David McGee was born in East York, Ontario, in 1955. He grew up in Victoria, British Columbia, spending his later teen years in Ottawa, Ontario. Possibly due to long drives facing backwards in the family station-wagon, David was one of those boys who could tell you the name and year of every make and model of car.
From a young age, David was also interested in history. He completed a BA in History from Carleton University in Ottawa, then worked as journalist for several small newspapers in Southern Ontario. In 1988 he returned to school to earn a Masters and then a PhD in the History of Technology from the University of Toronto, graduating in 1995.
David’s academic career took him to the Dibner Institute for the History of Science and Technology at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 1997, then to the Max Plank Institute for the History of Science in Berlin, then back to the Dibner Institute in 2001. He has published several academic articles about the role of drawings in the design process, and was co-editor of The Book of Michael of Rhodes, A Fifteenth-Century Maritime Manuscript, a long lost Venetian manuscript that contains the first known drawings related to ship design.
In 2008, David returned to Ottawa where he became the first archivist ever hired by the Canada Science and Technology Museum to deal with the museum’s vast archival holdings. He added to those holdings by acquiring nearly 10,000 automobile brochures. It was also at the museum that he first encountered the historical riches of the John de Bondt Collection of Automobile Advertising, and came across an unpublished manuscript that John had written.
David retired from the museum in 2015 to run Lost Ottawa, an online historical community. He has now written several Lost Ottawa books using pictures and comments from members of the community to document life in the nation’s capital in the 20th century.
He remained committed to the idea of publishing John De Bondt’s unpublished manuscript. Given David’s interest in history, technology, drawing, design and automobiles, and a given his respect for the work of John de Bondt he is delighted to finally publish Art, Artists and Automobile Advertising, 1900-1970.