Title and statement of responsibility area
Louise Bennett Coverley fonds
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8.9 m of textual records and other materials.
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Archival description area
Name of creator
Louise Bennett, folklorist, poet, songwriter and performer, was born on 7 September 1919 in Kingston, Jamaica. She studied social work in Jamaica before going to England in 1945 to study at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art. She returned to Jamaica in 1947 but in 1950 returned to England where she worked on the BBC. In 1953 she moved to New York City where she performed on radio and on the stage. It was there in 1954 that she married a fellow Jamaican, Eric Coverely. He had been born in 1911 and worked as a draftsman for the Jamaican Government Railway Corporation, as a calligrapher, and also as a theatre performer. In 1955 they returned to Jamaica where she wrote columns for the Gleaner and broadcast her “Miss Lou's views” on the radio using her affectionate nickname. She has published several books of poems and stories and recorded many songs. She was a both a Member of the British Empire and a Member of the Order of Jamaica, and was awarded many honours during her life. She received an honorary degree from York University in 1998; she and her husband had moved to Canada late in life. She died in 2006 and is buried in Jamaica.
Scope and content
The fonds reflects her life as both a writer, performer, and a promoter of the Jamaican language. It is arranged into the following series: correspondence; legal and financial documents; writing; published and printed materials; personal and professional documents, awards and realia; photographs and audio-visual materials; death, funeral and memorials; Eric Coverley. A separate listing describing the books which accompanied this fonds has been prepared.
Immediate source of acquisition
The fonds (25-2010) was acquired in April 2010 from Pamela Appelt and Fabian Coverley, executors of the estate of Louise Bennett. The second accrual was donated by Neil Armstrong in 2015.
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Availability of other formats
Parts of the collection are also available online as part of <a href="http://digitalarchive.mcmaster.ca/islandora/object/macrepo:33172">McMaster's Digital Archive</a>.
Restrictions on access
There are no access restrictions.
Terms governing use, reproduction, and publication
Researchers may also wish to consult the <a href="http://www.nlj.gov.jm/archives/Miss_Lou/index.html">Miss Lou Archive</a> at the National Library of Jamaica.
Further accruals are not expected.
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