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Sample Autograph Signature: Stanley Knowles

Canadian Member of Parliament, minister and author. Stanley Howard Knowles (1908 - 1997) was born in Los Angeles, CA to Canadian parents. He graduated from Los Angeles' Manual Arts High School at the age of 15 with training as a printer, but had also been the yearbook editor and a member of the debating team. Shortly after graduating, he visited relatives in Manitoba, Canada and Massachusetts, and then went to New York City where he planned to attend the Columbia University. He withdrew after a month, announcing a little later that he felt the call to be a missionary. He went back to Manitoba where he spent a year with the family of an aunt before returning to Los Angeles in the fall of 1925 where he worked part-time as a printer and enrolled in the non-denominational (but theologically conservative and evangelical) California Christian College. While he did well academically, but his strained relationship with his new stepmother and decided to move back with his more warmly welcoming relatives in Manitoba, find a job, and save enough to resume his education toward a missionary career. During the next year he did just that and in September 1927 entered Brandon College, a Baptist college not far from his aunt's home. When he graduated in 1930, Brandon's President publicly praised him: I greatly doubt if the scholastic record made by Mr. Stanley Knowles this year has ever been equaled in the history of the institution. For the next 3 years, he studied at United Colleges in Winnipeg and received his theological diploma in 1933 and was ordained in the United Church of Canada. Beginning in his later years at Brandon, Knowles evolved toward religious liberalism. His decision to attend United reflected his misgivings about becoming a Baptist, and by the time he left Union he had been strongly influenced by the "Social Gospel" movement and shifted from a faith based solely on individual salvation to one that emphasized the equal importance of the Gospel's social mission. Although he worked as a minister until 1942 when he was elected to the Canadian House of Commons, he had joined the Cooperative Commonwealth Federation (CCF) party in 1935 and ran unsuccessfully twice for election to the House of Commons and once for the Legislative Assembly of Manitoba in 1941. Knowles remained in his seat until 1958 when he failed to be reelected and went to work for the Canadian Labor Congress where he help found the New Democratic Party (NDP), which combined the old CCF with the labor movement. In 1962, Knowles was elected a Member of Parliament for the NDP and served until 1984. Through the 1960s and 1970s Knowles used his legendary knowledge of parliamentary procedure to leverage his minority party's power to promote social justice such as increases to Old Age Security benefits, introduction of the Canada Pension Plan, as well as other progressive measures. He served as the CCF and NDP House Leader for decades, and was even asked by Progressive Conservative Party leader John George Diefenbaker Knowles to become Speaker of the Canadian House of Commons when he became Prime Minister. Knowles declined. Diagnosed with multiple sclerosis in 1946, he still worked long hours until a massive stroke in 1981 lead to his retirement in 1984 when Parliament named him an honorary officer of the House with a place, for life, at the Clerk's Table. He was appointed an Officer of the Order of Canada in 1985. From 1970 to 1990 he was the Chancellor of Brandon University. He was the author of The New Party / Le Nouveau Parti published in 1961.

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