Edwin John Pratt

Fonds number:
20
Title: Edwin John Pratt
Dates of Material:
1903-2000
Extent:
1.69 m of textual records
114 photographs: b&w
17 photographs: col.
10 photographs: sepia
53 photographs: 35 mm b&w negatives
14 photographs: 4x5 inch b&w negatives
1 photograph: 12 x 9.5 cm b&w negative
6 photographs: 35 mm col. negatives
6 photographs: 35 mm col. slides
3 pencil drawings
4 ink drawings
6 printed drawings
1 painting
23 artefacts
21 reels of microfilm
3 sheets of microfiche
25 audio cassettes
28 audio reels
40 audio discs
Introduction to the Collection

The collection contains manuscripts and published works by E.J. Pratt, as well as notebooks, drafts of poems, lecture notes, correspondence, critical works and theses, photographs and memorabilia. Also contains personal material including degrees, medals, artwork, and programs and invitations for various events.

Canadian poet and Professor of English at Victoria University, Pratt was a founder and the first editor (1936–1943) of Canadian Poetry Magazine, on the Editorial Board, Saturday Night, member of the Canadian Authors’ Association and the Arts and Letters Club. He won the Governor-General’s medal for The Fable of the Goats and Other Poems (1937), Brébeuf and His Brethren (1940), and Towards the Last Spike (1952); the Lorne Pierce Gold Medal for distinguished services to Canadian literature; the Canada Council medal for distinction in literature (1961); and many more.

Accessing the Collection

There are two ways to access parts of the collection:

Guide to the E.J. Pratt Papers:
A detailed finding aid to the papers in the collection. The finding aid has six series. For material relating to Viola Whitney Pratt, see the Viola Whitney Pratt Fonds. For material relating to Claire Pratt, see the Claire Pratt Fonds.

University of Toronto Catalogue:
For catalogued items in the E.J. Pratt and general collections at Victoria University Library.

Biographical sketch

Edwin John Dove Pratt (1882–1964) was an academic and a poet. He was born in Western Bay, Newfoundland, the son of Reverend John Pratt and Fanny Pitts Knight. He married Viola Leone Whitney on August 20, 1918 and they had a daughter, Mildred Claire, born in 1921. He died in Toronto, Ontario on April 26, 1964.

Pratt was educated at St. John’s Methodist College (1888–1901) with a three-year interruption. He received a B.A. in 1911 at Victoria College, University of Toronto, an M.A. at the University of Toronto, and a B.D. at Victoria University in 1913. He was ordained as a minister in 1913. He received a Ph.D. at the University of Toronto in 1917.

Pratt was an Assistant Minister at various churches in Streetsville, Ontario (1913–20). He was Demonstrator-Lecturer in Psychology at the University of Toronto (1913–20), joined the faculty of the Department of English at Victoria College in 1920, and was promoted to Professor (1930), Senior Professor (1938), and Professor Emeritus (1953). He was appointed Visiting Professor, summer sessions, at Dalhousie University in Halifax, Queen’s University in Kingston, and the University of British Columbia in Vancouver. He served as Literary Adviser to the Editorial Board of Acta Victoriana and was the founder and first editor (1936–43) of The Canadian Poetry Magazine.

Pratt was a member of the Royal Society of Canada, the Editorial Board of Saturday Night, the Canadian Authors’ Association, the Empire Club of Canada and the Arts and Letters Club. He received several awards, including a Governor General’s Award in 1937, 1940 and 1952, the Canada Council Award in 1957, the Civic Award of Merit from the City of Toronto in 1959, and the Canada Council Medal for distinction in literature in 1961. In 1946, he was made a Companion of the Order of St. Michael and St. George by King George VI.

Pratt’s publications include: Rachel: A Sea Story of Newfoundland in Verse (1917), Newfoundland Verse (1923), The Witches’ Brew (1926), Titans (1926), The Iron Door: An Ode (1927), The Roosevelt and the Antinoe (1930), Many Moods (1932), The Titanic (1935), The Fable of the Goats and Other Poems (1937), Brébeuf and his Brethren (1940), Dunkirk (1941), Still Life and Other Verse (1943), They are Returning (1945), Behind the Log (1947), Ten Selected Poems (1947), Towards the Last Spike (1952), and Here the Tide Flows (1962).

Custodial history

The custodial history of E.J. Pratt’s records acquired from the Provincial Archives of British Columbia, from Margaret (Peggy) Brown, from Concordia University, and from other unknown sources.

Scope and content

The fonds consists of E.J. Pratt’s records pertaining to his activities as a teacher, minister and poet. The fonds contains six series.

E.J. Pratt’s records include correspondence, including correspondence with his wife, Viola Pratt (1917–55), his daughter, Claire Pratt (1933–59), Pelham Edgar (1929?), Edward Killoran Brown (1938–51); literary notes; (drafts of) titled and untitled (annotated) poems and related notes and correspondence; drama; radio broadcasts and related material; articles; addresses; lectures; essays; reviews of Pratt’s work; his thesis, The Demonology of the New Testament in its Relation to Earlier Developments, and to the Mind of Christ (1912); course outlines; personal material including degrees, photographs and medals; material about Pratt including correspondence, articles, tributes, theses, and poems; and other material including illustrations by Eric Arthur for The Iron Door and by F.H. Varley for Newfoundland Verse, sound recordings and phonodiscs.

NOTE(S)
Source of supplied title

Title based on contents of the fonds.

Immediate source of acquisition

E.J. Pratt material acquired from E.J. Pratt in 1946–47; from Viola Pratt in 1964, 1967–68, 1978, 1980–82; from Claire Pratt in 1979; from the Provincial Archives of British Columbia in 1979; from Margaret (Peggy) Brown in 1980; from Concordia University in 1980; from an unknown source in 1988; and from various donors at unknown dates.

Language of material

English

Access restrictions

Restrictions on access: Some restrictions on access. See file lists for individual restrictions.

Terms governing use and reproduction

Individual files are governed by terms of use and reproduction. Individual audio cassettes cannot be published without the permission of the speakers and of Ottawa University. See file list Series 6.

Part of the material (Box 1–10) is available on microfilm (in Box 30), which researchers are requested to use unless an enquiry can be satisfied only by consulting original documents. For further information contact the Chief Librarian. See also the file list.

Finding aids

File list available at series level

Accruals

No further accruals are expected.

Related material

University of Calgary Library, Special Collections: Letter to Miss Urquhart (reference: ULM 199-26). Biographical material relating to E.J. Pratt (correspondence, photocopied; article, reprinted; clippings) is held at Victoria University Archives.

Access points

Provenance access point:
Pratt, E.J. (Edwin John), 1882–1964
Pratt, Viola Whitney, 1892–1984
Pratt, Mildred Claire, 1921–1995

Extent

The fonds is stored in 36 boxes.

Location of originals

Individual files contain photocopies of originals. For location of originals see description in file lists.

General notes

The material in Box 1–10 is available on microfilm (in Box 30).

Box 37-38 are stored separately from the rest of the fonds. They can be found in the “pamphlets” collection of the Library.

Related special collections at Victoria University Library

Viola Whitney Pratt fonds contains documents on her husband, Edwin John Pratt

Mildred Claire Pratt fonds contains documents on her parents, Edwin John Pratt and Viola Leone Whitney, which she inherited after their deaths.

Related resources
  • Legend:
  • Pratt logo Available at E.J. Pratt Library
  • Emmanuel logo Available at Emmanuel Library
  • UofT logo UofT members only

“A Poet and a Legend”
An article on E.J. Pratt authored by Northrop Frye and published in Vic Report in 1979.

The Complete Poems and Letters of E.J. Pratt: A Hypertext Edition from Trent University

E.J. Pratt from the Canadian Poetry Online

E.J. Pratt from the Literature Resource Center UofT logo
Contains biographies, literary criticism, overviews and bibliographies of E.J. Pratt and his work.

The Poetry of E.J. Pratt
An online exhibit featuring Victoria University Library’s E.J. Pratt Archives. Curator Linda White, of Archeion (Ontario’s Archival Information Network), has created a series of archival exhibits drawn from Ontario archival collections on “Canadian Identity through Artistic Expression.”

Poet E.J. Pratt on Turning 75 from CBC Archives.

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