Fonds RC0026 - Matt Cohen

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Matt Cohen

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  • 1939-2003 (Creation)

Physical description area

Physical description

22.1 m of textual records and graphic material
34 computer disks

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Name of creator


Biographical history

Matt Cohen, writer and translator, was born on 30 December 1942, in Kingston, Ont. He was educated at the University of Toronto, graduating with a BA in Political Economy in 1964, followed by a Master's degree in Political Science in 1965. He taught at McMaster University in the Department of Religion in 1967-1968. Cohen was Writer-in-Residence at Rochdale College (1968), University of Alberta (1975-1976), the University of Western Ontario (1981), the University of Bologna (1985), and Toronto Reference Library (1997). He also taught writing at the University of Victoria in 1979-1980.

In his own writing Cohen employed a variety of literary forms–short story, poetry, song, novella and full-length novel. He also wrote children's books using the pseudonym of "Teddy Jam". Cohen was the recipient of numerous awards and honours and his work has been translated into many languages. He died on 2 December 1999, shortly after winning the Governor General's Award for his novel Elizabeth and After. Cohen was married three times, first to Arden Ford, then to Susan Bricker and finally to Patsy Aldana. After his marriage to Susan Bricker ended, he lived for a time with Katherine Govier. In 1978 he met Patricia Aldana with whom he shared the rest of his life. Patsy had two children, Carlota ("Coca") and Seth McAllister, from an earlier marriage. With Patsy, Cohen had two children, Daniel and Madeleine. Cohen purchased a farm near Bellrock, north of Kingston, Ont. and lived there and also in Toronto until his death. Cohen and his family also lived for extended periods in Spain, France and Italy.

Custodial history

Scope and content

The fonds contains: manuscripts; correspondence; reviews of Cohen's work; university material; book manuscripts; other manuscript material; drafts of The Spanish Doctor; and various other material. More detailed contents outline in 'System of Arrangement' below.

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Physical condition

Immediate source of acquisition

The first ten accruals were acquired from Cohen while the eleventh to thirteenth accruals were acquired from Patsy Aldana. The first accrual was agreed to on 9 July 1979. The second accrual was acquired in November 1980; the third accrual in October 1981; the fourth accrual in the summer of 1983; the fifth accrual in 1986; the sixth accrual also in 1986; the seventh accrual in 1988; the eighth accrual in 1991; the ninth accrual in 1994; the tenth accrual on 29 July 1997; the eleventh accrual on 30 November 2002; the twelfth accrual on 25 September 2003; the thirteenth accrual in June 2008.


There have been thirteen accruals. The first six accruals do not have accession numbers. The first accrual measures 4.25 m, and is arranged into the following series: manuscripts; correspondence; reviews of Cohen's work. The second accrual measures .3 m, and is arranged into the following series: correspondence; university material; other material. The third accrual measures .6 m, and is arranged into the following series: manuscripts; correspondence; other material. The fourth accrual measures 1.3 m, and is arranged into the following series: drafts of The Spanish Doctor; other material. The fifth accrual measures 1.8 m, and is arranged into the following series: book manuscripts; other manuscript material–short stories. The sixth accrual measures .3 m, and consists of manuscripts. The seventh accrual (03-1998) measures 1 m, and is arranged into the following series: book manuscripts; articles, short stories, scripts and reviews; personal and other material; personal correspondence; business correspondence, publicity, clippings and other. The eighth accrual (40-1991) measures 2 m, and is arranged into the following series: mss. and tss of The Spanish Doctor, Living on Water, Freud: The Paris Notebooks, and Emotional Arithmetic; mss. and tss. of reviews and articles; translations; reviews of Cohen's books. The ninth accrual (08-1994) measures 1.4 m, and is arranged into the following series: manuscripts, typescripts, and proofs of The Bookseller, Freud: The Paris Notebooks, and Lives of the Mind Slaves; correspondence; typescripts and proofs related to Voix Paralléles/Parallel Voices; translations; correspondence with publishers; reviews, short stories and essays; printed literature either by Cohen or related to him. The tenth accrual (23-1997) measures 2 m, and is arranged into the following series: novel, screenplay, translations, short stories, book reviews, and other material; correspondence. The eleventh (48-2002) and twelfth (33-2003) accruals measure 6.6 m, and have been combined into one finding aid. The eleventh accrual is arranged into three series: correspondence; manuscripts, typescripts, computer prints and proofs; appointment calendars, address books, personal documents, photographs, printed materials. Most of the twelfth accrual has been arranged in a fourth series, legal and financial, including royalty statements. Accompanying the eleventh accrual were several books by Cohen which have been catalogued for Research Collections. A listing of the books can be found in the Master file. The thirteenth accrual (21-2008) measures 21.5 cm and consists of early correspondence and a small amount of writing.

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Restrictions on access

Access restrictions: Most access restrictions relating to this fonds have expired. Access to 2 letters (Box 141, File 11), one to Cohen from Dennis Lee, and the other a draft of a letter from Cohen to ‘Connie’, is restricted until 2050, except with the written permission of the estate of Matt Cohen.

Terms governing use, reproduction, and publication

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 to Twelfth Accrual: Finding Aid
Thirteenth Accrual: Finding Aid

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Further accruals are not expected.

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