Lorne Pierce plaque in Delta, Ontario. Photo by Alan L. Brown. Photo used with permission from the website

Lorne Albert Pierce (August 3, 1890 - November 27, 1961) was a Canadian publisher, editor, and literary critic who served as editor in chief of Toronto's Ryerson Press from 1922 to 1960.[1]


Lorne Pierce was born in Delta, Ontario. He was educated at Queen's University, New York University, Toronto's Victoria College. He also attended Union Theological Seminary of New York, and Montreal's United Theological College, Montréal.[1] He was an ordained Methodist minister.[2]

Pierce joined Ryerson as a literary adviser in 1920, then became its editor-in-chief in 1922.[1] "During the next several years, Pierce firmly established the new policy, issuing Canadian literary, historical, and educational books by the likes of Frederick Philip Grove, Katherine Hale, Tom MacInnes, E.J. Pratt, and Isabel Skelton, as well as launching two significant series: the Makers of Canadian Literature and the Canadian History Readers."[2]

The Canadian Encyclopedia says that Pierce "typified the enthusiastic nationalism of English Canada in the 1920s: he launched the important Ryerson Chapbook poetry series, the pioneering Makers of Canadian Literature volumes of criticism, and the textbook series, The Ryerson Books of Prose and Verse."[1]

When Bliss Carman died in 1929, Pierce was his literary executor.[3]

Among the many writers whom Pierce fostered at Ryerson Press were Frederick Philip Grove, E.J. Pratt, A.J.M. Smith, A.M. Klein, P.K. Page, Dorothy Livesay, Earle Birney, and Marjorie Pickthall. Along with novels and poetry, Ryerson also published important anthologies and books of literary criticism. Beginning in 1927 he edited the series of Ryerson Books of Prose and Verse, which brought Canadian literature into Canadian school classrooms, and he was the author of critical studies of Pickthall and the early Canadian novelist William Kirby.


A committed nationalist who saw literature as an important aspect of Canada's cultural development in the mid-twentieth century, Pierce lent his name to the Lorne Pierce Medal, established in 1926 to honor writers, critics, and educators for their outstanding contributions to the development of Canadian literature and culture. The Lorne Pierce Medal remains an important award for the recognition of excellence in Canadian literature and criticism.

After Pierce's death, his large collection of Canadian literary first editions was bequeathed to Queen's University in Kingston, Ontario, where it has been expanded and remains a significant repository of rare Canadian books.

See alsoEdit


  • "Lorne Pierce," Oxford Companion to Canadian Literature. Ed. William Toye. Oxford University Press, 1983.


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 Sandra Campbell, "Pierce, Lorne Albert," Canadian Encyclopedia (Edmonton: Hurtig, 1988), 1677. Print.
  2. 2.0 2.1 Janet Friskney, "The Birth of The Ryerson Press Imprint," Historical Perspectives on Canadian Publishing,, Web, June 19, 2011.
  3. Thomas B. Vincent, "Bliss Carman: A Life in Literary Publishing," Historical Perspectives on Canadian Publishing, Web, Mar. 23, 2011.

External linksEdit

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