Collection RC0761 - Sir Charles George Douglas Roberts collection

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Sir Charles George Douglas Roberts collection

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  • 1929-1936 (Creation)

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4 items

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Biographical history

Charles G. D. Roberts (1860-1943) was born at Douglas, New Brunswick. He was the son of a scholarly Anglican clergyman and a mother who came from a distinguished United Empire Loyalist family. Roberts attended the University of New Brunswick, and after graduating in 1879 he taught for two years as Headmaster of the Grammar School at Chatham, N.B. Here he published his first book of verse, Orion and Other Poems in 1880. In 1885 he was appointed Professor of English and French, and later of Economics at King's College of Windsor, Nova Scotia.

During the next decade, Roberts did his best work as a poet and developed his skill as a short story and novel writer. In 1890, he was elected to the Royal Society of Canada. In 1897, he went to live with his cousin, Bliss Carman in New York where, until 1907, he produced poems, adventure tales, romances and short stories. He left America for England and the continent and in 1914 enlisted as a private in the British Army.

In 1925 he returned to Canada and remained there until his death. He was awarded the Lorne Pierce Medal for distinguished service to Canadian literature in 1926 and knighted in 1935. Along with Ernest Thompson Seton, he is known as the inventor of the modern animal story, particularly in books such as Kindred of the Wild: A Book of Animal Life (1902). Among his well known works are A Sister to Evangeline (1898), Watchers of the Trails (1904) and The Vagrant of Time (1927). Roberts' long and prolific career as poet, storywriter, novelist and journalist won him the title of "father of Canadian literature". The international acclaim for his early poetry inspired his generation, among them the poet Archibald Lampman.

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Scope and content

The collection consists of an autograph album which belonged to Dorothy Dowie and contains two poems by Roberts, "The Cricket" and "The Spirit of Beauty" as well as four untitled lines. A letter to Dowie was laid in the album. Also in the collection is a poem by Roberts, "Colour Toasts". Dowie's album also contains four autograph lines signed by Wilson MacDonald. For letters written by Roberts, researchers are directed to the Walter Jackson McCrea fonds.

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The Dowie album was acquired in November 1984. The single poem was purchased in August 1989.


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