Marjorie Pickthall

Fonds number:
Title: Marjorie Pickthall
Dates of Material:
50 cm of textual records
40 photographs: b&w
3 paintings (1 oil painting, 2 water colours)
43 ink drawings
Biographical sketch

Marjorie Lowry Christie Pickthall (1883–1922) was a librarian, a writer and a poet. She was born in Gunnersby, Middlesex, England, the daughter of Arthur C. Pickthall and Helen Mallard. She died in Vancouver, British Columbia, following an operation.

She moved with her family to Southwater, Sussex, then to Toronto, Ontario in 1889. She was educated at St. Mildred’s College and Bishop Strachan School. She sold her first story, “Two-Ears” to The Globe (a Toronto newspaper) while still a student at Bishop Strachan School. She was employed as an assistant librarian at Victoria University Library, Toronto, from 1910 to 1912 and her writing was published in several periodicals during that time, including Acta Victoriana, a student literary journal at Victoria College. 

Pickthall moved to England in 1912 and lived near Salisbury until 1919. She participated in World War I as an ambulance driver, a farm labourer and a library clerk. She wrote many short stories and poems during this period. After the war she returned to Toronto, then moved to Vancouver, where she continued to write.

Pickthall published over two hundred short stories and approximately one hundred poems along with numerous articles in journals such as Atlantic Monthly, Harper’s, and Scribner’s. She also contributed to young people’s magazines. Her publications include: The Drift of Pinions (1913), Lamp of Poor Souls and Other Poems (1916), Little Hearts (1916), The Bridge: A Story of the Great Lakes (1922), The Woodcarver’s Wife and Other Poems (1922), Angels’ Shoes: And Other Stories (1923), Little Songs: A Book of Poems (1925), and The Complete Poems of Marjorie Pickthall (1927).

She is buried at the St. James Cemetery in Toronto.

Custodial history

The custodial history is unknown.

Scope and content

The fonds consists of Marjorie Pickthall’s records pertaining to her activities as a poet, writer, and librarian. The fonds includes correspondence, including correspondence with Helena Coleman (1908–22), and Pelham Edgar (1903–04); manuscripts including (annotated) poems, short stories and articles; personal material including photographs; artistic material by Pickthall including paintings and drawings; and other material.

Source of supplied title

Title based on contents of the fonds.


The fonds is stored in 4 boxes.

Immediate source of acquisition

Much of the fonds was acquired from Helena Coleman, Pelham Edgar, Lorne Pierce, Nina Gale and other persons at unknown dates. An essay by Dorothy Elizabeth Toye Long was acquired from D. Toye in 1964. A selection of drawings, letters and poems by Pickthall were removed from the manuscript collection of Helena Coleman and presented to Victoria University Library by May Glen in 1954. A book and some photographs were acquired from Mary M. Glen in 1969. Framed photographs were acquired from Lorne Pierce. Some photographs were acquired from Dr. G.I. Evans through Mrs. G.C. Andrew in 1981.

Language of material


Access restrictions

Restrictions on access: No restrictions on access.

Terms governing use and reproduction

Part of the fonds is available on microfilm which researchers are requested to use unless an enquiry can be satisfied only by consulting original documents. For further information contact the Chief Librarian.

Finding aids

File list available.


No further accruals are expected.

Access points

Provenance access point: Pickthall, Marjorie L.C. (Marjorie Lowry Christie), 1883–1922

Related material

Walter Jackson McCrea fonds at McMaster University Library Archives and Special collections include correspondence with Pickthall.

University of Calgary Library Special Collections contains a letter from Pickthall to the editor of the Canadian Courier, dated May 6, 1909.

Marjorie Pickthall Collection and Wallace Family fonds, part of the University of Victoria Libraries Special Collections, includes correspondence and copies of poems.

Related resources

Logan, J.D. Marjorie Pickthall: Her Poetic Genius and Art: An Appreciation and an Analysis of Aesthetic Paradox. Halifax, Canada: T.C. Allen, 1922

Pierce, Lorne. Marjorie Pickthall: A Book of Remembrance. Toronto: Ryerson Press, 1925.

Pierce, Lorne. Marjorie Pickthall: A Memorial Address Given at Victoria University, Toronto, April 7, 1943, in Commemoration of the Twenty-First Anniversary of the Poet's Death. Toronto: Ryerson Press, 1943.

Toye, Dorothy E. “The Poetry of Marjorie Pickthall.” Acta Victoriana, vol. 47, no. 4, 1923, pp. 15–18; 22.

The Gerritsen Collection: Women’s History Online, 1543–1945 contains poetry by Marjorie Pickthall as well as articles about her work, which were published in journals.

A Celebration of Women Writers, edited by Mary Mark Ockerbloom and hosted by the University of Pennsylvania, includes links to numerous well-known poems and plays composed by Pickthall, including The Wooodcarver's Wife and The Drift of Pinions

The Internet Archive includes The Complete Poems of Marjorie Pickthall as well as poetic and literary criticism of her work. 

Related exhibitions at Victoria University Library
Related special collections at Victoria University Library

Canadiana includes the first editions of Pickthall’s books. 

Her correspondence is also included in the Helena Coleman and Pelham Edgar collections.