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Stephen, Alexander Maitland

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Stephen, Alexander Maitland

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1882-1942

History

Alexander Maitland Stephen was born and educated near Paisley, Grey Co., Ontario. In his teens he went to British Columbia where he worked on ranches and in mines before becoming a rural schoolteacher. He gained more experience in ranching and prospecting in Alberta and Mexico and then went to Chicago University where he earned a B.Sc. in architecture. He practiced his profession until the first World War, when he was sent overseas and was wounded in France. After the war, Stephen settled in Vancouver, where he took an active part in social and labour movements. He was first vice-president of the Child Welfare Association of B.C. and later served as president. He taught literature and history in the city school system. His writing and political activities occupied him until his death in July 1942. In the later 1920s he was associate editor of a weekly newspaper, "The Western Tribune". Stephen was also president of the Vancouver Poetry Society. He joined the CCF because of his advocacy of a "popular front" with the Communists. He was president of the League Against War and Fascism. In the later 1930s, Stephen organized various groups which raised funds for the people of Spain and China, as well as protesting against fascism: Spanish Defence Fund, China Aid Council, Medical Aid for China Committee, and the Embargo Council. A.M. Stephen became ill with pneumonia in March 1942 and died on 1 July 1942. Most of his works were published by J.M. Dent and Sons, a Vancouver firm whose vice-president was William Gordon Stephen, brother of A.M. Stephen. His most significant works are: The Rosary of Pan, 1923, poetry; The Voice of Canada, 1926, anthology of verse; Golden Treasury of Canadian Verse, 1927; Land of Singing Waters, 1927, poetry; The Kingdom of the Sun, 1927, novel; The Gleaming Archway, 1929, novel; Classroom Plays from Canadian History, 1929; Brown Earth and Bunch Grass, 1931, poetry; Canadian Industrial Plays, 1931; Verendrye: A Poem of the New World, 1935; Lords of the Air: Poems of the Present War, 1941.

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