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Fonds RC0124 - Marjorie Harris fonds

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Title proper

Marjorie Harris fonds

General material designation

  • Textual record

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Level of description

Fonds

Reference code

RC0124

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Edition statement

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Issuing jurisdiction and denomination (philatelic)

Dates of creation area

Date(s)

  • 1965-2006 (Creation)
    Creator
    Harris, Marjorie

Physical description area

Physical description

10.87 m of textual records and other material

Publisher's series area

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Archival description area

Name of creator

Harris, Marjorie (1937-)

Biographical history

Marjorie Stibbards Harris Batten, freelance writer, editor, and noted Canadian gardening authority, was born in Shaunavon, Saskatchewan, in 1937, the eldest of Bernard and Kay Stibbards ’s three children. Her father was a Baptist minister and the family moved frequently across Canada. She was tragically orphaned in her teens, losing her mother to cancer and her father soon after in an airplane crash. Harris graduated from McMaster University in 1959 with an Honours BA in English, and began graduate studies at University of Toronto, studying with Northrop Frye.

She married musician and TV producer Barry Harris with whom she had two children, Christopher and Jennifer. After separating from Harris, she met fellow writer Jack Batten, to whom she has been married since 1968. The couple still reside in the Toronto Annex home in which they raised her children and Batten’s son and daughter, Brad and Sarah.

In the early 1960s Harris worked for Toronto art dealer Dorothy Cameron which led to a position as modern-living editor and writer at Maclean’s magazine. Well into the1980s, Harris continued as a freelancer, writing on a wide range of topics for nearly every major Canadian magazine. In the early 1970s Harris was also a writer, producer, and commentator for CBC Radio on such shows as “Gerussi,” “This Country in the Morning,” and “Ideas”. In addition, she wrote and co-authored numerous general interest books in the 1970s and 1980s.

What Harris describes as her “epiphany” occurred in 1988 when she combined her writing talents and passion for gardening to create The Canadian Gardener. Published in 1990, it launched Harris into a new career, and was the first of nearly 20 gardening monographs she has written. Recognition for her expertise led to gardening columns in Chatelaine and The Globe & Mail, and to editorship roles with Toronto Life Gardens and Gardening Life. She continues to be much sought-after for speaking engagements, public appearances, and garden tours, and is a regular garden commentator on television and radio programs and online forums.

Custodial history

Scope and content

The majority of the material relates to her work, with the addition of some personal material.

Notes area

Physical condition

Immediate source of acquisition

Arrangement

The fonds has been arranged into ten series: magazine and newspaper work; monographs; radio and television work; speaking engagements and personal appearances; correspondence; personal records; gardening records; proposals and unpublished works; oversize; and electronic materials.

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Further accruals are expected.

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Alternative identifier(s)

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Control area

Description record identifier

RC0142

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