||Black ink on white paper. The crest features a displayed black bird on a crest-wreath. At the top left of the bird, next to the tip of its wing, is a small radiating sun with a face in the middle. There is an esquire’s helm surrounded by dark, feathery mantling. The border of the shield is similarly elaborate. The shield is argent and charged with an argent cross with thin black border around each rectangular section. The shield is also charged with five black flowers that have five round petals and a circular black center. There is a flower in each corner of the shield and one in the center of the cross with a thin, black, square border. Below the shield, the motto is printed on a ribbon with curling, darkened ends. The motto is written in black, capitalized, serif font. Below the ribbon, the bookplate owner’s name is printed in black, sentence case, Gothic font; Heraldic; Ownership
||John George Hodgins was born in Dublin on August 12, 1821 to William Hodgins and Frances Doyle. He married Frances Rachel Doyle in Dublin on November 22, 1849 and they had 6 children. He married his second wife, Helen Fortescue Scoble, in 1889.
Hodgins immigrated with his uncle, Robert Foster, to Upper Canada in 1832. Hodgins began clerking in his uncle’s dry goods store and then worked for E and J. Stinson in Hamilton in 1838.
Rather than go into business, Hodgins went to Methodist Victoria College at Cobourg in 1841. Although raised Methodist, while at college Hodgins converted to Protestantism.
Hodgins left Victoria College before finishing his program and articled in Hamilton for a law firm. However, this tenure was brief. Hodgins had impressed his College principal, Egerton Ryerson, during his studies. When Ryerson became superintendent of schools for Upper Canada in 1844, he hired Hodgins as his clerk. During his tenure, Hodgins had a large impact on the education system in Upper Canada. His job was to make the education system open to all children. In 1845, he went to Dublin to observe their system. During his work in Ireland, he met his first wife, Frances Rachel Doyle. When he returned to Upper Canada in 1846, Hodgins was the chief clerk in the education office. Once back, Hodgins began to implement the practices he learned in Ireland. He was also the recording secretary of Upper Canada’s Board of Education and oversaw their correspondences and finances for twenty years. Additionally, Hodgins focused on textbook content and the wording of legislation and regulations.
In 1855, Hodgins became the deputy superintendent to Ryerson. They worked together in the service of Victorian ideals pertaining to education and moral progress. Hodgins focused on the day-to-day administration to increase efficiency while Ryerson worked on policy. When Ryerson created the Journal of Education for Upper Canada, Hodgins was the deputy editor, eventually gaining more editorial power in 1852. He also managed an educational museum and library.
One of Hodgins large responsibilities was a depository that purchased resources and then cheaply sold them to educational organizations and libraries. While successful, this program was also a source of controversy because some felt that the system harmed local businesses.
Hodgins was a trailblazer in using statistics for policy. After handling large amounts of correspondence regarding the education system, Hodgins realized that he needed more education himself. In 1856 he started law courses at the University of Toronto. In the same year, he received an MA from Victoria. He completed his llb degree in 1860 and was called to the bar in 1870.
After Ryerson’s health deteriorated in 1862, Hodgins took on more responsibilities. Hodgins tried to retire and take up the law in 1870, but was swayed by Ryerson and instead stayed in public service for 68 years.
Education became a government department with a cabinet minister in 1876, the year Ryerson retired. Ryerson served as deputy minister, but began to see a decline in power and influence. People in the ministry began making moves to change the system put in place by Ryerson and, by extension, Hodgins. Education Minister George William Ross wanted to remove Hodgins in 1888, with Hodgins finally resigning in 1890. He was then given the position of librarian and historiographer of the Education department, a move that Hodgins perceived as a hurtful demotion. However, Hodgins remained as librarian until 1904 and a historiographer until his death in 1912. During this time, Hodgins built up an impressive collection of materials related to public and private education in Ontario.
During his lifetime, Hodgins received many awards. In 1861, he was elected a fellow of the Royal Geographical Society; in 1870, he received an honorary LLD degree from the University of Toronto; in 1879 he received the Ordre des Palmes Académiques from the French government; in 1885 he was one of three jurors at the American Bureau of Education exhibition in New Orleans and was chosen honorary secretary of an international congress of education; in 1886 he received the Confederation Medal from the Governor General; and in 1903 the British government named him a companion of the Imperial Service Order.
In addition to his education, religion continued to play an important role in Hodgins’s life. After joining the Church of England, he became a lay delegate to the synod of the diocese of Toronto. In 1870, he became the honorary lay secretary and remained in that position for almost 25 years. He became an important figure in Canadian Anglicanism due to all the work he did for the church. However, Hodgins also fought with many members of the church because he brought his evangelical principles to his new church. In 1869, he helped organize the Evangelical Association, which successfully campaigned for several concessions regarding church business.
In 1877, the evangelical voices in the church opened a new seminary more in line with their views: the Protestant Episcopal Divinity School. Hodgins was a member of the first board of management of what became Wycliffe in 1885.
Charity played an important part in Hodgins’s life. He was the secretary of the Upper Canada Bible Society, president of the Prisoners’ Aid Association, vice-president of the Toronto Humane Society, a founder of the Royal Canadian Humane Society, and president of the Irish Protestant Benevolent Society. In 1862, he also helped form the Queen’s Own Rifles and served as an officer. His charitable efforts, plus his own household costs, left him in debt. He attempted to supplement his income with writings on a variety of topics ranging from geography and science to history and religion. He published a 28-volume entitled Documentary history of education that covered between 1791 and 1876. He also wrote for newspapers in Canada and the United States.
Hodgins died in Toronto on December 23, 1912. His fonds can be found in the Anglican Church of Canada General Synod Archives.