Viola Leone Whitney Pratt

Fonds number:
Title: Viola Leone Whitney Pratt
Dates of Material:
28.2 cm of textual records
13 photographs: b&w
2 photographs: col.
4 photographs: sepia
9 stamp albums
2 artefacts
16 audio cassettes
5 audioreels
Biographical sketch

Viola Leone Whitney (1892–1984) was a writer and editor of the magazine World Friends. She was born in Atherley, Ontario, the daughter of a farmer and a teacher. She married Edwin John Dove Pratt on August 20, 1918, and they had a daughter, Mildred Claire, born in 1921. She died in Toronto, Ontario on September 6, 1984.

Pratt completed Grade 8 at the age of 11, and began attending Orillia Collegiate (1903-1908), where she received Junior Matric at age 14 and Senior Matric at age 15. As she was too young to enter university, she stayed at home and studied music. After half a year of music study she tired of it and applied for a teaching job at Zephyr, which she got and taught the second term. She entered Victoria College, University of Toronto in 1909, and graduated in 1913 with a first in three honours courses: English and History, Modern Romance Languages, and Modern Teutonic Languages. She then attended Ontario College of Education (1913-1914) and taught High School in Amherstburg, Renfrew, and St. Mary's.

In 1929, she was a founding member and editor of World Friends, a magazine for children published monthly by the Woman's Missionary Society of the United Church of Canada, and retired from the magazine in 1955. In the 1930's she was President of the Canadian Authors' Association. She was President of the University Women's Club; founding member of the Margaret Nice Ornithological Club; member of: Victoria Women's Association, Helconian Club, White Cross Guild at the Toronto Psychiatric Hospital, and Amnesty International. From the 1930's on, Pratt addressed various groups such as university women's groups, church groups, and book clubs. She accompanied her husband, E.J. Pratt, as research assistant on his trip to British Columbia for preparation of Towards the Last Spike. Pratt read to blind students at University during and after the Second World War. She also wrote book reviews for the Globe and Mail. In 1956, Pratt was awarded a honorary degree of Doctor of Sacred Letters from Victoria University and published two books: Famous Doctors and Journeying with the Year.

Scope and content

Viola Pratt’s records include correspondence, photographs, sound recordings and other material.

It also consists of Viola Pratt’s records pertaining to her personal life.

Series consists of Viola Pratt's correspondence with friends and colleagues including Margaret (Peggy) Brown, Hugh Eayrs, and classmates from Victoria University; colleagues of E.J. Pratt such as David G. Pitt, Leonard W. Brockington, and Desmond Pacey; and E.J. Pratt researchers including Brother Conrad, Sister Helen Mahoney, and Sandra Djwa.

Series consists of Viola Pratt's personal files including photographs, collected materials related to her interests and activities, collected materials related to E.J. Pratt's writings, awards and degrees conferred on Viola, and bird stamp and poetry albums.

Series consists of articles, drama, and book reviews written by Viola Pratt. Also includes literary materials received including, Ibsen by Gilbert Norwood.

Source of supplied title

Title based on contents of the fonds.

Immediate source of acquisition

Material relating to Viola Whitney Pratt acquired from Viola Whitney Pratt estate in 1985 and 1986.

Material acquired from her daughter, Claire Pratt, includes correspondence.

Language of material


Access restrictions

Restrictions on access: No restrictions on access.

Finding aids

File list available at series level

Related material

Other material relating to Viola Whitney Pratt can be found in the E.J. Pratt and Mildred Claire Pratt fonds.


No further accruals are expected.

Access points

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


The series is stored in 5 boxes.

Related special collections at Victoria University Library

E.J Pratt

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

Related resources

Remembering Viola Pratt
An eulogy written by Lila Laakso, Viola Pratt’s friend and a former librarian at E.J. Pratt Library.

“The Spirit of Victoria Past, Present, and Future: Writer Viola Pratt and Actress Jane Mallett Recall How Victoria Gave Them Their Start”
An article on Viola Pratt’s years as an undergraduate student at Victoria University. It was published in the Vic Report in 1984.

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