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Grant MacEwan

Throughout his life, Grant MacEwan wore many hats. Farmer, conservationist, lieutenant governor, historian, teacher, writer, editor, journalist: he was all of them.

Following his tenure as Alberta lieutenant governor from 1966-74, it has been as an educator and writer that his continuing influence was been felt. His publishing career began in 1936, and his more than 50 books run the range from agricultural texts, to Western Canadian history, to the appreciation of the draft horse.

One of these books was Frederick Haultain: Frontier Statesman of the Canadian Northwest, published in 1985, a biography of the lawyer who from 1897-1905 served as the first minister of a non-partisan administration in the North-West Territories, which encompassed present-day Alberta and Saskatchewan.
 Featured Audio

Arts Alberta #18
In this episode of Arts Alberta, broadcast June 30, 1985,
Tommy Banks interviews MacEwan about his book, which
is now out of print, though available at libraries throughout
Alberta. The research materials for the book may be found
with MacEwan's papers at the University of Calgary Special Collections.
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The British-born Haultain had settled in southern Alberta in the frontier town of Fort McLeod in 1884 to practise law. He became interested in representing the concerns of the West, and was instrumental in securing provincial status for Alberta and Saskatchewan - a region he had wanted to name, Buffalo.

In her book Mavericks: An Incorrigible History of Alberta, published in 2001, Calgary author Aritha van Herk refers to Haultain as "the father of Alberta."

"Through it all," writes van Herk, "Haultain acted as mouthpiece, pest, and suave debater, the real leader of the Territories between 1890 and 1905."
After MacEwan's death in 2000, there was a resurgence of interest in his writing, thanks to the publication by NeWest Press of Edmonton of Watershed: Reflections on Water, a collection of essays on conservation he had been writing in his final years. As well, in 2000, Fifth House of Calgary published new editions of Blazing the Old Cattle Trail and The Sodbusters, which until then, had fallen out of print. Fifth House has continued its MacEwan reprint series with the release of Heavy Horses in September 2001, and Our Equine Friends in August 2002.

Of the books in the MacEwan oeuvre, only 12 remain in print.

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