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Pratt, Mildred Claire
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- Pratt, Claire
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Mildred Claire Pratt was an artist, poet and editor. She was born in Toronto in 1921, the only child of Edwin John Pratt and Viola Leone Whitney Pratt. At the age of 4, Claire contracted polio and subsequently developed osteomyelitis, an inflammatory disease of the bone that afflicted her for the rest of her life. She died in Toronto, Ontario on April 5, 1995.
Pratt majored in English and Philosophy at Victoria College, University of Toronto, and upon graduation in 1944 was awarded a gold medal in Philosophy. She then enrolled at Columbia University, New York City, to pursue graduate work in International Studies. When she returned to Toronto she established Claire Pratt Book Service, a personal advisory and purchasing agency, from 1946 to 1950. Between 1952 and 1954 she worked for Harvard University Press as an editor. From 1956 to 1965 she was Senior Editor for McClelland and Stewart. In 1965, ill health forced her to retire but she continued doing free-lance work for Oxford University Press, McClelland and Stewart, Press Porcepic, and Consolidated Amethyst.
She also studied art at the Doon School of Art, Toronto, and at the Boston Museum of Fine Art. She preferred working with woodcuts and her work was exhibited at shows across Canada and in Europe. Later, she began writing poetry, and her poems were published in various poetry magazines in Canada and the United States. In 1965 she published Haiku. Her interest in genealogy was responsible for her travels to England, Newfoundland, and New Zealand, and in 1971 she published Silent Ancestors. Her other published works include Music of Oberon (1975) and Black Heather (1980). Near the end of her life she completed work on editing her mother’s writings, Papers and Speeches and Viola Pratt: A Testament of Love, a diary her mother kept of Claire’s life. Pratt belonged to several organizations, including: Amnesty International, World Federalists, and the Professional Booksellers Association where she held the position of President from 1957 to 1958.
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Victoria University Library - Special Collections