George Edward Clerk (1815-1875) was a prominent Montreal Catholic and editor of that City’s True Witness and Catholic Chronicle. A Scottish Canadian who had a bright and inquisitive mind, Clerk accepted Bishop Bourget’s challenge to launch an English-speaking Catholic newspaper which would deal with the anti-Catholic aspersions of the Montreal Witness. Clerk’s warm heart and sharp mind gained his newspaper much respect. His service of the written word lives on as the Canadian Catholic Historical Association presents the George Edward Clerk Award to outstanding Canadian historians for their contributions to Catholic history.
The Canadian Catholic Historical Association commissioned William McElcheran in 1973 to design a mold to cast the original ten commemorative medallions in memory of G. E. Clerk. Some of McElcheran’s life-size sculptures stand on the campus of St Michael’s College at the University of Toronto. A second series of medallions were cast in 2001 through the courtesy of the Kinsman Robinson Galleries of Yorkville.
The CCHA awards medallions to scholars who have distinguished themselves in Catholic studies, publishing, teaching, archival work, or administration. The past recipients of the award include:
- M. Conrad Charlebois KSG (1973)
- Donald J. McDougall PhD (1974)
- Robert Scollard CSB (1975) John S. Moir PhD (1991)
- Richard A. Lebrun PhD (1993)
- Raymond Huel PhD (1995)
- Terrence Murphy PhD (1997)
- Marianna O’Gallagher MA (1999)
- Edward J. R. Jackman OP, PhD (2000)
- M. Frieda Watson CSJ (2002)
- Margaret Sanche MA (2005)
- Patricia Roy PhD (2008) Elizabeth Smyth PhD (2010)
- Mark G. McGowan (2012) Terence Fay (2014)
- Edward MacDonald (2016)