Fonds RC0915 - Daisy DeBolt fonds

Title and statement of responsibility area

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Daisy DeBolt fonds

General material designation

  • Textual record
  • Multiple media

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Dates of creation area


  • 1909-2014 (Creation)
    DeBolt, Daisy

Physical description area

Physical description

4.8 m of textual records and other material
ca. 1100 photographs, 190 slides/ transparencies; 35mm
391 audio recordings
93 moving image recordings
ca. 40 posters
16 items of realia

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Archival description area

Name of creator


Biographical history

Donna Marie “Daisy” DeBolt, an accomplished singer-songwriter, was born in Winnipeg, Manitoba on July 19, 1945 to a musical family. DeBolt’s maternal grandfather, Percy Highfield (1882-1946), studied music in England and played violin for a symphony orchestra. After immigrating to Canada in 1910, he taught music in Foxwarren, Manitoba, and in residential schools in Kenora, Ontario. DeBolt’s mother, (Helen) Marjorie (Highfield) DeBolt (1916-1998), was a musician and music teacher, and played violin with the Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra. Her father, Donald DeBolt (d.1979), played banjo, chromatic harmonica, and the blues harp.

As a teenager, DeBolt studied jazz guitar with Lenny Breau (1941-1984). In 1965, she moved to Toronto, Ontario to pursue a music career as a folk musician. She met Allen Fraser in 1968 and the two formed the musical duo Fraser & DeBolt. They released two albums: Fraser & DeBolt With Ian Guenther, in 1971, and Fraser & DeBolt With Pleasure, in 1973. DeBolt and Fraser parted ways in the mid-1970s. DeBolt continued to write and perform as a solo artist and to collaborate with other musicians and poets. Her solo works include Soulstalking (1992), Live Each Day with Soul (2002), and Lovers and Fantasies (2004), an album featuring two songs by author Michael Ondaatje.

In addition to being a folk singer, DeBolt was well versed in blues, jazz and reggae, and played mandolin, accordion and guitar. Over the course of her career, DeBolt toured and played at festivals across Canada, performed in several theatre productions, composed for Ballet Ys, and wrote film scores for the National Film Board. She had a son, Jake DeBolt, with poet Robert Dickson (1944-2007). DeBolt died on October 4, 2011 in Toronto.

Custodial history

Scope and content

The fonds consists of correspondence, photographs, printed and audio/visual material related to DeBolt’s life and music career. Included are material pertaining to her mother, Marjorie DeBolt, and grandfather, Percy Highfield, such as photographs, original musical compositions and published sheet music.

Notes area

Physical condition

Immediate source of acquisition

The fonds was donated by Margaret Stowe in two accruals in 2014, the first (2014-025) was acquired in March, and the second (2014-027) in June. A third accrual (2019-065) of negatives and contact prints was donated by photographer Tim Wilson in 2019.


Published sheet music from the first accrual (2014-025) is in the process of being catalogued and added to the McMaster Library’s sheet music collection. The remainder of the first accrual has been combined with the second accrual (2014-027).

The fonds is arranged into 19 series: correspondence; memberships and applications; legal records; financial records; music production and distribution; <i>Live Each Day with Soul</i>; promotional material; performance records; creative writing, lyrics and sheet music; memorabilia and realia; journals and notebooks; awards; photographs; audio-visual material; Weckesser material; Fraser and DeBolt; personal records; Marjorie DeBolt; and Percy Highfield.

Some post-it notes with supplementary information have been added by the donor.

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There are no access restrictions.

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J. Dell, 2018; R. Stapleton, 2019.

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