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Jame's De Mille's residence at 72 South Park Street, Halifax.
De Mille's humble headstone in Camp Hill Cemetery.

James De Mille (23 August 1833 – 28 January 1880) was a professor at Dalhousie University, Nova Scotia, and an early Canadian popular writer who published numerous works of popular fiction from the late 1860s through the 1870s.

He was born in Saint John, New Brunswick, son of the merchant and shipowner, Nathan De Mille. He attended Horton Academy in Wolfville and spent one year at Acadia University. He then travelled with his brother Budd to Europe, spending half a year in England, France and Italy. On his return to North America, he attended Brown University, from which he obtained a Master of Arts degree during 1854. He married Anne Pryor, daughter of the president of Acadia University, John Pryor, and was there appointed professor of classics. He served there until 1865 when he accepted a new appointment at Dalhousie as professor of English and rhetoric. He continued to write and teach at Dalhousie until his early death at the age of 47.[1]



His most popular work with contemporaries, and the work for which he is most known today, is A Strange Manuscript Found in a Copper Cylinder, which was serialized posthumously in Harper's Weekly, and published in book form by Harper and Brothers of New York City, during 1888.

Other works included the 1867 historical novel Helena's Household, set in ancient Rome,[2] The Dodge Club (a boys' adventure story), and The Babes in the Woods: a Tragic Comedy: a Story of the Italian Revolution in 1848. Many of the books were originally published in serial form in such periodicals as Harper's Weekly.

Further reading

  • Biography at the Dictionary of Canadian Biography Online
  • Douglas Edward MacLeod, A Critical Biography of James DeMille. MA Thesis, Dalhousie University. 1968
  • Leonard Vandervaart, Ideas in the Fiction of Victorian Canada: James de Mille, Agnes Maule Machar and Robert Barr. Ottawa: National Library of Canada, 1990.


  1. ^ A. J. Crockett, "Concerning James De Mille" in More Studies in Nova Scotian History. George Patterson, ed. Halifax: Imperial Publishing Co., 1941. 120-48.
  2. ^ "19th Century Saint John Authors"

External links

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