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Stanley E. Read was born on February 7, 1900, in Rock Island, Quebec. He earned the degrees of Bachelor of Arts in 1923 and Master of Arts in 1925 from McGill University in Montreal, Quebec. After going to France on a scholarship from 1925 to 1927 and a brief employment at Bishop’s College in St. John’s, Newfoundland, Read moved to Chicago, Illinois in 1928 to work as an English Professor at DePaul University. While in Chicago, he met his wife, Ruth Read, whom he married in 1940. In 1946, Read moved to Vancouver and joined the Department of English at the University of British Columbia. He continued to teach in the department until his retirement in 1971. Read passed away in Vancouver on April 8, 1997 at the age of 97.
Read’s lasting contributions to the University of British Columbia are numerous. In 1953, Read was one of the eight U.B.C. professors who, along with writer Roderick Haig-Brown, started a foundation at U.B.C. with a small sum of money accumulated from “various bets and fines for illegal or non-ethical fishing methods” during a group fishing holiday at Upper Campbell Lake. The foundation, playfully called “The Harry Hawthorn Foundation for the Inculcation and Propagation of the Principles and Ethics of Fly-Fishing,” used its proceeds to purchase books on angling and game fishing for the U.B.C. Library, and over time produced what is now known as the Harry Hawthorn Foundation Collection. For 34 years, Read was the Secretary of the foundation and organized their annual fishing trips. Read was also instrumental in the organization of U.B.C.’s International House, and played a formative role in the creation of the University of British Columbia quarterly of English criticism and review, Canadian Literature.
Read wrote a number of articles, books, bibliographies, and book reviews about his academic interests and his hobby of fishing. Publications by Read include A Bibliography of Hogarth Books and Studies, 1900-1940 (DePaul University, 1941); Documents of Eighteenth Century Taste (DePaul University, 1942); What Manner of Man Was He? Andrew Carnegie and Libraries in British Columbia (University of British Columbia, 1960); More Recreation for the Contemplative Man: A Supplemental Bibliography of Books on Angling and Game Fish in the University of British Columbia (compiled with Laurenda Daniells. Library of the University of British Columbia, 1971); and A Place Called Pennask: A Capsule History of the Pennask Lake Company, Limited and the Pennask Lake Fishing and Game Club (Mitchell Press, 1977).
Read was also a hobbyist photographer and took many photos during his fishing trips and vacations with his wife, Ruth. Some of his photographs were featured in British Columbia: A Centennial Anthology (McLelland and Stewart, 1958), and one of his photographs was used for the cover of the book A Small and Charming World (Creekstone Press, 2001).