Fonds 91-001 - Blodwen Davies fonds

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Blodwen Davies fonds

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  • 1928-1968 (Creation)
    Davies, Blodwen

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91 cm of textual records and other records
ca. 20 photographs

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Biographical history

Blodwen Davies was born in 1897 in Longueuil, Quebec. She was educated in Montreal and she started her writing career as a reporter for the Fort William newspaper. When she heard of the Group of Seven she moved to Toronto to meet with them in 1921. She first wrote about Tom Thomson in a book called "Paddle and Pallette" published in 1930 and then wrote a second book entitled: "A Study of Tom Thomson: The Story of a Man Who Looked for Beauty and for Truth in the Wilderness" in 1935. She was a prolific writer and produced a number of works including: "Storied Streets of Quebec" in 1927; "Ruffles and Rapiers", "Daniel Du Lhut" and "Old Father Forest" all in 1930; "Storied York" in 1931; "Saguenay and Gaspe", "Romantic Quebec" and "The Charm of Ottawa" all in 1932; "Youth, Marriage and the Family", "Youth Speaks out on Citizenship" and "Youth Speaks its Mind" also all in 1948; "Gaspe: Land of History and Romance" in 1949; "Quebec: Portrait of a Province" in 1951-1952 and "Ottawa: Portrait of a Capital" in 1954. She wrote mostly histories but she also wrote a few romances. For a short time Blodwen Davies lived in the United States. In 1946 she returned to Canada and moved to Markham, Ontario. She lived in Cedar Grove, Ontario for the last fifteen years of her life. At this point in her life she was concentrating on folk history and lore of the Mennonites in Canada. This book was published shortly before her death. Blodwen Davies died September 10, 1966. (Taken from: "The Canadian Encyclopedia." Edmonton: Hurtig Publishers, 1985.)

Custodial history

This fonds was in the custody of Pat McClennan, a close neighbour of Blodwen Davies in Cedar Grove and relative of Tony Storey, formerly of the Trent University Alumni Office. Pat acquired the fonds on Blodwen's death and donated it to the Trent University Archives.

Scope and content

This fonds consists of research material, manuscripts, published articles and correspondence of Blodwen Davies with the Saskatchewan Arts Board and the National Museum.

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This fonds was donated by Pat McClennan.


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Associated material located at Library and Archives Canada.


General note

Table of contents

Box 1


1-3: Published articles (by Blodwen Davies)

4-6: Miscellaneous article manuscripts (by Blodwen Davies)

7-9: Storied York

10-12: Stratford: Portrait of a Festival City

13-14: The Elegant Tory

15-17: Tom Thomson

18: The Keeper of the Jade Pass

Box 2


1-4: John Butler

5: French romance untitled

6: Glastonbury - Somerset Zodiac - Katherine Maltwood

7-10: The Forerunners: Rosmini, Davidson, Bucke, Osler

11: Colonel William Wood

12: Sir Isaac Brock

13: William Lyon Mackenzie

14: Payepot and His People / Abel Watetch

15: "Negroes"

16-22: Mennonites - A String of Amber - National Museum

23: Book reviews

Box 3


1-3: Saskatchewan Arts Board

4-5: A.G. Mörzer Bruyns

6-9: Miscellaneous correspondence

10-11: Miscellaneous manuscripts by others

12: University of Washington course material

13-15: Personal documents

16: Miscellaneous Published Articles by Blodwen Davies

Box 1

Science and Peace series: folders 1-3


1: "Richard Maurice Bucke - An Adventure In Human Thought" (also 3 articles on R.M. Bucke written by others)

"Luther Burbank - The Prince Of Plants"

"A Woman In The Laboratory" (re: Madame Curie)

"Albert Einstein - The Beloved Mathematician"

"Nansen, The Compassionate"

"Peace And Dynamite - Alfred Nobel"

"Noguchi - A Japanese Genius"

(`Adventures in Sympathy' series):

"Alexis Carrel - A Searcher For The Secret Of Life"

"Gandhi - A Brother To All Men"

"Paul Robeson - The First Black Citizen Of The World"

"Natalia Satz"

"Stefansson - The Man Who Became An Eskimo"

(Miscellaneous articles):

"Charles J. Connick - The Maker Of Singing Windows"

"Dr. Walter Damroseh - The Great And Good Man Of Radio"

"Jean Sibelius - The Composer Who Set The North To Music"

"Alfred Stieglitz - The Man Who Made The Camera Talk"

"Old Masters In Canada - Portrait Of A Venetian Prelate" (re: Titian)

"Gutenberg 1387-1468"

"Garrison Creek To Queenston Heights -

The Short Road That Led The Gallant Brock From The Home Of His Early And Only Love To A Place Of Imperishable Memory"

"Her Name Is Written In The Arctic Wastes - The Story Of Devotion And Courage That Outlived The Years" (re: Lady Jane Franklin)

"Heroes Of The White Frontier" (re: Arctic explorers)

"Molly Brant, A Royalist Spy - The Love Story Of Canada's Pocahontas"

2: "History At The Grass Roots" (re: Blodwen Davies' views on the "importance of the history and folklore museum in Canada)

"From Militia Tax To Relief" (re: Mennonites and the subject of war)

"The Island Of Birds" (re: Bonaventure Island near Gaspe - incomplete)

"Toys From The Woodpile"

"We Live Longer -- Can We Learn To Like It?"

"Along The Ottawa River"

"Crownlanders Of The Garafraxa"


"Grandma's Indian Summer"

"Silver-Headed Canada"

"Canada Claims Heritage Of Indian Craftsmanship"

"Generosity Of Craftsmen Too Long Exploited"

"Born With Another Face" (re: Blake)

"Canada's Earliest Library Had The `Perfect Librarian'"

"The Growth Of Junior Red Cross In Newfoundland - In Four Months The Organization Has Formed 542 Branches With Membership Of 18,000"

"Canada's First Art School - Nearly Three Hundred Years Ago The Cap Tourmente School Endowed Us With The Best Of Old France"

"Couchiching Views World Problems"

3: "Let's Have A Science Of Religion" (reprint from Darshana quarterly)

(Beacon periodical articles): "Nestles The Seed Perfection"

"True Creativity"

"Idealism - What Is It?"

"The Initiate In The World Of Darkness"

"If God Had Only Made Her Inside Out"

"A Ritual For The Creative Worker"

"The Awakened Serving Heart"

"The Fork In The Road"

"The Sandals Of The Messenger"

"The Science Of Spiritual Distribution"

"The Mental Plane"

"The Sources of Progress"


"Let Us Preach As We Walk"

red notebook of published articles:

"A Jest For His Majesty"

"The Broken Whip"

"Fortier Of Fort Anne"

"From Battleships To Bagatelles"

"Pigs For Periwigs"

"The Bride Ships"

"There Was A Sound Of Revelry"

"The Love Story Carlyle And His Canadian Sweetheart"

"Rose And Blue"

"A Jest For His Majesty"

"The Broken Whip"

"The Reign Of Molly Anne"

"To My Friends" (manuscript attached - written by Blodwen just before her death)

Miscellaneous Article Manuscripts by Blodwen Davies (folders 4-6)

4: "Col. John Butler, -- The Forgotten Father Of Ontario"

"The Forgotten Father Of Ontario"

"The Legend Of Louisa McColl"

"The Crownlander"

"Newfoundland -- A Poor Relation That Became An Heiress"

"The Governing Wentworths"

"A Loyalist Romance"

"A Canadian Dick Whittington"

"Speak For A Gentleman"

"Tea Before Dawn"

"The Three Golden Boxes Of Issa The Wise"

"The Odyssey Of Margaret Hale"

5: "The Requital Of Seigneur O'Hara"

"There Was A Sound Of Revelry By Night"

"North Of The Latitude Of Bread"

"Vi[]e Regal Pioneers"

"Digging Up Our History"

"The Magic Of A Little River"

"A Hundred Years Of The Garafraxa"

"The Silver Hawk"

"Marcelle Of The Yellow Shawl"

"Pigs For Periwigs"

"Madamoiselle Rose And Madamoiselle Bleue"

6: "The Satin Betrayal"

"The Miracle Shrine Of Pierre Leber"

"The Lady Of The Search"

"The Mocking Dolphin"

"A Knight Errant Of Nova Scotia"

"Canada's Earliest Library Had The `Perfect Librarian'"

plus 2 manuscripts untitled but "by Blodwen Davies" plus other manuscripts and partial manuscripts with titles and assumed written by Blodwen Davies:


"IX. Religion And Morality"

"First Fruits"

"The First Lady Of The Laurentians"

"Ruffles And Rapiers - King's Spy" (attached is a list titled "Some additional stories available for Ruffles and Rapiers)

"Secret Travellers Buffalo"

"Altars And Arquebases"

"The Soul Of Canada"

"We Early Canadians --- 1948" plus other miscellaneous manuscripts untitled and assumed written by Blodwen Davies:

re: Laura Secord

re: Oka, Quebec (historical account)

re: Dr. Thomson Jay Hudson

re: Lighthall's conception of a planetary entity and attached newspaper clipping of Dr. Lighthall's death - etc.

7-9: Storied York - manuscripts, notes, research material

10-12: Stratford: Portrait Of A Festival City - manuscripts, notes, research material

13-14: The Elegant Tory: The Letters Of Mrs. Basil Hall On A Journey Through Canada In 1827 edited and amplified by Blodwen Davies - 2 manuscripts with slight variations

Tom Thomson (folders 15-17 plus green box)

15: Tom Thomson - manuscript and typescript of completed book (A Study of Tom Thomson: The Story of a Man Who Looked for Beauty and for Truth in the Wilderness)

16: Tom Thomson - correspondence (1966) from A.Y. Jackson, member of The Group of Seven, re: the matter of Tom's death and his feelings about the book on Tom Thomson (written by Blodwen Davies with a foreword by A.Y. Jackson)

17: Tom Thomson - envelope entitled `notes for talk on Thomson' with notes inside

4 photographs:

  • "Tom Thomson's home at Leith near Owen Sound. Here he lived until he was 24"

  • "The Thomson totem on Canoe Lake"

  • unidentified building

  • unidentified lake view

newspaper clippings re: Tom Thomson loose in box: green box with 5 Laidlaw plates of sketches used in the Tom Thomson book

18: "The Keeper Of The Jade Pass" - manuscript plus bibliography; also research material including article from National Geographic [1931] entitled "First Over The Roof Of The World by Motor...." by M.O. Williams

Box 2

John Butler (folders 1-4 plus loose photographs of correspondence)

1-3: John Butler - research notes and extensive typewritten manuscripts on the life of John Butler, founder of the colony at Niagara-On-The-Lake and commanding officer of Butler's Rangers which captured Fort Niagara in 1760. (Note: Included with this material is a photograph entitled "Young Street, York Mills, Toronto, 1865, Williams the Butcher", found in folder 1)

4: Correspondence (1928-1932) related to the research on John Butler

plus loose on top of box: 9 photographs of correspondence re: John Butler dated 1796 (obtained by Blodwen Davies from the Public Archives of Ontario)

5: French romance story untitled (characters in story named Josephine, Charles, Henri, and Menard) - extensive handwritten and typewritten notes plus small notebook

6: Re: "Glastonbury's Temple of the Stars" and the work of Mrs. Katherine Maltwood on the Somerset Zodiac - research material including correspondence, notes, handwritten and typewritten, newspaper clippings and manuscripts (see also Box 3 folder 8 for related correspondence)

(Folders 7-10 contain research material on four of many topics included in a series called "The Forerunners", written by Blodwen Davies)

7-8: "Forerunners" - list of monthly articles for 1959-1964 (found in folder 7)

7-8: "Antonio Rosmini" (Italian priest, philosopher and patriot) and "Thomas Davidson" (American philosopher and student of Rosmini) - research material on these 2 philosophers (includes writings on "Thomism", writings of Thomas Davidson's, notes, partial manuscripts, correspondence, etc.)

9: "Maurice Bucke" (Canadian author) - manuscript of article

10: "Sir William Osler" (Canadian physician) - research material including notes, partial manuscripts, notes, published article, etc.

11: "Colonel William Wood" (descendant of William of Orange and Canadian historian) - notes and partial manuscript

12: "Sir Isaac Brock" - manuscript

13: "William Lyon Mackenzie" - research material, notes, and partial manuscript

14: "Payepot And His People" by Abel Watetch (Cree folklorist and author) as told to Blodwen Davies - includes manuscript, correspondence (1960), and newspaper clippings of articles by Abel Watetch

15: "Negroes" (original file entitled "Negroes" by Blodwen Davies) - includes article manuscripts entitled: - "Aged Negro Recalls Early Days In Simcoe"

  • "When Africans Cleared The Queen's Bush" - "The Black Knight Of Niagara"

  • "An Interview With Emmanuel Morgan..."

  • miscellaneous notes

  • 2 photographs each with Black man as subject

  • newspaper clippings re: "slave songs"

  • plus small red piece of cloth, unidentified

Mennonites - A String Of Amber - National Museum (folders 16-22)

16-17: Research material relating to Mennonites and the book A String of Amber, including extensive typewritten and handwritten notes, partial manuscripts, etc. re: their folklore, farming methods, family genealogies, etc.

18: Transcripts of interviews with Mennonites

19: Mennonite recipes plus typewritten copy of book entitled The Indian Doctor or Guide to Health... (originally printed in Oshawa 1848)

20: Wine-making - manuscripts, notes, small brown notepad, etc. relating to wine- making, especially among the Mennonites - includes recipes for wine, pamphlet entitled "On The Appreciation Of Wine", etc.

21: White Balsam (Note: The material in this file was found in a tattered envelope entitled "White Balsam". It includes an Indigenous folktale about a person named "White Balsam" and miscellaneous notes. Also a recipe which calls for a `4 oz. can Balsam'. As well, there is a small branch from what appears to be a rose plant but which was inside a smaller envelope with the words "White Balsam" on the outside. This file may or may not belong to the Mennonite section of this collection)

22: National Museum of Canada and Department of Northern Affairs and National Resources correspondence 1958-1967 - also "Report to the Museum of Human

History on a 1958 Research Project Among Ontario Mennonites" and "Report to the National Museum of Canada on a Mennonite Folklore Project in Ontario Conducted During the Period Between 1950 and 1965 by Blodwen Davies..."

23: Book reviews (newspaper clippings)

Box 3

Saskatchewan Arts Board (folders 1-3)


1: Correspondence 1957, minutes 1956 (In 1957 Blodwen Davies was executive- secretary of the Saskatchewan Arts Board, and was partially responsible for setting up the Saskatchewan Folklore Committee at Fort Qu'Appelle)

2: Three "Saskatchewan Arts Board Reports" April 1 - December 31, 1949; 1956; 1957 Interim report March - May [1957] Report on office duties June 1957

Statement of receipts and disbursements May 1957

Miscellaneous voucher

Transcript of conversation with Dr. Carl E. Guthe re: plans to set up a community museum

Manuscript of article by Blodwen Davies entitled "A Birthday for Fort Qu'Appelle"

Green duotang with programme for `Regina Square Dance Callers' Association'

"Constitution of the Saskatchewan History and Folklore Society"

Four transcripts of radio interviews re: Saskatchewan folklore and folksongs 1956-1958

Six photographs originally filed with this material: 1. Blodwen Davies & small boy 1957 2. Saskatchewan Arts Board Craft Shops 3. The Mcdonald House, Fort Qu'Appelle, Saskatchewan 4. Carol McMillan [Craek] wearing wedding dress 5-6: 2 photographs and attached biographical account of Der Sandor, artist

Miscellaneous notes

3: Newspaper clippings, brochures, etc. re: Saskatchewan folklore

"Saskatchewan History" journal issues (Spring 1955, Autumn 1955, Spring 1956, Autumn 1958)

"A Letter to the People of Saskatchewan:

A Report on Historic Sites" 1955

Mörzer Bruyns, A.G. (folders 4-5)

4: Correspondence 1953-1958 primarily from Agnes Mörzer Bruyns, wife of the author, A.G. Mörzer Bruyns, to Blodwen Davies

5: Manuscript copies of chapters of book entitled The Good Husbandry Dollar by A.G. Mörzer Bruyns plus other miscellaneous partial manuscripts - also draft of introduction to Mörzer Bruyns presumedly by Blodwen Davies who was entrusted with his manuscripts when he died in 1955 (Note: A.G. Mörzer Bruyns was born in Holland in 1877 and emigrated to Canada in 1925 where he was recognized as a distinguished authority on agricultural affairs)

Miscellaneous correspondence (folders 6- 9)

6: 1931-1959

7: 1960-1963 (includes letter from Tommy Douglas, NDP)

8: 1964-1965 (includes letter from June Callwood, author, and letter from John P. Robarts)

9: 1966-1968, plus undated incomplete letters

Miscellaneous manuscripts by others

(folders 10-11 plus black binder)

10: "Appendum: Radiational Physics Thought- Writing" by O.L. Reiser

"A Resolution Of The `East-West Problem'

By Way Of A Scientific Humanism" by O.L. Reiser ("To Blodwen, from Leslie" enscribed)

"Project Prometheus And Krishna..." by O.L. Reiser

"The World Institute: A Proposal To The Pugwash Conference Addis Ababa..." ("L.R." enscribed)

"The Universe: Its Theory..." by O.L. Reiser

"The American Indian Tradition" 1926 by [].B.H.

"This is the Story of Alex Hayden" by Oscar Hayden

"How Vancouver Got Its Name" as told by James W. Moffat to W.F. Sutherland

Script from CBC by Hugh MacLennan 1962 "Children And The Canadian Culture" by Mary L. Northway

"From Tools To International Machines" by O.K. Moore

10: "Building With Rammed Earth" by A.B. Lee

"Points Of The Compass" by Kali Yuga

11: The Fraternity Of The Builders by E. Valentia Straiton (manuscript copy of book) plus black binder entitled "The Exile of the Soul Expository Sequence" (typewritten pages of passages and quotes ie. from Plato, etc.)

12: University of Washington College of Engineering course material re: Writing on the Humanities 1948-1949

Personal documents (folders 13-15 plus 11 notebooks and diaries, plus picture frame loose on shelf)

13: Financial documents, ie. miscellaneous receipts, notices of assessment from Department of National Revenue 1947-1961 plus related correspondence 1935-1966 - also other miscellaneous documents including "The Lucis Trust, Limited" incorporation documents 1935

14: Contracts, royalty statements and related correspondence 1930-1964

15: Baptismal certificate; Blodwen's handwritten record of her thoughts prior to her death, dated August 18-27, 1966 (see also "To My Friends" Box 1 folder 3); Blodwen Davies' obituary, plus newspaper article; 2 passports, one issued 1944 and one 1965; 2 photographs of Blodwen Davies plus loose on shelf: picture frame with 7 unidentified photographs of small girl (frame approximately 8"x30")

Loose in box: 11 miscellaneous notebooks and diaries containing memos and notes focusing on a variety of subjects, ie. religion, evolution, psychic powers, death, etc.


16: Letter dated December 31, 1906 to "Mr. Davies" from "The Foundry"


  • 4 photos of log cabin being built

  • 3 photos of ornamental fixtures inside a cathedral

  • 1 photo of a page of signatures

  • 1 photo entitled "The Author of `A Life of Byron'"

Program of the installation of Northrop Frye as principal of Victoria College, University of Toronto 1959

Chart produced by Metropolitan Life Insurance Company 1934 entitled "Light and Shade: A Chart To Accompany `Health Through The Ages"

General note

There are also in the Blodwen Davies collection 2 unaccessioned boxes of journals, books, articles, and pamphlets, ie. "The Beacon" journal (many issues from the 1940's and 1950's), books on Mahatma Gandhi, books by Ethel S. Dummer, plus numerous others - in manuscripts room.

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