Click below to hear Neil McKenty talking with Edgar Andrew Collard about Anna of Siam:
Anna Leonowens (1831 – 1915) was an English travel writer, educator, and social activist. She worked in Siam from 1862 to 1868, where she taught the wives and children of Mongkut, king of Siam. She also co-founded the Nova Scotia College of Art and Design. Leonowens’s experiences in Siam were fictionalised in Margaret Landon’s 1944 bestselling novel Anna and the King of Siam and in various films and television miniseries based on the book, most notably Rodgers and Hammerstein’s 1951 hit musical The King and I.
Edgar Andrew Collard, CM (6 September 1911 – 9 September 2000) was a Canadian journalist and historian, best known for his Montreal Gazette column “All Our Yesterdays”. He was born in Montreal, Quebec.
He received his MA in history from McGill University in 1937. However health problems prevented him from completing his formal studies and ended his hopes of becoming a history professor.
Collard’s association with The Montreal Gazette began when he submitted articles on Montreal’s history. This led to an offer of a full-time job in the newspaper’s library.
The first issue of his column “All Our Yesterdays” appeared in The Montreal Gazette on August 14, 1944 and appeared every weekend for 56 years. Each week the column addressed an episode or aspect of Montreal history. The column was reportedly read by such luminaries as Pierre Trudeau and Robertson Davies. His columns were compiled in several books which were illustrated by his longtime collaborator John Collins.
In 1953, he became editor-in-chief of The Gazette, retiring from that position in 1971. He continued his column until a month before his death. He was survived by his wife, the historian Elizabeth Collard who died soon after.
Collard was made a Member of the Order of Canada in 1976.