James Harley Marsh
James Harley Marsh, CM
Order of Canada
The Order of Canada is a Canadian national order, admission into which is, within the system of orders, decorations, and medals of Canada, the second highest honour for merit...

 (born September 10, 1943 in Toronto
Toronto is the provincial capital of Ontario and the largest city in Canada. It is located in Southern Ontario on the northwestern shore of Lake Ontario. A relatively modern city, Toronto's history dates back to the late-18th century, when its land was first purchased by the British monarchy from...

) is a Canadian
Canada is a North American country consisting of ten provinces and three territories. Located in the northern part of the continent, it extends from the Atlantic Ocean in the east to the Pacific Ocean in the west, and northward into the Arctic Ocean...

 editor, writer and encyclopedist.

After a spotty educational history Marsh found his métier in a summer job with educational publisher Holt, Rinehart and Winston, learning all aspects of the business from copy editing to the inner workings of the typesetting and printing industries. He was the editor of a centennial history of Canada called Canada: Unity and Diversity and of a series of social studies volumes - writing one of them along the way (The Fishermen of Lunenburg).

From 1970 to 1980 Marsh was the editor of the Carleton Library Series, a series of scholarly works on Canadian history and social science that made a significant contribution to the growth of Canadian studies in universities. In 10 years he edited 60 volumes in the series while co-authoring his first textbook on Canadian history, New Beginnings.

The Canadian Encyclopedia

Edmonton publisher Mel Hurtig
Mel Hurtig
Mel Hurtig, is a Canadian publisher, author, political activist and former political candidate.He was born and raised in Edmonton, Alberta. He is the former president of the Edmonton Art Gallery.-Businessman and Publisher:...

 brought Marsh to Edmonton in 1980 to be the editor in chief of The Canadian Encyclopedia. There Marsh drew up plans for Canada's first comprehensive encyclopedia
An encyclopedia is a type of reference work, a compendium holding a summary of information from either all branches of knowledge or a particular branch of knowledge....

 since the 1950s and hired some 40 staff, 400 consultants and several thousand contributors. The ambitious project was completed and published to laudatory reviews in September 1985.

James Marsh has been editor in chief of all three print editions of The Canadian Encyclopedia (1985, 1988 and 1999), of The Junior Encyclopedia of Canada and he has shepherded the encyclopedia into the digital world with numerous CD-ROM
A CD-ROM is a pre-pressed compact disc that contains data accessible to, but not writable by, a computer for data storage and music playback. The 1985 “Yellow Book” standard developed by Sony and Philips adapted the format to hold any form of binary data....

 versions with publisher McClelland & Stewart and the online versions with the Historica Foundation. He is also the editor in chief of the Canadian Youth Encyclopedia and of The Encyclopedia of Music in Canada.

Since 2000 Marsh has also been Director of Content Development at the Historica Foundation, where he has planned and co-written the web sites "Champlain in Acadia," "Voices: The Canadian Political System," “Canadian Black History Portal,” "Asia Canada," and "HistoryWire.ca."

Selected works

  • The Fishermen of Lunenburg (1968)
  • The Fur Trade in Canada (1969)
  • The Exploration of Canada (1970)
  • New Beginnings: a Social History of Canada, Volumes I & II (1971), co-authored with Daniel Francis
  • "Timeline of Canadian and World History" (1983–present)
  • Alberta: A Story of the Province and Its People (1993)
  • Beginnings: From the First Nations to the Great Migration (1996)
  • "Tous les Savoirs du Monde," Lumina (Journal of 18th Century Studies) (2000)
  • Co-editor, Alberta: A State of Mind (2005)
  • "Alberta's Quiet Revolution: The Early Lougheed Years" in Michael Payne et al., editors, Alberta Formed/Alberta Transformed (2006).
  • James Marsh has also been the author of over 100 newspaper articles on Canadian history.


  • Member of the Order of Canada
    Order of Canada
    The Order of Canada is a Canadian national order, admission into which is, within the system of orders, decorations, and medals of Canada, the second highest honour for merit...

  • Centenary Medal of the Royal Society of Canada
    Royal Society of Canada
    The Royal Society of Canada , may also operate under the more descriptive name RSC: The Academies of Arts, Humanities and Sciences of Canada , is the oldest association of scientists and scholars in Canada...

  • Alberta Centenary Medal (2005)

External links

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