Arthur Philemon Coleman

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Arthur Philemon Coleman : biography

April 4, 1852 – February 26, 1939

Arthur Philemon Coleman (April 4, 1852 – February 26, 1939) was a Canadian geologist and academic.


Born in Lachute, Quebec, the son of Rev. Francis Coleman and Emmeline Maria Adams (a descendant of John Quincy Adams), he received his Bachelor of Arts in 1876 and Master of Arts in 1880 from Victoria College in Cobourg, Ontario. He received a Ph.D. at the University of Breslau in 1881.

He joined the department of geology and natural history at Victoria College in 1882 as a Professor. From 1891 to 1901, he was a Professor of Geology at the School of Practical Science in Toronto. From 1893 to 1909, he was a geologist at the Bureau of Mines of the Government of Ontario. From 1901 to 1922, he was a Professor of Geology at the University of Toronto and was Dean of the Faculty of Arts from 1919 to 1922. From 1931 to 1934, he was a geologist with the Department of Mines of the Government of Ontario.

He was author of:

  • Reports on the Economic Geology of Ontario (1903)
  • The Canadian Rockies: New and Old Trails (1911)
  • Ice Ages, Recent and Modern (1926), and was co-author of Elementary Geology (1922).
  • The Last Million Years (1941) Edited by George F. Kay

He achieved the first ascent of Castle Mountain in 1884, and in 1907, he was the first white man to attempt to climb Mount Robson. He made a total of eight exploratory trips to the Canadian Rockies, wholly four of them looking for the mythical giants of Hooker and Brown.

Mount Coleman and Coleman Glacier in Banff National Park is named in his honour. He was awarded the Penrose Medal in 1936.