Fonds 72 - John Norman Harris fonds

Identity area

Reference code

CA ON00399 72


John Norman Harris fonds


  • predominant 1937–1964 (Creation)
  • 1930–1991 (Creation)

Level of description


Extent and medium

71 cm of textual records
15 photographs

Context area

Name of creator


Biographical history

John Norman Harris was an author of fiction and non-fiction. He was born in Fort Frances, Ontario, and educated in Toronto. After attending Victoria University, 1933–1936, he went to England, joining the Royal Air Force in 1937 to train as a pilot. When World War II ensued he served as the captain of a bomber; in 1942 his plane was shot down during the massive raid on Hamburg. He survived the crash, and was interred as a Prisoner of War in a German stalag for the durarion of the war. Prior to the fateful mission he had married Aileen Dunkeld in England; their daughter Elizabeth was born in 1943. After the war Harris returned to Canada, where he combined a career in public relations at Bell Canada, then advertising at the Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce, with creative and non-fiction writing. The author of numerous articles for periodicals, his acclaimed mystery novel, The Weird World of Wes Beattie, was published shortly before his death. He was survived by his wife, three daughters, and a son.

Archival history

Immediate source of acquisition or transfer

Acquired from Mary Brand in 2010, 2011.

Content and structure area

Scope and content

Fonds consists of records relating to John Norman Harris’s experiences in England, primarily his time in the Royal Air Force; his internment in a German stalag, and then his writing efforts back in Canada. The records consist of three series: personal correspondence 1935–1977, which also includes the correspondence of family members, predominantly his father and wife; manuscripts and other records relating to writing and publishing, 1946–1991, including attempts at posthumous publication by his widow; and memorabilia and obituaries, 1930–1964.

Appraisal, destruction and scheduling


Further accruals are expected.

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