R.H. Macdonald


Honorary Life Membership
In Recognition of

R.H. MacDonald

A Prince Albert lad, Rusty Macdonald came to Saskatoon to the University of Saskatchewan from which he received the Bachelor of Arts degree in 1938. Like most budding journalists he went East to the great marketplace but after a year as a freelance writer in Toronto, he returned to the Prairies and a job as reporter at the Regina Leader-Post. At the same time he began photography, a skill which he meticulously crafted along with his journalistic talent, and a skill which was to reward him with a life-long portrait of the way of the Prairie.

Between 1940 and 1945 Rusty took time out to serve in the RCAF as a pilot and flying instructor. After the war he continued his military service as a volunteer and attained the rank of Squadron Leader.

From 1945 to 1949 he was a feature writer for the Leader-Post and on staff at the University of Saskatchewan. In 1949 Rusty joined the Western Producer where his writing and photography fulfilled his desire to record the faces of the Prairie.

At the Western Producer, Rusty soon became the newspaper's first magazine editor, and in 1952 executive editor. As editor he explored the Prairies, its people and history.

Rusty became particularly active in discovering and encouraging Prairie writers and was so successful in gathering well-told pioneer stories that The Western Producer saw the need for a Prairie book publisher and hence founded Prairie Books. Under Rusty's direction Prairie Books became a thriving publishing enterprise, which outgrew the newspaper editorial department and became a separate division of The Western Producer.

Color photography is where Rusty's own talent developed.

He was awarded a Certificate of Merit in the Kodak International Color Competition, 1964, for a photo of a rolling Prairie wheat field.

Rusty's personal portrait of the Prairies, captured over the past 25 years, is being published this month by Prairie Books in a volume entitled Four Seasons West.

A writer learns early the value of good library service but perhaps it was Rusty's association with rural historians which made him aware of the need for better library service in Saskatchewan. From a staunch library supporter he became a crusader for improved library service. He was first appointed to the Saskatoon Public Library Board in 1960 and shortly thereafter became intimately involved in the planning and building of a new main library, completed in 1966. Rusty chaired both the long range planning and building committee for the board and served as board chairman for a year previous to his retirement in 1973.

In 1966 Rusty was appointed to the Saskatchewan Library Inquiry Committee, which was assigned the task of finding a library system which would best serve the people of Saskatchewan. This committee held extensive hearings throughout the province and in fact designed the regional and municipal system presently operating in the province of Saskatchewan as a "one-library" system.

Rosty was appointed to the provincial Library Advisory Committee (later called the Library Development Board) in 1967 and served as its chairman until he retired in 1974.

Rusty has been a zealous library trustee, a tireless and enthusiastic committee worker, a leader in introducing innovative projects, a great writer of briefs, and lobbyist, and an ever-ready promoter of good library service.

In recognition of his immeasurable contribution to both the development of a Prairie literature and the development of library service in this province, the Saskatchewan Library Trustees Association confers this life membership.

Prepared and read by Mrs. Carol Copeland, Saskatoon, 1975