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A Real Companion and Friend:
The diary of William Lyon Mackenzie King

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Behind the Diary

A King's Who's Who Biographies

Norman McLeod Rogers (1894-1940)

Norman McLeod Rogers, 1940


Norman McLeod Rogers, 1940

Norman Rogers was probably King's second-closest political colleague (after Ernest Lapointe). Rogers, who had been a history professor at Acadia University, served as King's Private Secretary from 1927 to 1929. He then returned to academic life, as a professor at Queen's University. In 1935, he was elected as Member of Parliament for Kingston. King appointed him Minister of Labour from 1935 to 1939, and then Minister of National Defence. Rogers died tragically in a plane crash in 1940.

Norman Rogers was born in Amherst, Nova Scotia. He was educated at Acadia University, interrupted his education to serve in the First World War, returned and graduated in 1919. Then, as a Rhodes Scholar, he attended Oxford. He was a professor of history at Acadia, from 1922 to 1927.

He served as Private Secretary to Prime Minister Mackenzie King, from 1927 to 1929. He then returned to academic life as a professor at Queen's University from 1929 to 1935, but maintained his connections with King, who described Rogers as "really one of the very best men I know." (Diary, January 3, 1931)

Rogers wrote a biography, Mackenzie King, which was used in the election campaign of 1935. Rogers was a candidate in this election and became the Member of Parliament for Kingston. After Ernest Lapointe, Rogers was probably closer to King than any other political colleague.

Rogers served as Minister of Labour, from 1935 to 1939, and was then appointed Minister of National Defence. He died tragically in a plane crash on June 10, 1940, when he was flying from Ottawa to Toronto for a speaking engagement. After King informed the House of Commons of Rogers' death, several members came to him to express sympathy. King wrote: "They all knew what close friends Rogers and I were." (Diary, June 10, 1940)

Library and Archives Canada holds the Norman Rogers Papers (MG 27, III B 15).