Archives & Research Collections
Before modern fertility treatments, multiple births were a rare event indeed and, when they did occur, the babies were not likely to survive. The 1934 birth of the Dionne Quintuplets in isolated Callander, Ontario (near North Bay), was regarded as a medical miracle and the country doctor who ensured their survival became an international celebrity. Research Collections has two collections which contain Dionne-related material: our Pierre Berton fonds contains manuscripts and research materials relating to his book The Dionne Years: a Thirties Melodrama (Toronto: McClelland and Stewart,1977).
We have recently added a small collection of photographs of Dr. Allan Roy Dafoe basking in the fame which the birth brought him. The images show Dafoe being honoured at various events in Washington (a meeting with President Roosevelt), New York City and Atlantic City between 1934 and 1941. There are no actual photographs of the famous quints; the image shown here, with Dafoe on the left, was taken in 1939 at a gala luncheon in New York City.
Lawyer, politician, judge, historian, and satirical novelist, Thomas Chandler Haliburton (1796-1865) is renowned as one of Canada’s major authors in the period before Confederation. His most famous work, the Clockmaker series, which recounts the hilarious adventures of Sam Slick, a Yankee clock maker, brought him international fame. The Library has a good collection of Haliburton’s works, including the scarce first Canadian of The Clockmaker published by Joseph Howe in Halifax in 1836. Our latest acquisition (Research Collections GV 1229.T74 1882) of Haliburton’s works is a book and not a book. In fact it’s a parlour game in a box consisting of two little story books and cards. One story book is entitled Travels of Sam Slick from Weathersfield to Paris , and the other has the cumbersome title A Side-splitting account of Japhet Jenkins’ and Sally Jones’ visit tu bosting with the old meere and a load uv pro-duce. This parlour game was published circa 1882 in London, Ontario by W. Bryce. The cost of the game was 25¢. As far as we can ascertain, our copy (nicely restored by Audrie Schell) is unique, purchased recently from the antiquarian book dealer George Flie. Each story book has blanks at various points in the text. You read the text aloud and then flip a card randomly when the blank occurs–often apparently with comic results. We know not whether Haliburton would be amused.
The diaries, correspondence and early material of Leslie McFarlane, best known for penning the hugely popular Hardy Boys books, have been obtained by McMaster University Library, and are being described as a dream acquisition. Read more in this Daily News article.
Additional media reports on the Leslie McFarlane acquistion:
- Hamilton Spectator: Hardy Boys papers at Mac: Author's diaries are major additions
- Globe and Mail: A reluctant author of bestsellers; Leslie McFarlane's diaries and letters take up a lot of shelf space at McMaster University
- National Post: The Man Behind The Hardy Boys: McMaster Gets Archives
- Ottawa Citizen: McMaster makes 'dream acquisition' of writings by Hardy Boys author
- Calgary Herald: McMaster nets Hardy Boys treasure
- Canada AM: The Secrets of the Hardy Boys
All of the above articles are available full-text via Factiva
Franz Liszt (1811-1886) is renowned as a virtuoso pianist and composer of the Romantic period. He was beloved by his many students and adored by the educated public. McMaster University Library has a small collection of Liszt letters and related material such as the Hans von Bülow collection (a conductor and pianist, Liszt’s son-in-law). The Library also houses the archives of Professor Alan Walker, a leadiing authority on Liszt and one of our notable benefactors.
Our latest acquisitions of Liszt material consist of the following: a letter of 3 pages in German, dated Rome, 11 November 1869, to an unnamed recipient, in which Liszt comments about the manuscript of his correspondent’s "Ungarische Kirchengesänge"; an autograph note on Liszt’s carte-de-visite; a 1886 cabinet photo of Liszt; and a Vanity Fair cartoon of Liszt, dated May 15, 1886, with the caption "the Abbé".
What Canadian freelance author and distinguished alumna of McMaster University is the ghost writer of Ample Annie’s The Bare Facts: My Life as a Stripper (1988)? Second clue: she has written articles on diverse topics such as art, architecture, travel, movies, parenting, fashion, and music for magazines such as Maclean’s, Chatelaine, Saturday Night, Financial Post Magazine, Toronto Life, Toronto Star, and the Globe and Mail. Third clue: she is an editor with Toronto Life Gardens and Gardening Life, a radio commentator, and one of Canada’s foremost authorities on gardening – the author of many books about gardening, her most labour-intensive, scholarly work being Botanica North America: The Illustrated Guide to Our Native Plants, Their Botany, History, and the Way They Have Shaped Our World (2003).
The University Library is very pleased to announce that it has acquired the archives of Marjorie Harris, a multi-talented, prodigious Canadian writer. The Marjorie Harris fonds, grouped into ten series, extends to almost 11 metres of textual records, photographs, sound recordings, and disks. The fonds contains documents from the beginnings of Harris’s career as a freelance writer and columnist to the recent present. Included in the donation are manuscripts, tear sheets, and proofs of her articles and books, exchanges with the CBC and CTV, files of her speaking engagements, personal correspondence, calendars, diaries, materials specifically on the subject of gardening, and computer disks. The finding aids to Harris’s archives can be found here.
The Division of Archives and Research Collections houses a large collection of military posters for World War I. Many of these are of British origin, issued by the Parliamentary Recruiting Committee and other organizations. There is a fine collection of colourful Canadian posters associated with the purchase of Victory Bonds to support the war effort. Our latest acquisition of war posters is a series of Belgian and French posters donated by Michel Brisebois, an assiduous collector and rare book librarian from Montreal. In all there are 15 posters, 9 issued in Belgium and 6 in France.
Marty Gervais is a Governor-General's Award-winning poet, the publisher of the Black Moss Press, and a journalist for the Windsor Star. The latest addition to his archives reveals that he is also a master photographer. Gervais has donated 55 ink-jet photographs to the University Library. The photos, exhibited as A Show of Hands: Boxing on the Border at the Art Gallery of Windsor and the Stephen Leacock Museum were also published in a book of the same title in 2004. They document the life of young boxers on the border between Canada and the U.S. Gervais spent over eight months with boxers from the Border City Boxing Club in Windsor, travelling with them to the Kronk Gym Boxing Club in Detroit. This series of compelling photographs captures the passion of these inner city kids who are participants on both sides of the Detroit river. Gervais's project A Show of Hands is a thought provoking and creative partnership between art and sport. Click here to see a finding aid to these photographs.
H.G. Wells, the author of The Time Machine, The Invisible Man, and other famous works, was also an historian, a sociologist, and a propheciser. The University Library houses a small, interesting collection of Wells's archives and 800 books and periodical contributions by and about him. The most recent Wells acquisition is a letter about the merits of chicken farming. It is undoubtedly the most important letter that Wells ever wrote on the subject. Indeed, we are bold enough to attest that it is the most extraordinary letter of its kind in all the archives of the University Library. We can think of only one other historical document of such significance pertaining to domestic fowl in our collections: F.G. Paynter's A Good Living from Poultry for Disabled Soldiers and Others (1916).
Filed under Library News: Mills Thode Archives & Research Collections Events
A rare first edition of Isaac Newton's Opticks, recently acquired as McMaster University library's two millionth book, has provided the inspiration for an imaginative interdisciplinary collaboration between the library, the Learning Technologies Resource Centre (LTRC) and instructors in the Arts and Science program. Read the rest of the article in this McMaster Daily News story.
On Remembrance Day, November 11th, we commemorate members of the armed forces who sacrificed their lives during past wars. The William Ready Division of Archives and Research Collections houses many extraordinary, evocative collections of books, journals, and archives related to war and peace in the twentieth century. Our current exhibition, curated with care by Sarah van Maaren, a contract conservator in the Preservation Department, is entitled the Truth of War.