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Harold Gordon Skilling fonds Sous-fonds
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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.

Sara [Sally] Bright Skilling sous-fonds

This sous-fonds documents various aspects of Sally Bright’s life, especially the period before she met and married Gordon Skilling and then her travels with him to Eastern Europe in the 1960s.

It begins with biographical information about Sally, the Bright family tree, and individual members of the family. There follows files documenting her education at George School (1927-1931) and Barnard College (1931-1935), and her immediate
activities, thereafter, including her marriage to Gordon Skilling. Also present are her passports; identity cards, ration books, stamps, tokens, and correspondence from World War II; later correspondence with Gordon and members of her family; files relating to social and political activities at the University of Wisconsin at Madison and Dartmouth College, and at the University of Toronto.

Sally’s love of entertaining is documented in her ‘entertaining’ books, which document guests and the meals served them from August of 1962 to September of 1988 when she suffered a stroke. Photocopies of these books have been retained (the originals reside with the family).

The last portion of this sous-fonds contains Sally’s diaries and correspondence relating to her and Gordon’s trips to eastern Europe between 1962 and 1969, other correspondence with family and friends, letters and a selection of cards received on her 70th birthday in 1983, a diary from 1987, and four entertainment books Sally compiled between 1962 to 1989. In these she recorded the guests and menus for the many events that took place at their residence. She and Gordon loved entertaining, and the care and skill with which she prepared for groups of varying sizes is reflected in these volumes.

Skilling, Sara (Sally) Bright

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.