Julia Annette Elizabeth DAFOE (1900-1960)

Julia Annette Elizabeth DAFOE (1900-1960)

Elizabeth was born in Montreal, Quebec on 22 October 1900, she was the daughter of John Wesley Dafoe (1866-1944) and Alice Parmelee (1866-1961).

In 1901, she moved to Winnipeg with her family. She graduated Kelvin High School in 1918, then took her BA degree at the University of Manitoba in 1923. French and literature had been her interests and she planned a career as a French teacher. At the last moment she turned to her second choice, the library, and she received her librarian degree from the Columbia University Library School in New York and, also, studied at the Graduate Library School at the University of Chicago. She returned to Winnipeg and joined the University of Manitoba Library Staff in 1925 starting in the Junior Library in the Broadway buildings.


She was part of the staff responsible during the summer of 1935 to catalogue some five thousand new volumes for the new Junior Library. She became Chief Librarian at the University of Manitoba Library in 1937 and served until her death. Elizabeth helped plan for the development of the University of Manitoba’s main library, which opened in 1953, and is known as The Elizabeth Dafoe Library.

She helped form both the Manitoba and the Canadian Library Associations and served as President of each. She was a member of the National Library Committee in 1948 and the council of the American Library Association from 1949 to 1954. She served on the Advisory Board of both the National Library Council and the Manitoba Public Library. She was a visiting lecturer at the University of Toronto Library School. She was a member of the University Women’s Club, the Canadian Institute of International Affairs Women’s Branch, and the Browning Society of Winnipeg.

She died at her Winnipeg home, 223 Cordova Street, on 25 April 1960 and was buried in Elmwood Cemetery.


  • Birth Registration, British Columbia Vital Statistics.
  • “Manitoba “U” to Have New “50,000 Library”, The Winnipeg Tribune, 02 September 1935, page 3.
  • “Faculty Appointment”, The Manitoban, 17 September 1937, page 5.
  • “Head Librarian Has ‘Great Hopes’”, The Manitoba, 19 March 1952, page 7.
  • “Elizabeth Dafoe U of M Librarian, The Winnipeg Tribune, 25 April 1960, page 28.
  • About Elizabeth Dafoe Library”, University of Manitoba.


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