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Archival description
University of St. Michael's College, John M. Kelly Library, Special Collections Sheila Watson fonds
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Sheila Watson fonds

  • CA ON00389 F6
  • Fonds
  • 1880-1998, predominant 1933-1998

Fonds consists of journals, literary manuscripts, correspondence, teaching and student materials, reference materials, business and financial records; and personal photographs and objects of the author and professor of English, Sheila Watson. Also consists of collections of correspondence purchased and preserved by Watson for the purpose of her doctoral thesis and personal interest in the painter and author Wyndham Lewis.
The Sheila Watson fonds series consist of:
1.0. Diaries, reading journals and day planners
2.0. Manuscripts and drafts
3.0. General correspondence
4.0. Publishing records and business correspondence
5.0. Professional activities materials
6.0. Student material
7.0. Teaching material
8.0. Research and reference materials
9.0. Financial and legal records
10.0. Personal photographs
11.0. Personal records, artwork and artifacts
Ephemera
12.0
The White Pelican editorial material sous-fonds (the records of Watson's role as editor of her literary journal) series consists of :
1.0. Editorial Records
2.0. Financial Records
3.0. Design and printing records
4.0. Correspondence

Watson, Sheila

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.

Diary from Edmonton, Calgary and Paris

  • CA ON00389 F6-1-2006 01 1
  • File
  • December 25, 1954 - September 2, 1955
  • Part of Sheila Watson fonds

File consists of a notebook containing 64 pages of handwritten diary entries by Watson while in Canada and France, reflecting on her situation and her relationships, and reading notes in ink and pencil, three pages of drawings and several pieces of ephemera, including a draft poem "Only those who have known birds" and an reflection on "The Double Hook".

Diary from Toronto

  • CA ON00389 F6-1-2006 01 10
  • File
  • December 21, 1957 - January 20, 1958
  • Part of Sheila Watson fonds

File consists of a notebook containing 86 pages of diary entries made by Watson while pursuing her PhD at the University of Toronto, including one loose page of research notes. Diary entries focus primarily on her academic reading but also include reflections on her emotional state, her surroundings, her correspondence with her husband Wilfred and others and her academic experiences.

Diary from Banff and surrounding area

File consists of a notebook containing 9 pages of reading notes and 36 pages of line drawings of bears, squirrels, plants and landscapes by Watson with her observations and reflections about nature. These entries may have been made while Watson was visiting her husband Wilfred during the summer months.

Diary from Toronto and Edmonton

File consists of a notebook containing 210 pages of diary entries, reading notes, line drawings and ephemera. Entries include reflections by Watson on her emotional state, her research on Wyndham Lewis, descriptions of wildlife (particularly birds), her experience of Toronto and Edmonton, her reaction to books she was reading, and her correspondence with her husband Wilfred and others.

Reading journal from Toronto

File consists of a notebook containing 103 pages of reading notes, class lists, contact information, bibliographic references and one piece of ephemera related to Watson's academic experiences at the University of Toronto. It is not clear if this material relates to a course that she taught, attended, or if it relates to her own research for her thesis.

Diary and sketchbook

  • File consists of a notebook containing 13 pages of two diary entries, lists, ephemera and eight line drawings by Watson of landscapes, people, cars, and birds and ephemera relating to art, Watson's purchase of books from English book dealers, and a camping trip. The notebook has been annotated "From the point of view of [genius or senses?]
  • beware of the dog" in the front cover by Wilfred Watson. Although this notebook has been dated 1963, it may contain earlier material as one drawing is annotated "21 Sussex Ave.", Watson's address from 1959 to 1961 when she was living in Toronto pursuing her PhD.

Reading journal

File consists of a notebook containing 56 pages of reading notes regarding the works of Wyndham Lewis, one piece of ephemera and one diary entry dated January 1964.

Reading journal

  • CA ON00389 F6-1-2006 01 16
  • File
  • January 8, 1965 - January 10, 1967
  • Part of Sheila Watson fonds

File consists of a notebook containing 46 pages of dated reading notes on subjects including philosophy, literary criticism, and poetry; two pieces of ephemera, and one diary entry about chickadees.

Reading journal

File consists of a notebook containing 72 pages of dated reading notes on subjects including philosophy, avant-garde art, mythology, and architecture; line drawings in coloured pencil and graphite; two pieces of ephemera, and two diary entries.

Reading journal

File consists of a notebook containing 90 pages of dated reading notes on subjects including Joyce, Sartre, psychology, and propaganda; transcriptions of conversations with her thesis supervisor Marshall McLuhan; a line drawing; and three diary entries regarding her correspondence with McLuhan.

Reading journal

File consists of a notebook containing 63 pages of reading notes on subjects including Wyndham Lewis, Picasso, Matisse and art history, Ezra Pound, T.S.Eliot, and I Ching ; ephemera; and one diary entry from September 4, 1966.

Diary from Vancouver and Paris

  • CA ON00389 F6-1-2006 01 2
  • File
  • April 27, 1955 - May 16, 1955 ; January 6, 1956 - March 21, 1956
  • Part of Sheila Watson fonds

File consists of a notebook containing 32 pages of hand-written diary entries and line drawings in ink and pencil from the period when Watson was living apart from her husband Wilfred and staying with Ruth Humphrey in Vancouver, in which she reflects on her life, relationships and her surroundings. Watson again uses this notebook for diary entries, line drawings, collected ephemera (including a poem fragment "Let me love in winter..."), regarding her experiences in Paris beginning January 6, 1956 where she was living with Wilfred.

Reading journal

  • CA ON00389 F6-1-2006 01 20
  • File
  • [between November 13, 1966 and December,1967]
  • Part of Sheila Watson fonds

File consists of a notebook containing 66 pages of dated reading notes on subjects including Eliot, Pound, surrealism, the Renaissance, architecture, the city and philosophy; ephemera (including one photograph), and dated diary entries regarding her correspondence and the weather.

Diary 1969

  • CA ON00389 F6-1-2006 01 21
  • File
  • January 13, 1969 - October 2, 1969
  • Part of Sheila Watson fonds

File consists of a 388 page diary containing 19 pages of entries, most recording financial transactions, contact information and reading notes and citations of books Watson was presumably reading at the time. Blank post-it notes were found on entries for January 14, February 26, March 15, and May 22. These were removed and discarded.

Reading journal

  • CA ON00389 F6-1-2006 01 22
  • File
  • [between May 1969 and September 1969]
  • Part of Sheila Watson fonds

File consists of a notebook containing 66 pages of reading notes; bibliographic citations; contact information for colleagues, scholars and students; ephemera, and one dated diary entry for May 13, 1969.

Reading journal from Edmonton

  • CA ON00389 F6-1-2006 01 23
  • File
  • [between January 6, 1971 and February 2, 1974]
  • Part of Sheila Watson fonds

File consists of a notebook containing 146 pages of reading notes on such subjects as W.B. Yeats, T.S. Eliot, Wyndham Lewis, art history and book reviews from the Times Literary Supplement; bibliographic citations; contact information for colleagues, scholars and students at the University of Alberta; ephemera, and two short diary entries for January 2, 1973 and February 2, 1974.

Reading journal from Nanaimo

File consists of a notebook containing 27 pages of reading notes on such subjects as Marshall McLuhan, avant-garde theatre, modern poetry and literary criticism; bibliographic citations; contact information for colleagues, scholars and students; and one short diary entry for January 10, 1982.

Daily journal 1983

File consists of a commercial day planner containing 17 entries in total, between January 5 and April 3, pertaining to her daily activities, reading, appointments, correspondence and financial transactions. Also includes some ephemera.

Day planner for 1988

File consists of a commercial day planner featuring art from the National Gallery of Canada, containing 11 entries in total, between January 5 and February 17, pertaining to her daily activities, correspondence and financial transactions.

Diary from Nanaimo

File consists of a notebook containing 191 pages of diary entries regarding her friendships, telephone calls she received, visitors, her surroundings, current events, and the publishing of "Deep Hollow Creek"; reading notes on subjects such as Wyndham Lewis, Ezra Pound, Glenn Gould, Marshall McLuhan, biblical studies, psychology and Greek; bibliographic references, and a large amount of ephemera.

Day planner from Nanaimo

File consists of a commercial day planner containing 6 pages of 8 brief journal entries regarding Watson's visitors, correspondence, financial transactions and the publishing of "Deep Hollow Creek", recorded between January 2 and February 26.

Diary while in hospital in Nanaimo

File consists of a notebook containing 5 pages of very brief journal entries regarding Watson's stay in the hospital following an accident, recording medical issues and financial transactions. Most entries are blank or very short.

Diary from New York City and Paris

  • CA ON00389 F6-1-2006 01 3
  • File
  • August 16, 1955 - October 26, 1955
  • Part of Sheila Watson fonds

File consists of a notebook containing 140 pages of diary entries made during Watson's short visit to New York City and her year-long stay in Paris, including reflections on her attempts to get "The Double Hook" published, experiences and ephemera from plays, art exhibitions and architectural sites she attended in Paris; her thoughts and emotions, and her reaction to books she was reading.

Reading journal from Paris

  • CA ON00389 F6-1-2006 01 4
  • File
  • [between August 19, 1955 - 1958 ; 1955-1956 predominent]
  • Part of Sheila Watson fonds

File consists of a notebook containing 172 pages of French language exercises, reading notes in French, ephemera and some personal reflections by Watson regarding her year in Paris.

Notebook from Paris

File consists of a notebook containing 57 pages of early draft sequences of Watson's unfinished novel "Landscape of the Moon", notes on "The Double Hook", ephemera, and language exercises in what appears to be Italian and Old English.

Diary from Paris

File consists of a notebook containing 225 pages of diary entries and line drawings by Watson, regarding her experiences of plays, art exhibitions, events and architectural sites she attended in Paris; her thoughts and emotions, and her reaction to books she was reading. The diary ends on the day she flew to London on May 5, 1956. Diary also contains a large amount of ephemera.

Day planner from Paris and Toronto

  • CA ON00389 F6-1-2006 01 7
  • File
  • January 1, 1956 - December 2, 1956
  • Part of Sheila Watson fonds

File consists of a commercial day planner for 1956, including 44 entries in total, most in January and February and relating to music, Watson's experiences in Paris, her efforts to be published, the weather and her emotional state. There are some sporatic notes in November and December, when she was living in Toronto.

Notebook from Paris

  • CA ON00389 F6-1-2006 01 8
  • File
  • [between March, 1956 and July, 1956]
  • Part of Sheila Watson fonds

File consists of a spiral notebook containing 81 pages of line drawings of people and other street scenes observed by Watson while living in Paris, as well as contact information for friends and notes on various schools in Europe and Africa and her employment opportunities. Also includes four loose self-portraits by Watson in pencil.

Diary from Paris, London, Vancouver and Toronto

  • CA ON00389 F6-1-2006 01 9
  • File
  • May 9, 1956 - December 23, 1961; May -August 1956 predominent
  • Part of Sheila Watson fonds

File consists of a notebook containing 172 pages of diary by Watson while in London, England, Paris, Vancouver and Toronto, including ephemera, reading notes and reflections on her emotional state, her surroundings and her attendance at plays and art exhibitions in Paris and London. Upon her return to Canada in August, 1956, Watson's entries become more sporadic and begin to focus on reading and research notes related to her PhD studies at the University of Toronto, her experiences in the city, and her correspondence and short visits with her husband Wilfred, who at this time is teaching in Edmonton. It appears Watson has excised a passage from a diary entry of July 30, 1956.

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.

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]

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

Ephemera and memorabilia collected in Paris

Sub-series consists of one file of maps, newspaper clippings, guidebooks, theatre programmes, tickets, and governmental documents collected and preserved by Watson from her year spent with her husband in Paris.

Blank postcards

Sub-series consists of one file of blank postcards collected by Watson. Most of the postcards depict Parisian landmarks, holdings from the Louvre, renaissance portraiture, religious art, modern art and several duplicated versions of postcards from The Coach House Press.

Loose jottings, unidentified photographs and annotations

Sub-series consists of one file of unidentified photographs, loose notes, contact information, jottings and general ephemera. Including: 1) a corner of an envelope with the message, Dear Sheila, Saw the Tate and thought of you. Dale W. The writer is Dale Wilkie, a professor at the University of Alberta; 2.) a strip of cardboard with two silver triangles, signed 'omoon', the nick-name of B. J. Mitchell, Sheila Watson's niece.

Ephemera from Watson Library books

Sub-series consists of one file of loose notes, letters, dustjackets, promotional material and other assorted ephemera found in volumes of the Watson library collection. Each piece of ephemera is linked to the individual library volume.

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

Manuscripts of novels

Sub-series consists of handwritten and typed drafts and manuscripts, metatext and relevant correspondence with editors related to Watson's two published novels, namely "Deep Hollow Creek" and "The Double Hook" and her unfinished unpublished novel "Landscape of the Moon". The files have been arranged by novel and then chronologically.

Manuscript of Deep Hollow Creek

File consists of a 143 page typescript of "Deep Hollow Creek", the earliest surviving draft of the novel, which Watson submitted to McClelland & Stewart Publishing while she was living in Toronto.

Manuscript of Deep Hollow Creek

File consists of a 143 page typescript of "Deep Hollow Creek", which, based on the cover sheet, Watson appears to have revised while teaching in Powell River, British Columbia.

Annotated photocopied manuscript of Deep Hollow Creek

File consists of a 143 page photocopy of Watson's original typescript of "Deep Hollow Creek", which has been revised and annotated by Watson and Fred T. Flahiff. This typescript has been bound with a plastic ring spine.

Annotated and edited manuscript of Deep Hollow Creek

File consists of a 143 page photocopied typescript of Deep Hollow Creek heavily annotated by both Watson and Ellen Seligman, an editor from McClelland & Stewart, as well as correspondence from Seligman, a six page mock-up of front matter for the published book, eight pages of editorial comments from Seligman and a 30-page photocopy of Watson's hand-written comments and edits.

Page proofs of Deep Hollow Creek

  • CA ON00389 F6-2-1-2006 01 34
  • File
  • [between December 12 and December 17, 1991]
  • Part of Sheila Watson fonds

File consists of a 140 pages including a letter from Ellen Seligman, Watson's editor at McClelland & Stewart, and the page proofs for "Deep Hollow Creek", containing annotations regarding typography and the arrangement of text.

Page proofs of Deep Hollow Creek

File consists of a 141 pages including a letter from Ellen Seligman, Watson's editor at McClelland & Stewart, and annotated page proofs for "Deep Hollow Creek", containing annotations regarding further editorial concerns with time and sequencing and proposed changes to the text.

Editorial corrections of Deep Hollow Creek by Watson

File consists of nine pages of foolscap paper containing handwritten editorial comments and corrections by Sheila Watson of her novel "Deep Hollow Creek". It appears these notes were made in response to editorial comments and queries by Ellen Seligman sent to Watson on December 31, 1991, based on the page coding used by Watson.

Editorial corrections of Deep Hollow Creek by Watson

File consists of four pages of hand-written editorial comments and corrections by Sheila Watson of her novel "Deep Hollow Creek". It is not clear at which stage of the editorial process she made these notes.

Advance copy of Deep Hollow Creek

File consists of an advance copy of "Deep Hollow Creek", including a letter from Ellen Seligman, Watson's editor, and two pages of corrections by Watson.

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