Clara Eileen McCandless Thomas (1919-2013)

Ashley Crippen portrait of Clara Thomas with her hand on her chin. Clara Thomas fonds, F0432, image no. ASC00512.

Ashley Crippen portrait of Clara Thomas. Clara Thomas fonds, F0432, image no. ASC00512.

Dr. Clara Thomas, longtime friend, supporter and ally of York University Libraries Archives & Special Collections passed away peacefully on 26 September 2013.

Clara McCandless Thomas, educator and author, was born in Strathroy, Ontario in 1919 to Basil McCandless and Mabel Sullivan McCandless. In an interview with the Toronto Star in 1985, Thomas noted that her mother, a manager of a local dress shop, set an early example of balancing family life and a successful career “She was a feisty woman, and I got my determination from her.”[1]

In order to support herself through her studies at the University of Western Ontario, Thomas worked as a cleaning maid and babysitter.  An ardent feminist, Thomas often highlighted the value of financial independence for women, as the following excerpt from an interview makes clear:

 I think it’s terribly important for women to earn money of their own.  Feminists speak a lot about Virginia Woolf’s A Room of One’s Own. Well, her actual slogan was a room of one’s own and 500 guineas a year.  To me, it’s that 500 guineas a year that’s more important than the room.  Because I believe that you can create your psychological space. I learned, early on in my career, to prepare my lectures while scrubbing the floors and minding my two sons.  Women need to have money of their own to feel independent.[2]

At Western, Thomas met Morley Thomas, and the two were married in 1941.  During the Second World War, Thomas taught university-level courses to Canadian servicemen in Dauphin, Manitoba, where Morley was stationed as a meteorologist. After 1945 the couple settled in Toronto where Morley worked for the Headquarters of the Meteorological Service. In 1985 she attributed the success of their marriage to respect for the other’s intellectual space: “We never got in each others’ way.  We each had our own satisfying careers.”[3] From 1943 to 1944 Thomas worked at Western’s main library and pursued a Master’s degree in English. In addition to raising two sons, Stephen Morley and John David, Thomas also taught extension courses to teachers across Ontario on the weekends through Western’s extension network, and summer school courses in London for 15 years, encouraged by Brandon Conron, her academic friend and colleague. [4]  In a citation for an alumni award ceremony in 1995 she remarked:

There’s nothing better to train you as a teacher than training adult teachers. […] It was a splendid experience. I just loved it.  Western’s extension program was a very big thing in those days.  And I taught everything – English, French, medieval history – all the extension courses they gave in the English Department.[5]

In 1957 Thomas returned to university (this time the University of Toronto) to pursue her PhD in English Literature.  She received her doctorate in 1962 and was hired by the English Department at York University in the fall of 1961 as part of the first faculty of the new university.

Image of York faculty and administrative officers 1961-1962, in front of Glendon Hall. Front row: Douglas Lochhead, Alice Turner, David Fowle, Edith Guild, Murray Ross, Clara Thomas, Geroge Harjan, Edgar McInnis. Second row: John Seeley, George Tatham, Norman Endler, Irvine Pounder, John Armour. Back row: Lloyd Jenkins, Howard Langille, Lester Pronger, Robert Lundell, Arthur Johnson, Douglas Verney, Hugh Maclean, Craufurd Goodwin, Donald Jackson, John McFarland, Denis Smith, Vello Sermat, Donald Rickers, John Bruckmann, Neil Morrison, Lionel Rubinoff. York University photograph collection, F0091, image no. ASC02058.

Clara Thomas in the front row, third from right, posing with York University’s faculty in 1961 at Glendon College. York University photograph collection, F0091, image no. ASC02058.

In an 1985 interview, Thomas reflected back on her first years at York as “a very thrilling time,”noting that “[t]he buildings were just being finished when we moved in.  Everything was happening at once.”[6]  In the same interview she noted some of the systemic barriers facing female academics in Canada. “If there were positions open, they didn’t hire women.”[7] She continued:

I’ve never heard of anyone starting at York with a lower salary than mine.  When I asked why, I was told to expect no more because I was a woman, and besides — there were lots of candidates for the position.  Then my department head showed me a memo written by the first president of York, stating that department heads should beware of hiring women.[8]

At York University, Thomas focused her energies on studying Canadian women writers. She moved to the Keele campus in 1968 and remained there until her retirement in 1984. Through her publishing, teaching and public speaking, she continuously sought to raise the profile of Canadian women writers both within the country and within the international community. She published her doctoral thesis in 1967 as Love and Work Enough: The Life of Anna Jameson.

Thomas built a reputation as a champion of Canadian literature and her research and teaching helped nurture the discipline, as well as budding writers who would later go on to make their mark on the literary scene.

Thomas published several works regarding the work of Margaret Laurence, including the critical introduction Margaret Laurence in 1969 from the New Canadian Library and The Manawaka World of Margaret Laurence in 1975. The two kept up a lively correspondence and their friendship led to the acquisition of Laurence’s papers by the university archives in 1981. Below are images of Thomas’s edited draft of the first few pages of Manawaka World as well as a letter from publisher Jack McClelland with feedback and opinions regarding the work and McClelland & Stewart’s Canadian Writers series.

A beloved teacher and mentor, Thomas inspired her students to pursue graduate degrees. Several of her former students went on to teach Canadian literature in universities across the country. One such student, John Lennox, went on to teach in York’s English department for many years and they co-authored a book, William Arthur Deacon: A Literary Life together in 1982.[9] At a tribute in 2005, former student Isabel Bassett reflected on how Thomas’s experience as a feminist academic set an example to young women at the university, noting: “You made it all possible by saying ‘go on, pursue your interests and your career.'”[10]

Thomas had a close relationship with the archives and special collections of York and in 2005 the university acknowledged her considerable contributions by the renaming the archives in her honour.  She retained her office in the archives until 2007 and continued to publish several books after her retirement, including her memoirs Chapters in a Lucky Life in 1999.  She became a Fellow of The Royal Society in 1983 and received honorary degrees from York, Trent and Brock.

York President & Vice-Chancellor Lorna R. Marsden with Morley and Clara Thomas during renaming ceremony, 24 May, 2005.

York President & Vice-Chancellor Lorna R. Marsden with Morley and Clara Thomas during renaming ceremony, 24 May 2005.

In 1985 she noted that her determination to flourish in academia (despite rampant discrimination against women academics during her time and the lack of visibility for Canadian studies during the 1960s) was sustained by her belief that  “we just go on, from barricade to barricade. We don’t ever give up.”[11]

Image of Clara Thomas seated in her office desk, smiling at the camera. Clara Thomas Archives & Special Collections, Clara Thomas fonds, F0432, image no. ASC07980.

Clara Thomas seated in her office. Clara Thomas Archives & Special Collections, Clara Thomas fonds, F0432, image no. ASC07980.

Thomas will be mourned by husband Morley, son Steve, daughter-in-law Mary Attfield, grandson Tyler, and by many friends, colleagues, and former students. She was predeceased by son John in 2007.[12]

A celebration of Clara’s life will be held at York University at a later date.

Ode for Clara Thomas...on her retirement dinner, 31 May 1984 by Margaret Laurence.  Poem reads: Let's singa  brave song of those women of old -- Their strengths were as oak but their hearts were of gold. Each one was a lady who spun a fine tale -- Anna, Susanna, and Catherine Parr Traill.  Anna Jameson's life was no leisurely amble.  In winter she'd study, in summer she'd ramble. S. Moodie, she live in the bush that was rough:  Though her manners were genteel, her spirit was tough.  Catherine Traill was a mover and skaker, no stoic. A true pioneer, she was really heroic. These women, though ladies, could match any male -- Anna, Susanna and Catherine Parr Traill.  To these we must add another name yet --  The novelist Duncan, Sara Jeanett. She wrote of Canadians semi-imperial; Her own life it reads like an old fasioned serial.  Who has taught all these books, and many good others? Who has fought for Canlit of our sisters and brothers? Who has written biographies, articles, reviews? Who has worked to make Canlit a part of our views?  Clara Thomas we celebrate joyously here.  Like those women of old, she's a true pioneer. Her heart is of gold, her strong intellect, oak. She honours our people, Canadian folk.  She's a new pioneer, and they'd understand, Those women who wrote long ago of our land, As we understand and owe her a debt, Writers in our land who are writing yet.  She's a writer, a fighter, a teacher, a friend. Retirement's a start again, never an end. So let's hear it and cheer it, and say a loud "Hail... For Clara and Sara For Anna, Susanna, and Catherine Parr Traill".  -Margaret Laurence. May 31, 1984.

Ode for Clara Thomas…on her retirement dinner, 31 May 1984 by Margaret Laurence.

Ode for Clara Thomas…on her retirement dinner, 31 May 1984

by Margaret Laurence

Let’s sing a  brave song of those women of old —
Their strengths were as oak but their hearts were of gold.
Each one was a lady who spun a fine tale — Anna, Susanna, and Catherine Parr Traill.

Anna Jameson’s life was no leisurely amble.
In winter she’d study, in summer she’d ramble.
S. Moodie, she lived in the bush that was rough:
Though her manners were genteel, her spirit was tough.

Catherine Traill was a mover and shaker, no stoic.
A true pioneer, she was really heroic.
These women, though ladies, could match any male —
Anna, Susanna and Catherine Parr Traill.

To these we must add another name yet —
The novelist Duncan, Sara Jeanette.
She wrote of Canadians semi-imperial;
Her own life it reads like an old fashioned serial.

Who has taught all these books, and many good others?
Who has fought for Canlit of our sisters and brothers?
Who has written biographies, articles, reviews?
Who has worked to make Canlit a part of our views?

Clara Thomas we celebrate joyously here.
Like those women of old, she’s a true pioneer.
Her heart is of gold, her strong intellect, oak.
She honours our people, Canadian folk.

She’s a new pioneer, and they’d understand,
Those women who wrote long ago of our land,
As we understand and owe her a debt,
Writers in our land who are writing yet.

She’s a writer, a fighter, a teacher, a friend.
Retirement’s a start again, never an end.
So let’s hear it and cheer it, and say a loud “Hail…
For Clara and Sara
For Anna, Susanna, and Catherine Parr Traill”.

–Margaret Laurence. May 31, 1984.

Endnotes:

[1] Sherie Posesorski, “Feminist professor, 66, leaped ‘the barricades,'” The Toronto Star, 21 April 1985, D8.

[2] Ibid.

[3]”In Memory of Clara Eileen Thomas 1919 – 2013″: Book of Memories. Denning Brothers Funeral Homes Ltd. Available at:  http://www.denningfuneralhomes.com/book-of-memories/1677515/Thomas-Clara/obituary.php.

[4] Alumni Award of Merit citation. Alumni Awards Dinner, University of Western Ontario. Fall 1995. Copy available in Clara Thomas fonds, F0432, Accession 1996-038 / 003 (021).

[5] Ibid.

[6] Posesorski interview.

[7] Ibid.

[8] Ibid.

[9] For archival material related to this collaboration, see the Clara Thomas and John Lennox fonds (F0431) at: http://archivesfa.library.yorku.ca/fonds/ON00370-f0000431.htm.

[10] “YFile – Archives Named After York Pioneer of Canlit Studies.” 27 May 2005. Web. 29 Sept. 2013. Available at: http://www.yorku.ca/yfile/archive/index.asp?Article=4582.

[11] Posesorski interview.

[12] Online memorial site available at: http://www.denningfuneralhomes.com/book-of-memories/1677515/Thomas-Clara/obituary.php.

Additional resources:

Clara Thomas fonds (F0432). Finding aid available at: http://archivesfa.library.yorku.ca/fonds/ON00370-f0000432.htm.

Clara Thomas and John Lennox fonds (F0431). Finding aid available at: http://archivesfa.library.yorku.ca/fonds/ON00370-f0000431.htm.

Lennox, John. “Clara McCandless Thomas – The Canadian Encyclopedia.” The Canadian Encyclopedia. Web. 28 Sept. 2013. Available at: http://www.thecanadianencyclopedia.com/articles/clara-mccandless-thomas.

“YFile – Archives Named After York Pioneer of Canlit Studies.” 27 May 2005. Web. 29 Sept. 2013. Available at: http://www.yorku.ca/yfile/archive/index.asp?Article=4582 .

 

 

 

 

 

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Archives Awareness Week: Tax Season!

ASC07799It may the the tail end of Archives Awareness Week, but it is also the start of tax season!

Here are a number of photographic prints from the Toronto Telegram which were used in feature articles from 1945, 1946, 1965 and 1970 documenting the frantic tax season in the city of Toronto.

 

 

 

 

 

An unidentified H.M.C.S. sailor in uniform filing a tax return while a woman in a flowered hat looks on.

An unidentified H.M.C.S. sailor filing a tax return while his lady friend looks on. Toronto Telegram staff photographer, 14 April 1945, ASC07805.

Here are tax form filers working at the Dominion Government Building on Front Street in Toronto during the lead up to April 30th, 1945 and 1946.

A young woman in a dress opens mailed tax forms and piles them before her on a desk. Three women performing similar tasks are visible in the background.

Image of Pearl Elliot a tax form sorter working at the Dominion Government Building on Front Street in Toronto, Toronto Telegram staff photographer, 28 April 1945. York University Libraries, Clara Thomas Archives & Special Collections, Toronto Telegram fonds, F0433, ASC07803.

A woman in a light coloured blouse works at a deask piled high with income tax forms. A woman in a suit jacket is visible in the background.

Tax form sorter Mary Connors and a colleague working at the Dominion Government building on Front Street in Toronto. Toronto Telegram staff photographer, 28 April 1945. York University Libraries, Clara Thomas Archives & Special Collections, Toronto Telegram fonds, F0433, ASC07804.

 

Eight men in suits are visible seated on high stools or re-purposed desks while dealing with large line ups of men and women submitting their tax forms in 1946.

Counter at the Dominion Government Building on Front Street in Toronto. Clerks are using old desks to sit on while dealing with customers. 29 April 1946. Toronto Telegram photographer. ASC07801.

Fourwomen sit on benches or stand to file stacks of tax forms into large square slots lining a room.

Tax form filing taking place at the Dominion Government Building on Front Street in Toronto, 28 April 1945. Toronto Telegram photographer. York University Libraries, Clara Thomas Archives & Special Collections, Toronto Telegram fonds, F0433, ASC07802.

And a staged photograph of the staff workers on 1 May 1945.

A young woman in a dress is seated on top of a heap of mail bags, posing with a man with a handfull of tax forms.

Marie McIntosh, a tax form sorter and H.N. Cole, the supervisor of income tax mail at the Dominion Government building on Front Street in Toronto. 01 May 1945. Toronto Telegram photographer. York University Libraries, Clara Thomas Archives & Special Collections, Toronto Telegram fonds, F0433, ASC07800.

April 30th seemed to be a popular time to hang outside banks and post offices to document local procrastinators. Here are two local Torontonians submitting tax forms just under the wire.

A man in a suit and tie licks a stamp for an envelope he is about to mail. A person is a heavy cable sweater is visible in the background.

Mr. R.J. Gray of 114 Saturn Road licks a stamp to be place on his income tax return envelope, within seconds of the midnight deadline. Photographer: Fred Klus. 1 April 1965. York University Libraries, Clara Thomas Archives & Special Collections, Toronto Telegram fonds, F0433, ASC07797.

A man in dress shit, pullover sweater and heavy, dark rimmed glasses places a stack of envelopes in a mail slot out side a bank. A large clock featuring the words"Bank of Montreal" is visible in the background.

A man mails a stack of income tax forms with ten minutes to go before tax deadline at midnight. 30 April 1970. Photographer: Dave Cooper. York University Libraries, Clara Thomas Archives & Special Collections, Toronto Telegram fonds, F0433, ASC07796

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Archives Awareness Week 2013

Image of three researchers working in the reading room of the Clara Thomas Archives & Special Collections, York University Libraries. Image no. ASC05083.

Archivally-aware researchers at the Clara Thomas Archives & Special Collections, 1989.

To celebrate Archives Awareness Week, held this year from April 8th to 14th, we’re pulling together some posts demonstrating how archival records can document the experience of individuals, families and communities; reveal forgotten stories; and teach us something about our past, present and future.

York University students and faculty are lucky to have two archival institutions on campus:  the Clara Thomas Archives & Special Collections here at the Scott Library – which collects university records and private records of interest to faculty research strengths; and the Archives of Ontario –  the provincial depository of provincial government records and private records of provincial significance.

The GTA is also home to dozens of public and private archival institutions: from the City of Toronto Archives, academic archives at the University of Toronto and Ryerson University, religious archives, community archives and archival holdings at Toronto Public Libraries. Here’s a listing of some archives located in the Greater Toronto Area.

Why are Archives Important?

Archives are important because they are the repository of the social values and the collective memory of individuals, as well as repositories of a shared group memory of communities and nations.

Archives are also a source of accountability, where institutions and organizations document their decision-making and activities.

Related to the power of archives to preserve and document memory and accountability, is the role of archives in social justice.  Archival documents have played important roles in documenting historical injustice and can provide evidence in reparation and reconciliation proceedings.

Universal Declaration on Archives

You can download a poster featuring the element of the Universal Declaration on Archives released by the International Council of Archives in 2011 here.

Poster featuring the Universial Declaration on Archives. Available at: http://www.ica.org/6573/reference-documents/universal-declaration-on-archives.html

Stay tuned this week for more feature posts to celebrate Archives Awareness Week!

Sources:

Canadian Council of Archives. “Awareness Kit / User and Archivist Stories.” 2004. Web. 8 Apr. 2013. Available at: http://www.cdncouncilarchives.ca/awareness_stories.html .
International Council on Archives, and Section of Professional Associations. “ICArchives : Reference Documents : Universal Declaration on Archives.” 28 Sept. 2010. Web. 8 Apr. 2013. Available at: http://www.ica.org/6573/reference-documents/universal-declaration-on-archives.html.
Public Awareness Committee, Association of Canadian Archivists. “Why Archives?” Aug. 2007. Web. 8 Apr. 2013. Available at: http://archivists.ca/sites/default/files/Attachments/Outreach_attachments/Why-archives-OC-07.pdf.
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International Women’s Day 2013

To celebrate International Women’s Day, here is a selection of items celebrating the political and social activism of women.

You can also see a selection of material we highlighted in 2011 which included activists, community organizers, philosophers and politicians like Jean Augustine, Grace Lonergan Lorch, and Marilou McPhedran, Mary Wollstonecraft and Margaret (Dillon) Norquay available here.

Faculty, students and researchers can also refer to a subject guide compiled by a student in the School of Gender, Sexuality and Women’s Studies in 2011  here for more resources on the women’s movement held in the Clara Thomas Archives & Special Collections.  York University Libraries also has a research guides for Women’s Studies I and Violence Against Women. More information about local and international activities related to International Women’s Day can be found here.

International Women’s Day Posters

 

These posters celebrating International Women’s Day were donated by Meg Luxton of the School of Gender, Sexuality and Women’s Studies in 2011.

Bread and Roses

Bread and Roses is a popular folk song from the turn of the twentieth century attributed to a strike by textile workers in Lawrence Massachusetts between January and March of 1912.  You can listen to a recitation of this song by Lissa Donner, a member of the audience at the 1975 Mariposa Folk Festival.  The workshop was titled “Bread & Roses” and was hosted by activist and folk singer Malvina Reynolds. The workshop featured performances by Vera Johnson, Lissa Donner, Rita MacNeil, Margaret Christl, Rosalie Sorrels. Performances by Vera Johnson and Margaret Christl can be streamed through the Mariposa: celebrating Canadian folk music exhibit.

Childbirth by Choice Trust

The Childbirth by Choice Trust, founded in 1982, was the research arm of CARAL, the Canadian Abortion Rights Action League (founded in 1973 as the Canadian Association for the Repeal of the Abortion Law and renamed in 1980) and disbanded in 2005. The purpose of the organization was to educate the public on the issues of birth control, abortion and, family planning, and to advocate for legal and easily available abortion services in Canada.  The archives consists of research and reference material in the form of subject files, reports, briefs, clippings, drafts, notes and correspondence.

Finding aid available here.

Marking feminist remembrance

In December 2012, the Archives & Special Collections contributed a number of historical images from the Toronto Telegram Photograph Collection to an exhibit mounted at Ryerson University to commemorate women’s memorials in the city of Toronto.  Still Moving: Feminist remembrance in vigils, protests and monument-making was researched and curated by Katherine Atkinson, designed by Leila Syed-Fatemi and supervised Dr. Sarah Henstra. Images of exhibit courtesy of Katherine Atkinson.

Sources:

Lawrence History Center. “Celebrate the Bread & Roses Centennial! | Bread and Roses Centennial.” Accessed March 8, 2013. http://breadandrosescentennial.org/.
  St.Onge, Anna. “Bread and Roses Workshop.” Mariposa : Celebrating Canadian Folk Music | York University Libraries | Clara Thomas Archives & Special Collections Online Exhibits, 2010. http://archives.library.yorku.ca/exhibits/show/mariposa/1975/1975breadroses.
 Atkinson, Katherine, Leila Syed-Fatemi, Sarah Henstra. “Still Moving: Feminist remembrance in vigils, protests and monument-making”. Ryerson University, 6-11 December 2012.

 

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Black History Month: Selections from Special Collections

This year for Black History Month, the libraries have highlighted a range of research materials that could assist students and faculty studying black history in Canada and beyond.

There is a display of materials on the first floor of the Scott Library put together by librarian Patti Ryan, featuring a microfilm of archival material relating to the Black United Front of Nova Scotia.  You can read more about this material here.

For the month of February, adjunct archivist Julia Holland has gathered together a selection of front page news images from Contrast  from the 1970s, as well as a selection of photographs from the Toronto Telegram regarding the Caribbean-Canadian community in Toronto.  You can view these in the exhibit case outside the archives on the third floor of the Scott Library.

As always, researchers can use the great African Diaspora research guide   by YUL librarian Norda Majekodunmi. This research guide features library and online resources and databases for scholars searching for periodical information and primary source material regarding African Diaspora studies.  It also includes a section on Black History in Canada.

Research sources for black history, cultural movements, and expression

Canadian newspapers

contrast bannerhead

Contrast is a weekly newspaper “serving Canada’s Black Community” since 1969. Toronto is its major focus, but it does carry national and international news items. The newspaper switched to online publication in late 2012:  http://contrastnewspaper.com.

The Clara Thomas Archives & Special Collections holds some copies of Contrast  while a more complete run is available in Scott Microtext.  Link to the catalogue record can be found here.

Other black Canadian periodicals of interest held in Scott Microtext

Dawn of tomorrow
call number: HT 1581 A2 D382 MFILM
London, Ontario
1932-1972

The Canadian Negro
call number: HT 1581 A2 C342 MFILM
Toronto, Ontario
June 1953 – Dec. 1956

The Black voice
call number: HT 1581 A2 B582 MFILM
Montreal, Quebec
1972 – 1974

Uhuru
call number: HT 1581 A2 U52 MFILM
Montreal, Quebec
1969 – 1970

Music

Scott Joplin ragtime compositions

The John Arpin Sheet music Collection contains many early pieces of jazz music, including some composed by Scott Joplin, one of the most famous ragtime composers.

Link to sheet music by Scott Joplin here.

Link to more digitized sheet music from this period available on YorkSpace here.

The historical context of ragtime, early jazz and minstrel music in North America is complex and problematic. When it comes to the digitizing historical sheet music, many of the more disturbing elements of cultural appropriation, race politics, stereotyping and stock characters such as Jim Crow, rise to the surface.  For more information about the challenges of making historical minstrel music available to online researchers, see Maurice Wheeler’s article “Politics and race in American historical popular music: contextualized access and minstrel music archives”, Archival Science (March 2011), 11 (1-2), pg. 47-75. Online article available to York University community members through the library website here.

Down beat

Cover issue of 1952 issue of Down Beat

A jazz music journal out of Chicago, there are a number of older issues held in Special Collections. Link to catalogue record available here.

Dance

Portrait of Katherine Dunham from "Panorama de la danse en mil neuf cent cinquante deux" by Magdeleine E. Cluzel.

Katherine Dunham is known as the ‘queen mother of black dance.’ The archives has a number of publications related to her work.

Katherine Dunham presents Bal Negre.
Link to catalogue record here.

Katherine Dunham and her company in tropical revue
Link to catalogue record here.

Las danzas de Haití by Katherine Dunham (Spanish version by Javier Romero)
Link to catalogue record here.

Panorama de la danse en mil neuf cent cenquante deux by Magdeleine E. Cluzel (features work by Katherine Dunham).
Link to catalogue record here.

Sheet music from John Arpin Sheet music Collection featuring work by Dunham for Albert Lewis’ production of Cabin in the Sky from 1940 available here.

Link to materials featuring work of Katherine Dunham in Special Collections here.

Early editions of work by James Baldwin

Uncorrected galleys of 1963 Dial Press edition of James Baldwin's Notes of a native son

Notes of a native son by James Baldwin.  “Uncorrected galleys distributed by Dial Press”.
Link to catalogue record here.

Nobody knows my name by James Baldwin.  From the library of Rabbi Gunther Plaut.
Link to catalogue record here.

Another country by James Baldwin. From the library of Margaret Laurence.
Link to catalogue record here.

Go Tell It On the Mountain by James Baldwin. From the library of Margaret Laurence.
Link to catalogue record here.

The Fire Next Time by James Baldwin.
Link to catalogue record here.

A rap on race by James Baldwin and Margaret Mead.
Link to catalogue record here.

Full listing of work by James Baldwin held in Archives & Special Collections, see here.

Members of the Négritude movement in France

AimeCesaire

State of the Union by Aimé Césaire. Translated from the French.
Link to catalogue record here.

Poemes by Léopold Sédar Senghor .
Link to catalogue record here. English translations and introduction by John Reed and Clive Wake available here.

Anthologie de la nouvelle poesie negre et malgache de langue francaise by Leopold Sedar Senghor with essay “Orphee noir” by Jean-Paul Sartre.
Link to catalogue record here.

Lost Body by Aimé Césaire. Translated from the French. Featuring illustrations by Picasso.
Link to catalogue record here.

Pigments : Névralgies by  Léon-Gontran Damas. Featuring illustrations by Max Pinchinat.
Link to catalogue record here.

L’étudiant noir, student magazine started by Damas, Césaire and  that was main source for French colonial students in France involved in Négritude movement.
Link to online resource here.

Black Canadian poetry and performing arts

LillianAllan

Rhythm an’ Hardtimes by Lillian Allen. Link to catalogue record here.

Performance Bound by Wayde Compton. Available from SMIL.  Link to catalogue record here.

Illuminated Verses by George Elliott Clarke.  Link to catalogue record here.

Avec tes motes by Angèle Bassolé-Ouédraogo. Link to catalogue record here.

Showing Grit: showboating north of the 44th parallel by M. NourbeSe Philip. Link to catalogue record here.

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Black History Month featured fonds: Gerald A. Archambeau

Detail from a page of Gerald Archambeau's scrapbook, featuring a photograph used to identify him as a tradesperson. Written around the pasted down image are the words "I WAS A TRADESMAN IN OLD MONTREAL."

Page from personal scrapbook by Gerald Archambeau

One of most recent donations from the community is a small cache of documents relating to the life and family genealogy of Gerald A. Archambeau.

Gerald A. Archambeau is a Canadian citizen (b.1933) who emigrated from Jamaica to Montreal in 1947. He was the first black adolescent to join the Canadian Naval Cadets in Montreal in 1948, and the first black telegraph messenger to work for the Anglo American Telegraph Company. Archambeau worked as a passenger car attendant for the Canadian Pacific Railway and the Canadian National Railway in the 1950s. From 1967 to his retirement in 1993, Archambeau worked worked as a station attendant for Air Canada at the Malton (now Pearson International) airport.

Archambeau wrote an autobiography of his experiences as an immigrant to Canada.  Titled “A Struggle to Walk with Dignity: The True Story of a Jamaican-born Canadian“, the book covers his experiences working on railways and his efforts to reform labour conditions for porters working in the rail industry. Part of his donation included scrapbooks of biographical information documenting his experience leaving Jamaica, settling in Montreal and his experience of race relations, labour issues and politics in Canada, the United States and the Caribbean.

First page of a personal scrapbook created by Gerald Archambeau detailing aspects of his personal history and philosophies. Includes magazine clippings and illustrations, a black and white portrait of Archambeau in a suit and tie, and includes many phrases and quotes with a central inscription "[message from the chairman] THIS IS MY BOOK, AND MY OPINIONS SO READERS OF MY BOOK BE KIND."

First page of a personal scrapbook created by Gerald Archambeau detailing aspects of his personal history.

The archives also contains genealogical information related to Archambeau’s paternal grandfather Herbert T. Thomas’ and includes Thomas’ own memoirs The Story of A West Indian Policeman, or, forty-seven years in the Jamaica constabulary from 1927.

These materials may be of interest to researchers studying the immigrant experience in Canada, labour history (particularly in the areas of transportation) and colonial history of Jamaica.

Link to finding aid here.

Link to earlier story about donation here.

 

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