Manitoba Historical Society
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Memorable Manitobans: William Burton Hurd (1894-1950)

Educator, author.

Born at Brockville, Ontario 14 March 1894, son of Horace H. Hurd (1859-1940) and Elizabeth Agnes Hurd (?-1956), he attended the University of Manitoba, receiving an MA Honours degree in 1913. He enlisted in Canadian Expeditionary Force in 1916, joining the Canadian YMCA, was mentioned twice in dispatches, rose to the rank of Captain, and was made an Officer in the Order of the British Empire (1919).

In 1917, he was granted a Rhodes scholarship and subsequently attended Queen’s College (Oxford) where he gradatuated in Political Economy. He taught Political Economy and Sociology at Brandon College, becoming Professor of Political Economy (1921) and Dean of Arts (1928). In 1935, he moved to McMaster University at Hamilton, Ontario to be Professor of Political Economy and, later, Dean of Arts (1939), stepping down in 1949 due to health concerns. He continued to work with the faculty part-time. He served as Economic advisor to the Canadian government during the 1921-1922 British Empire Conference at Ottawa.

As an author, he wrote such books as The Origin, Birthplace, Nationality and Language of the Canadian People (1930), Agriculture, Climate and Population of the Prairie Provinces of Canada (1931), and Ethnic Origins and Nativity of Canadian People (1941), and contributed to Queen’s Quarterly, along with other banking, economic, and political journals. He was a fellow of the Royal Society of Canada, President of the Canadian Political Science Association (1949), a member of the Committee of Post-War Reconstruction, and as Canada’s foremost and internationally recognized scholar in the field of population, he was often consulted by the Bureau of Statistics Census Division.

On 21 May 1925, he married Ruth Winnifred Winkler (1894-1953), daughter of Valentine Winkler at Broadway Methodist Church at Winnipeg and had one child, Donald W. Hurd. They also owned a long-time summer house at Farlane, Ontario.

He died in his residence at Hamilton, Ontario on 3 February 1950. The William Burton Hurd fond is available at the McMaster University Library.


1911 and 1916 Canada censes, Library and Archives Canada.

Attestation Papers, Canadian Expeditionary Force, Library and Archives Canada.

“W. B. Hurd,” Manitoba Free Press, 10 August 1921, page 5.

“Weddings, Hurd-Winkler,” Manitoba Free Press, 22 May 1925, page 8.

“Bring out the old bogeys,” Manitoba Free Press, 12 November 1928.

Obituary [Horace H. Hurd], Winnipeg Free Press, 15 January 1940, page 2.

“Social and personal,” Winnipeg Free Press, 7 July 1947, page 8.

“Prof W. B. Hurd, ex-city man, dies in Ontario,” Winnipeg Free Press, 3 February 1950, page 8.

“Prof W. Burton Hurd,” Winnipeg Free Press, 4 February 1950, page 13.

“Prof. W. B. Hurd,” Winnipeg Free Press, 4 February 1950, page 19.

Obituary, The Canadian Journal of Economics and Political Science, Volume 16, No. 2, May 1950.

Death notice [Ruth Winnifred Hurd], Winnipeg Free Press, 14 May 1953, page 45.

Obituary [Elizabeth Agnes Hurd], Winnipeg Free Press, 18 May 1956, page 42.

Captain William Burton Hurd, Canadian Great War Project.

This page was prepared by Nathan Kramer.

Page revised: 14 April 2016

Memorable Manitobans

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