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Alfred R.C. Selwyn
More on Alfred R. C. Selwyn (1824-1902)
When Sir William Logan finally retired from the Geological Survey of Canada (GSC) in 1869, he looked for someone similar to himself as a replacement. The right person for the job needed to be an experienced administrator and able to supervise an ambitious mapping program and to train surveyors to lead their own field parties. Logan turned to Alfred Selwyn, an English geologist who had worked in Australia for many years. Selwyn was an excellent field geologist who enjoyed working in the mountains of British Columbia. They reminded him of the peaks he had known in Switzerland. Unfortunately, he did not have the same talent Logan did for inspiring people. His time as director of the Survey was full of battles and disagreements. In 1895, returning from a vacation in England, he arrived back at the Survey offices to find that he had been replaced by George Dawson.
"In the office Selwyn was a strict disciplinarian. He loved order and system as well as courtesy and deference due to superior officers, such as is the custom in the old world. Neatness seemed to be one of his leading characteristics, and in the reports and work that he received from the staff he expected the same. The more stern and severe official side of his nature was in marked contrast with the sociable, amiable and chivalrous side which characterized him in his own home, in private, and in public gatherings, where he always shone and appeared to advantage."
(H. M. Ami, January 1903)