Collection RC0693 - Robertson Davies collection

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Robertson Davies collection

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Issuing jurisdiction and denomination (philatelic)

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  • 1952-1982 (Creation)

Physical description area

Physical description

3 folders of textual records.

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Name of creator


Biographical history

Robertson Davies (1913-1995) was a writer, journalist, and university professor. Educated at Upper Canada College, Queen's University and Balliol College, Oxford, he returned to Canada in 1940 as literary editor of Saturday Night. Two years later, he became the editor of the Peterborough Examiner. At the beginning of his career Davies earned his reputation as a journalist, dramatist and the alter ego of the cantankerous diarist, Samuel Marchbanks. In 1951 Davies published his first novel, Tempest Tost. Altogether he wrote a dozen novels, but he was equally prolific as an essayist, book reviewer, short story writer, and satiric commentator of his age. Davies taught literature at the University of Toronto from 1960 to 1981, and it was also during this period that he was named the first Master of Massey College. He was the recipient of many honours, including the D.Litt conferred upon him by McMaster University in 1959.

Custodial history

Scope and content

The collection consists of three typescripts: A masque of Aesop, A masque of Mr. Punch, and A Christmas Carol Reharmonized.

Notes area

Physical condition

Immediate source of acquisition

Items 1 and 2 (17-2000) were purchased courtesy of the Alexander Gallery. Item 3 (26-2003) was purchased from Nigel Williams Rare Books.


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Finding aids

Box G037
F.20 Item 1. A masque of Aesop written for the jubilee of the Preparatory School of Upper Canada College / by Robertson Davies. – [1952]. – Ts. ( mimeo). 36 p.
F.21 Item 2. A masque of Mr. Punch: a Victorian extravaganza for the boys of U.C.C. Prep. / by Robertson Davies. – 1962. – Ts. (mimeo). 62 p. – With a programme of the production of the play dated 8 December 1967.
[These two plays were specifically written by Davies for staging at the Preparatory School of Upper Canada College in Toronto. The typescripts are pre-publication versions of the plays given to the directors, actors and crews while each play was in production.]

F.22 Item 3. A Christmas Carol Reharmonized / by Robertson Davies. – 1982. – Ts. (mimeo). 15 p.
[Title page reads: “This special edition of | A Christmas Carol Reharmonized | has been prepared by | BRENDA and ROBERTSON DAVIES | to bid some of their friends | A MERRY CHRISTMAS. | There are twenty-five copies, | of which this is | Number 21.” The number 21 has been handwritten and is followed by the handwritten dedication: “for Maisie | from Rob | with love. | Christmas 1982” The story is a variation on A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens.]

Associated materials

For further archival material pertaining to Davies, researchers should examine the fonds of Canadian publishers Clarke, Irwin; McClelland and Stewart; and Macmillan Canada.

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No further accruals are expected.

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