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Archival description
Only top-level descriptions Thomas Fisher Rare Book Library, University of Toronto Davies, Robertson
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Robertson Davies Papers

  • CA OTUTF MS Coll. 00050
  • Manuscript Collection
  • 1929 - 2008

Collection contains personal and professional papers pertaining to Robertson Davies. This includes material relating to Davies’ early life, including writing and acting as a student at Upper Canada College (1929-1932), his studies at Baillol College at Oxford (1935-1938), and participation in theatrical performances in Kingston, Oxford, the Old Vic Theatre, Peterborough and the Stratford Festival (1934-1960). The papers contain a small amount of material related to Davies’ career as a journalist at Saturday Night magazine and the Peterborough Examiner. These papers contain extensive material on the novels, books and writing of Davies. This includes drafts, proofs, correspondence, reviews, clippings and any stage adaptations of his novels from The Salterton Trilogy (Tempest-Tost, Leaven of Malice and A Mixture of Frailties), The Deptford Trilogy (Fifth Business, The Manticore and World of Wonders), The Cornish Trilogy (The Rebel Angels, What’s Bred in the Bone and The Lyre of Orpheus) and the incomplete Toronto Trilogy (Murther and Walking Spirits and The Cunning Man). Also included are a complete set of original drafts and woodcuts for the Penguin edition covers of Davies’ novels, which were designed by the American printmaker Bascove. Limited material related to his essays, short stories and non-fiction publications, notably including Shakespeare’s Boy Actors, A Voice from the Attic, High Spirits and his books of fictional essays by Samuel Marchbanks are a part of the papers. Additionally, the collection includes considerable records relating to Davies’ contributions to anthologies as well as professional writing in academic journals, newspapers and magazines. These papers encompass Davies’ career as a playwright, including material related to twenty-two original works including drafts, scripts, photographs, posters, playbills and clippings, as well as the complete papers relating to the production of The Golden Ass which was staged after Davies’ death. The collection contains a large sampling of correspondence of both a professional and personal nature spanning from 1934 to his death in 1995. Also included in the collection is material related to the professional career of Davies’ as a well-known Canadian writer, this includes photographs and press clippings as well as speeches and commentaries made by Davies and his awards. Records also pertain to academic and trade writing on Davies and his work, most notably a complete set of interviews conducted with family, friends, colleagues and acquaintances by Val Ross during the course of her writing Robertson Davies: A Portrait in Mosaic (2009). Papers also relate to the eighteen years Davies spent as the Master of Massey College beginning in 1963. Including articles on the founding of Massey College, the death of Vincent Massey, newsletters, teaching material and invitations and programmes for the annual Christmas Gaudy, printed on the Massey College Press. Also included is a small amount of personal records including travel records, calendars, real estate and list of personal effects. Finally, the collection contains a series dedicated to the collecting practices of Dr. Rick Davis, who collected and assembled these papers. This includes Davis’ invoices and notes for his Davies material, as well as correspondence including exchanges with Robertson Davies, Moira Whalon, Brenda Davies and Jennifer Surridge.

Davies, Robertson