Manuscript Collection MS COLL 00770 - Tom Harpur Papers

Identity area

Reference code



Tom Harpur Papers


  • [193-]-2017 (Creation)

Level of description

Manuscript Collection

Extent and medium

25 boxes (3.0 metres)

Context area

Name of creator


Biographical history

Tom Harpur (1929-2017) was an Anglican minister, educator, journalist and writer. After ordaining in 1956, Harpur served as a parish minister in Ontario from 1957-1964. In 1964, he was hired as a professor of the New Testament at the University of Toronto and he held this posiiton until 1971 when he made the decision to become a journalist. He was the Toronto Star’s religion editor until 1984 and continued to write columns on religion for the Toronto Star and other media outlets. Harpur also wrote several books including Harpur’s Heaven and Hell (1983), Communicating the Good News Today (1987), Always on Sunday (1988), Life After Death (1991), For Christ’s Sake (1993), Harpur vs. Hancock (1994), Finding the Still Point (2002) and The Pagan Christ (2004), which was later adapted into a documentary. The Pagan Christ was a national bestseller and led Harpur to write the sequel, Water into Wine (2007). Several of Harpur’s books became the basis for television series which aired on Vision TV and included Harpur’s Heaven and Hell, Harpur vs. Hancock, Life After Death and the Uncommon Touch.

Archival history

Immediate source of acquisition or transfer

Gift of Tom Harpur, 2016

Content and structure area

Scope and content

Papers consist of records created and acquired by Tom Harpur in the course of his career as a journalist and writer. Included are his columns for the Toronto Star and other media outlets; short stories and other writing that he did along with records related to his books; research materials for the Pagan Christ; various television series and documentaries which he hosted and were based on his books; correspondence with his readers, publishers, and colleagues; and interviews and other records relating to publicity. Also included is a small amount of personal material and photographs, pertaining to his education and early career. Some published materials were received as part of the donation but were either not retained or catalogued separately. A list of these books is included as an appendix to this finding aid for reference purposes.

Appraisal, destruction and scheduling


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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:

Conditions governing reproduction

Language of material

  • English

Script of material

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Physical characteristics and technical requirements

Finding aids

Uploaded finding aid

Allied materials area

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Existence and location of copies

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Description control area

Description identifier

Institution identifier

Thomas Fisher Rare Book Library, University of Toronto

Rules and/or conventions used

Dates of creation revision deletion




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