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J. Bruce Falls
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Thomas Henry Manning, a pioneer in exploration, ornithology, and mammalogy of the Canadian Arctic, was born in Northampton, England, on 22 December 1911, and educated at Harrow and Cambridge. He first came to Canada in 1933 to spend two years in a geographical and biological survey of Southampton Island, sponsored by the Royal Geographic Society, to collect birds and mammals for the British Museum. From 1936 to 1941, he led the British Canadian Arctic Expedition to Southampton and Baffin islands and Repulse Bay and definitively mapped the last uncharted coastlines of Foxe Basin. In 1942, he joined the Royal Canadian Navy and among other things advised U.S. Army Engineers on the construction of arctic airfields. After the war, he worked in the north with, or collecting for, the Canadian Geodetic Survey, the Defence Research Board, the National Museum of Canada, the Royal Ontario Museum of Zoology, and the Canadian Wildlife Service; caribou and polar bears were among species studied for the latter. In 1955–1956, he was executive director of the Arctic Institute of North America. From the 1960s his home base was near Merrickville, south of Ottawa.

Tom began his arctic career on foot using dog teams, and in small boats, often in unknown territory, undaunted by the dangers and hardships he encountered. He once traveled almost 1,000 km alone, by dogsled, partly over floating ice, and he canoed the circumference of Banks Island. His honeymoon was spent traveling up the west coast of Baffin Island, as recounted by his intrepid bride, Jackie, in Igloo for the Night (1943). Her second book of a biologist's wife's arctic adventures was titled A Summer on Hudson Bay (1949); both were signed “Mrs. Tom Manning,” nowhere providing her first name! Tom, with his wife's help, had an unusual appreciation of statistics in biology, and in his later years he used a computer to analyze data on biological variation and mass loss of passerine eggs before and after incubation. Most of his more than 50 scientific papers dealt with biology, including the birds of Banks Island and Prince of Wales Island, geographical and sexual variation in the Long-tailed Jaeger, and origins of variation in patterns of post-glacial dispersal. Many of his bird and mammal specimens were deposited in the Carleton University Museum of Zoology, Ottawa, and currently many are in the Eastern Ontario Biodiversity Museum, Kemptville, Ontario.

In 1947, Tom was a founder of “The Arctic Circle,” an Ottawa group of arctic aficionados; the 391st meeting of this group on 26 January 1999 was held to pay posthumous tribute to Tom's lifetime achievements in ornithology, mammalogy, archaeology, and geography. He received prestigious awards, some of which are uncommon for biologists: the Bruce Medal of the Scottish Geographic Society (1944), the Patron's Medal of the Royal Geographic Society (1948), the Massey Medal of the Royal Canadian Geographic Society (1977), and the Doris Huestis Speirs Award of the Society of Canadian Ornithologists (1992). He joined the AOU in 1937 and became an Elective Member in 1949. He was made an Officer of the Order of Canada by the Governor-General in 1974. Tom died peacefully in hospital at Smiths Falls, Ontario, on 8 November 1998.


I thank Donald A. Smith and Brenda Carter for their assistance in preparing this memorial.


J. Bruce Falls "IN MEMORIAM: THOMAS HENRY MANNING, 1911–1998," The Auk 117(2), 492, (1 April 2000).[0492:IMTHM]2.0.CO;2
Published: 1 April 2000
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