Manuscript Collection MS COLL 00270 - Helen J. Dow Collection of Alex Colville Papers

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Reference code



Helen J. Dow Collection of Alex Colville Papers


  • 1942-1987 (Creation)

Level of description

Manuscript Collection

Extent and medium

1 box

Context area

Name of creator


Biographical history

Helen Dow was a Professor of Fine Arts at Guelph University. She published articles and a major book on Alex Colville (The Art of Alex Colville. Toronto: McGraw-Hill Ryerson, 1972). She was a colleague of Colville's at Mount Allison University ca. 1961-1962 and corresponded with him from 1963 onward. She also purchased many of his paintings and drawings.

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Archival history

Immediate source of acquisition or transfer

Gift of Helen J. Dow, 1987.

Content and structure area

Scope and content

This collection consists primarily of a long sequence of letters from Alex Colville to Helen Dow, many of which contain detailed comments on individual paintings as well as on his aesthetic and philosophical views. In addition, there is correspondence from Colville's wife, Rhoda, thanking Dow for small gifts, and from his daughter, Ann, who worked at Fischer Fine Art Ltd., in London, England, the firm handling Colville's English sales. There is also a copy of Colville's B.A. thesis.

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Conditions of access and use area

Conditions governing access

Material may be requested in person at the Fisher Library Reference Desk, or in advance using our online stack retrieval request form:

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Language of material

  • English

Script of material

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Institution identifier

Thomas Fisher Rare Book Library, University of Toronto

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