Fonds RC0335 - Leslie McFarlane fonds

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Leslie McFarlane fonds

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  • 1889-2005 (Creation)

Physical description area

Physical description

4.36 m of textual records and graphic material.
54 photographs.

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Archival description area

Name of creator


Biographical history

Leslie McFarlane, journalist, author, playwright, screen writer, and film director, was born Charles Leslie McFarlane in Carleton Place, Ontario on 25 September 1902. His parents were John Henry McFarlane and Rebecca Barnett. Leslie worked as a journalist for the Sudbury Star and other newspapers in Northern Ontario before briefly moving to the United States in the mid-1920s. There he came in contact with the Stratemeyer Syndicate.

Returning to Canada, McFarlane began to write for the Syndicate's Dave Fearless series in 1926, writing seven books under the name of Roy Rockwood. Later the same year, he wrote the first book of the Hardy Boys series, again for the Syndicate, under the pseudonym Franklin W. Dixon. McFarlane wrote over twenty books for the series during the next twenty years. He also wrote the first three books of the Dana Girls series for the Syndicate, written under the name Carolyn Keene, in 1933. While writing these juvenile books, he wrote two novels and scores of short stories and novelettes for pulp and other magazines, including Maclean's, for whom McFarlane became an editor in the 1930s. He then wrote plays for CBC Radio's Canadian Theatre of the Air between 1938 and 1943.

In 1943, he joined the National Film Board of Canada as a documentary film writer and director. He also wrote speeches for the Minister of Munitions and Supply during the Second World War. In the 1950s, he wrote television plays for the CBC, becoming head of the television drama script department in 1958. He later returned to writing children's books, including the successful McGonigle Scores!, in 1966. His autobiography, Ghost of the Hardy Boys, was published in 1976. McFarlane and his first wife Amy Arnold had three children: Patricia, Brian, and Norah. Amy died in 1955, and he later married Bea Kenney. Leslie McFarlane died on 6 September 1977 in Whitby, Ontario.

Custodial history

Scope and content

The archive consists of material related to his writing, including scripts, manuscripts, essays, and other material. Of note is his first published essay from 1918. There are extensive diaries from 1929-1951, including detailed accounts of the Great Depression and the Second World War. There is also correspondence, photographs, clippings, and other published material.

Notes area

Physical condition

Immediate source of acquisition

The first accrual was purchased from Leslie McFarlane in 1976. The second accrual (19-2001) was received from his son, Brian McFarlane in May and June 2001. The third (06-2006)and fourth (07-2006) accruals were received in January 2006 from his daughter Norah (McFarlane) Perez and from his son Brian McFarlane respectively. The fifth accrual (28-2006) was received from Norah (McFarlane) Perez in July 2006. The sixth accrual (05-2007) was donated by Brian McFarlane in November 2006. The seventh accrual was drawn from three accruals to the Brian McFarlane fonds (57-2010, 41-2011 and 28-2012) donated by Brian McFarlane from 2010 to 2012.


There have been seven accruals. The first is roughly divided into the following series: scripts for television plays and films, radio scripts, book manuscripts, scrapbooks containing clippings, engagements and 3 letters. The second accrual consists of McFarlane's first published essay, an I.O.D.E. 1918 Haileybury High School prize winner. The third, fourth, and fifth accruals have been combined. They contain correspondence, genealogical and biographical material, diaries, manuscripts, printed material, and photographs. The sixth accrual has been arranged into six series: manuscripts; sales and publication records, reviews, and profiles; correspondence; photographs; genealogical and family materials; and published books, magazine, and newspaper articles. The seventh accrual contains manuscripts, correspondence, photographs, printed and published materials. Periodicals and a book that formed part of this accrual will be catalogued.

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There are no access restrictions.

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Associated materials

A number of the NFB films McFarlane worked on are available on the NFB website, including Flight 6. He is the man in the tweed jacket with the pipe after the 9 minute mark.


No further accruals are expected

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Dates of creation, revision and deletion

Addition of scope and content note, related sources (NFB). 2017-08-08

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