Trivias Humorous - Ojibway Melody Trivia


Click for Review of Ojibway Melody
by Harry Symons
1947 Leacock Medal Winner
TRIVIA

-   Harry Symons, born in Toronto in 1893, defined himself as an athlete for the early part of his life.  He was an internationally competitive sailor and a football captain, who played quarterback for the Toronto Argonauts as well as for the University of Toronto varsity squad and other teams that pioneered the sport in Canada.

-   When WWI broke out in 1914, Harry joined up to eventually serve in three army divisions in Europe before finally transferring to the Royal Flying Corps in August 1916 where he flew the celebrated Sopwith Camel scoring enough victories to place him in the war’s flying “Ace” category. 

-  Despite serving in the war and many years in the militia, he never wrote about his experiences, the military, or even aviation, compelling historians to describe his heroic exploits as virtually “unknown to all but the most diligent researchers” even years after his death in 1961. 

-  Ojibway Melody, written in 1944-1945, only mentions the war-time context obliquely and very lightly twice.
-  Despite his writing successes, Harry was considered primarily a career executive in the insurance industry, Vice-President of Confederation Life.  But he was not an insurance businessman.  His expertise and his responsibilities with the company rested in managing real estate holdings.
-  Harry and his wife Dorothy had eight children.  Their son Tom Symons is better  known than his father within most academic and Canadian history circles.  Tom was the First President of Trent University, a founder of Canadian Studies as a field, and Chair of the Ontario Heritage Trust.  Tom Symons: A Canadian Life, (Edited by Ralph Heintzman, University of Ottawa Press) a book published in 2011, featured contributions from many leading politicians, writers, and scholars.
- Harry Symons’ family has possession of the original sculptor’s cast of Stephen Leacock’s face in profile used to mint the physical Leacock medals.
Link to Book on Harry's Son
- Ojibway Melody was not Harry’s first whimsical book based upon a family vacation home.  Friendship published a few years earlier gave similar treatment to the Symons family farm near Toronto.
- Harry wrote articles for many years, including pieces throughout the 1920s for the Toronto Star Weekly, under a nom de plume.

-  Harry met his wife Dorothy at a convalescent hospital for Canadian soldiers in WWI England established by her father, the wealthy Canadian lawyer and businessman William Perkins Bull.  Other patients at the hospital during this period included Flying Ace Billy Bishop and future Governor General Georges Vanier.
- The first edition Ojibway Melody carried the marks of both the Copp Clark Co. and Ambassador Books, but it was, in fact, self-published and Symons held the full copyright.  The former firm did the printing, and the latter was the distributor.

Click for Review of Ojibway Melody

Sources
 Thanks to Professor Tom Symons for granting me access to his Fonds in the Trent University Archives,which hold a typed draft of Ojibway Melody,correspondence,
 and other peronsal materials sourced for the above.


Trent University Archives, Trent University, Peterborough, Ontario, Fonds Symons, T. H. B., 1929- 01-003
(Box 4 Folder 6. Harry Lutz Symons Biographical Sketch)

 Also CAHS Journal, Vol. 2, No. 4, Winter 1964, Canadian Aviation Historical Society