Membership

Join the Osgoode Society

Established in 1979, the Osgoode Society for Canadian Legal History publishes books on Canadian legal history, creates and preserves an oral history archive, and puts on legal history lectures and similar events.

Since 1981 the Society has published 118 books, including our 2022 books, on a remarkably diverse range of topics in Canadian legal history, and has recorded more than 640 oral histories from various members of the legal profession.

We have five categories of membership. With a regular membership, at $75, you receive the annual members’ book. The members’ book is also included with student memberships, which are $25. If you wish to not only join the Society but also contribute a donation to support its work, you can take out an Individual Sustaining Membership for $175. This brings you the members’ book and all the other benefits of membership, and a charitable tax donation for $100.

We also have a category of membership called the McMurtry Circle, at $500. Members of the McMurtry Circle receive the members’ book, a certificate of appreciation signed by our founder, the Hon. R. Roy McMurtry, and a charitable donation receipt for $425. Editor-in-Chief Professor Jim Phillips is a member of the McMurtry Circle, and encourages others to join. Society President Robert Sharpe used to be a member but has now become a patron. Finally, to respond to some of our members who tell us that they want to support the Osgoode Society but do not want our membership book, we have a ‘Membership – No Book’ category at $60.

The benefits of membership other than the members’ book and being able to support the most successful legal-historical organization in the common law world, include a regular newsletter giving notice of our events (five between January and April 2023 and more in the fall) and other news, the ability to buy our optional extra books at a discount price compared to that charged by the publisher, and participation in our book sale specials – a bulk discount at any time and special sales at year’s end.

 

MEMBERS’ BOOKS 2023

Our members’ book for 2023 is Lori Chambers and Joan Sangster, eds., Essays in the History of Canadian Law Volume XII: New Perspectives on Gender and the Law, published by the University of Toronto Press. Lori Chambers is Professor of History and Women’s Studies at Lakehead University, and Joan Sangster is Professor Emerita of History at Trent University. This is the fourth book that Professor Chambers has published with the Osgoode Society. Both Professors Chambers and Sangster are Fellows of the Royal Society. Employing legal story telling as its method, this collection uses historical cases involving women and gender relations to explore the power dynamics at the heart of the legal system. Each chapter narrates a specific legal dispute, examining its meaning, significance, and outcome in the context of the times, with particular emphasis on how the people involved experienced the legal system. While women encountered a legal system that was often constraining and oppressive, many litigants challenged and resisted its assumptions and conclusions. Using diverse methodologies, the collection covers many thematic areas, from criminal to labour, civil, administrative, and human rights law, spanning English and French Canada, and ranging from the mid-18th century to the late 20th century. The legal cases vary from precedent setting cases to lesser-known ones, from those driven by one woman’s quest for personal justice to others in which state actors dominate. The androcentric nature of legal institutions, the class and race assumptions of legal practice, the artificiality of a public/private separation, the imprint of dominant ideologies on the law, settler assumptions embedded in law, and the creation of new legal concerns such as sexual harassment, are just some of the themes explored. The authors of individual chapters include Professor Sangster and Osgoode Society authors Constance Backhouse, Lyndsay Campbell, Donald Fyson, Jim Phillips and Eric Reiter.

Optional Extras

In 2023 we are also publishing two ‘optional extras.’ One is Ian KyerThe Ontario Bond Scandal of 1924 Re-examinedpublished by Irwin Law. Ian Kyer is an independent scholar and has published three books with the Osgoode Society. In October, 1924, Peter Smith, the former treasurer of the Province of Ontario, and Aemilius Jarvis, one of Canada’s most prominent businessmen and a champion yachtsman, were found guilty of criminal conspiracy to defraud the Ontario government in connection with the repurchase of three series of succession duty–free bonds four years before. Were they truly guilty? Academics and the general public have differed dramatically in their answer to that question. Based on extensive research and his own knowledge of corporate finance and government, the author skillfully takes us through the bond transactions, the investigations, the criminal charges, the trial, the extradition and subsequent trial of another of the alleged conspirators, the appeals and the extensive efforts of Jarvis and his supporters to overturn the verdict. He explains how and why the jury came to the wrong verdict and why the legal appeals were unsuccessful. Although the subject matter is somewhat technical, the author makes everything clear to the general reader.

Our second optional extra is Jon Swainger, Anxious at the Very Gates of Hell: Crime and Community Identity in British Columbia’s Northern Interior, 1909-1925published by the University of British Columbia Press. Jon Swainger is Professor of History at the University of Northern British Columbia, and already an Osgoode Society author. Anxious at the Very Gates of Hell takes up the origins of Prince George’s long-standing reputation as a rough and tumble “gritty mill town.” The book explores how the pursuit of respectability collided with caricatures of a boozy and ill-mannered white settlement frontier in the years straddling World War One. Containing five chapters and plus introduction and conclusion, the book opens with the establishment of the “Georges” – South Fort George, Fort George, and Prince George – before turning to the provincial and city police, an examination of the courts, and the ingredients of front-page sensations, before concluding with the legacies of what was alleged to be this “Prince George business.” While municipal leaders blamed Indigenous and mixed heritage peoples, non-preferred immigrants, and transient laborers for local crime, white residents were responsible for most disorder. Consequently, while repeatedly cast in the role as the province’s “bad lad,” there was little to distinguish the Georges from the rest of British Columbia that remained a boozy and boisterous place.

Please note that these titles have not yet been published. We expect a publication date in the fall but will send an update when we have more information. The book(s) will be automatically sent to you.

Your membership in the Society helps us continue to promote and to preserve Canadian Legal History. Join us!


Renew or Join as an Individual Member with book for 2023 – $75

Includes the 2023 member’s book – Lori Chambers and Joan Sangster, eds., Essays in the History of Canadian Law Volume XII: New Perspectives on Gender and the Law.

Optional Extras: You can choose to include the optional extras after clicking the join now link. There is an option to buy both optional extras and save $20.


Renew or Join as an Student Member for 2023 – $25

Includes the 2023 member’s book – Lori Chambers and Joan Sangster, eds., Essays in the History of Canadian Law Volume XII: New Perspectives on Gender and the Law.

Optional Extras: You can choose to include the optional extras after clicking the join now link. There is an option to buy both optional extras and save $5.


Renew or Join as an Individual Sustaining Member for 2023 – $175

Includes the 2023 member’s book – Lori Chambers and Joan Sangster, eds., Essays in the History of Canadian Law Volume XII: New Perspectives on Gender and the Law.

Optional Extras: You can choose to include the optional extras after clicking the join now link. There is an option to buy both optional extras and save $20.


Renew or Join as an McMurtry Circle Member for 2023 – $500

Includes the 2023 member’s book – Lori Chambers and Joan Sangster, eds., Essays in the History of Canadian Law Volume XII: New Perspectives on Gender and the Law.

Optional Extras: You can choose to include the optional extras after clicking the join now link. There is an option to buy both optional extras and save $20.


Renew or Join as an Individual Member no book for 2023 – $60

Members’ book is not included.


Gift Membership for 2023 – $75

All Gift Memberships include the 2023 member’s book – Lori Chambers and Joan Sangster, eds., Essays in the History of Canadian Law Volume XII: New Perspectives on Gender and the Law.

Optional Extras: You can choose to include the optional extras after clicking the buy now link. There is an option to buy both optional extras and save $20.


 

A portion of the individual sustaining and McMurtry Circle memberships entitle the member to a charitable receipt.