UPEI extends condolences on the passing of UPEI Founder Frank Pigot

Thursday, January 4, 2018
The late Frank Pigot, a UPEI retiree, was named a UPEI Founder in 2004.

The University of Prince Edward Island community, and especially the UPEI Robertson Library, was saddened to learn of the recent death of UPEI Founder and retired librarian Franklin L. (“Frank”) Pigot.

“Students, faculty, and researchers near and far continue to benefit from Frank’s work with our archival and special collections,” said Donald Moses, University Librarian. “He built those collections from the ground up, and made them into something that PEI and its University can continue to cherish and build upon for generations to come.”

A proud native of Mount Stewart and alumnus of Prince of Wales College, Frank was appointed as the first Prince Edward Island Collection Librarian at the UPEI Kelley Library in the early 1970s. Beginning with just a handful of PEI books, he spent the next 25 years developing a peerless collection of Island-related publications. By the time Frank retired in 1997, the PEI Collection numbered some 12,000 titles, complemented by extensive vertical and clippings files, and was described by historian Dr. G. Edward (“Ed”) Macdonald as, “the finest assemblage of Islandia anywhere”. Alongside the PEI Collection, Frank also developed the University Archives into an important collection of documentation relating to UPEI and its two forebears, Saint Dunstan’s University and Prince of Wales College. Frank further complemented this remarkable collections development work with methodical indexing of relevant content, especially in Island periodicals, effectively building a massive card-file database, encompassing more than 100,000 entries.

Frank received the PEI Museum and Heritage Foundation’s Meritorious Achievement Award in 1998, in recognition of his many thousands of hours of care and skill in developing the PEI Collection and University Archives. In receiving the award, Frank, with his trademark quiet modesty, paid tribute to the support of Library colleagues and of numerous donors—most notably the Saint Dunstan’s University Alumni Association—in fostering the PEI Collection and University Archives’ remarkable growth.

Even after retirement, Frank continued to serve the Robertson Library as a volunteer, and his ongoing dedication to the University community was honoured with his recognition as a UPEI Founder in 2004. The Founders Day citation highlighted, rightly, that Frank had been, “breaking new ground,” in building up both the PEI Collection and University Archives, essentially from nothing, into matchless cultural and research resources.

In addition to his accomplishments as a librarian, Frank was also a distinguished scholar. He authored two books, John Stewart of Mount Stewart (1973) and A History of Mount Stewart, Prince Edward Island (1975): the latter book has just been reissued, in an expanded and illustrated edition, and tribute was paid to Frank’s pathbreaking work at the well-attended launch for the new edition in December. In recognition of Frank’s remarkable knowledge and research skills in the field of Island history, he was also invited to contribute several entries to the prestigious Dictionary of Canadian Biography.

The Robertson Library is now preparing a special tribute to Frank’s legacy: further details will be announced as they are finalized.

UPEI extends its condolences to Frank’s family, friends, and former colleagues. Flags will be flown at half-mast in his memory. Read the obituary


-Prepared by Simon Lloyd, University Archivist & Special Collections Librarian

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