Vincent Massey was the grandson of Hart Massey, who developed the farm-implement company started by Daniel Massey into a powerful international corporation. His education was at the University of Toronto and Balliol College, Oxford, and he lectured in history at Victoria College, University of Toronto (1913-1915). He then joined the army and served as a staff officer in Canada, ultimately working for the war committee of the Cabinet. He was president of Massey-Harris Company Ltd, from 1921 until 1925 when he joined Prime Minister Mackenzie King's Cabinet as Minister without Portfolio. But he failed to win a seat in Parliament, and in 1926 King made him Canada's first Minister to the US where he served until 1930. From 1932 to 1935 he served as president of the National Liberal Federation before being appointed High Commissioner for Canada in the United Kingdom, at which post he served until 1946. After the war, Prime Minister Louis St. Laurent placed Massey in charge of the Royal Commission on National Development in the Arts, Letters and Sciences. On the advice of St. Laurent, Massey was appointed Governor General, the first native-born Canadian to hold that office. He promoted Canadian unity and identity, and was a patron of arts. Massey's promotion of a national festival of the arts began a movement that eventually led to the founding of the National Arts Center. In 1953, he established the Governor General's Awards for Architecture, and he presented Canada Council awards to many artists. Massey's term as governor general was extended twice, first by Prime Minister St. Laurent, and then by Prime Minister John Diefenbaker before he left office on 15 Sep 1959.