Professor Skilling began writing at an early age; his first attempt at publication, a short story 'Trapping in the Rockies’, was submitted to the Toronto Evening Telegram in 1923. While this series documents his prodigious output over a period of almost 80 years, the focus is on his youth and his early career (before 1960) and from the early 1980s until his death.
The series begins with a file of correspondence regarding offprints (1984-1985), followed by three files of book notices and reviews (1940-1999). Professor Skillings writings are arranged by the title of the manuscript or publication and are filed chronologically. The files contain drafts of manuscripts, sometimes with notes and often with covering correspondence, reviews and offprints. Much material relating to Skilling’s writings may be found in other accessions in this fonds.
The earliest entries were written while a public, high school and university student. Skilling managed one publication from his trip across the United States and Canada in 1933, an article in the local paper in The Danforth region of Toronto where he lived. What may be is his first ‘academic’ article, “The Marxian dips into the future”, was published in University College’s student periodical, The Undergraduate, in March 1933. At Oxford, he really began to find his footing. His reported in the New Statesman on the British Labour Party’s annual conference in 1936; this was followed shortly by a series of articles in the Canadian Forum (1937-1939), most of which discussed the evolving political situation in Czechoslovakia. During World War II, he wrote on a variety of topics, ranging from the political situation in the Balkans to Canadian-American relations.
After his retirement, Professor Skilling had more time to write. Some of his projects, including a selection of essays under the title, ‘The riddle of Communist politics’, and a proposed book on the Velvet Revolution, did not materialize. His observations of the changing political landscape in Czechoslovakia and Eastern Europe, especially on Charter 77 and samizdat, rapidly found their way into print. In the late 1980s and the 1990s Skilling turned his attention to historical figures in Czech history, especially the Masaryks – Tomas, Charlotte, and Alice, and to his own memoirs. His book, T. G. Masaryk: Against the current [see box 042], appeared in English in 1994 and Czech in 1995. He prepared two long articles on Charlotte and Alice for Komas, and Gender Studies in Prague published his Mother and daughter: Charlotte and Alice Masaryk in 2001 [see box 044]. His translation of Alice’s correspondence with Josip Plecnik, the architect of Prague Castle [see boxes 045-047], appeared just before his death.
Professor Skilling’s memoirs, The education of a Canadian, appeared in English and Czech in 2001 [see boxes 047-049], a few weeks before he died. The numerous delays in publication, caused in part by the collapse of Carleton University Press, are well documented.
Oversized material has been removed from /040(25) to folder .(03).
Photoprints relating to Professor Skilling’s research on and writing about Charlotte Masaryk have been removed from /044(03) to /009P(13); from /044(04) to /009P(14), from /044(06) to /009P(15), and from /044(07) to /009P(16).
Slides of the portrait of Gordon Skilling by Maria Gabanhova have been removed from /048(07) to /009P(17).