Fonds 94-019 - Dorothy Choate Herriman fonds. 1994 additions

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Dorothy Choate Herriman fonds. 1994 additions

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  • 1912-1972 (Creation)
    Herriman, Dorothy Choate

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45 cm of textual records
ca. 40 photographs

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Biographical history

Dorothy Choate Herriman was born in September of 1901 at Lindsay, Ontario, the daughter of William Choate Herriman (Medical Director of the Ontario Hospital, Orillia) and Nellie J. Williams (daughter of Lewis Williams of Johnstown, Pennsylvania). Her family is related to the Choates who were early pioneer settlers in the area. She spent her childhood in Kingston, Toronto and Orillia. She was educated at the Model School in Toronto, Orillia Central School, Orillia Collegiate Institute, Havergal College in Toronto and the Ontario College of Art. She served, for a time, as secretary to the Canadian Author's Association.

She was a poet and published a volume of poetry entitled Mater Silva in 1929 by McClelland and Stewart. She had numerous other poems published in newspapers and literary journals in Canada and England. Dorothy died in 1978.

Custodial history

This fonds was in the custody of Diane Choate, who inherited them from Doris Kennard, cousin of Dorothy Herriman. Diane Choate donated the fonds to the Trent University Archives.

Scope and content

This addition to the fonds consists of diaries, manuscripts, correspondence, photographs and newspaper clippings of Dorthy Choate Herriman. The fonds includes material on the Canadian Authors Association, Carol Cassidy Coates and other poets and writers. Newspaper clippings, original illustrated layout, biographical information, author's proof and a bound copy of Mater Silva are also included in the fonds. There is also an annotated copy of editor John Garvin's Canadian Poets.

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This fonds was donated by Diane Choate of Trent University.


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This fonds is an addition to 92-010.

General note

Box 1

Folder 1: Correspondence, 1912-1918

Folder 2: Correspondence, 1921-1926

Folder 3: Correspondence, 1933-1934

Folder 4: Correspondence, 1941

MS #1: Illuminated manuscript, text and drawings by Dorothy Choate Herriman, Alack I Loved. Spelling changes pencilled in by Herriman.

MS #2: Dorothy Choate Herriman, Mater Silva (Toronto: McClelland and Stewart, 1929).

MS #3: John W. Garvin, ed. Canadian Poets (Toronto: McClelland and Stewart, 1926). Newspaper clippings relating to individual poets represented in this anthology are interleaved by Herriman.

Diary #1: 1926 Herriman and family lived in Orillia, Ontario where her father was assistant superintendent of the Ontario Hospital at Orillia. Dorothy was in Toronto attending Ontario College of Art for her last year. Talks of her new Remington portable typewriter, a new short coat, dreading going home for the summer because house is "all torn up" and she and her mother seem incompatible. July 24, notes drowning accident in Balsam Lake when 11 boys of St. Andrews Brotherhood died. August 19, "as a united household we would make a good volcanic eruption! We are the acme of disintegration, individualism & misinterpretations. I wish some invisible being would 'write us up' --- as a comedy." September 25, Garvin's book containing poems and photograph of Dorothy Herriman was published and Dorothy hated her picture, "...I have such a 'hatchet' faced expression." She returned to O.C.A. in October and found that "Mr. Reid is very uninspiring in costume. I shall forget all I ever learned with Mr. Varley." On October 18, Herriman notes it is a red-letter day because she was "wangled" into getting her hair bobbed.

Diary #2: 1927 Diary starts with Herriman's last few months at O.C.A. March 4, she notes is wondering who will get appointed as administrator of Rockwood. Diary full of details about courses, instructors, public lectures she has attended, residence problems, health concerns, letters from her father. May 30, Herriman talks about her mother who has gone to Battle Creek for a few days and has consulted Dr. Kellogg. Dr. William Herriman had been assistant superintendent at Orillia, and in 1927 was made superintendent of the Ontario Hospital at Cobourg as Herriman notes on September 20. November 17: "I seem to crave an impetus of some sort to feel any vital interest in life. I must be suffering from ennui--or the modern craze for excitement & stimulation."

Diary #3: 1928 Repeated problem in family with William and daughter Dorothy's habit of going to bed at 2:00 AM and often later and not arising until noon. Quarrels with her mother and constant tension at home. May 10: "Daddy wants to go to Orillia over Sunday but is afraid I won't get up on time while he is away. He looks 'crushed & broken" with his 'domestic troubles'."

Diary #4: 1930 Dorothy Herriman at home in Cobourg. Grandmother's funeral was June 16; more family "ructions"; beginning evidence of economic depression in towns.

Diary #5: 1933 Introspective writing with much soul-searching; Dorothy Herriman is living in Toronto, visiting family and friends in Cobourg, Port Hope and Orillia, trying to write. Much conflict with mother and despair over what she perceives as the lack of courage of weak father; father is going to have trouble financing Cousin Doris, Orillia, at Normal School and Dorothy wished the chance to give back some of her years at Havergal or Tech. or O.C.A. since "my reward for study has certainly not been monetary -- nor has it brought me a peaceful environment." Is starting her infatuation with a cousin, Ralph Wilson, which becomes a love affair and lasts until 1938. Economic depression severe; notes one Orillia suicide and tells of a neighbour, Mr. Dempsey who has lost his job as manager of local branch of the Northway's store.

Diary #6: 1933-34 Writes of family discord; thwarted writing. Relates last illness and death of her mother, May 1934.

Diary #7: 1934 Father apparently objected to her affair with a "relative". Dorothy turned 33 that year and writes of her continuing relationship with "R" [Ralph Wilson].

Diary #8: 1938-1939 Relationship with "R" [Wilson] winding down and a new infatuation with Eric Gaskell, National Secretary of the Canadian Authors' Association.

Diary #9: 1939 Journal of the C.A.A. convention and her feelings for Eric of whom she would "trail his footprints like a faithful hound - to Hell or Heaven."

Diary #10:1940 Relates party for Sir Charles G.D. Roberts 80th birthday attended by Canadian Lit people, W. Perkins Bull, etc. Notes also an "at-home" at the Art College with the Reids, Jackson, Sir Wyly [Grier] etc.

Diary #11:1946-1947 Interest in Robert Sheldon Kenny, a friend of Dorothy Livesay began in 1946. He began career as an anarchist but gradually worked for organized labour as socialist. Dorothy H. met him when he worked in a second-hand bookshop in Toronto. Pencilled note on first page by Dorothy gives outline of their friendship written in 1972.

Box 2

Item #1: Scrapbook: poetry by Herriman, drawings, newspaper clippings of authors and poets, many clippings about pets, dogs, cats, birds etc. Clippings re Marshall Saunders and an autographed book announcement "Dorothy Herriman with love, Marshall Saunders" which Dorothy has dated October 30, 1939.

Item #2: Photograph Album: photos from Canadian Authors' Association convention, Halifax, 1939; many postcards from Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, convention programs, etc. Program from Canadian Authors' Association convention at Ste. Anne de Bellevue, Quebec, 1940. Many photos taken when Dorothy attended the C.A.A. convention in Victoria, B.C. in 1941, plus post cards of scenes in British Columbia and Alberta. Glossy prints, (8X10) of Sir Charles Roberts, E.J. Pratt, E.A. Hardy, and Walter McRaye reading at the Canadian Literature Club, Toronto, 5 December 1938.

Item #3: Dorothy Herriman, "Personal Anthology"

Item #4: Notebook

Folder 1: Clippings of poetry by Frances Hanson

Folder 2: Clippings, cards, poetry by Robina Monkman

Folder 3: Notes and poetry by Amabel King

Folder 4: Miscellaneous poetry and clippings re Dorothy Herriman, Margaret Laurence, Margaret Atwood

Folder 5: Photographs: Dorothy Herriman, studio photo, 1926; Dorothy Herriman in backyard feeding blue jay, 1952; Photos from C.A.A. convention in Montreal, 1940: includes Mary McCullough, Robina Monkman, Anne Marriott, Amabel King, Elsie Pomeroy; Dorothy Herriman, 1941, 1939, 1942, 1943; photo of Dorothy with Bliss Carman, 1921; copy photo of Bliss Carman; copy photo of Sir Charles G.D. Roberts, 1940

Folder 6: Miscellaneous clippings and photos including poetry of Elizabeth Donaldson

Folder 7: Poetry books and chap-books of Carol Cassidy Coates including Fancy Free, Shanling, The Return and Selected Poems, Invitation To Mood, The Jade Heart, most inscribed to Dorothy.

Folder 8: Miscellaneous literary journals, mostly containing Herriman's poetry

Folder 9: Original illustrated layout of Mater Silva

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