Index to poems
Born in Kitchener (then Berlin), Ontario, Campbell grew up in Wiarton, attended high school in Owen Sound, and studied at University College in 1881-82 (where he wrote for the student newspaper The Varsity) and Wycliffe College in 1882-83, Toronto, and then at the Episcopal Theological School in Cambridge, Massachusetts. He married Mary Dibble of Woodstock, Ontario, in 1884, and worked as rector of the congregations of West Claremont, New Hampshire, and of St. Stephen, New Brunswick, until giving up the ministry in 1892. His first two volumes of verse were Sunshine and Snowflakes (1888) and Lake Lyrics (1889). A failure of religious faith forced him to abandon the ministry in 1892; the preceding year he had accepted a position in the office of the Secretary of State in Ottawa, and from 1909 on in the Dominion Archives there. He contributed to the "Mermaid Inn" literary columns in the Toronto Globe in the early 1890s, and he was elected to the Royal Society of Canada in 1892. He published volumes of verse and verse drama regularly and late in life took a keen interest in Canada's involvement in World War I, his son Basil serving as a major in the second Canadian Pioneer Battalion in September 1914. Wilfred Campbell died in Ottawa and is buried in Beechwood Cemetery. Carl F. Klinck's Wilfred Campbell: A Study in Late Provincial Victorianism (Toronto: Ryerson, 1942; PS 8455 A6Z75 Robarts Library) includes biographical details.