DUVAL, EDMUND HILLYER, educator and philanthropist; b. February 1805 at London, Eng., third child of Peter Duval and Elizabeth Wood; m. 28 Sept. 1828 to Sarah Turner by whom he had eight children although only four lived to maturity; d. 17 Sept. 1879 at Saint John, N.B.
During most of his life Edmund Hillyer Duval was a teacher. Between 1835 and 1845 he was in charge of a large school at Bristol, England, sponsored by the British School Society. The society founded such schools to bring at least a rudimentary education to the working classes. The teaching method consisted of gathering a large number of pupils together with one teacher and several of the better students acting as sub-teachers. In 1845, upon invitation, Duval came to Saint John and established a “British School,” the first classes apparently being held in the Mechanics’ Institute. Conscious of the extreme shortage of teachers, Duval promoted his school to a model school for the training of teachers. In 1849 he visited teacher-training schools in New England and Toronto; his report of the trip stressed the need to raise substantially the miserable wages paid New Brunswick teachers. As master of the model school (after the Fredericton normal school was destroyed by fire in 1850, it was for almost two decades the sole institution for the training of teachers) and as inspector of schools after 1858, Duval returned repeatedly to the wage issue in his official reports. He was also author of a pamphlet published in 1858 which advocated reforms in New Brunswick education.
Duval’s efforts to raise the standards of life were not limited to formal education. As a young man he is said to have worked for the benefit of the Jews of East London. He was an active Christian, gaining a licence to preach from the Germain Street Baptist Church of Saint John in 1870. In the last years of his life he worked hard to improve the deplorable lot of the Negroes in Saint John, not through missionary zeal, as might have been expected, but by trying to induce the spirit and practice of self-help.
N.B. Museum, Edmund Hillyer Duval papers, transcripts, and genealogy; Tilley Papers, Edmund Hillyer Duval to S. L. Tilley, 16 June 1860. E. H. Duval, Suggestions on the improvement of our common schools (Saint John, N.B., 1858). Daily Telegraph (Saint John, N.B.), 19 Sept. 1878. New Brunswick, Chief superintendent of schools, Fourth annual report (Fredericton, 1855), Sixth annual report (1857), Seventh annual report (1859), Reports, 1861–68 (1862–69). New Brunswick, House of Assembly, Journals, 1847–50. I. E. Bill, Fifty years with the Baptist ministers and churches of the Maritime provinces of Canada (Saint John, N.B., 1880). K. F. C. MacNaughton, The development of the theory and practice of education in New Brunswick, 1784–1900: a study in historical background, ed. with intro. by A. G. Bailey (University of New Brunswick Hist. studies, I, Fredericton, 1947), 129, 130, 137, 139–42, 173, 174.