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Do you ever look at a stamp and wonder where the image came from?

The story behind the Dr. Bruce Chown Canada Post stamp

September 23, 2020 — 

Canada Post recently released six stamps as part of their Medical Groundbreakers commemorative stamp set.

Dr. Bruce Chown on a stamp

Dr. Bruce Chown stamp.

The image of Dr. Bruce Chown on the stamp is from the UM College of Medicine Archives located in the Neil John Maclean Library on the Bannatyne Campus. The stamp celebrates his groundbreaking research of Rhesus (Rh) disease, and his later co-founding of the Rh Institute in Winnipeg.

After serving in WWI with the Canadian Army from 1915-1919, Chown entered medical school at the University of Manitoba. Flipping through the University of Manitoba Brown & Gold Yearbooks from 1920/1921 and 1921/1922, you’ll see a young Chown heavily involved in extracurricular activities, including the U.M.S.U Debating Executive, the Inter-Provincial Debating team, one of the editors of the student newspaper the Manitoban, and the Manitoba Medical Student’s Association Executive.

He graduated with his MD in 1922. See the gallery below more photos from the archives, including his graduating photo in the 1921/22 Brown & Gold Yearbook.

He went on to become a member of the Scientific Club of Winnipeg, and both a Professor and Head of the Department of Pediatrics at the University of Manitoba. His records are housed both at the College of Medicine Archives and the University of Manitoba Archives & Special Collections.

Chown’s far-reaching influence can be seen in a Winnipeg Tribune photograph about the Chown Guild that also honoured his father, a surgeon at the Winnipeg General Hospital (now HSC), who was also the Dean of the Manitoba Medical College (1900-1917). His records are also held at the College of Medicine Archives.


A photograph [7 of 7 in the photo gallery] of Dr. Bruce Chown being observed by Madeline Dudley, Mrs. W. S. Ferguson and Mrs. James Tate, all members of the Chown Guild of Children’s Hospital, was taken June 14, 1958 in the Women’s Pavilion laboratory at Winnipeg General Hospital and published the next day in the Winnipeg Tribune Newspaper. [Photo: University of Manitoba Archives & Special Collections, Winnipeg Tribune fonds (A1981-012), PC 18, Box 3, File 73, Item 3]

The photograph’s caption was entitled “Guild Changes Name.” The Guild was renamed from the former Junior St. Agnes Guild to honour three Chown family members, including Bruce Chown, all noted physicians. The accompanying article was entitled “Guild’s Change of Name Honors Three Outstanding Medical Men.”

Watch the Canada Post video about Dr. Chown’s legacy to see various photos of Chown from the College of Medicine Archives. Additionally, you’ll see photos of Dr. Chown with Marion Lewis and Hiroko Kaita, who worked closely with Chown at the Rh Laboratory and continued working and publishing well past his retirement in 1977.

We also have the Marion Lewis’ collection at the UMLibraries Archives & Special Collections on the Fort Garry campus.

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One comment on “Do you ever look at a stamp and wonder where the image came from?

  1. Emoke Szathmary

    I like the images of Dr. Chown taken from various sources, but I so wish names of others shown with him had been provided for each photograph. Is image #3 showing Dr. Irene Uchida, whose chromosome research eventually led to her recruitment to McMaster University? Does image #7 show Dr. Marion Lewis (with the test tubes,his co-worker whose contribution to Rh research and serology is internationally recognized?

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