Horace E. Read fonds

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Horace E. Read fonds

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2.1 m of textual records [14 boxes]

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Biographical history

Horace Emerson Read was born on April 8, 1898, in Port Elgin, New Brunswick. In 1911 his family moved to Amherst, Nova Scotia, where he would graduate from high school at Cumberland County Academy in 1915. In October of the same year, Read entered Acadia University in Wolfville, Nova Scotia to obtain his Bachelor of Arts degree. Before he would finish his degree, Read enlisted for overseas service with the 219th Battalion of the Nova Scotia Highlanders, Canadian Expeditionary Force in 1916. In 1917 Read joined the Royal Air Force (then called the “Royal Flying Corps” until 1918) where he trained as a flying officer and was Captain in the Royal Air Force, British Expeditionary Force, until 1919. After the First World War had ended, Read returned to Acadia, and on May 24 ,1921, Read received his Bachelor of Arts degree, with distinction in Economics and English.

In 1921 Horace Read was accepted into the Harvard Business School, but before entering, Read had taken on a summer job as a reporter for the Amherst Daily News and was assigned to cover the Supreme Court. As a result, Read cancelled his reservation at Harvard and decided to enter Dalhousie Law School in September, 1921. Read graduated from Law School in 1924 and after a short career in the practice of law, he was admitted to the Nova Scotia Bar on May 13, 1924. Shortly after, Read was awarded a Pugsley Scholarship in International Law at Harvard Law School and set out to work on his LL.M. in the fall of 1924. In September of 1925, Read returned to Halifax to begin his career as a lecturer in law at Dalhousie University. In December of the same year, Horace married Helena Louise Miller of Windsor, Nova Scotia and eventually fathered two children, Aveleigh Ann and Robert.

From 1931 to 1934 Read served as George Munro Professor of Law at Dalhousie where he taught Property I and II, Equity, Trusts, Bills and Notes, Banking, Conflicts, International Law, and Roman Law. Taking a year leave of absence from Dalhousie in 1933, Read returned to Harvard to obtain his S.J.D. degree in which he wrote his doctoral thesis on “The Recognition of Foreign Judgments in the British Commonwealth at Common Law”. On May 31, 1934 (while still a doctoral student at Harvard), Read was offered a position on the Minnesota law faculty to introduce a course on legislation-the first of its kind in the United States. In 1934, Read was admitted into the Minnesota Bar, and in 1948 to 1949, served as vice-chairman of the legislative committee of the Minnesota State Bar Association and was member of the Judicature Society of the Association of American University Professors. Horace remained professor of law at the University of Minnesota until 1950.

During the Second World War, Read served as a Major in the Minnesota wing of the United States Civil Air Patrol from 1941 to 1943. At the request of his colleague and friend, Angus L. Macdonald (then Minister of National Defence for Naval Services), Horace joined the Royal Canadian Navy Volunteer Reserve as Commander. With the rank as Commander, Read became chairman of the Naval Regulations Revision Committee and served as a principal architect in the revision of the Naval Regulations (K.R.C.N.), as well as the draftsman of the Naval Service Act of Canada in 1944. Read also served as chairman of the Canadian Naval Orders Committee from 1944-1945. As a result for his work directing the revisions of naval regulations, he was awarded the Order of British Empire in 1946.

In 1950, Read accepted an offer to become Richard Chapman Weldon Professor of Law and Dean of the Faculty of Law at Dalhousie University on the terms that a Nova Scotia Centre for Legislative Research be established. In 1964, after being appointed Dean Emeritus of Law and Sir James Dunn Professor of Law, Read accepted the role of Vice-President of Dalhousie University until 1969 when he stepped down to pursue teaching full-time until 1972. On February 26, 1975, Horace Read died at the Victoria General Hospital in Halifax at the age of 78.

In addition to the aforementioned professional memberships, Read was chairman of the Nova Scotia Labour Board; ex officio member of Council of the Nova Scotia Barristers’ Society; Vice-President for Nova Scotia of the Canadian Bar Association; President of the Conference of Governing Bodies of the Legal Profession in Canada; President of the Conference of Commissioners on Uniformity of Legislation in Canada; President of Canadian Law Teachers; Vice-President of the International Law Association, Chairman Committee on Foreign Judgments; chairman of the Nova Scotia Royal Commission on Automobile Insurance and; was hired by the United Nations to be the observer of the 1958 Costa Rica national election and consultant on electoral law.

Read was also recipient of four honorary degrees from Acadia University, Queen’s University; Dalhousie University, and Windsor University, and was appointed to the Order of Canada in 1973. Read’s major publications include, “Cases on Canadian Law of Personal Chattels” (1931; 1940), “Cases on Equity” (1932), “Cases and Other Materials on Legislation” (1948; 1959), “Cases and Other Materials on the Common Law of Contracts in Canada” (1955), and “Recognition and Enforcement of Foreign Judgements in the British Commonwealth” (1938).

Custodial history

The complete custodial history of this fonds is unknown; records were received in five accessions between 1978 and 2006. Some accessions were provided by the Dalhousie University Faculty of Law

Scope and content

This fonds consists of a variety of materials related to all aspects of Read's career. The fonds includes a range of correspondence; biographical records pertaining to Read himself such as newspaper clippings and a curriculum vitae; conference papers; various association files and Dalhousie committee files; lecutres; souvenirs from Read's military career that include certificates, miniature medals, a records of military service; published and printed workds; committee files related to the Nova Scotia Labour Relations Board, the Nova Scotia Royal Commission on Auto Insurance, Uniformity of Legislation in Canada, the King's Regulation Revision Committee; and photographs (primarily of Read during the War or attending various functions).

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  • English

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Open Access.

Terms governing use, reproduction, and publication

Materials do not circulate and must be used in the Archives and Special Collections Reading Room. Materials may be under copyright. Contact departmental staff for guidance on reproduction.

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No further accruals are expected.

General note

Preferred citation: [Identification of item], Horace E. Read fonds, MS-2-322, Dalhousie University Archives, Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada.

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This fonds description comes from the Dalhousie University Archives Catalog. The complete, original description is available there.

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