Quennell, Peter, 1905-1993

Alternative names
Birth 1905-03-09
Death 1993-10-27

Biographical notes:

Margaret Anchoretta Ormsby was born in 1909 in Quesnel but spent most of her childhood in the Okanagan Valley. In 1925, she enroled at UBC earning a B.A. (1929) and M.A. (1931) in History. Ormsby began her Ph.D. at Bryn Mawr in 1931, interrupting her studies between 1934 and 1936 to work as a teaching assistant in the Department on History at UBC. After completing her Ph.D. in 1936, she taught in the United States for three years. In 1940, Ormsby became a lecturer in the History Department of McMaster University. She returned to UBC to teach in 1943, becoming a professor in 1955 and the Head of the History Department in 1965. She held the position of head until her retirement from the University in 1974. During the 1970's, Ormsby taught courses at the University of Toronto as well as at the University of Western Ontario. Between 1960 and 1967, she chaired the Historical Sites and Monuments Board of Canada. Ormsby has made several literary contributions to the field of Canadian History including British Columbia: A History (1958) commemorating the centennial of the designation of B.C. as a crown colony, A Pioneer Gentle Woman in British Columbia: the Recollections of Susan Allison (1976) and Coldstream - Nulli Secundus (1990) as well as numerus entries to journals and encyclopedias. She has received honourary doctorates from each of the major universities in B.C. and holds the Insignia of the Order of British Columbia.

From the description of Margaret Ormsby fonds. 1839-1996. (University of British Columbia Library). WorldCat record id: 606456009

Peter Quennell was an English biographer, critic, and literary historian born in Bickley, South East Greater London, England in March of 1905. Son of social historians and authors Marjorie and Charles Henry Bourne Quennell, Peter was introduced to the world of scholarship early in his life. He was educated at Balliol College, Oxford and taught English in Japan for a year at the Tokyo University of Science and Literature. Married five times, Quennell had two children: Sarah with his third wife and Alexander with his fifth.

Quennell published his first book, Masques & Poems, in 1922. He went on to publish several more volumes of poetry. Later, he distinguished himself as a biographer of 18th and 19th century authors including Alexander Pope, William Hogarth, and Samuel Johnson, and was considered an authority on Lord Byron. As a journalist, Quennell was editor of Cornhill Magazine from 1944 to 1951 and was the founder and editor of History Today from 1951 to 1979.

A prolific author, Peter Quennell edited and contributed to numerous literary histories in his final years, including his works The Last Edwardians and An Illustrated Companion to World Literature . He also published a two-volume autobiography: The Marble Foot covers his life up to 1938, and Wanton Chase picks up from 1939. He was knighted in 1992 at the age of eighty-seven, shortly before his death in 1993.

From the guide to the Peter Quennell Papers, 1955-1973 (bulk 1970-1973), (The University of Texas at Austin, Harry Ransom Humanities Research Center)


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