ALUMNI-IN-ACTION ORAL HISTORY
Harvey W. Caldwell, OAC ‘51
Ontario Agricultural College, 1951
Interviewed by Ed Brubacher
April 1, 1997
Ed This is a tape recording with Dr. Harvey Caldwell who lives in Guelph, by Ed Brubacher, a member of the Alumni-in-Action Committee. Harvey is a 1951 graduate from the OAC and he got further degrees from Cornell and came back here and taught in the Ag. Economics Department for many, many years until his retirement. We’re conducting this interview in the bright, airy kitchen of Dr. Caldwell this morning, March 31, 1997.
Harvey, thanks very much for being willing to talk to us today and I’m pleased to be here and meet with you. Harvey, where was your home and what was it like before you came to the OAC?
H Well I had rather a peculiar background I guess. My parents had been born in Carleton County where my grandfather had a nice farm out in what was then Fallow Field but now is part of Ottawa and one of his brothers owned the land where the experimental farm now is in Ottawa but this was around an area of Carp where my mother was born on the farm, still in the Caldwell name out there. But, because my father’s mother died when he was two years old and his brothers were four years old and the last one was just a baby when their mother died, they grew up on the farm out at Fallow field. But when my grandfather was fairly young he died but he had remarried some 3 or 4 years after my real grandmother died and he remarried and with the second family there were 6 children, 4 of them girls and two of them boys. My grandfather died at a fairly young age, at least young now, I think he was 59 or something like that but he left everything to his widow and the two little boys of the second marriage were only about 6 or 7 or whatever, not very old anyway, but there my father and his brothers were in their 20’s and because he left everything of course to his widow who had the two little boys of their own, my parents, or at least my dad and his brother felt there was really nothing there for them and that they were big enough and could look after themselves in their early 20’s and so on. So, they decided that they would homestead in the west. So my dad and his brother homesteaded in the west. My dad homesteaded in Saskatchewan around the area of Nokomis and I suppose most of you know what that homestead act spelled out but it was an arrangement where the Government was wanting to get settlement in the west and so they offered this program known as the Homestead Act and the conditions were that first the persons who joined this Homestead Program would break from the virgin soil, they would break 30 acres a year for 3 years and that they would build on it a habitable dwelling and so this is what happened. My dad took this piece of land over and if they fulfilled these conditions
which they did, a habitable dwelling was just like a chicken house. I have a picture of my dad standing in the door of it, it was about 8 x 8 and this was a habitable dwelling, some of them had sod huts and so on. But anyway, he sold that and then he bought another farm about 10 miles east of Saskatoon at Grandora and my mother who had known him of course from back in the olden days, they were married and she moved out to raise us. There were three of us born in the west, my two sisters and I and they lived there for about 7 years and then with the wind and lonesomeness and so on they decided they would move back east. So I moved back with them, of course, and went to school and raised on a farm on the edge of Carp, Ontario which was at that time considered to be 20 miles from Ottawa.
E Harvey, do you know about what year your dad went west?
H Yes, well, they were married in 1913 so he went west probably in 1908 or something like that and they had to spend 3 years on it or maybe 4, I think, so I would say maybe you could even put it about 1909 or thereabouts. So, we moved back to the farm in Carp and unfortunately and its quite a long story , but when my grandfather remarried, he had quite a big farm out at Fallow Field, so the young woman was quite a bit younger than he was whom he married as his second wife, a very fine woman a lovely woman and only grandmother that I ever really knew, my step-grandmother if there’s such an expression, but anyway, my father’s stepmother, anyway, she stepped into this farm with the little boys and with hired men and so on and it was a big deal for her but she had a sister who was 16 who wasn’t married and wasn’t well and in those days a lot of people died from TB and I think they worried that she mightn’t live too long. But anyway, she came to live with her sister who was a married woman and she was exactly 10 years older than my dad and she fitted in with them very well and she lived there ‘til she was in her early 40’s I think it was before she finally married. And she married this man who had a farm at Carp, not far, well ¾ of a mile from my mother’s home where she had been born. So anyway, when they were thinking of moving east, my dad’s what would be his stepmother’s sister who had lived there all her life, had married this man who had a farm at Carp and he was ready to retire and they knew that dad and mother were looking for a farm and it was close to where my mother had been born and raised and so on, so they bought this farm on the Fourth Line of Huntley. Now my dad had never seen it but he bought it on trust because my aunt was anxious to move out of the farm. So the conditions were very bad to tell you the truth. When you think of it it’s shameful. He bought it in the fall and the owner, this woman’s husband, he let a number cattle run loose in the barn, steers all winter, and there were 3 feet or more of solid manure in the barn by spring and windows were all broken and the roof of the barn leaked like a sieve that you would get drowned and so on and the house was in terrible shape, there was no basement under an addition they had put on, there was no insulation in the walls and there was no running water and it was just terrible. It was worse I think than the life they had had on the prairie. And because my dad hadn’t sold the farm they had in the west he had a big debt. This was the beginning of the roaring ‘20’s in 1920-21 and so he had no money and everything was dear, he came back with just what they had taken out in a car load and he had 3 horses I think and 2 or
3 cows that he had brought and a car, and it was a 1916 Ford , so they didn’t have anything much at home, no furniture, nothing and so we stepped into that and my mother often felt badly because she had been raised in this nice little area before. Her brother, who was a very prominent milk producer at that stage, back in those days if you can imagine had 100 milk cows and one of the largest shippers to the Ottawa area. And they had two girls working in the house as maids and had 4 or 5 or 6 or up to 7 sometimes hired men and so on. Anyway, this is what my mother stepped into and so we were the poor relations. But I was conscious of this and of course went to school there and the only thing that save me was that I was able to do pretty well in school and not bragging about it but I was lucky and was able to top my class. So then in spite of all the little taunts and the hints that we got and I was called cornstalk for a while because I grew so tall and was thin and wore hand-me-down clothes and I felt very shy and didn’t know all the other children whowere village kids that knew each other. I was the little farm boy who had to go home and help milk the cows and so on. So anyway, that’s when I passed the entrance and did well. One of the things that saved me, I think, was the fact that I was able to do well. And in those days everybody had to write entrance examinations at the departmental level. They sent a woman that we had never seen to proctor at them and there the the exams came in a sealed envelop with a red seal on and the student who sat near the front had to sign that they had watched this being opened etc. etc. under close scrutiny. So anyway, we write their examinations and I did very well. In those days our local doctor had put up a gold medal for the student in Carleton County, Ottawa’s in Carleton, who received the highest marks in the entrance exams and it was won by Harvey W. Caldwell. I still have the medal..
E Very good.
H …and all it says “Highest Marks, Entrance Examination, Carleton County, 1929. And that was a great boost for me because my mother thought I was going to fail, she thought I wasn’t spending enough time, well I wasn’t worried about failing but I was for going down to the creek or something to swim or fish or something and she thought I was gonna fail. Well I didn’t expect that but it was such a shock when the phone rang about August and it was our principal who was a wonderful teacher and I can give most of the credit to him, who phoned to say that the results were out and phoned to my mother and the words I still remember, I think it was in the kitchen, he had said “Well, I just wanted to report, Mrs. Caldwell, that the entrance exams are out and Harvey passed.” “Well that’s that’s pretty good I’m glad to hear he did.” “Yes,” he says “and he passed with honors.” Well that was great. And then he added “Yes, and he won the gold medal for the county.” Completely out of the blue. But you know that helped me, gave me some more confidence and not only that, the record kinda follows you. When I went into high school then the next year, the teachers new that I had won the gold medal so I guess I got a little better treatment then I might have got if I hadn’t have done as well.
E Well, that’s great. OK Harvey and then you went on to Normal School and you taught school didn’t you. Where and for how long and then what made you decide to come to the OAC?
H Well, first of all I yes, I went through the school system in the village at home up to grade 12 and then I took my grade 13 at Nepean High school because there was no 13 at home and then I went to the Normal School in Ottawa as you say. And from then on things were very bad, this was in the height of the Depression and I didn’t get a school at all. But then I got into kind of a good school but it was kinda in poor shape at the time and I taught for two years in SS#4 Terbulton, it was a rural school, wonderful kids, I just loved those children and I stayed there for two years and the inspector wanted me to move a bit so I became the principal of another very small school but at Kenmore, Ontario and I spent a couple of years there and from then I moved to Arnprior which was a 10-room school actually quite a big school and it was when I was there I guess that the war broke out and I resigned from my job to join the army and was to report at Ottawa and so on. And about the day before I was report in Ottawa, I got a telegram to say I was not to report in Ottawa and what had happened was the Selective Service, and some of you may or may not know about that, had stepped in, and because teachers were very short and because farm workers were very short, they said they wanted me to stay doing what I was doing which was meant teaching school through the year and spending holidays and whatever on the farm. And the reason was because I hadn’t very good eyesight and they said “Well even for the low category you probably would only have to be sitting at a desk and you’d be far better doing what you are doing”. And I felt rather badly about it in a way because I had resigned and I had to go back, I only stayed to the end of the year because they had given me a little gift. Well anyway, I did that and had to do that until the war was over. And when the war was over, I was home at the holidays one time, and along came Jim McCulloch who was with um his father and they came to our place to look for a young bull calf. My dad was in the Holstein business and had been, we had been very successful with some of the herd sires we had and so on , one of our cows was All Canadian and Reserve All American in 1948 and this was in 1946 I guess, anyway he came in looking for a bull calf. And to make a long story short I, we said “Hello, what are you doing?” and he said “Well, I’m going to OAC.” He had been in the army and service and of course they had a program then where they could do it in 3 years instead of 4 and he said “I enrolled in this…” and he said “ you should consider it, you should try it…” because I was free now to move where I wanted. And so I took his advise and did. And I wrote in and asked about an application form to that I would come to OAC and I got a letter back from the, from the registrar then that I wasn’t accepted. It was because although I had 10 thirteen subjects, I hadn’t taken science. So I had no science so I wasn’t eligible. Well, because I was getting older at this time and we were part of the University of Toronto, I had seen somewhere, I don’t know if someone told me that they had a mature student category and if you were 30 years of age and had some other experience that you could be considered. So I wrote back and asked if I could be accepted on a mature student basis. And I was accepted. So that got me started. So then I came to OAC and hoping to go, expecting to either go by into General Science or into Animal Husbandry it was called then because we had known Professor Runions who was a great judge and Raithby and so on. And they had judged at some of the shows where we had cattle. So anyway, that’s what I thought. But, I think its fair to say I was a little disappointed when I came here - I was a little disappointed with the Animal Husbandry department and the way it started off was I joined the the Animal Husbandry club, dairy club and on the first weekend I was here
they had a class of cattle, I still remember them, Jersey’s and so on, and we placed them and spent an hour or two I suppose, and I placed them say 4,3, 2 and 1. And Professor Runions and Professor Raithby were there and they came and they showed me yes this is the way they should be placed 4, 3, 2, and 1. And I was quite pleased that I had done very well. Well, the next week we had an afternoon of judging cattle and we were in the Tuesday afternoon section I was with and anyway we went over and they had the same four Jersey’s and I placed them the same as I had before. But the man in charge of the class at that time had them placed like 3, 1, 2 and 4 or something different from what they had been on Saturday and, of course, my placing was wrong because I had placed them the same way. So on the way back, I led one of them back to the barn, and a herdsman said “Well how did you get along today?” And I said not very “What’s the matter?” Well I said “ I don’t know how to place those cattle.” and he said “Well where did he have that one that you’re leading back?” And I said “He had her in second.” “Well,” he says “You’re getting better, he had her first yesterday.” Well I just felt I was wasting my time getting up giving reasons why you placed these cattle and this reason and so on and so on. So I was a little disappointed and I had a few other disappointments and at the end of my , first year, went home and was all ready to go back and we had quite a large farm at home, we had 325 acres and a lot of good cattle and we had three hired men and I was already with my suitcase in hand to come up on the train and my dad was taking me to Ottawa and one of the men who had been there for three years or four or more than that, a good man he was, came out to the car and said “I thought I should tell you that I have taken a job managing the Ottawa Dairy Farm and I would only be here for three weeks.” Well my brother was sick and was in hospital at the time, we had a Polish fellow who couldn’t speak English, anyway he was leaving and I was heading for Guelph and there’s my dad left. And he said to me as we were getting into the car he said “What will I do? What will I do?” And I said “I can’t go. I can’t leave.” And I didn’t and I felt really badly that I hadn’t left because I had done well and I had won a couple of little scholarships and so on but anyway, I stayed at home and it was a great year at home with people coming in looking at the cattle and so I didn’t think I could ever go back but things had changed and my parents felt badly that they had interrupted my educational class and finally, one of the hardest things in my life to do, I went back and I went into second when everybody I knew was in third and they were all coming out of school now before there would be a lot of return people and here I was in with a bunch of young lads about 19, 17, 19 years of age, right out of school and I was in my thirties. But anyway, I did finish my second year and got into third and when you go into third year, you know you had to select an option. And I don’t think anybody would mind me telling this, I was a little disappointed in the Animal Husbandry and when I was talking with the Dean of Men at the time he said “Did you ever think of Economics?” He said “They’ve just opened this new department recently here and they’ve a lot of good men, maybe you should consider it!” Well, I didn’t even know what economics was so I thought, well sure maybe I should and I looked into it so I got my option card signed there that I would go into economics. Well during that holiday, I had a little note from one of the faculty members whom I admired very much and he just started off to say that he had heard I was thinking of taking an option other than Animal Husbandry and he thought I should consider it very carefully because he thought I would do very well in Animal Husbandry so I just said “Well, on that basis I
guess I’ll go into Animal Husbandry.” So I came up that fall to register and you had to have your option card signed and the Professor that I wanted to see was off somewhere with the judging team and the Head of Department wasn’t around or couldn’t be found so I waited all day long and about half past four I went down again to the Animal Husbandry Department to get a new card signed if I could…. nobody except one man was there and I told him, I said “I have to register by 5 o’clock and I haven’t got anybody to change my card!” And he said, I’ll quote him “Go up and register in Economics and you can change it tomorrow.” So I did. I said “The Registrar won’t like that!” and his reply was “’to hell with the registrar.” He said “It’s your life!” So I went up and registered in the Department of Economics. So I got all the time table and everything for Economics thinking I’d change it tomorrow type of thing. So I went back and tomorrow came and the classes started at a quarter to nine and I had not idea where the Animal Science people were going and I had all the timetable for Economics so I went with the Economics and I just kept on going with Economics. That’s the reason I got into Economics. If either of those men had been there, I never would have been in Agriculture Economics, but I was and I continued on and I apologized and the man apologized too about asking me about it and he said “I never did a thing like that before in my life.” And I appreciated it but at the same time I was kinda glad that I was in where I was, I enjoyed it. So then at the end of that year, at the end, when I graduated, one of the men who was on campus here called me into his office and he had received a fairly good appointment he thought and he would like to have me as his assistant and that was great news to my ears too , but he said “Before you do that I would like you to go to Cornell for a year and take up some of the courses that I hadn’t taken when I was there and we’d work well together I think.” So I decided that this is what I would do and I applied to Cornell and was accepted and I was on my own for a Master’s degree and I specialized in Farm Management and Education . They had an Education Department there. So anyway, that’s where I started. When I came back then the man who wanted me as assistant didn’t feel that he had the job ready yet and he wanted me to work with the Ministry of Agriculture anyway as an extension man or something for a year and so on. And I said “Well, I’m going to see the Deputy Minister and see if there is a job there or not”. He didn’t think I should but I said I think I’m going to see him anyway. So I went to see him and it was Mr. C.D. Graham, and I still remember him and I told him what my name was, and the first question he asked me, he didn’t say “Oh, glad to meet ya” so I don’t remember that, the first thing he said was “Are you the Caldwell’s with the good cattle?” He said “I was down to the show day three years ago and there was a nice heifer there I was really impressed with her”, and I was able to say “I was the guy at the halter” and I was but you know as you trace it back if I hadn’t missed that year, I never would have had those opportunities. I wouldn’t have been showing the heifer that the Deputy had seen, I wouldn’t have been, I don’t know the various things which I wouldn’t have done and I wouldn’t have met the chap who wanted me to be his assistant if I had been a year earlier. So things just worked out and fell into place like, as I’ve often said, “I was the luckiest person in the world” and when I got home from Cornell, I got an offer from Ottawa, but in the meantime they had a new Department of Economics- there had been some shuffle and I had a letter from the chap who was going to head it up asking me not to take a job…
E What was his name?
H Ralph Campbell and Ralph started off with his letter, I had just met him on the way back and he said “I hope you do not think this is too presumptuous of me, but I’m suggesting I’m going to ask, don’t take a permanent job until you hear further from me, there will be an announcement made and please don’t write to the Department but, you know ask about, things are in a state of change but anyway, this is the letter I had. So I didn’t, I didn’t for a long time I didn’t hear anything, I didn’t know what it was all about, I had a call from Ottawa to know if I would be interested in coming to work with them. And I said “Well when would you like me to start?” And this was Dr. Hudson and he said “Oh, I don’t know, how about tomorrow?” and I said “No, I can’t start tomorrow, I have just come back from Cornell and my dad has just retired and he’s building a two car garage and I’m going to help him”. I didn’t say I had this letter and I was holding off. But anyway, it went on and they called me again a little later on and said come on in and see us. So I went in and I told him that I had this letter and I said I wouldn’t want to start and then two weeks later resign. But I said “I’ll tell you what I’ll do..” “I’ll come and work here. But don’t put me on the payroll.” So he said “Well, that’s OK”. So this went on for about another two or three weeks or maybe more and he called me in and he said “I’m not going to have you working here for nothing, I’m going to put you on the payroll” which he did and so later on then I get a letter from Guelph to tell me what was happening that there was a big change coming, that Ralph Campbell was thinking of being made Director, or at least Chairman of Department and that he wanted me to be on staff. Well, it so happened, I couldn’t believe it, I couldn’t believe it because I had had dinner the day before, with the man who was Head of the Department and he never mentioned anything about this, everything was fine, everything great and so on and the second thing, I couldn’t believe that Ralph Campbell, who came in as a lecturer, would jump from lecturer to be a Head of the Department. I just couldn’t believe it. But in a way that’s what happened and he was, I think, made Acting Head for the first year or so, so I was in the Department of Ag. Economics and taught Economics, I think that was about the only Economics that was taught then to all the students, so I taught Economics.
E What year was that?
H That I came, I came on staff in 1952. In ’52 and then in ’54 I decided I would like to do my PhD, my doctor’s if I was going to stay in this. And, although Ralph, I remember telling me “Oh, well, you have enough background experience.” But I said “Well, no, I think if I am going to be in this I’d like to. So I applied to Oregon State and the main two reasons why I went that far away, one, I had never been out to the coast, like not to know much about it and, secondly, many of the staff, so many of the people that were here then on staff, Ralph was able to give them some direction and we took on Murray McGregor and Phil Wright but they had been to the popular Agricultural Colleges in the states you see, Murray had been at Cornell and, of course, I had been and Phil was from Michigan and somebody else was from Ames and so on and I thought I would like to do something that was a little different and I had met a great many people when we were at Cornell and one couple being from Oregon. And so I thought “Well, let’s do it” and so, so we did and that’s what I did and I enrolled out there and I did my major in Production Economics
and I had my first minor was in College and University Teaching and my second minor was split between Economics and Statistics and it was a great combination with my teaching background.
E Ok Harvey, in 1956 you came back with your PhD, from Oregon, what work did you do here at the College after you came back?
H Well, at that time the Farm Management Programs or the farm management topic was just getting under way and there was a group appointed to look after farm management associations, or try to develop them and Art Robertson had helped start an accounting project with some of the people and some of the farmers that were belonging to these associations and in one year, and I’m not sure which it was, a statement came out from the Ministry that there would be or should be a Farm Management Association in each county. Now this was rather new to Ag. Reps who were graduates and um from OAC but they were specialists in areas such as Crop Science, you know, Animal Husbandry, Field Husbandry, Soils and so on but they didn’t really have much background in the whole area of farm management, per se, which they thought at that time mainly just a bookkeeping project, farm management was keeping records. Well it was a little more than that, but anyway, we were asked to set up some kind of program to help these people deal with the various aspects of farm management and we did. So I worked in that area when I came back because I had done my Doctor’s in Production Economics and and so on, so we worked out programs and extended the record keeping part of the project. So what we would do would keep records and we’d have them bring their notes their records books, we had a blue book, some of you may remember, a blue record book, and they would bring these in and we would try to meet with them, the owners of the books, one day in the county toward the end of the year so that we would give them whatever help we could. Very often if was the women who were keeping the accounts. So anyway, this is what we did and from county to county and gathered up the books and then we analyzed the books we divided them into kinds of farming enterprises, like the dairy and then beef and then poultry or whatever and then we sorted them on that basis and then we analyzed their income and their receipts and some of the other things too, the production records and so on. And then we published those records, the averages, and then for each person we left a blank, we showed what the average was and we also showed what the top three people had averaged, and the bottom three people had averaged. And then we left a space for their figure so they could see from their figure how far they were from or one of the top three or whether they were in the bottom three or the group in between. And we had worked out some sheets that you could analyze the crop index and the labor index and so on and we found this very good and the farmers found this very good too. And we had a lot of experiences - one I think I could pass on to you for example - it was done on an accrual basis and that changed whatever change there was in the income status of the particular farm. And this meant keeping a record of animals and sometimes it was hard, you see if the animals that you had at the first of the year plus the ones that were born since or bought and then you subtracted off what was sold and gave you an idea of what was left. And sometimes it was hard to get these things to balance and I’ll remember this one particular man I knew, when they were
working in the kitchen trying to get the thing to come out right, the lady was in there and listening and the husband was in there too and of course, I usually tried to get in to be in on these. And they couldn’t get this thing to balance. It was either one or two that were out and he couldn’t remember anything. So I went out to the car and I was leaving and he came out rather quietly and leaned against the side of the door and spoke to me through the window and he said “You know that one that we couldn’t find, you know, that was missing there?” He said “Actually it was a bull calf that I sold for $50 but I never told my wife that I got that”. So when I was in the kitchen, he couldn’t remember anything but when he got into the fresh air it came to his mind it was the calf that he had never told his wife that he got that fifty bucks. So anyway, there were a few things like that that are kind of funny. I have to laugh at another one, I went into this yard and at that time they were kind of afraid that we were income tax inspectors and we were looking for farm income, and this chap, I still remember him, he was an Irishman, I said to him “Well how are you today?” and he just looked at me and he said “I’m getting better. I’ll soon be alright!”. So I didn’t know whether he had been sick or not. But you know you got… another time, the last one I’ll mention, I went in a yard and the husband and wife were out pounding away at a shed or something, I don’t know what they were doing, but they were doing something to the shed, and I got in and told them what I was doing and he came out and he got into the car with me and sat down and I found out later that, or that time I guess, never let anybody into your car. As long as you let them in the car you can’t get away until they get out. So anyway, he sat in with me and I had finished doing what we were doing and the woman she was banging away out at the back with a hammer, and she came around to look out a couple of times and I said “I think she is kind of waiting for you!” and he kept on talking away and never seemed to listen sitting there and she came out again and started pounding again and finally ended up shouting and calling him and I said “Your wife is calling you!” I said “She’s shouting for you!” and he said “ta hell with her, let her shout.” I was afraid I’d read in the paper the next day like Churchhill- give us the tools and we’ll finish the job- I was afraid that she’d hit him over the head with a hammer. But I finally learned then don’t let anybody into the car or you can’t get them out very easily. Anyway, that was what we were doing and we published a little publication, a little booklet, and I guess they are around somewhere yet, I don’t know if they are still doing this kind of thing, to show the various figures that you had on different types of farms. And we had a yellow sheet that would show the capital turnover and all that kind of stuff, which was really good, and everything of course is so computerized now, I’m sure they have it all without people going around and asking. But I enjoyed it, I really enjoyed it.
E And then you became involved in the Diploma course…
H The Diploma course I took over in 1959, it was three years after I had I gave up the farm management really, oh I got called out a few times here and there but mainly that and we had the diploma course there and, of course, we had the Extension Education Master’s Degree and I was involved with it too. So I had both good jobs. And when I took over the Diploma Course I think one of the things that helped me was the fact that I had stayed out the year and that the Deputy Minister had seen the heifer because then
when the fall came around and Ralph Campbell had met him and he said “Oh, there’s a chap by the name of Caldwell up there someplace, you should get in touch with him.” And I think, probably, I don’t know whether I should record this, but to his dying day the Minister or the Deputy probably thought he was the one that got me on staff at Economics, and I suppose he was too in a way, but Ralph Campbell never let on that he had written to me and asked me not to take a job until I heard from him. So, it worked out very well. So, well with the Diploma course, well, as I say, they were kind of a wild group and I think they thought nobody knew them and a lot of people on campus, didn’t think that there was any place for a Diploma Students on campus and they acted out that part and I was pretty stern with them at first and I pointed out, I said “look, you’re, welfare is my major concern, but I said “I want to change some of these things around here” and I said “If there are any of you who came here without expecting to learn something, if you didn’t come here to learn something you shouldn’t be here!” I said “You are wasting your time, you’re wasting my time, and you’re wasting your parent’s money and if you didn’t come here to learn something, you’re not gonna be here very long!” And I think the first year I expelled three of them, put three of them out at Christmas and I think there was two maybe the second year but other than that we had no problem. But one of the good things that happened was that we had a Farm Management Project and the Faculty cooperated, there was Bob Forshaw, and Bill Ewen to do with soil, as Bill would be visiting these people and if it had to do with Animal Husbandry it probably was Tommy Burgess or somebody. And so I had a few for myself, but I also tried to visit each one of the students that came from the farm on their farm in the summer. I ran around a lot, I might find five or six in an afternoon at different places, not take so long, to look at their project, it gave me an excuse to go, to take a look at their project and I visited their parents and so on. So, I think some of them, I’m sure, would have been ashamed to act the way they had been acting, feeling that I knew their parents. So they got to be a great bunch. They got to be envied by the some of the others. A couple of instances I’ll tell you about, for example, the first year or one of the first or second years I was there, they always had a big do and have it yet I guess at College Royal and this particular time, one of the boys who sends me a Christmas card yet and a long letter that I got at Christmas this year, anyway, he was quite an actor and I mean the actor in the plays and so on. And they were putting on this play and apparently he was the best actor. And when the found out that he was a Diploma student, they took the part away from him and gave it to somebody else. Well, the students were really furious, they were really mad and they were going to spoil everything, they were going to boycott everything, they were going to do everything to ruin the College Royal because of this treatment of his class. And I was able to go in and say to them, and I called a meeting, and I think Dan Rose maybe was the president of the College Royal that year. I went in and I talked to them and I said “Look, you guys have got this all wrong”. I said “the thing for you to do is the very opposite which you’re planning”. I said“ you should enter every class that’s in the College Royal and win every prize that you can win and just to show these guys what you can do”. They took my advice and do you know they won the Grand Champion Showmanship, the Reserve Grand Champion, and they won some special cane that I don’t understand, the first time that it had ever been won by a Diploma Student and it was a wonderful feeling because they won everything, they entered poultry, they entered I think pie making
contests, everything that you could think of and they just went right over and did it. And I always appreciated the work that went into that. But what a lift it gave them too you see since they won. So that those are some things, I had some great times with them, we had some not bad times but one time we were out on a field trip and Asian flu broke out. What a time we had but anyway we got them home and I didn’t even know that one of the chaps that was so sick, I didn’t even know what his name was, the they’d just come in September you see and this was just the last part of September. But he was from British Columbia and he was so sick now whether he didn’t want us to phone his parents. And another time we were out, the hotel up in Lindsay caught fire and we were in it. I learned a few things there, I learned how fast you should get out if there is a fire, cause you kinda saunter down the stairs never thinking it was much, it was in the kitchen, and boy within we’ll say a minute, that place was so black with smoke it was some kind of a pot that had exploded, of grease or something in the kitchen and the big bellowing, billowing rolls of smoke you wouldn’t believe. We didn’t get our club bag out and my club bag of clothes smelled for smoke for six months after that! It was and a few things like that. Another time they were crossing a little bridge in the dark and the bridge let go on the end from the piers and we had quite a time, I think they were rocking it a bit but I didn’t say that to anybody but it let go anyway and the people that owned it called us up and were intent on fining us or charging us or whatever, so I went up with a couple of guys, I think Jack Poss was along and so was maybe Frank Theakston, anyway, there was three or four of us went up and we I had the engineer look at it and fortunately or unfortunately, for us fortunately, the piers at the end or the posts you know to which it was attached were all rotted to pieces so I pointed that out to the owner, I said “Look, you were lucky there wasn’t some rich American woman got tossed into the water as they crossed this, you don’t know how fortunate you were that this thing happened”. But anyway, I guess he accepted my argument and it never cost us anything but it it caused quite a stir at the time. But we had I had a lot of good experiences with these boys.
E How long were you involved with the Diploma Course?
H Well for ten I guess or eleven years. You see when I was first appointed, they didn’t have this five-year appointment and then, you know, that came in new so I, when I finished my first ten years in the next year and that was the second term. So I figured it was time I was finished anyway. I never did take my years leave that I could or should have I never thought of doing that you know but I got six months I think but I had been Chairman of the Department by then for 10 years too and there was some overlap but I think it was yeah that would be right, I took over in ’69 and I think I gave it up in ’71 and that would be about right. About two terms.
E And then what did you specialize in after that?
H Well, then I was just a part of the of the Department and Chair of the Extension division. Because, eventually, they put Economics and Extension Education together. Now they had to or they did, they separated them out again, they never should have put them in there together in the first place but I was Head of the Extension Education Section I think they called it – there were two sections- til the last two years that I was left I had
finished my stint again so I just went back into teaching the Degree students until I retired.
E Which was what year?
H I retired in, well that’s another little thing, I thought I retired in ’81 but when it came through some year or two or three years later I saw they had me down for 1982 and I said “Well I thought I retired in ’81!” I said “my last day that I was supposed to be there, you know the end of the semester and so on was the 31st of December. But they put me down as retiring on the first of January a year later. You know that cost me about two and a half percent you know I felt kinda that was not fair, that was not right but they made an adjustment you see and they made an adjustment to the people who were retiring in ’81 and in ’82 you were out I didn’t get that. I didn’t make enough or any fuss about some of those things I guess maybe I should have but I didn’t and I only collected for a half a year administrative leave or something. Anyway, not to complain about it, those things are under the bridge, I had a great life here and because of the fact that I was chairman and when there’s expansion I think my wife, I must give Mary a great credit, she was a great help to me, she was a wonderful hostess, far better than I would have been. So we were kind of a complementary pair in a way. I was invited to these things because of my position and she being my wife and she was able to -Pauline McGibbon for example, we had out to dinner -and so Mary is a wonderful hostess. And the year when I got to be Chairman of the Centennial Committee, the ride in the the Landau with the outside horses and their long tails and so on, Mary was there right beside me. And she was just a great hostess and she, the boys, they thought a lot of her too, we always tried to invite the executive of the years out to our place for dinner. And they still talk about the big meals Mary gave. They were a great bunch of young fellas, we’d get a great big turkey, 22 lbs or something and have them out and I always was surprised at the number of young folks that came to be on the executive and came but that was fine you know and they had other subcommittees or something but it was just great and I really enjoyed it and I enjoyed the Master’s students and the others but for the most part, we had it all but it was different than with the diploma.
E Harvey, can you recall any people at the university or pre-university days that had a big influence on your life and your career or any events that were of special significance that stand out?
H Well, I suppose to give credit where credit is due one of the people and it was a very small thing, you know, after we had finished our year, we usually had to go in to see the Dean of Men. And the Dean of Men this time was my friend John Eccles, John had come back from the navy as the Dean of Men, and he was looking at my report which was a good one and I guess maybe I had indicated my unhappiness in a way with the other departments and so on but anyway he said to me, even before that when he looked at my form, “Did you ever think of being a professor?” I had never thought of it but I said “there is nothing that I would like better!” And he said “Well, we always need people with your background and so on whatever you had.” So that was maybe and then he was the one that suggested “ you should take a look at economics!” because what I had and so on. So I think I have to
give John credit. I think those few words maybe were had quite an influence on my life and then Norm High came along and asked me to be his assistant and suggest that I go to Cornell, which I never would have, wasn’t thinking of or nothing like that and I wasn’t thinking of anything like that, I took his advice and I said “well sure, I guess I might as well apply” because I wasn’t sure and he said “I’d to have you as my assistant”. So that probably was a very important thing in my life. The best thing in my life, and this is not to do, per se, with education, was the fact that I met my wife, Mary, which I probably would never have done if I hadn’t had to stay out that year. It was strange how things worked to my benefit over which I have very little control. And Mary was just a wonderful help. And well as soon as I saw her, I had met Mary 15 years before that time, never gone out with her or anything and she was quite a nice looking gal but I had never gone out with her. I was invited to this reunion, the 75th reunion of Normal School and I don’t know yet, honestly, how I got tickets or why I was in Ottawa but I had two tickets, I took my mother, my mother had graduated in 1908 from the same College, Ottawa Women’s College and after it was all over, there was Mary talking to Fred Sader who had been with us, I knew Fred and Mary and boy did she look good, she was a beauty. And boy I just fell for her right there, I went to Ottawa the next day and I phoned the Board of Education for her address and fortunately they gave it to me, I started to write to her and we were corresponding and I met her in Toronto. I guess I pushed along pretty fast but we got engaged about Easter and we were married in September and that was the September I went to Cornell and she was with me all the way.
E September of 1951.
H ’51, the first of September. So everything fit right into place and as I say, the thing was so hard for me to stay at home and miss the year was probably the best thing that ever happened to me in my life. I didn’t do it with any hope of any remuneration or anything about I just said to my dad “I can’t go, I can’t leave you with this!” and, much as I felt badly about it and then the hard thing was to come back in again but that was a little different from the other, I had the choice of doing it. So, well those were a couple of highlights. Oh I was pleased when I was named I guess the director of the course, the Deputy Minister came up and met me in the President’s office and so on and when I was appointed as Director of the Diploma course. And I guess I was pleased too and happy when I was made Chairman of the Extension Education and, as I say, the way things fell in together for me is hard to believe. You think there must be a big power watching over you or something but I could hardly believe, because I was so old, I was 35 years of age when I graduated with an undergraduate degree and had nothing, I was single, no money, there I was. Now 10 years later I was married, I had a son and a daughter of whom I was very proud and I had a beautiful wife and I was Chairman of the Department, in 10 years. You know, it was fantastic and not of my own doing. Now to give Mary credit she was such a gorgeous lady because we were just married and I went to Cornell sort of on our honeymoon and I was in a big class of extension education people from all over, I think there was about 17 states represented and about 23 countries and no two from one, and one of the chaps came to me and he’s from Wisconsin, I still remember him, came to me
one day and he said to me “You know, my wife thinks your wife is the most beautiful woman she has ever seen.” Fantastic.
E Very good Harvey. So you have very fond memories but unfortunately Mary left you a year or so ago..
H Yes, ten months ago. Nearly ten when she left, she died in June. And we were sorry to see her go but she didn’t want to stay the way she had been for the last, she died of cancer.
E Harvey are there any particular students that you can recall that either gave you a lot of grief or were particularly rewarding?
H Well, you hope that you have helped somebody and once in a while you may get some feedback that you have and one I hesitate to even mention it but I think it was at our 74th Centennial year, a chap came up to me and at first I didn’t recognize him and as we talked I did. But at first he came up and he had his wife and this was in ’74. I guess he had graduated ten or more years ago, I’m not sure when, but he introduced me to his wife as ‘the man who had save his life!’ Now, I don’t remember exactly what I did and his wife kind of laughed and kind of made a joke about it and he said “No, I mean that.” and he went on and apparently he had got into some trouble and I don’t remember what it was really, but whatever it was, he gave me credit for changing his way of life which was leading him downhill to whatever he was doing. But you do the best you can, give what advice, and I did help a few students and I’m glad that I did now. But when I was on the Admissions Committee sometimes there would be someone come through that only had, we’ll say 58 marks in science or maybe hadn’t taken science and he was to be tossed out, and I said “I don’t think you should do that!” I remember this particular case and I said “I don’t think you should do that, he doesn’t have science.” Well, he couldn’t do it without science. Well, I said, “how can you say that?” Well, he’d have to work hard. Well I said “if he did, what would happen what would be wrong with him working hard?” but I said “you can’t say that he couldn’t do it!” And I said “ and I can prove to you.” I said “when I was applying up here I was turned down because I didn’t have science but when I came I not only could do it, I won the scholarship in science for the students and I used this to get some of these people admitted who wouldn’t have and who turned out very well, but who would not have been admitted if they hadn’t had someone to speak for them. And I was always glad that I did that. And then there, now I could say there’s a different one, and in fact I remember I had to go to bat for a young chap and I knew him and I said “Look, I know the background on this person, I know his father had been overseas and he was born out of wedlock and so on but I said “I know this person!” and then I finally said to the President, I said “look, I have never asked you for anything particular before but if there is no other reason or way that you can accept this young fellow, I would hope you would do it as a personal request from me.” “Well” he said “if that’s the way you feel about it!” You know he came and he did very well, he did very well, he won the Wildman Trophy when he was here, you know, and turned out to be a great guy.