||Manuscript notes verso: “[swp?]”
Joseph Edgar Guimont was born on May 17, 1892 at Cap St. Ignace in the Comte de Montmagny.
Guimont attended Sacré-Couer college in Longueuil, where he was influenced by Marie-Victorin and Rolland-Germain. He became a member of the Lasalle Circle of Longueuil and developed an interest in science. When he was 18, the passage of Halley’s comet in 1910 had a great effect on Guimont. It pushed him to focus his studies on astronomy, which he passionately pursued. As he continued his work, he also focused on making astronomy popular with the general public.
Guimont was very involved in the Canadian scientific community. On May 31, 1914, Guimont became a member of the Société Astronomique de France. In the same year, he published multiple articles in the magazine of the Société de Géographie de Québec. At the same time, he began a correspondence with Camille Flammarion that lasted until Flammarion’s death in 1925. On December 12, 1918, he became a member of the Royal Astronomical Society of Canada (English centre in Montreal). In recognition of his terrific work and observations, the Société Astronomique de France named Guimont a perpetual member on June 20, 1921. With the help of four colleagues, Guimont founded l’Institut Astronomique et Philsophique du Canada on January 7, 1925. He helped M. Paul H. Nadeau found the French centre in Quebec of the Royal Astronomical Society of Canada on April 18, 1941.
In 1927, Guimont began writing a weekly column in the newspaper “Le Nord” that tried to grow public interest in astronomy. Between 1940 and 1945, he collaborated on “Propos Astronomiques” with M. De Lisle Garneau in the newspaper “le Devoir”. He also published several articles in “The Journal” (from the Royal Astronomical Society of Canada), “L’Action Catholique” (in Quebec), “La Presse” and “La Patrie” (both in Montreal).
Guimont co-founded the Ville-Marie Observatory in Montreal on December 7, 1941 with M. De Lisle Barneau. A close collaboration between the two would follow for the next five years. Always looking for new ways to engage in his work, Guimont and two colleagues founded “Les Amis de la Nature”, a circle of naturalists. It became the most active circle of its kind. Following this success, Guimont organized the first astronomy night for French Canadians in Montreal on July 16, 1945. It attracts over 3,000 people to the grounds of the Institution des Sourds-Muets.
After founding the French centre of the Royal Astronomical Society of Canada, and given the existence of an English centre in Montreal, Guimont wanted to found a French centre in Montreal. With the help of several others, he did so on May 7, 1947. The same year, at the request of the School Commission and the City Council of Lasalle, he organized, with the help of several members of the French centre in Montreal of the RASC, a public astronomy evening that was quite successful. In the same year, he also organized a public astronomy evening at the Montreal Botanical Gardens on May 25. Always looking for new ways to pique interest in the natural sciences, he organized the first congress of amateur geologists in Montreal on February 11, 1950.
By 1940, he had built a personal library containing over 3,000 volumes, not including his large collection of publications, newspapers, pamphlets, and other such items, that covered many areas of knowledge. He also compiled all of his observations from 1910 onwards, along with sketches and his memoirs. Additionally, he also kept his scientific correspondences from 1910 onwards. With the little spare time Guimont had, he worked on both a universal and astronomy encyclopedia.