Pelham Edgar fonds
Dates of Material:
84 cm of textual records
25 photographs plus 1 album: b&w
4 photographs: 35 mm b&w negatives
2 audio reels
Oscar Pelham Edgar (1871–1948) was a teacher and an academic. He was born in Toronto, Ontario, the son of James David Edgar and Matilda Ridout. He married Helen Madeline Boulton in 1893. She died in 1933. He married Dona Gertrude Cameron Waller in 1935, and they had one daughter, Katharine Jane.
Edgar was educated at Upper Canada College. He received his B.A. from the University of Toronto in 1892 and a Ph.D. from Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, Maryland in 1897. He began his teaching career as modern-language master at Upper Canada College (1892-1895). He was appointed to the staff of the Department of French at Victoria College, Toronto, as Lecturer in 1897, then as Head from 1901 to 1910. He also began to lecture in the Department of English in 1902, later transferring permanently to the latter, where he held full professional rank until 1938 and served as Head for twenty-eight years.
Edgar was a member of the Athenaeum Club, London, England; of the Canadian Society of Authors where he served as Secretary; of the Tennyson Club, Toronto, where he served as President; of the Modern Language Association, Ontario, where he served as President; of the Ontario Education Society, where he served as Secretary from 1908 to 1909; and of the Canadian Writers' Foundation which was founded by Edgar. He was made a Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada in 1915 and received its Lorne Pierce Medal for distinguished service to Canadian literature in 1936.
Edgar published many reviews and articles, along with three monographs: A Study of Shelley with Special Reference to his Nature Poetry (1899), Henry James, Man and Author (1927), The Art of the Novel from 1700 to the Present Time (1933). He also contributed a chapter on Canada to The Cambridge History of English Literature (1916), and acted as Canadian advisor for the Dictionary of National Biography (1911). Some autobiographical material was published after his death in Canton, Ontario, under the title Across my Path (1952), edited by Northrop Frye.
The custodial history is unknown.
Scope and content
Based on the existing arrangement of the material, the fonds consists of the following series:
- Series 1: Material relating to Pelham Edgar
- Series 2: Material relating to J. D. Edgar and Matilda Ridout Edgar
- Series 3: Material relating to Audrey Alexandra Brown
- Series 4: Material relating to Charles G. D. Roberts
- Series 5: Material relating to Duncan Campbell Scott
Source of supplied title
Title based on contents of the fonds.
The fonds is stored in 8 boxes plus 1 separate folder.
Immediate source of acquisition
Most of the material was acquired from Dona Edgar in 1948–49. Two audio reels of a broadcast by Oscar Pelham Edgar were acquired from Kathleen Coburn in 1967. Portions of Across my Path, correspondence between Oscar Pelham Edgar and several authors (including Audrey Alexandra Brown, Robert Falconer, Northrop Frye, E.J. Pratt, Charles G.D. Roberts and Duncan Campbell Scott) and other unspecified material was acquired from his daughter Jane Conway in 1979.
At Victoria University Library the material was arranged into “sub-collections” relating to Oscar Pelham Edgar, the Edgar family, Audrey Alexandra Brown, Charles G.D. Roberts, and Duncan Campbell Scott. This arrangement is used as the basis for this description since the original order and context have been lost.
Language of material
Restrictions on access: No restrictions on access.
File list available (see “Scope and content” for series level descriptions)
- National Archives in Ottawa: Duncan Campbell Scott fonds (reference number: R2938-0-5-E; was MG30-D100).
- Archives of Ontario: Duncan Campbell Scott fonds (reference number: C 275).
- National Archives in Ottawa: Charles George Douglas Roberts collection (reference number: R2256-0-3-E; was MG30-D32).
- University of Calgary Library, Special Collections: Poems and letter to Mr. Cooper (reference number: ULM 199-25).
- William Ready Division of Archives and Research Collections, McMaster University Library: Sir Charles George Douglas Roberts Collection.
- University of Victoria Libraries and Special Collections: Audrey Alexandra Brown fonds.
- University of British Columbia Library Special Collections: Audrey Brown fonds.
- Victoria University Archives has a biographical file relating to Pelham Edgar, including a copy of Sir Charles G.D. Roberts and His Time, by Pelham Edgar (reprint, University of Toronto Quarterly, 1943).
- Victoria University Archives: Sandra Campbell (fonds 2170).
No further accruals are expected.
Provenance access point: Edgar, Pelham, 1871–1948
Names as subject access point:
Edgar, J.D. (James David), 1841–1899
Edgar, Matilda Ridout, Lady, 1844–1910
Scott, Duncan Campbell, 1862–1947
Brown, Audrey Alexandra, 1904–1998
Roberts, Charles G.D. (Charles George Douglas), Sir, 1860–1943
Related special collections at Victoria University Library
A.J. Bell: The Andrew James Bell Fonds contains correspondence between Pelham Edgar and Charles G.D. Roberts (reference number F02).
The following resources are online: