Fonds 9 - Pelham Edgar fonds

Identity area

Reference code

CA ON00399 9


Pelham Edgar fonds


  • 1768-1969 (Creation)

Level of description


Extent and medium

84 cm of textual records
25 photographs plus 1 album : b&w
4 photographs : 35 mm b&w negatives
2 audio reels

Context area

Name of creator


Biographical history

Oscar Pelham Edgar was a teacher and an academic. He was born in Toronto, Ontario, the son of James David Edgar and Matilda Ridout. He married Helen Madeline Boulton in 1893. She died in 1933. He married to Dona Gertrude Cameron Waller in 1935. They had one daughter, Katharine Jane. He died in Canton, Ontario. Edgar was educated at Upper Canada College. He received his B.A. from the University of Toronto in 1892 and a Ph.D. from Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, Maryland in 1897. He began his teaching career as modern-language master at Upper Canada College (1892-1895). He was appointed to the staff of the Department of French at Victoria College, Toronto, as Lecturer in 1897, then as Head from 1901 to 1910. He also began to lecture in the Department of English in 1902, later transferring permanently to the latter, where he held full professional rank until 1938 and served as Head for twenty-eight years. Edgar was a member of the Athenaeum Club, London, England; of the Canadian Society of Authors where he served as Secretary; of the Tennyson Club, Toronto, where he served as President; of the Modern Language Association, Ontario, where he served as President; of the Ontario Education Society, where he served as Secretary from 1908 to 1909; and of the Canadian Writers’ Foundation which was founded by Edgar. He was made a Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada in 1915 and received its Lorne Pierce Medal for distinguished service to Canadian literature in 1936. Edgar published many reviews and articles, along with three monographs: A Study of Shelley with Special Reference to his Nature Poetry (1899), Henry James, Man and Author (1927), The Art of the Novel from 1700 to the Present Time (1933). He also contributed a chapter on Canada to The Cambridge History of English Literature (1916), and acted as Canadian advisor for the Dictionary of National Biography (1911). Some autobiographical material was published posthumously under the title Across my Path (1952), edited by Northrop Frye.

Archival history

Immediate source of acquisition or transfer

Most of the material was acquired from Dona Edgar in 1948-49. Two audio reels of a broadcast by Oscar Pelham Edgar were acquired from Kathleen Coburn in 1967. Portions of Across my Path, correspondence between Oscar Pelham Edgar and several authors (including Audrey Alexandra Brown, Robert Falconer, Northrop Frye, E.J. Pratt, Charles G.D. Roberts and Duncan Campbell Scott) and other unspecified material was acquired from his daughter Jane Conway in 1979.

Content and structure area

Scope and content

Based on the existing arrangement of the material, the fonds consists of the following series: 1) Material relating to Pelham Edgar; 2) Material relating to J. D. Edgar and Matilda Ridout Edgar; 3) Material relating to Audrey Alexandra Brown; 4) Material relating to Charles G. D. Roberts; and, 5) Material relating to Duncan Campbell Scott.

Appraisal, destruction and scheduling


No further accruals are expected.

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Conditions governing access

No restrictions on access.

Conditions governing reproduction

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Script of material

Language and script notes

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Allied materials area

Existence and location of originals

Existence and location of copies

Related units of description

National Archives in Ottawa: Duncan Campbell Scott fonds (reference number: R2938-0-5-E; was MG30-D100).

Archives of Ontario: Duncan Campbell Scott fonds (reference number: C 275).

National Archives in Ottawa: Charles George Douglas Roberts collection (reference number: R2256-0-3-E; was MG30-D32).

University of Calgary Library, Special Collections: Poems and letter to Mr. Cooper (reference number: ULM 199-25).

William Ready Division of Archives and Research Collections, McMaster University Library: Sir Charles George Douglas Roberts Collection.

University of Victoria Libraries and Special Collections: Audrey Alexandra Brown fonds.

University of British Columbia Library Special Collections: Audrey Brown fonds.

Victoria University Archives has a biographical file relating to Pelham Edgar, including a copy of Sir Charles G.D. Roberts and His Time, by Pelham Edgar (reprint, University of Toronto Quarterly, 1943).

Victoria University Archives: Sandra Campbell (fonds 2170).

Notes area


The fonds is stored in 8 boxes plus 1 separate folder.


At Victoria University Library the material was arranged into “sub-collections” relating to Oscar Pelham Edgar, the Edgar family, Audrey Alexandra Brown, Charles G.D. Roberts, and Duncan Campbell Scott. This arrangement is used as the basis for this description since the original order and context have been lost.

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