Canada's Digital Collections This digital collection was produced with financial assistance from Canada's Digital Collections initiative, Industry Canada.