Derry, Margaret E. 1945-

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DERRY, Margaret E. 1945-

PERSONAL: Born May 18, 1945, in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada. Education: University of Western Ontario, B.A., 1967; University of Toronto, M.A., 1970, Ph.D., 1997.

ADDRESSES: Home—Poplar Lane Farm, 20243 Heart Lake Rd., Caledon, Ontario, Canada L0N 1C0. E-mail—[email protected].

CAREER: Poplar Lane Farm, Caledon, Ontario, Canada, cattle breeder, 1988—. University of Guelph, adjunct professor of history; University of Toronto, associate scholar of Institute for the History and Philosophy of Science and Technology. Artist, with paintings in private and corporate collections; work also shown at exhibitions in Toronto. Guest on Canadian television and radio programs.


Ontario's Cattle Kingdom: Purebred Breeders and Their World, 1870-1920, University of Toronto Press (Toronto, Ontario, Canada), 2001.

Bred for Perfection: Shorthorn Cattle, Collies, and Arabian Horses since 1800, Johns Hopkins University Press (Baltimore, MD), 2003.

Contributor to books, including Ontario since Confederation: A Reader, edited by E. Montigny and L. Chambers, University of Toronto Press (Toronto, Ontario, Canada), 2000. Contributor of articles, art work, and reviews to periodicals, including Ontario Living, Beaver, Canadian Historical Review, and Ontario History.

WORK IN PROGRESS: Transformation: Cultural Patterns in Animal Improvement (tentative title); a monograph on art and science, history and memory.

SIDELIGHTS: Margaret E. Derry told CA:"Iama historian, an artist, and a breeder of purebred cattle. All of these activities are woven into my thrust as an author of books and articles on rural history and the development of ideas and initiatives for improvement of animals, from both a historical and a practical point of view. I am concerned with the cultural and technological themes of purebred animal breeding, evident over time.

"After graduating from the University of Toronto with a masters degree in American history, I embarked on a career of art and children. A painter in watercolors and oils, I was represented by a number of Toronto galleries in the 1980s and early 1990s. I held a number of solo exhibitions. My paintings are known for their development of themes around children and cattle in the Caledon countryside where I reside. Throughout that time and currently, I have had considerable success as a breeder of purebred Murray Grey cattle, winning many awards at fairs, including the grand champion bull, grand champion female, and best breeder's herd of cattle at the Royal Agricultural Winter Fair. I have also sold breeding stock all over North America.

"The 1990s brought me back to the academic world, and I completed my doctorate in history in 1997, with specialties in Canadian and modern British history as well as historical geography. I then embarked on a career of writing history. My first book, Ontario's Cattle Kingdom: Purebred Breeders and Their World, 1870-1920, explores the significance of beef cattle and livestock farming in Ontario. I concentrate much of my research on the herds themselves (purebred or otherwise), using them as cultural texts to explain patterns of innovation adoption and problems with strategies to control markets.

"My second book, Bred for Perfection: Shorthorn Cattle, Collies, and Arabian Horses since 1800, dwells on overarching themes in purebred breeding over the last two centuries, and focuses in particular on cultural, technical, and marketing implications of cattle, dog, and horse breeding. Again the emphasis is on the animals themselves, because they embody human vision.

"A third book is being developed: a philosophical journal dealing with the relationship of art to science and memory to history in knowledge. The story will also utilize my paintings. A fourth book with the working title Transformation: Cultural Patterns in Animal Improvement is underway as well. It will explore certain cultural patterns embedded in modern attempts to improve domestic animals. Gendered work in relation to livestock breeding, the cultural structure of pedigree keeping, and the role of fancy and utility in the breeding of animals for improvement serve as examples of issues that this monograph will deal with.

"As a professor and scholar my primary focus is on historical research of agricultural and animal-breeding themes in Britain and North America from the eighteenth century to the present, on publishing pertinent material generated by that work, and on giving guest lectures in my field of expertise."



Ontario Beef Farmer, fall, 2002, Catherine Brown, "Ontario's Cattle Kingdom: An Ontario Author and Professor Documents the Glory Days of Ontario's Beef Industry."

Ontario Dairy Farmer, October, 2002, Catherine Brown, "Ontario's Cattle Kingdom: An Author Explores the Evolution of Ontario's Breeders to Using Purebreds in the Early 1900s."

Ontario History, autumn, 2001, Terry Crowley, review of Ontario's Cattle Kingdom: Purebred Breeders and Their World, 1870-1920.