Inventory of the
Margaret Laurence fonds

Inventory #F0341

The digitization of this finding aid was made possible - in part or entirely - through the Canadian Culture Online Program of Canadian Heritage, the National Archives of Canada and the Canadian Council of Archives.


Fonds/Collection Number:F0341
Title:Margaret Laurence fonds
Extent:12.0 m of textual records
260 photographs and other graphic materials (posters, drawings, etc.)
35 sound recordings
6 moving image recordings
Biographical Sketch/
Administrative History:
Margaret Laurence (1926-1987), writer, was born in Neepawa, Manitoba and educated at United College in Winnipeg, Manitoba (BA 1947). Following her marriage to John Laurence (1947), she lived in Somaliland and the Gold Coast (now Somalia and Ghana), in the 1950s. Laurence returned to Canada in 1957. She moved to England in 1962 and returned to Canada in 1969. In 1974 she settled in Lakefield, Ontario. Laurence served as a writer-in-residence at the University of Toronto in 1969 and was named chancellor of Trent University (Peterborough, Ontario) in 1981. Laurence was a founding member of the Writers Union of Canada, but left the organization in a dispute over its acceptance of money from the Canadian government. Active in peace organizations and intensely interested in women's concerns, Laurence views and works did cause controversy. Her books drew criticism from certain elements in Laurence's adopted community. This group tried to have books removed from the school curriculum because of their alleged pornographic content. Margaret Laurence was the author of five novels, including the Manawaka quartet ('The stone angel,' 'A jest of God,' 'The fire dwellers,' 'The diviners,'), short stories, essays, travel memoirs and children's books. She was named a Companion of the Order of Canada (1971) and was awarded the Molson Prize in 1975.
Scope and Content:

The fonds consists of Margaret Laurence's records pertaining to her activities as a writer and to her personal life. The fonds includes correspondence, financial records, manuscripts, printed material, personal files, graphic materials, sound recordings and moving image records.

Restrictions on
Access and Use:
Researchers wishing access to the Margaret Laurence fonds must sign the Access and Use Agreement form before access is granted.
Finding Aid: File lists for series level descriptions available.
URL of Finding Aid:
Accruals: The fonds comprises the following accessions: 1980-001, 1982-002, 1984-004, 1986-006, 1989-039. No further accruals are expected.
Related Records: Small collection of items from Laurence's personal library available in York's Special Collections, under call number "MLL".
Associated Material: There are related groups of records in the McClelland & Stewart archives held at McMaster University Library (see:, and a selection of Laurence's personal library held at Trent University's Special Collections (see:
Immediate source of acquisition: Acquired from Margaret Laurence and her family on various dates between 1980 and 1989.
Provenance Access Points:Laurence, Margaret, 1926-1987.

Date of creation: 2002/04/05
Date of last revision: 2013/06/27
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