Fonds RC0027 - Sylvia Bowerbank fonds

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Sylvia Bowerbank fonds

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  • 1979-2004 (Creation)

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Physical description

1.68 m of textual records and graphic material

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Biographical history

Sylvia Lorraine Bowerbank was born on July 19, 1947 in Hamilton, Ontario and spent her early years at Baptiste Lake. It was during this period that she developed her appreciation of nature which was to influence her throughout her life. She attended Carleton University, the University of Toronto and Simon Fraser University, receiving her B.A. (1970) and her Ph.D (1985) in English from McMaster University.

It was at McMaster that she began as Assistant Professor in the Department of English and Cultural Studies and Arts and Science in 1986. At the time of her death in 2005, she was Professor of English and Cultural Studies. She was one of the founders of the Women’s Studies Program and was also a Co-Chair of the President’s Committee on Indigenous Issues. She sat on international editorial boards for journals and executive committees for international associations and was also the vice-president, then the president of the Canadian Women’s Studies Association. During her career, she received several honours for her contributions to undergraduate education: she was nominated six times for teaching awards and received a McMaster Student Union Teaching Award (1986-87). She also received the McMaster Student Environmental Recognition Award (2002) and a Special Recognition Award from the President’s Committee on Indigenous Issues and Indigenous Studies Program (2002).

Her scholarship has been foundational in a number of fields: early modern cultural studies, focusing on women’s texts and history; ecocriticism; literature and science studies; and indigenous cultures. She published widely in books and journals. Her book on seventeenth century women’s writing, entitled, Speaking for Nature: Women and Ecologies in Early Modern England (Johns Hopkins U.P.) was published in 2004.

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Immediate source of acquisition

The fonds (42-2007) was acquired in December 2007 from the estate of Sylvia Bowerbank.


The fonds is arranged into the following series: correspondence; notebooks, journals and daybooks; academic; photographs and personal.

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Further accruals are not expected.

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