Fonds F0341 - Margaret Laurence fonds

Correspondence Financial records Printed material Manuscripts Graphic materials Sound recordings Moving image records Personal files

Title and statement of responsibility area

Title proper

Margaret Laurence fonds

General material designation

Parallel title

Other title information

Title statements of responsibility

Title notes

Level of description


Reference code


Edition statement

Edition statement of responsibility

Statement of scale (cartographic)

Statement of projection (cartographic)

Statement of coordinates (cartographic)

Statement of scale (architectural)

Issuing jurisdiction and denomination (philatelic)

Dates of creation area


Physical description area

Physical description

10.24 m of textual records
260 photographs
29 drawings
4 postcards
2 audio reels
2 posters
5 audio discs
28 audio cassettes
3 film reels : col. ; 16 mm
1 Super 8 film cartridge
2 videocassettes : VHS

Title proper of publisher's series

Parallel titles of publisher's series

Other title information of publisher's series

Statement of responsibility relating to publisher's series

Numbering within publisher's series

Note on publisher's series

Archival description area

Name of creator


Biographical 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.

Custodial history

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.

Notes area

Physical condition

Immediate source of acquisition

Acquired from Margaret Laurence and her family on various dates between 1980 and 1989.


Language of material

Script of material

Location of originals

Availability of other formats

Restrictions on access

Researchers wishing access to the Margaret Laurence fonds must sign the Access and Use Agreement form before access is granted.

Terms governing use, reproduction, and publication

Finding aids

Temporary inventory of materials available as pdf linked to this description.

Generated finding aid

Associated materials

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: ).

A small collection of items from Laurence's personal library available in York's Special Collections, under call number "MLL"*&submit=Find&type=CallNumber.


The fonds comprises the following accessions: 1980-001, 1982-002, 1984-004, 1986-006, 1989-039. No further accruals are expected.

Alternative identifier(s)

Standard number area

Standard number

Access points

Subject access points

Place access points

Name access points

Genre access points

Control area



Level of detail


Dates of creation, revision and deletion

2002/04/05 Jizi Chen:. Word Perfect (Creation)
2002/04/05 Awaiting review by the Data Collection Archivist
2003/04/30 Shannon MacDonald. Added URL for online finding aid. Updated wording in accruals. Deleted note re: source of supplied title.
2003/12/11 Ken Hernden. Updated accruals note.
2013/06/27 Anna St.Onge. Updated reference to Special Collection held at Trent University:
2014/10/10 Anna St.Onge. Linked in scanned copy of all inventories as temporary solution prior to full migration of finding aid to AtoM.
2019/03/29 J. Grant. Removed legacy finding aid. Added series descriptions and file lists for each series. Updated fonds-level physical extent.
2020/03/26 KCP, N. Somerset. Added subject access point.

Language of description

  • English


Accession area

Related people and organizations

Related places

Related genres