Underhill, Frank Hawkins

Frank Hawkins Underhill, historian, political thinker (b at Stouffville [Whitchurch-Stouffville], Ont 26 Nov 1889; d at Ottawa 16 Sept 1971). Describing himself as being born a "North York Presbyterian Grit," and thus an enemy of the establishment, he achieved his greatest fame as a commentator on the political events and controversies of his times. After studying at U of T and Oxford and serving as an officer in WWI, he taught history at U Sask until 1927 and then at U of T until 1955. An influential commentator on public affairs as well as a popular teacher, he wrote extensively for Canadian Forum. He was the first president of the LEAGUE FOR SOCIAL RECONSTRUCTION and the principal author of the CO-OPERATIVE COMMONWEALTH FEDERATION's Regina Manifesto of 1933. His public activities caused friction with U of T administration, and in 1941 he came close to being dismissed after openly predicting that Canada's ties with the UK would weaken as its ties with the US grew stronger (see ACADEMIC FREEDOM). Always more of a liberal than a socialist, an admirer of the US and a strong supporter of the Cold War, he was propelled towards the Liberal Party in the 1940s. In 1955 he was appointed curator of Laurier House, Ottawa, by the Liberal government, and he dedicated a volume of essays to L.B. PEARSON. In his last years he was associated with Carleton U.