Fonds RC0052 - Pierre Berton fonds

Title and statement of responsibility area

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Pierre Berton fonds

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  • [1872]-2010 (Creation)

Physical description area

Physical description

116.3 m of textual records and other material.

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Name of creator

Berton, Pierre (1920-2004)

Biographical history

Pierre Francis de Marigny Berton, author, broadcaster and journalist, was born on 12 July 1920 in the Yukon territory, Canada, and was educated at Victoria College and the University of British Columbia. In 1942 he began his career in journalism at the Vancouver News-Herald. After World War II, he briefly wrote features for the Vancouver Sun, as well as beginning a radio career, before joining Maclean's in 1947. He served as managing editor from 1952 to 1958. He left Maclean's to join the Toronto Star as a columnist and associate editor. In 1962 he left the Star briefly for Maclean's and to launch a long career in television with both his own show and as a panelist on "Front Page Challenge".

Berton's books helped to popularize Canadian history for mass audiences. His Klondike: the Life and Death of the Last Great Goldrush (1958) won the Governor General's Award for non-fiction. Two other books by Berton have also won the Governor General's Award. Perhaps his most well-known books, among the many he has written, are his two books about the Canadian Pacific Railways, The National Dream (1970) and The Last Spike (1971). Berton was awarded several honorary degrees, was an officer of the Order of Canada, and chaired the Heritage Canada Foundation. He has published two volumes of autobiography, Starting Out, 1920-1947 (1987) and My Times: Living with History, 1947-1995 (1995). His later publications included Marching As To War (2001), Cats I Have Loved (2002), and his last book, Prisoners of the North (2004). Pierre Berton died on 30 November 2004, survived by his wife Janet.

Custodial history

Scope and content

There have been sixteen accruals. The first accrual consists of manuscripts, research materials, photographs, newspapers and news clippings, maps, and correspondence. The second accrual consists of manuscripts, research files, and correspondence. The third accrual consists of manuscripts, research materials, Heritage Canada materials and correspondence. The fourth accrual consists of manuscripts and correspondence. The fifth accrual consists of manuscripts, correspondence, Heritage Canada materials, and Berton Celebration dinner. The sixth accrual consists of manuscripts and correspondence.The seventh accrual consists of correspondence including some early family correspondence, juvenilia and journals, and manuscripts. The eighth accrual consists of manuscripts and correspondence. The ninth accrual consists of correspondence, manuscripts, newspaper columns, news clippings. The tenth accrual (03-1998) measures 7.1 m, consists of correspondence, manuscripts, and printed materials, 1898-1998; 1994-1996 predominant. The eleventh accrual (05-1999 and 19-1999) measures 12.9 m and consists of the following: correspondence, media, contracts, manuscripts, speeches, promotional material, printed material, public relations, personal, research files and other material, artwork, photographs and audio-visual materials. The twelfth accrual (16-2002) measures 6m and consists of correspondence, royalty statements, photographs, clippings, manuscripts and research material. The thirteenth accrual (50-2007) has been arranged into nine series: books, articles, and other writings; public appearances; correspondence; pocket diaries and address book; subject files; news clippings; drawings, photographs and sound recordings; oversized materials. The fourteenth accrual (52-2008) consists of 4 letters to and from T.G. Reed. The fifteenth accrual (2012-001) consists of early writings, contracts, personal and awards, research material, chronological files, printed material, correspondence, photographs and sound recordings. The sixteenth accrual (2013-040) consists of writings; correspondence; personal, art work and graphic publications; subject files and photographs, graphic and printed materials.

Notes area

Physical condition

Immediate source of acquisition

The first accrual was acquired in 1974, the second in 1979, the third in 1982, the fourth in 1985, the fifth in 1987, the sixth in 1989, the seventh in 1992, the eighth in 1993, and the ninth in 1996, the tenth in 1998; the eleventh in 1999, the twelfth in 2002; all from Pierre Berton. The thirteenth accrual was acquired in 2007 from the Janet Berton. The fourteenth accrual was acquired from T.G. Reed. The fifteenth and sixteenth accruals (2013-040) were acquired in 2012 and 2013 from Janet Berton.


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Finding aids

First Accrual: Finding Aid
Second Accrual: Finding Aid
Third Accrual: Finding Aid
Fourth Accrual: Finding Aid
Fifth Accrual: Finding Aid
Sixth Accrual: Finding Aid
Seventh Accrual: Finding Aid
Eighth Accrual: Finding Aid
Ninth Accrual: Finding Aid
Tenth Accrual: Finding Aid
Eleventh Accrual: Finding Aid
Twelfth Accrual: Finding Aid
Thirteenth and Fourteenth Accruals: Finding Aid
Fifteenth Accrual: Finding Aid
Sixteenth Accrual: Finding Aid

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Further accruals are not expected.

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