Quebec History Marianopolis College

Date Published:
August 2004

Biographies of Prominent Quebec and Canadian

Historical Figures

Henry Beckles Willson



Damien-Claude Bélanger

Department of History

McGill University


Journalist, historian, and soldier, was born at Montreal. He was educated at Kingston, Ontario. Willson joined the staff of the Boston Globe in 1887 and was its correspondent in Cuba during the following year. He became the correspondent in Georgia for the New York Herald in 1889. After founding a newspaper in Atlanta, Georgia, and engaging in journalism in New York, he went to England in 1892, and joined the staff of the London Daily Mail. Later on he became a free-lance writer and a prolific author. Several of his books explored Canadian history and issues. He served as a senior officer with the Canadian Expeditionary Force during the Great War and recounted his experiences in the Battle of Ypres in two books, In the Ypres Salient (1916) and Ypres (1920). Beckles Willson died at Beaulieu-sur-Mer, unoccupied France, in 1942. He authored several books on Anglo-American relations. In 1903 he published The New America: A Study of the Imperial Republic, an in-depth essay exploring the emergence of the United States as a world power from "the standpoint of a Canadian (and therefore British) observer, who has passed several years across the southern boundary of his country." An ardent imperialist, Willson viewed America's acquisition of Puerto Rico and the Philippines with approval and favoured the prospect of an Anglo-American alliance.





© 2004 Claude Bélanger, Marianopolis College