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Archival description
University of St. Michael's College, John M. Kelly Library, Special Collections Sheila Watson fonds Series
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Diaries, reading journals and day planners

Series consists of 29 diaries, dated reading journals and day planners created and preserved by Watson during her adult life. These materials contain fragments of her creative writing; drawings in graphite, coloured pencil and ink; reading notes and language exercies; collected ephemera; recordings of her daily activities and financial transactions; and reflections on her experiences, emotions, relationships and surroundings.
In general Watson kept confessional and reflective diaries from 1954/55 to about 1957. When she moved to Toronto in 1956 to persue her doctoral studies, Watson began to keep what can be best described as reading journals, dated notes pertaining to books she was reading interspersed with short diary entries regarding her correspondence, her observations of her surroundings and her academic experiences. After she moved to Edmonton to teach at the University of Alberta, and upon her retirement in Nanaimo, Watson's recorded thoughts become more infrequent. In her later life, Watson appears to have purchased commercial day planners to record her daily activities and financial translations.
It is apparent that Watson kept journals during her early teaching career in Cariboo Country in British Columbia. However, it seems she destroyed these at a later period.

Manuscripts and drafts

Series consists of Watson's written material, including early drafts, manuscripts, typescripts, page proofs, metatext and relevant correspondence with editors, including the following sub-series:

  1. Novels
  2. Short stories
  3. Poetry
  4. Non-fiction

General Correspondence

Series consists of Watson's correspondence with others. It has been divided into two sub-series; namely:

  1. Outgoing Correspondence
  2. Incoming Correspondence

Correspondence that relates directly to Watson's writing, publishing, academic responsibilities, editorial projects and collaborations have been filed in appropriate series, namely Manuscripts and drafts series; Publishing and business correspondence; Professional activities material series; Teaching material series; and Student material series.

Professional activities materials

Series consists of correspondence, research materials and drafts related to Watson's role as an editor, contributor and consultant to the works of other publications, cultural bodies and creative efforts, all functions resulting from her professional role as an author and educator. The series is divided into 3 sub-series:

  1. Editorial, collaborative and contributive materials.
  2. Canada Council papers.
  3. Public readings, interviews and conference material.

Personal photographs

Series consists of Watson's personal photograph collection, including: photographs from the late nineteenth century belonging to her parents, Mr. C.E. Doherty and Mrs. Elweena Doherty; photographs, (some of which have been scanned), of Watson as an infant and child, along with her siblings and parents; pictures taken by Watson while teaching in Dog Creek, British Columbia, and while at the University of California, Berkeley taking a summer course; pictures taken by the Watsons while on vacation in Nanton, Alberta; pictures taken during the couple's year living in Paris, France; pictures of domestic activities and socializing while Watson was living in or visiting Edmonton, Alta., Toronto, ON, London, England and Vancouver, B.C.; photographs of Watson's nieces and nephews, and the children of her friends, particularly Barbara J. Mitchell, the sons of Diane and Frank Bessai and her godson Peter Bruckmann; and photographs of her pets. Also includes a number of professional portraits of both herself and her husband Wilfred.

A complete item list of the series can be found in Appendix of the finding guide.

Student material

Series consists of four files containing materials created by Watson during her career as a student at the University of British Columbia and as a Ph.D. student at the University of Toronto. This includes administrative documents, official correspondence, and front matter related to her Ph.D. thesis , "Wyndham Lewis and Expressionism: Icon Recognition: Configurations in the Flux". No documentation survives of Watson's primary or secondary school education, nor her undergraduate and graduate studies at the University of British Columbia, including her M.A. thesis on Addison and Steele.

File list includes:

  • 2006 01 705 Statement of marks from the University of British Columbia, 1950
  • 2006 01 706 Correspondence and official documentation regarding doctoral studies at the University of Toronto, 1957 -1965
  • 2006 01 707 Correspondence regarding Ph.D. thesis, 1956, 1965 - 1966
  • 2006 01 708 Photographic negatives, bibliography and list of illustrations for Ph.D. thesis, 1965

Financial and legal records

Series consists of legal and financial records accumulated by Watson in the course of her life, including royalties from her publishing, property deeds, last wills and testaments from family members, employment records, tax records, purchase invoices and receipts and other bills and financial information.
Sub-series include:

  1. Tax records and returns
  2. Banking records and personal loans
  3. Payments and honorariums
  4. Pension and insurance records
  5. Telephone records
  6. Medical bills
  7. Receipts and invoices for book dealers, art galleries and periodicals
  8. Miscellaneous invoices and receipts
  9. Land deeds
  10. Last wills and testaments

Ephemera

Series consists of ephemeral material accumulated by Watson in the course of her activities, including six photographs of unidentified persons and subjects, divided into four sub-series:

  1. Ephemera and memorabilia collected in Paris
  2. Blank postcards
  3. Loose notes, uninfected photographs, jottings and ephemera
  4. Ephemera found in Watson Library books

Publishing records and business correspondence

Series consists of correspondence, legal agreements, royalty statements, permission requests and other materials related to Watson's insolvent in publishing her own works of literature, solicitations from publishers to submit work, requests to adapt her work for film, theatre and radio, as well as her support and patronage of other publishing efforts. The series has been arranged alphabetically by publisher name or by primary correspondent. More general correspondence from publishers and periodicals regarding book purchases and subscription renewals can be found in the Financial and legal materials series.

Teaching material

Series consists of four-sub series containing materials created and generated by Watson during her career as a school teacher and as a university professor, including correspondence, course prospectus', student papers and exams, and lecture notes. This series also includes the material of Ph.D. candidates who were supervised by Watson after her retirement in August 1975.
Sub-series include:

  1. Elementary and secondary school teaching material
  2. University of British Columbia teaching material
  3. University of Toronto teaching material
  4. University of Alberta teaching material
  5. Post-retirement teaching material

Research and reference materials

Series consists of materials created and accumulated by Watson in the course of her research for various creative and academic activities, as well as material preserved by Watson for her own personal reference. This includes 3 sub-series:

  1. Reading notebooks
  2. Reading, research and reference notes
  3. Collected material

Personal records, artwork and artifacts

Series consists of 21 files of address books, diplomas, medals, awards and honorary degrees; artwork and drawings by herself and others; rosaries and other items and objects belonging to Sheila Watson.

File list includes:

Box 61

  • 2006 01 952 Baptismal Certificate, 1909
  • 2006 01 953 Address book [after 1957]
  • 2006 01 954 Address book [between 1958 and 1961]
  • 2006 01 955 Address book [after 1978]
  • 2006 01 956 Address book [June 1961]
  • 2006 01 957 Address book [after 1962]
  • 2006 01 958 Address book [ca. 1979]
  • 2006 01 959 Address book [between 1978 and 1979]
  • 2006 01 960 Address book [ca. April 16, 1979]
  • 2006 01 961 Address book [ca. 1981]
  • 2006 01 962 Address book [after 1981]
  • 2006 01 963 Address book [between 1985 and 1993]

Box 62

  • 2006 01 964 Material regarding 1965 University of Toronto convocation, 1965
  • 2006 01 965 Documents and award regarding Canada Silver Jubilee Medal, 1977
  • 2006 01 966 Lorne Pierce Medal from the Royal Society of Canada, May 29, 1984
  • 2006 01 967 Correspondence and certificate from the Federation of British Columbia Writers, 1987
  • 2006 01 968 Honourary Degree, University of St. Michael's College, 1995
  • 2006 01 969 Doherty and Martin family records
  • 2006 01 970 Drawings and paintings by Sheila Watson [after 1948]
  • 2006 01 971 Drawings and paintings by other artists belonging to Watson
  • 2006 01 972 Personal effects and belongings [after 1941]