Carl August Lehmann

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Principal of Malvern, 1910-1935

A great school master, science master, early colour photographer, traveller. Born in Canada, educated in Germany and at the University of Toronto. Volunteer with the Queen’s Own Rifles. The welfare of Malvern was his life’s work. Subject of a library bust sculpted by student Cleeve Horne.

“Live and Let Live”

Carl August Lehmann was born in Muskoka at Sparrow Lake, Ontario, on March 2, 1865 to his pioneer parents Adelbert Lehmann and Kathinka Bruch, who both immigrated to Canada from Oldenburg, Germany. He was the third son in a family of scholars and took arts and college education courses at the University of Toronto, specializing in science. After a short apprenticeship in Canada’s Maritimes, he was appointed to the staff of Jarvis Collegiate Institute in 1898 as Science Master. A gentleman of genial disposition and broad interests, Lehmann took a fatherly interest in his schools. He also helped a self-organized Scout troop to win their proficiency badges before the Boy Scout movement was officially introduced to Canada in 1908.

When he became principal at Malvern in 1910, the school was a small four-room building on the site of the present school. In 1911, he formed a luncheon club to provide tea and coffee at noon hour to both teachers and students. There were six teachers on his staff in 1912. A new wing was constructed in 1913 that featured a staff room, library and a modern science room. Malvern became a collegiate institute in 1914. During the First World War, Lehmann improvised a cafeteria in the science room. He also signed many letters of recommendation for graduates and students who volunteered for the Canadian Expeditionary Force. The first official cafeteria was opened in the new north wing in 1922. The Malvern Muse was first published on his watch in 1924. A west wing was erected and finished in 1929.

Lehmann regularly entertained faculty members at his summer home, “Gawsworth”, near Lake Couchiching at the close of school each June, when his prowess as a flapjack cook was generally on display.

Lehmann viewed his 25 years of service as simply the sum of five changes of the school population. From 1930-1935, he was also senior principal of Toronto Secondary Schools. A scholarship in his name was instituted in 1935. He was required to retire as he had reached the age of 70, the limit for his position at the time. He planned a motor trip through the Rocky Mountains with opportunities for hiking as his first trip in retirement. Lehmann died on Oct. 15, 1949 and is buried in St. Andrews and St. James Cemetery in Orillia.

“To give the best that was in him and to do the right thing.”

Author: Bob Watson

MRBS Treasurer and Class of '56, Decade Representative 1960s

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