Jean Hamelin, university professor and historian (b at Saint-Narcisse, Qc 13 Jul 1931; d at Sainte-Foy 15 May 1998). With his vision for the future of his discipline and his original pioneering work, he is considered one of the most important Québécois historians in the second half of the 20th century.
Following brilliant classical studies at the Franciscan Juvénat and the Séminaire Saint-Joseph in Trois-Rivières, Hamelin did his degree studies in history at U. Laval in Québec in 1952. He then went to Lyon and to Paris where, inspired by his classes at l'École des Annales, he received his graduate diploma in 1957 from l'École pratique des hautes études. Straight away, he returned to U. Laval to undertake a long and fruitful career as a professor in the history department. For 36 years, this passionate and learned pedagogue and staunch champion of a humanist way of thinking about university had much success. He directed some dozen students through advanced studies, many who would be dispersed in Quebec and Canadian universities. In 1987, the Faculté des Lettres recognized him as a professor par excellence in the first 50 years of its existence.
Jean Hamelin closely combined his teaching and research in history at a time when the work of historians was becoming professionalized and better equipped with solid scientific foundations in Québec. The wealth, diversity and originality of his work are impressive. When necessary he was a pioneer, at other times he shook up deep-rooted methodological traditions and worked to renew the purpose and broader approach of the sacred areas of political and economic history, as well as the social, cultural and religious. He re-examined these as a visionary generous with his ideas, and as a historian particularly searching to "tell again tell the mystery of man". As an author and co-author, he produced 47 books and more than 75 articles, often grouped together in masterful summaries - indispensable research tools. Among his numerous prizes are his two Governor General of Canada literary awards: the first (1972), for his book Histoire économique du Québec , 1851-1896 written in collaboration with Yves Roby; the second (1985) for Histoire du catholicisme québécois: le XXe siècle, tome 1: 1898-1940, jointly with Nicole Gagnon, and Histoire du catholicisme québécois: le XXe siècle, tome 2: 1940 à nos jours. These works reveal the esteem due him. When this giant passed away, he was still co-director of the prestigious DICTIONARY OF CANADIAN BIOGRAPHY.