- -2006 (Creation)
Level of description
Extent and medium
7.61 meters of textual material
6.7 cm of photographs
10.5 cm of audio reels
Name of creator
Leslie Sutherland Dewart (1922-2009) was born Gonzalo Gonzales Duarte in Madrid, Spain but was raised in Cuba. At the age of 19, he came to Canada with the intention to join the Royal Canadian Air Force and served as a pilot in bomber-reconnaissance missions during WWII. After five years of service, Duarte gained Canadian citizenship and changed his name to Leslie Dewart to reflect this development.
Dewart enrolled at the University of Toronto and in 1951 received his Honours BA in Psychology, in 1952 his MA in Philosophy, and in 1954 his PhD in Philosophy. After a brief posting in the Department of Philosophy at the University of Detroit (1954-1956), Dewart returned to the University of Toronto where he was employed for the rest of his career. Initially, he was an assistant professor in the Department of Philosophy at the University of St. Michael’s College (also referred to as USMC), but in 1961 was promoted to Associate Professor and was also cross-posted to the Department of Philosophy at the School of Graduate Studies. In 1968 he became a Professor in the Department of Religious Studies at USMC wherein he was involved in the Faculty of Theology (1968-1988), the Institute of Christian Thought (1969-1979), and the Graduate Centre for Religious Studies (1976-1988). In 1979, Dewart obtained his L.L.B. from the Faculty of Law at the University of Toronto and was called to the Ontario Bar in 1980. After his retirement in 1988, Dewart wrote legal briefs for Harris & Jones Law Firm as well as continuing to lecture and supervise students in the Department of Religious Studies as a Professor Emeritus.
Dewart’s philosophical specialization was the understanding of the nature of consciousness, which he explored within humanity’s development of religion and language. Dewart was a prolific writer, having written 31 articles, 8 paper contributions to collected works, and 5 books during his life: Christianity and Revolution: The Lesson of Cuba (Herder & Herder Inc., 1963), The Future of Belief (Herder & Herder Inc., 1966), The Foundations of Belief (Herder & Herder Inc., 1970), Evolution and Consciousness: The Role of Speech in the Origin and Development of Human Nature (University of Toronto Press, 1989). His sixth book, Hume’s Challenge and the Renewal of Modern Philosophy, was published posthumously by his widow, Doreen Dewart in 2016.
Dewart’s other appointments included: Chair of the University of Toronto Combined Departments of Religious Studies (1970-1971); associate editor of Continuum (1964-1970); associate editor of Internationale Dialog Zeitschrift (1967-1974); associate editor of Concurrence (1968-1970); member of the editorial board of Studies in Religion-Sciences réligieuses (1970-1980); Public Affairs Editor of Insight: A Journal of Catholic Opinions; member of the advisory board for the Journal of Ultimate Reality and Meaning (1974-1978).
Immediate source of acquisition or transfer
Content and structure area
Scope and content
This fonds consists of correspondence (professional and personal), personal papers, financial documents, and materials related to Professor Dewart’s writing process such as manuscripts, reviews, copies of published works, research notes, and reference files. The fonds also consists of material relating to Dewart’s time as a professor at the University of Toronto, including faculty material, course material and material relating to the the three grievances that he was involved in.
The series and their scope are:
• The Grievance of Professor Richardson: Material related to the dismissal of Professor Herbert Richardson from USMC and Dewart’s involvement in the case as his agent. Includes correspondence, legal documents compiled for research and to be used in the hearing, copies of Richardson’s case file and personnel file, and meeting minutes. Access to series is restricted.
• Faculty Material: Materials related to Dewart’s involvement with the Faculty of Theology, the Graduate Centre for Religious Studies, and the Institute of Christian Thought. This includes materials related to the PhD committees that he served on, the committees that he was involved in, the conference for the Ontario Confederation of University Faculty Association, and the Vatican’s investigation of his book, The Future of Belief.
• Course Material: Material related to the courses Dewart taught. Files for specific courses may include lecture notes, syllabi, reading lists, copies of course readings, class lists, course evaluations, and final examination booklets.
• Manuscripts: Includes edited and unedited drafts, master copies, and publisher’s master sets of book chapters, entire books, articles, and academic papers.
• Research Notes: Includes early drafts, outlines, maps, audio reels and notes compiled by Dewart during the writing process of his books and articles.
• Personal Papers: Material related to Dewart’s personal life. This includes pocketbooks, childhood materials, photographs, pilot’s flying log books from WWII, and some correspondence.
• Reviews and Published Works: Includes copies of academic papers, essays, articles, reviews, lectures, and chapters that Dewart published or delivered at conferences as well as reviews published about Dewart’s books.
• Group Grievance of 1994: Materials related to legal proceedings of professors O'Connell, Bilanuik, McSorley, and Dewart in filing a group grievance against the University of Toronto concerning the tenure of professors in the Faculties of Divinity and Theology. This includes correspondence, a report of the Grievance Review Panel, and legal documents used in the panel.
• Financial Documents: Materials related to the sale of Dewart’s books, including publication agreements and royalty statements from his publishers, as well as materials relating to his personal banking, including trust company documents, checkbooks, saving account pass books, and banking statements.
• Emeritus Grievance of 1995: Materials related to a grievance that Dewart filed against the University of Toronto concerning the status and rights of professors emeriti. This includes correspondence, copies of university memorandums and policies that Dewart consulted, copies of archival materials, and the legal documents used in the Grievance Review Panel.
• Correspondence: Materials related to the professional and personal correspondence that Dewart collected throughout his life in the form of typewritten letters, written letters, postcards, printed emails, and greeting cards. This includes recommendation letters that Dewart wrote on behalf of colleagues and students, internal correspondence and memos related to the University of Toronto, and personal letters from family in Cuba.
• Reference Files: Includes card catalogs comprising the bibliographic information of articles, books, and editorials that Dewart consulted for research purposes.
Appraisal, destruction and scheduling
System of arrangement
Files were labeled by Leslie Dewart but arrangement has been assigned by the archivist.
Conditions of access and use area
Conditions governing access
Some files are restricted.
Conditions governing reproduction
Language of material
Script of material
Language and script notes
Physical characteristics and technical requirements
Finding aid is available.