Fonds F2156 - Desmond J. Conacher fonds

Identity area

Reference code



Desmond J. Conacher fonds


  • 1936-2000 (Creation)

Level of description


Extent and medium

2.63 m of textual records
2 photographs
3 electronic records

Context area

Name of creator


Biographical history

Desmond John Conacher, Professor of Classics at Trinity College, was born 27 December 1918 in Kingston, Ontario. His parents were William Morrison Conacher, Professor of French at Queen's University and Madeline Conacher (née Cashel). He earned his BA in Classics from Queen's University in 1941, and MA in 1942, also from Queen's. In 1950 he completed his PhD in Classics at the University of Chicago. His dissertation was titled "Pleasure in Pre-Socratic Philosophy". On 2 August 1952, Conacher married Mary Kathleen Smith. They had two children, Hugh Anthony and Susan Mary.

Desmond Conacher first taught at Dalhousie University as a Special Lecturer in Classics in 1946-1947. He was an Assistant Professor of Classics at the University of Saskatchewan, 1947-1952, and Associate Professor, 1952-1958. In 1958, he joined the Faculty of Trinity College as Associate Professor, becoming Full Professor in 1965. He served as Head of the Department of Classics from 1966-1972, and also Chair of the Intercollegiate Department of Classics, 1966-1972. Retiring in 1984, he became Professor Emeritus at Trinity College. He died on 23 October 2000.

As a scholar, Conacher is most well-known for his work on Greek tragedy. His academic writing includes numerous articles and reviews. Also included are six books on the topic of Greek drama: Euripidean Drama: Myth, Theme and Structure (1967), Aeschylus' Prometheus Bound: A Literary Commentary (1980), Aeschylus' Oresteia: A Literary Commentary (1987), Alcestis / Euripides: Edited with Translation and Commentary (1988), Aeschylus: The earlier Plays and Related Studies (1996), and Euripides and the Sophists: Some Dramatic Treatments of Philosophical Ideas (1998).

In 1976, he was elected Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada, and in 1990 Honorary President of the Classical Association of Canada. He was a member of the Board of Directors of the Canadian Federation for the Humanities, 1981-1984. He sat on the Council of the Classical Association of Canada, 1975-1978, and was Director of the American Philological Association, 1974-1977. He served on the Editorial Board of Phoenix, 1968-1973 and 1983-1986, as well as the Advisory Board of the University of Toronto Quarterly, 1975-1982. He received honorary doctorates from four Canadian universities: Dalhousie University (1992), University of Victoria (1993), Queen's University (1995), and University of Saskatchewan (1997).

A more complete list of his published work is found in Appendix 1.

Archival history

The fonds was acquired through three separate donations: the first two from Desmond Conacher himself, the final accession from his wife Mary Conacher after his death.

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Content and structure area

Scope and content

The fonds contains the scholarly output of Conacher’s career, including research notes, lectures, offprints of his own and others’ work, personal and professional correspondence, and administrative records.

Appraisal, destruction and scheduling


System of arrangement

The fonds was arranged by the Archivist. Folders named by the Archivist (or assumed to have been named by a previous Archivist) are titled within square brackets.

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Conditions governing access

Some restrictions apply, as requested by the donor. Restrictions are detailed at the series and file level.

Conditions governing reproduction

Various copyright holders. It is the researcher's responsibility to obtain permission to publish any part of the fonds.

Language of material

  • English
  • French
  • German
  • Greek

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Finding aids

Uploaded finding aid

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Notes area


Some materials in French, German and Greek.

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Trinity College Archives

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