History was first taught at Queen's only as a small selection of courses in Latin and Greek, the heart of the university's arts curriculum in its early years. Students in these courses spent some of their time studying the history of ancient Greece and Rome.
The first professor of history as a separate subject was John Machar Jr. (son of John Machar, Queen's second principal), who was appointed part-time lecturer in English History, without salary, in 1864.
Professor George Ferguson was the most significant early appointment in the subject, however, serving as professor of History and English Literature from 1869 to 1907.
The first full-time professor to teach history exclusively was the Rev George Harrison, appointed in 1891.
In 1890, Queen's became the first English-speaking university to establish examinations in Canadian history, a subject which has ever since been a major component of both the graduate and undergraduate programs.
Learn more about the Department of History...