Queen's University Archives

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In Memoriam: Charles Beer, Queen's First University Archivist

Queen’s University Archives wishes to offer sincere condolences to the family of Edwin Charles Beer on his recent passing. Charles Beer was the first archivist at Queen’s, taking up that role in 1960.  He moved on to Dartmouth College in 1966 to undertake a three-year post as Associate Director of the Daniel Webster Papers Project.

Immediately prior to leaving the University, he wrote in the January 1966 edition of Factotum, the Monthly Bulletin of the Douglas Library, "that the decision to leave Queen’s had not been an easy one." His decision to move was "between the Devil I know and the Daniel Webster I don’t …," he had remarked somewhat cryptically. He went on to describe himself "as belonging to the ‘[H. Pearson] Gundy’ period and said he felt it was time to make way for ‘younger men with, as Max Beerbohm put it, months of activity ahead of them.’" The article continued, "looking back [he] recalled that he had started work in an abandoned cloakroom on April Fool’s Day 1960. Papers had been coming in the door and out of the walls ever since. ‘Six years ago … only God and the Librarian knew what the archives contained. Today, only God and the archivist know – and I’m not sure about God. Tomorrow …?’" He left these final notes to his successor: "my thoughts and prayers are with him."  

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