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Harold Gordon Skilling fonds
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Harold Gordon Skilling fonds

  • UTA 1778
  • Fonds
  • 1828-2001

Personal records of Gordon Skilling, Professor of Political Science and a specialist in East European (especially Czechoslovak) studies. Fonds consists of 18 accessions:

B1983-0013: Records of conferences and meetings attended; drafts of and correspondence regarding articles written; correspondence relating to the writing of "Communism, National and International" and "Governments of Communist East Europe"; personal files (1961-1979) and correspondence (1974-1983); lecture notes as visiting professor, Columbia University, 1952 (9 boxes, 1952-1983).

B1984-0044: Lecture notes on international politics and international organization, University of Wisconsin and Dartmouth College (1941-1959); files for courses on Soviet politics at Dartmouth College and the University of Toronto; lecture notes for courses on Eastern Europe and comparative communism at the University of Toronto; lecture notes by Hazard at Columbia University (1949-1950). (20 boxes, 1941-1984).

B1985-0029: Addresses, radio scripts, correspondence, lecture notes; files on the Conference on Security and Co-operation in Europe (1980-1981); files relating to the publication of "Interest Groups in Soviet Politics" (1971). (6 boxes, 1937-1982).

B1987-0064: Correspondence, articles, reports, and related material on East European studies at the University of Toronto and elsewhere, including a study of the U.S. Helsinki Watch project prepared by the Ford Foundation (4 boxes, 1977-1986)

B1987-0083: Addresses; correspondence with students, 1970-1986, and on the Chair of Ukrainian Studies at the University of Toronto, 1980; course outlines in political science, 1960-1980 (2 boxes, 1958-1986).

B1988-0007: Records documenting Skilling's expertise relating to East European studies with particular emphasis on Czechoslovakia and his role in the the Centre for Russian and East European Studies. Contains addresses and speeches; manuscripts and publications including related correspondence and reviews (books included are "Czechoslovakia's Interruped Revolution", "Charter 77 and Human Rights in Czechoslovakia", and "The Czech Renaissance in the Nineteenth Century"); lecture notes; subject files, mainly of associations; sound recording, video and photographs; University of Toronto administrative files including the Centre for Russian and East European Studies, the Department of Polical Economy, Committee on International Studies as well as the Centre for International Studies (3 boxes, 1945-1986)

B1989-0030: Addresses, articles, correspondence, minutes of meetings and financial files documenting Gordon Skilling's activities as a specialist in East European studies, with particular emphasis on Czechoslovakia (4 boxes, 1965-1989).

B1989-0045: Bibliography on communism in Czechoslovakia and the history of the Czech Communist Party, 1918-1958; files pertaining to Gordon Skilling's publications, "Charter 77 Documents", "Socialist Opposition in Czechoslovakia" (proposed), and "Samidzat and Independent Society in Central and Eastern Europe" (1988), including correspondence with Jan Kavan (5 boxes, ca. 1958-1988).

B1991-0037: Manuscripts, correspondence, addresses, lectures, conference files, subject files, greeting cards and index cards documenting Gordon Skilling's teaching and research interests in East European affairs, with particular reference to events in Czechoslovakia (6 boxes, 1949-1991).

B1993-0028: Diaries, notebooks, personal and research correspondence, manuscripts, articles, press clippings and photoprints relating to Dr. Skillings trips to Eastern Europe, his personal life and his research and writings. Included is research material for: "Samizdat and Independent Society in Central and Eastern Europe" (20 boxes, 1934-1988).

B1994-0011: Correspondence, addresses, lecture notes, minutes of meetings, memoranda, reports, manuscripts, publications, notes and press clippings documenting Professor Skilling's interest in Eastern Europe, particularly Czechoslovakia, and his association with the Commission on Security and Co-operation in Europe and the Royal Society of Canada. Also includes consultant files, foreign language clippings and collected papers on Czechoslovak history and politics (7 boxes, 1927-1993).

B1999-0017: Personal records of Gordon Skilling, relating primarily to the Czech Republic, including professional and private correspondence with colleagues and friends, including Vilem Precan (1969-1996); drafts of his "Memoirs of a Canadian" and articles, with covering correspondence; addresses; conference papers, photographs (13 boxes, 1969-1997).

B2000-0027: Personal records of H.G. Skilling, relating primarily to his interest in Czechoslovakia and the Czech Republic. Includes early correspondence with his wife Sally, correspondence with friends and associates in Czechoslovakia, grant applications, itineraries, subject files relating to human rights groups, publishers and the medal that he received from the Royal Society. The records also include a printout of Skilling's autobiography entitled "The Education of a Canadian: My Life as a Scholar and Activist" (5 boxes, 1936-1999).

B2001-0017: Records documenting the history of the family of Harold Gordon Skilling, including his wife, Sara (Sally) and his own life and career. Sous-fonds I: Skilling family. Documents Gordon's father, William Watt, his uncle, Ernest (a Shriner), and his brothers Donald and William, who fought in World War I (Donald was killed in action). Sous-fonds II: Sara (Sally) Bright Skilling. Her education in the United States, her travels with Gordon in eastern Europe in the 1960s and her skill in entertaining. Sous-fonds III: Harold Gordon Skilling. Focuses on his research and writing of books on T. G. Masaryk and Alice Masaryk, on his travels, especially in Eastern Europe, and on the seminars he held in his residence during the last years of his life. These records consist primarily of correpondence (personal and professional, including with Vilem Precan (1993-2000) and Vaclav Havel), diaries, drafts of books and articles, reviews, addresses, index cards, scrap books, and photo albums (64 boxes, 1828-2001).

B2002-0020: Bibliographic references and research notes on index cards, with some accompanying notes, compiled by Professor Gordon Skilling for his book, 'Czecholslovakia's Interrupted Revolution', along with three boxes of other notes and references relating to Samizdat and dissent, Charter '77, Czechoslovak history and Czech-German relations (14 boxes, n.d. - ca. 1985)

B2002-0024: Personal records of H. Gordon Skilling, consisting of: Masaryk medal awarded by the Czechoslovak Association of Canada, 1985; certificate, case and medallion relating to honorary degree awarded by Charles University, Prague, 1990; Komensky medal awarded by Komensky University, Bratislava, 1990; certificate and medal for the Order of the White Lion, Third Class, Czechoslovakia's highest honour for non-citizens, awarded by President Vaclav Havel on Professor Skilling's 80th birthday, 28 February 1992 (3 boxes and 1 folder, 1985-1992).

B2009-0032: Correspondence, research notes, manuscripts etc. of Prof. Gordon Skillling relating to his career as professor of political science. Includes files for Josef Pekar, Czech politics, etc. (1 box, 1985-1987).

B2012-0005: Further personal records of Gordon Skilling, Professor of Political Science and a specialist in East European (especially Czechoslovak) studies, consisting of research notes for and drafts of his doctoral thesis, 'The German-Czech national conflict in Bohemia, 1779-1873', with subsequent revisions; correspondence with scholars in East European studies, publishers, and editors. Also address books, 88th birthday greetings, slides and photographs, and medals. (12 boxes and medals, 1917-1997).

Skilling, H. Gordon (Harold Gordon)

Addresses

The addresses in this series date from Professor Skilling’s return to Canada in 1959. Most were delivered at conferences, with those from 1986 on dealing primarily with Tomas Masaryk. The principal Masaryk conferences represented are those at the University of London (1986) and in Prague (1994 and 2000). Included also is Skilling’s address on Masaryk given on the occasion of his receiving an honorary degree from Charles University in 1990, and the series of lectures he delivered on Masaryk in Prague in 1992. Other conferences represented include the Conference on the Prague Spring in Paris and the Institute for Slovene Emigration Studies in Ljubljana, Slovenia (both in 1998).

An audiotape of a lecture given by Professor Skilling in Prague in April, 1994 is filed as /06S

Skilling 2001 accession

Records documenting the history of the family of Harold Gordon Skilling, including his father, William Watt Skilling; his uncle, Ernest John Skilling; his brothers, William John, Andrew Douglas and Edward Donald; and his wife, Sara (Sally) Bright Skilling.

Sous-fonds I: Skilling family. The emphasis is on William Watt, a shoemaker who emigrated from England to Canada in 1907; on Ernest, who was a very active member of the Ancient Arabic Order of Nobles of the Mystic Shrine; on Donald, who was killed in action during World War I, and on his brother, William, who was wounded but survived.

Sous-fonds II: Sara (Sally) Bright Skilling. The records focus on Sally’s education in the United States, her travels with Gordon in Eastern Europe in the 1960s, and on her love of entertaining. They document the crucial support, intellectual and otherwise, that she provided to Gordon as he pursued his career.

Sous-fonds III: Harold Gordon Skilling. The documentation here is primarily on Gordon’s education and early career and his later years as an expert on Russian and East European politics and on Czechoslovakia, in particular. An extensive combination of correspondence, journals, lectures, writings and photographs reveal much about Skilling’s ideas and his relationships with the principal figures in recent Czech history.

Personal

This series contains biographical information, address books, business cards, correspondence, greeting cards, notes and passports relating primarily to personal activities, including Gordon and Sally’s friendship with many people in Czechoslovakia, and honours bestowed on him over his lifetime. Included are files relating to the Skilling family generally, biographical sketches and curriculum vitae, and files relating to his 70th and 88th birthday parties (1982 and 2000). There is also a scrapbook of greeting cards and postcards received from friends in Czechoslovakia between 1964 and 1982, and files on honours bestowed – including his festschrift, and Czech awards – Order of the White Lion (1992), Czech Academy of Sciences (1994), and the T. G. Masaryk honorary medal (1999).

In 1933 Gordon hitchhiked and rode freight trains across North America, first to the founding convention of the CCF in Regina, writing letters back to his parents along the way and also describing activities at that famous gathering itself, and then on to the West Coast. His correspondence and the pamphlets, brochures and press coverage he collected survive in this series. He later attributed these experiences as being the seminal event that shaped the evolution of his political views.

Other files in this series provide glimpses of his activities late in the 1930s and in the 1940s, and of his return to Toronto in 1959. They also document of his extra-curricular activities, first as a teenager with the West United Church Club (1926-1927), then as an alumnus of Clinton Street Public School and of Harbord Collegiate in Toronto, and finally as a member of the Canadian Association of Rhodes Scholars. The series ends with selected messages of sympathy and other items relating to the death of his beloved wife, Sally, in 1990.

The scrapbook of greeting cards from friends in Czechoslovakia is filed in box 051.

Oversized material has been removed from /007 (11) to file .(01).

Photoprints taken in the 1980s and 1990s of Professor Skilling, Helen Hogg, Czech friends and the Jazz Section, a semi-official agency under the Union of Musicians in Prague, are filed in /009(07)-(11).

An audiotape of the presentation of the Order of the White Lion to Professor Skilling on 8 May 1992 and of the Stefanik medal ceremony is filed as /02S. An audiotape relating to Professor Skilling’s birthday (which one?) is filed as /03S; audiotapes documenting the 75th anniversary celebrations of Harbord Collegiate Institute are filed as /04S and 05S.

Skilling 1988 accession

Records documenting Skilling's expertise relating to East European studies with particular emphasis on Czechoslovakia and his role in the the Centre for Russian and East European Studies. Contains addresses and speeches; manuscripts and publications including related correspondence and reviews (books included are "Czechoslovakia's Interruped Revolution", "Charter 77 and Human Rights in Czechoslovakia", and "The Czech Renaissance in the Nineteenth Century"); lecture notes; subject files, mainly of associations; sound recording, video and photographs; University of Toronto administrative files including the Centre for Russian and East European Studies, the Department of Polical Economy, Committee on International Studies as well as the Centre for International Studies.

Harold Gordon Skilling sous-fonds

This sous-fonds documents the life and career of Gordon Skilling, especially his family, his formative years as a student, and his later years as an internationally recognized expert on Russia, Eastern Europe and, especially, Czechoslovakia. Researchers seeking to fill the obvious gaps in this accession should refer to the earlier accessions in the Skilling fonds in the University Archives that were donated by Professor Skilling over a period of almost two decades, beginning in 1983.

Sound recordings

-Talk by Skilling on CBC Radio, recorded 10 September 1945 [3 "78" discs]
-Interview on the BBC, "Czechoslovakia", August 1978 [1 reel]
-"Central Europe", CBC Ideas, n.d. [1 cassette tape]