Mildred Claire Pratt

Fonds number:
Title: Mildred Claire Pratt
Dates of Material:
4.8 m of textual records
124 photographs: b&w
120 photographs: col.
13 photographs: sepia
31 photographs: 35 mm col. negatives
32 photographs: col. slides
29 photographs: various sized b&w negatives
9 albums (252 photographs: b&w; 207 photographs: col.; 2 photographs: 4 x 6 cm col. negatives; 7 prints; ca. 5735 postage stamps; 7 postcards)
30 postcards
ca. 236 drawings/sketches (pencil, ink, paint, and other mediums)
ca. 1779 engravings/etchings/prints (metal, woodcut, and linocut prints)
19 sketchbooks
27 woodblocks and engraved metal plates
18 lithographs
1 linocut
56 paintings
2 medals
5 audio cassettes
2 aluminum plates
2 photographs : negatives
Biographical sketch

Mildred Claire Pratt (1921–1995) was an artist, poet and editor. She was born in Toronto on March 18, 1921, the only child of Edwin John Pratt and Viola Leone Whitney Pratt. At the age of 4, Claire contracted polio and subsequently developed osteomyelitis, an inflammatory disease of the bone that afflicted her for the rest of her life. She died in Toronto, Ontario on April 5, 1995.

Pratt majored in English and Philosophy at Victoria College, University of Toronto and upon graduation in 1944 was awarded a gold medal in Philosophy. She then enrolled at Columbia University, New York City, to pursue graduate work in International Studies. When Pratt returned to Toronto she established Claire Pratt Book Service, a personal advisory and purchasing agency, from 1946 to 1950. Between 1952 and 1954, she worked for Harvard University Press as an editor. From 1956 to 1965, she was Senior Editor for McClelland and Stewart. In 1965, ill health forced her to retire but she continued doing free-lance work for Oxford University Press, McClelland and Stewart, Press Porcepic, and Consolidated Amethyst.

She also studied art at the Doon School of Art, Toronto and at the Boston Museum of Fine Art. She preferred working with woodcuts and her work was exhibited at shows across Canada and Europe. Later, she began writing poetry, and her poems were published in various poetry magazines in Canada and the United States. In 1965, she published Haiku. Her interest in genealogy was responsible for her travels to England, Newfoundland, and New Zealand, and in 1971, she published Silent Ancestors. Her other published works include Music of Oberon (1975) and Black Heather (1980). Near the end of her life she completed work on editing her mother’s writings, Viola Whitney Pratt: Papers and Speeches (1990) and Viola Pratt: A Testament of Love (1990), a diary her mother kept of Claire’s life. Pratt belonged to several organizations, including: Amnesty International, World Federalists, and the Professional Booksellers Association where she held the position of President from 1957 to 1958.

Custodial history

The fonds contains documents related to Claire Pratt’s father and mother, which she inherited after their deaths, and were donated with her collection. 

The fonds contains Viola Whitney Pratt's journals, including some donated by Dr. Elizabeth Popham, Emeritus Professor at Trent University in 2016, after completing the last volume of the Collected Works of E.J. Pratt. Viola established the publishing project in 1978, and either Viola or Claire had given the journals to previous editors of the project, possibly Sandra Djwa or Lila Laakso, and they passed the journals down to Dr. Popham.

Scope and content

The fonds consists of records associated with Claire Pratt’s career as writer and artist, in addition to family records.

The fonds consists of the following four series:

Source of supplied title

Title based on contents of the fonds.

Immediate source of acquisition

Acquired from Claire Pratt in 1994. In 1995, the Estate of Claire Pratt donated 6 woodcut prints to the Library. Correspondence between Claire Pratt and Delza Longman were given to the Alumni Office by Delza Longman and were transferred in 2008. In 2016, Dr. Elizabeth Popham, Emeritus Professor at Trent University donated journals belonging to Viola Pratt after completing the last volume of the Collected Works of E.J. Pratt (Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 2017).

The aluminum printing plates and accompanying negatives in Accession 2020.04 were acquired from Hugh Anson-Cartwright in 2020.

Language of material


Access restrictions

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

Finding aids

Box/file list available.


No further accruals are expected.

Related material

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

Access points

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




The fonds is stored in 49 boxes.

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