Carleton University Mourns the Loss of Blair Neatby

Carleton is mourning the loss of Professor Emeritus Blair Neatby, a retired faculty member and former History Department chair who co-wrote a book about the university’s origins and growth. He passed away on March 11, 2018 at the Civic Hospital.

“Blair was a distinguished author, a much admired teacher, a chair of our department, and the historian of Carleton University,” said colleagues Norman Hillmer and Mark Phillips. “We express gratitude for his long life of scholarly collegiality and deep commitment to his country and his university.”

Visitations and a service will be held in April. The details are here.

After graduating from the University of Saskatchewan (BA/50), Neatby undertook PhD studies at Oxford and completed his doctoral work at the University of Toronto. He joined Carleton’s History Department in 1964.

With Donald McEown, he co-wrote Creating Carleton: the Shaping of a University, which examines the role played by students, professors and administrative personnel. His research notes from the project were donated to Carleton’s Archive and Research Collections:

Neatby was one of the first Canadian scholars to see English-French relations as central to understanding the country. He served as the supervisor of research on education for the Royal Commission on Bilingualism and Biculturalism, described as one of the most important in Canada’s history.

His doctoral thesis, Laurier and a Liberal Quebec, was popular when it was published. His most lauded work, however, was likely the two-volume MacKenzie King biography (1963 and 1976). Neatby acquired an encyclopedic knowledge of Canadian political history during the 1920s and 30s, and his books made a significant contribution to Canada’s political history in the inter-war period.

Neatby was named a fellow of the Royal Society of Canada in 1977. He was actively involved with the Canadian Historical Association for several years and served as president in 1987 and 1988.