A descriptive Inventory of the Wilfred Watson Fonds


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A Descriptive Inventory of the Wilfred Watson Fonds

Accession Number: 91-117 & 95-131

Lynn McPherson

Spring, 2002

Wilfred Watson Fonds

This guide was prepared with financial assistance from the Archives Society of Alberta, Access to Holdings grant. The University Archives gratefully acknowledges the assistance of this grant. Without it, these important records could not have been made accessible to researchers and the public.

Spring, 2002

Wilfred Watson Fonds


A Descriptive Inventory of the Wilfred Watson Fonds 1





1. Journals and Notebooks 17

1.1 1945-1960 17

1.2 Cockcrow and the Gulls Notebooks 23

1.3 1961-1965 25

1.4 1966-1970 35

1.5 1971-1975 41

1.6 1976-1980 48

1.7 1981-1985 51

1.8 1986-1990's 64

1.9 Appointment Calendars/Daily Diaries 67

2. Literary Drafts/Writings 73

2.1Poetry: Notebooks/Manuscripts 73

2.2Plays 136

2.3Short Stories/Novel 148

2.4Essays 151

2.5Books 152

2.6Miscellaneous Manuscript Papers/Notes 159

2.7Publications 166

3. Sketches/Artwork 174

4. Correspondence 178

4.1Wilfred Watson to Sheila Watson 178

4.2Sheila Watson to Wilfred Watson 185

4.3Wilfred Watson's Parents 186

4.4Correspondence - Others 187

4.5Correspondence-Miscellaneous 222

5. Student Records 229

6. Reference Material/Material from Other Sources 233

7. Personal Papers 240

7.1Financial and Miscellaneous 240

7.2Promotional Items - Wilfred Watson's Works 241

8. Audio-Visual Records 246

8.1Sound Recordings 246

8.2Photographs 247

Index 255

Wilfred Watson Fonds


The University of Alberta Archives was established in 1968 at the recommendation of the President’s Standing Committee on Archives and Documents. Its primary mandate is to acquire, maintain, and preserve the records of the University, in any medium, which contain continuing administrative, legal, and historical value. The Archives constitutes the official “memory” of the University and represents the accumulated experience of our educational community. In addition to these official records, the University Archives also contain the private papers of the University staff whose subjects of research and teaching encompass the world.

Wilfred Watson Fonds


The Wilfred Watson fonds consist of the personal records of Wilfred Watson, a noted poet, playwright, and faculty member of the Department of English at the University of Alberta. Included with the records are Watson's rich and creatively detailed notebooks and journals, numerous drafts of his poetry, plays, stories, essays and novels, as well as detailed correspondence files, reference files, and photographs and sound recordings.

SOURCE: Wilfred Watson's records were received at the University of Alberta in three separate accessions over a period of eight years. The first set of papers came from materials left with Professor Diane Bessai in 1980 when Watson moved from Edmonton to Nanaimo; the second donation was made directly to the Archives from

Wilfred Watson; and the third donation of papers were sent from Shirley Neuman after Professor Watson's death in 1998. Shirley Neuman, Wilfred Watson's literary executor, oversaw the original listing, description, and transfer of the Watson records to the University of Alberta Archives.

ARRANGEMENT NOTE: The Wilfred Watson records were transferred as three separate deposits to the University of Alberta Archives. Each transfer of records was accompanied by a detailed file list and description provided by Shirley Neuman, Diane Bessai and others contracted to complete the listing. The individuals who worked on the listing were all very familiar with Dr. Watson's work, and were able to fill in information gaps with names, titles, and approximate dates. In this current finding-aid, the three accessions were pulled together physically and intellectually, but with the original listings and descriptions retained. The result is that the Watson fonds is described with two accession numbers, and arranged in eight series; many of these series reflecting the original order imposed by Dr. Watson and his literary executor on his records.
The records are in excellent physical shape and provide a very complete picture of the creative processes involved in one individual's writing and teaching career.
RELATED ACCESSIONS: Researchers may wish to consult Studio Theatre (University of Alberta) records for further information about the Watson plays that were produced and performed at Studio Theatre. As well, records from the Faculty of Arts, Department of English might be consulted for the years Professor Watson was a faculty member (1951-1976). Issues of White Pelican, the literary magazine Wilfred Watson helped establish, are located in the Archives (84-13), along with copies of some of his books (See 69-56, 76-5)

ACCESS: The terms under which the records were deposited require those who wish to consult the records receive permission from Shirley Neuman, Dr. Watson's literary executor for his estate. These restrictions apply until the year 2010.

EXTENT: 10.60 m of textual records and other material.
DATE RANGE: 1946-1998
Includes ca. 10.60 m of textual records, 7 sound recordings, 4 video cassettes, .20 m of art work, and 356 photographic items

Wilfred Watson Fonds

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