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Clay bird ornament

Item consists of one small clay bird. The top of the bird is painted blue.

Silver napkin ring

Item consists of one silver napkin ring, featuring the inscription "Francis George Sutton".

Ceramic chalice

Item consists of one ceramic chalice with an orange glaze paint.

Ukrainian wooden candlestick

Item consists of one wooden candlestick with five wooden bells attached to the round base, given to Nouwen by Zenia Kushpeta.

Sculpture of Virgin Mary with Jesus

Item consists of one carved wooden sculpture depicting the Virgin Mary holding baby Jesus. Sculpture is approximately 25 cm tall. This sculpture was given to Nouwen by Frank [Last name unknown] in 1996.

Sculpture of traveller

Item consists of one carved wooden sculpture depicting a weary traveller. The man is carrying a seemingly heavy load and is barefoot, and there is a dog at his feet.

Collected artwork

Sub-series consists of artwork depicting Henri Nouwen and other framed images and sculptures, which may have been displayed in Nouwen's office or living space.

Awards and recognition

This series consists of awards, diplomas, certificates, honorary degrees, and medals awarded to Professor Skilling throughout his career—many of which are from the Czech Republic. In May 2012, several items were loaned for an exhibition in Prague (and have been returned).

All items in box /007 are oversize materials and were tightly curled. They are now stored in individual folders within a flat document box.

The medals remain in their original cases and have been indicated below. The boxes have not been numbered individually, however they should be identifiable based on the descriptions below. All medals and other artifacts are boxed together.

When appropriate, the original Czech text has been listed along with approximate English translations in square brackets.

Skilling 2012 accession

The material consists of the personal records of Professor Skilling and focuses primarily of Skilling’s academic work, and includes research notes and drafts of his doctoral thesis, The German-Czech National Conflict in Bohemia, 1779-1873, as well as notes and drafts supporting the revision of this thesis, which Skilling worked on for several years. There is also some correspondence with other scholars in the field of Eastern European studies, as well as publishers and editors.

The accession also contains some of Professor Skilling’s personal belongings and awards, such as medals, honorary degrees, and photographs and slides of his personal and professional life.

Skilling 2nd 2002 accession

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.

Education

This series covers the Gordon Skilling’s formal education from his attendance at Grace Street Public School through Harbord Collegiate, the University of Toronto (BA 1934), taking his Rhodes Scholarship at the University of Oxford, and the writing of his doctoral thesis at the University of London. The files are arranged chronologically by degree.

For Grace Street Public School, the files include letters from his classmates at Grace Street Public School and certificates. At Harbord Collegiate, in addition to his studies and piano lessons from the Toronto Conservatory of Music, Skilling was very active in extra-curricular activities: he was president of the Literary Society, editor of the Harbord Review, battalion commander of the cadet corps, and played defence on the basketball team which won the city high school championship in 1928-1929. These activities are documented in the form of term papers, examinations, speeches, scholarship essays, and a scrapbook [box 011] that covers his activities at Harbord Collegiate and the University of Toronto, and documents his trip across North America in the summer of 1933 (see also Series I in this sous-fonds). The scrapbook contains correspondence, dance cards, maps, press clippings, programmes, announcements of student activities, pamphlets, and photographs.

At the University of Toronto, Skilling studied British and colonial history and some modern Canadian and American history, standing first in his class in all but his final year. He was very active in campus politics, including the University College Literary and Athletic Society (of which he was elected president), the Students’ Administrative Council. He helped reorganize the Fabius Club in the autumn of 1932 and a year later, following his momentous trip across North America, was a founder of the CCF Club. Other activities included serving as associate editor of the Varsity and as a member of the Hart House Debates Committee.

His academic activities are well documented in the form of term papers for each of his undergraduate years and in his BA thesis. These files and those on the CCF Club and the Hart House debates are of particular interest. They document his movement from an apolitical period in high school to an activist in the social and political ferment of the time and, soon, to accepting the socialist philosophies promoted by many of his professors at the U of T and, later, at Oxford.

In December 1933 Gordon was informed that he had been awarded a Rhodes scholarship to study at Oxford University. He left for Christ Church, Oxford, in September of 1934, where he remained until 1936. While there, he studied under what he described as “outstanding dons, including Michael Foster and A. J. Ayers, in philosophy; Roy Harrod, in economics; Keith Feiling, in British history; and the Hon. Frank Pakenham in politics and international relations. He also, in the summer of 1935, visited Central Europe for the first time and in the autumn met Sally Bright, then a student at the London School of Economics. In the fall of 1936, having received a high second at Oxford, and having had his scholarship extended, Gordon went to London to complete his doctorate under R. W. Seton-Watson, under whom his growing interest in Czech culture and politics flourished, as did his relationship with Sally. At Easter in 1936 he and Sally spent five weeks in Chepstow in Monmouthshire, a time that is preserved in an album that he compiled (see Series XII, Appendix III). In 1940 Gordon successfully defended his thesis, ‘The German-Czech national conflict in Bohemia, 1879-1893’.

The files on his graduate work contain detailed notes on readings and tutorials, especially on political theory, social philosophy and social psychology. There are also exam questions for his courses at Oxford, correspondence relating to the degrees of BA and MA (Oxon.), and a copy of his doctoral dissertation. Accompanying these files is
a scrapbook, containing press clippings, programmes, photographs and memorabilia covering his years at Oxford and the University of London, with additional material for his visit to London in 1948 [see /012].

Skilling’s diploma from Harbord Collegiate is filed in /003(03).

Photographs relating to his basketball team at Harbord Collegiate have been removed from box 008 (08) to box 009P (01) – (03). Loose photographs relating to his activities at the University of Toronto have been removed from the Harbord Collegiate/ University of Toronto scrapbook [box 011] to box 009P(04) – (07).

Skilling’s University College ‘letter’ [badge] is filed as B2001-0017/008(26).

Skilling family sous-fonds

This sous-fonds documents the activities of various members of the Skilling family, principally Gordon’s father, William Watt Skilling, and brothers, Andrew Douglas and Edward Donald Skilling; his uncle, Ernest John Skilling, and his (Ernest’s) mother, Emma Louise Skilling. Included is correspondence, biographical and other notes, programmes for wedding anniversaries, obituaries, a will, photographs, a photograph album, and a box of mementos of military service during World War I.

The photo album was assembled by Ernest John Skilling and begins with a trip he made to the western United States in 1926 to a Shriner’s convention. The trip back across Canada by train includes images of ‘Hindus [in] British Columbia’, of the Royal North West Mounted Police, Indian chiefs in regalia, the Rocky Mountains, the prairies, northern Ontario and Lake Superior. The album concludes with photos taken during a tour of Kentucky and Alabama and Tennessee by the 48th Highlanders; photos of the Canadian Expeditionary Force cemetery in France and Donald Skilling’s grave, taken on a family visit to the site in 1919; and of ‘natives in Africa’, showing domestic and hunting activities associated with the missionary work of Reverend Albert Wilkinson. Many of the photoprints in the album have detailed information written on the backs thereof.

The box of military service mementos belonged to Gordon’s brother, Private Edward Donald Skilling, #157689, 1st Battalion, Canadian Infantry, Canadian Expeditionary Force, who was killed on his first day in action at the front on 4 May, 1917. It contains the following items: a Queen’s Own Rifles pin (Donald spent 6 months with the QOR before the war as a bugler in its bugle band); his ‘dog tag’ (1st Battalion); a shoulder badge – ‘Canada’ [CEF]; two hat badges, one marked ‘Canada’ and the other ‘111, Canada’ [111th Battalion] (probably a souvenir); two brass buttons (tunic and cuff); a piece of soldier’s ration; a hollow candle of the type used in dugouts in the trenches; a .303 calibre bullet and a shell fragment; two medals – the British War Medal and the Victory Medal (Inter-Allied War Medal), each inscribed on the rim: ‘157689 Pte. E. D. Skilling 1-Can. Inf.’, and a silver cross presented to Donald’s parents in his memory by the Minister of Militia and Defence.

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.

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