Memorable Manitobans: Paul Gerhardt Hiebert (1892-1987)
Professor, writer, poet.
Born at Pilot Mound, Manitoba on 17 July 1892, and raised at Altona, he taught for a time at Ochre River School. He graduated from the University of Manitoba (honours philosophy), received an MA from the University of Toronto in Gothic and Teutonic philology and a PhD from McGill University in physics and chemistry.
Hiebert taught chemistry at the University of Manitoba for many years but is more well known for his literary writing. He was the author of the parodic poetry of Sarah Binks, “the Sweet Songstress of Saskatchewan,” first published in a “biography” entitled Sarah Binks, for which he won the Stephen Leacock Medal. “Sarah” writes deliberately awful poetry, which does offer a nostalgic view of the pre-Depression prairie West in which so many Canadians grew up. Hiebert also wrote a number of other works of fiction, non-fiction, and poetry.
He received the Centennial Medal of Honour from the Manitoba Historical Society (1970), and the Queen Elizabeth II Silver Jubilee Medal (1977). Two years later, he was given a Manitoba Good Citizenship Award. He was inducted into the Order of Canada in 1976 and the Manitoba Order of the Buffalo Hunt in 1987. In 1974, he was awarded honorary doctorates by the University of Manitoba and Brandon University.
He died at Carman, Manitoba on 6 September 1987 and was buried in Greenwood Cemetery. His papers are at the University of Manitoba Archives & Special Collections. He is commemorated by a memorial cairn near the site of his former home in Carman.
Birth registration, Manitoba Vital Statistics.
Between Mountain and Lake: A History of Ochre River Rural Municipality, 1885-1970 by Ochre River Women’s Institute History Committee, Neepawa: The Neepawa Press, 1970, page 26.
“Humorist Hiebert won Leacock medal”, Winnipeg Free Press, 8 September 1987, page 10.
Obituary, Winnipeg Free Press, 8 September 1987, page 45.
“The doodles on the marge” by Christopher Dafoe, Winnipeg Free Press, 12 September 1987, page 6.
This page was prepared by Gordon Goldsborough.
Page revised: 18 November 2012
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