This series includes some professional correspondence but much of it consists of letters to and from Dr. Hastings’ parents, his grandmother, his aunts, Bessie Ferguson, Betty Graham and Louise Hastings, and other relatives and friends met over a lifetime of public service and devotion to his church. The last influenced many of his interests outside his academic and administrative work at University of Toronto, and is reflected in thirty years of correspondence arising from visits to India and Japan beginning in the early 1950s.
While most of the correspondence is filed chronologically, the first files contain exchanges of letters with the Drever family (especially Michael Drever), the politician Eugene Forsey, and the relatives mentioned above. Dr. Hastings met the Drevers from Montevideo, Uruguay, in 1959, when he went on a tour of Latin America to observe preventive medicine and public health teaching. He was to return to Uruguay at the end of 1964 as a member of the World Health Organization/Pan American Health Organization program on health planning in Latin America that also entailed visits to Chile and Argentina (he had a regular correspondent from Santiago after that date).
Dr. Hastings first went to India in 1953 as the University of Toronto’s representative to the World University Service International Seminar (the files for which are in Series 5). While there he first visited the Christian Medical College and Hospital in Vellore, near Madras, that received support from the Canadian Council of Churches through its Vellore/Ludhiana Committee, of which he was a member from 1962 to 1975 and to which he was an advisor from 1975 to 1981. Over the years Dr. Hasting was to provide financial support to many young people he met in India, helping some with their education overseas and others to immigrate to Canada. In 1955 he had the opportunity to go abroad again, this time as a faculty member of the WUS International Seminar, Japan, followed by a month for studying medical education and medical care in that country. He wrote a widely praised report on his return, and kept up a voluminous correspondence with many of the people he had met. In later years Dr. Hastings came to regard these two visits as seminal events in his life.
The first files of chronological correspondence is primarily with his parents, consisting largely of letters sent and received while at Camp Kagawong on Balsam Lake near Fenelon Falls, Ontario where Hastings was to spend many summers from about 1937 and where he was sometime counsellor and a director. (Correspondence from his vacation trips to Quebec in 1943 and 1946 is filed in Series 1). From 1953 and his visit to India, the chronological arrangement is divided in each year into the following categories: general, parents (later ‘mother’, India and (from 1955) Japan.
The volume of correspondence tails off in the mid-1970s; one file covers the years 1986-1997.