Quebec History Marianopolis College

Date Published:
August 2004

Biographies of Prominent Quebec and Canadian

Historical Figures


John Bartlet Brebner



Damien-Claude Bélanger,

Department of History,

Marianopolis College


Historian and soldier, was born at Toronto. He was educated at the University of Toronto and served as a second lieutenant in the Canadian forces during the Great War. After the war he resumed his studies at St. John's College, Oxford, and was appointed a lecturer in the University of Toronto's Department of History in 1921. Brebner left Toronto in 1925 to lecture and pursue doctoral studies at Columbia University's Department of History in New York. He was awarded a Ph.D. in 1927 and became a full professor in 1942 and an American citizen in 1943. Brebner spent the rest of his life teaching at Columbia University and died at New York in 1957. He was the president of the Canadian Historical Association in 1939-1940. John Bartlet Brebner was the most prominent continentalist scholar of his generation. Keenly interested in Canadian-American relations and in the "North Atlantic triangle", he assisted James T. Shotwell in editing the series of twenty-five studies on Canadian-American relations sponsored by the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace. Brebner authored two of the series' most important volumes: The Mingling of the Canadian and American Peoples (1940), which he completed and prepared for publication after the death of the study's original author, American historian Marcus Lee Hansen, and North American Triangle (1945). He also participated in all five of the conferences on Canadian-American affairs organized by the Endowment between 1935 and 1941. The publication of his North Atlantic Triangle marked the high-water mark of continentalist scholarship. In this seminal study his "primary aim was to get at, and to set forth, the interplay between the United States and Canada - the Siamese Twins of North America who cannot separate and live."

© Claude Bélanger, Marianopolis College

© 2004 Claude Bélanger, Marianopolis College