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Literary Archives

About the Guide

Literary Archives: A Guide to the Literary Fonds at Library and Archives Canada is intended as an introduction to unpublished resources in the field of Canadian literature. Here the interested researcher will find an introduction to Literary Archives, the collection scope for literary archives, the rules and regulations for the use of Literary Archives, an explanation of the format of the descriptions, and a description of each fonds or collection. This is the fourth edition of this guide and is the second edition available on the Internet.

The entries in this guide are fonds-level descriptions. A detailed explanation of the fonds description format and of the Rules for Archival Description (RAD) standard for archival description can be found in the section titled Format of the Descriptions.

An alphabetical list provides access to fonds and collections.

Finding aids are available for many fonds. The staff of the Literary Archives can forward copies of finding aids, preliminary inventories and other resources in order to answer questions for interested researchers.

Notes on Reading the Guide

Format of the Descriptions

Literary Archives: A Guide to the Literary Fonds at Library and Archives Canada has been created using Rules for Archival Description (RAD) the standard for archival description formulated by the Canadian Committee on Archival Description (CCAD) of the Canadian Council of Archives. This standard brings our collection descriptions into compliance with the Canadian archival community at large and provides opportunities to share our records through archival intitiatives such as the national network of fonds-level archival descriptions, Archives Canada (Canadian Archival Information Network).

This guide contains fonds-level records descriptions for the body of records that come from a single creator (a "creator" meaning and individual (such as an author), one or more families, or an administrative body (such as a literary press).

Readers will notice that many descriptions contain a standard format beginning with a name authority heading: a capitalized name followed by the birth and death dates (where applicable). This name authority is the official version of the creator's name and dates verified by a bibliographic source. After the name authority heading, the first line of the description contains the title of the fonds, followed by the date range for the material in the fonds and the extent of material in the fonds (measured in linear meters).

E.g., "Anne-Marie Alonzo fonds. 1966-1994. - 8 m of textual record."

The Biographical Sketch is an encapsulated biography for the creator of the fonds and focuses on the history and activities of the individual or organization. The biographical sketch is intended to provide background to the description. This biographical sketch cannot contain all the relevant details on a given creator and can only include sample titles from an author's works. For more specific details on the creator's activities, biographical reference sources or the finding aid should be consulted.

Scope and Content informs the reader of the types of materials that can be found in the fonds, the activities that created these materials as well as relationships between materials in the fonds. The materials found in a fonds relate only to the date range specified in the first line of the description. For more specific details regarding the materials in a fonds the finding aids should be consulted.

The last portion of description contains notes telling the reader from whom the material was acquired, the language in which the documents in the fonds were created, any restrictions that prohibit access to certain materials and whether a finding aid is available for consultation.


As is the case with this type of publication, Literary Archives becomes outdated by ongoing work being done on the collection. Readers should be aware that acquisitions from new donors as well as installments from listed donors are added on a continual basis. Researchers requiring up-to-date information on a fonds should contact the literary archivist directly.

Currently this guide is being updated to include descriptions of fonds brought together by the merger of the former National Archives of Canada and the former National Library of Canada.