Terrence Ryan:

An Inventory of his papers at the University of Manitoba Archives & Special Collections

Inventory prepared by Lewis St. George Stubbs
University of Manitoba Archives & Special Collections
331 Elizabeth Dafoe Library

Finding aid encoded by Lewis St. George Stubbs (2016)
Finding aid written in English.

Collection Summary

University of Manitoba Archives & Special Collections
331 Elizabeth Dafoe Archives

Terrence Ryan

Terrence Ryan fonds


.625 m. of textual & photographic records

MSS 442, A2015-59


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Biography of Terrence Ryan

Terrence Ryan was born on December 18, 1933 in Toronto, Ontario. He graduated from the Ontario College of Art in 1954. In 1956 Ryan first traveled to the Arctic, working as a meteorologist in Clyde River, Nunavut before settling in Cape Dorset, Nunavut in 1960 where he began working for the West Baffin Eskimo Co-operative (or WBEC, now the Kinngait Studios). Hired as a temporary art advisor to James Houston, he became general manager shortly thereafter and held that position until 2000. The co-operative functions to assist Inuit artists both to develop and sell their art. In Cape Dorset, Ryan was a jack of all trades: arts advisor, justice of the peace, coroner and occasional ‘powder monkey’, blasting overburden to expose stone for sculpture. He was also the first non-Inuk ever to be hired by an Inuit-owned association.

Ryan brought to his work his own sensibility as an artist, deep pragmatism, an innovative spirit and a great love and respect for the North and its people. In 1964, he made an arduous four-month dogsled trip to Clyde River, Arctic Bay, Pond Inlet and Igloolik collecting 1,863 pencil and pen drawings by 159 Inuit, ages seven to 72, living in and around the area. The drawing are now in the collection of the Canadian Museum of History, Ottawa. During his time at the WBEC, Ryan sourced stone carvings, developed a fine arts program for the community, particularly the production of Cape Dorset's annual print collection and helped organize community visits on behalf of travelling artists to the north for the benefit of Cape Dorset printmakers, carvers, and other artists and craft makers. Visiting artists included Michael Snow, Joyce Wieland, Les Levine, Toni Onley, and William Kurelek, to name a few.

Ryan developed a successful network of domestic and international art dealers for Inuit art from Cape Dorset, including the Dorset Fine Arts marketing and distribution centre in Toronto, from which he retired in 2008. Countries as diverse as Greenland, India, and Africa sought his advice to help them develop the fine art of their indigenous peoples.

Ryan was appointed to the Order of Canada in 1983 in recognition of his outstanding work in helping to start the WEBC, and for his efforts to both encourage and market Inuit art. He was made and Honorary Fellow of the Ontario College of Art and Design in 1995. In 2010, Ryan was awarded the Governor General's Award for Visual Arts - Outstanding Contribution, for his contributions to Canadian Art through the WEBC.

Terry Ryan married Patricia Tymchuk on January 29, 1966, they had three children together: Michael, Peter, and Patricia. The couple later divorced. Ryan married Leslie Boyd in 1992. They had one daughter together: Kate. Terry Ryan currently resides in Toronto, Ontario.

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Scope and Contents of the Collection

The fonds consists of five series. They include: biographical information, personal correspondence & Justice of the Peace material, Western Baffin Eskimo Co-operative origins, general correspondence, research material & photograph collection including 326 photographs, 134 negatives & 29 Contact sheets.

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Restrictions on Access

Some files have been marked confidential. Copyright will apply to photographs.

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Restrictions on Use

Some files have been marked confidential. Copyright will apply to photographs.

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Custodial History

The fonds were donated by Terrence Ryan in 2015.

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Detailed Description of the Collection


11 Ryan biographical information 1954-1997
2 Jim Houston correspondence 1950-2005
3 Ryan personal correspondence 1956-2001
4 Ryan draft article re: early years in Cape Dorset 1958-2002 ca.2001
5 Ryan's application to the University of Alaska 1959
6 William Kurelick correspondence 1967-1968
7C Justice of the Peace files 1961-1979
8C Justice of the Peace files 1978-1984
9 Ryan correspondence Re: Transitioning out of Cape Dorset 1964-1977
10 Ryan's personal correspondence 1966-1975
11 Cape Dorset letters apologizing to Ryan for painting on his house 1989

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112 WBEC financial records pre-incorporation 1941-1960
13 WBEC correspondence including an article by George Swinton 1953-1996
21 WBEC correspondence 1961-1966
2 Co-operative Association Ordinance of Incorporation 1961
3 Eskimoo Art Committee minutes 1961-1963
4 WBEC financial reports 1962-1969
5 First Conference of the Arctic Co-operatives - Frobisher Bay, NWT 1963

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26 Clyde River, NWT. correspondence 1921-1984
7 Cape Dorset Arts & Crafts Project 1956-1960
8 Cape Dorset card producing 1957-1961
9 Correspondence 1958-1990
10 Cape Dorset correspondence 1958-1999
11 Correspondence 1959-1975
12 Cape Dorset material used in Stratford Festival - correspondence & articles 1959-1960
13 Dept. of Northern Affairs & Natural Resources carvings correspondence 1959-1960
31 Correspondence 1959-1973
2 Cooks\Bakery Project 1960
3 Correspondence 1960
4 Dept. of Northern Affairs & Natural Resources correspondence 1961-1966
5 Correspondence 1961-1976
6 Notebook of Art & Scultures shipped from Cape Dorset 1964
7 Correspondence 1968-1981
8 Dept. of Indian Affairs & Northern Development 1970-1971
9 Ramapo College, New Jersey correspondence 1976-1977
10 Report on Collection & Drawings at Cape Dorset - re: conservation & preservation ca.1978
11 Jean Blodgett correspondence 1980-1985
12C Inroduction to Inuit Art - preliminary prospectus for CBC radio series 1981
13 John Reeves correspondence - re: his photos 1982
14C May, Pearson & Associates correspondence with WBEC 1974-1975
15 Correspondence - Re: down cleaning machine 1982
16 Correspondence 1985-1986

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41 Material marked Archive 1956-1991
2 Cape Dorset Art Sketches 1960
3 Dorset art history 1960-1977
4 Scrapbook of articles about Cape Dorset & Inuit Art 1961
5 Notes on Eskimo Art & Cape Corset - Alma Houston 1972
6 Newspaper articles about Inuit Art 1976-1990
7 The Beaver Magazine - Cover Pannirtung prints 1978
8 Contract "Cape Dorset The First Twenty-Five Years Prints & Sculptures" - Metheun Publications 1983
9 Biographical sketches of Inut arts & sculptors ca.1980
10 A preliminary assessment of the Mallikjuak Site, Mallik Island, NWT. - Douglas R. Stanton 1984
11 "North Baffin Drawings - Drawing Collected by Terry Ryan on NorthBaffin Island in 1964" - Joan Blodgett manuscript & correspondence 1985
12 Joan Blodgett 2 photos ca. 1959 re: Alma Houston Project 1985
13 List of Cape Dorset Drawing Archive ca.1990
14 Bob Paterson - chronicles of Cape Dorset & correspondence 1971-2008
15 Eulogy of Georges Lorson OMI by Charles Choque OMI 2001

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11 Photographer John Paskievich photos of Inuit Artists attached to cards (56 photos) 1985-1987
2 Paskievich 8 x 10 photographs (45 photos) 1985-1987
3 Cape Dorset (29 contact sheets) ca.1968-1990
4 Photographer Norman Hallenday photos of Cape Dorset artists (15 photos) 1968
5 George Swinton photographs of Cape Dorset artists & sculptors (25 photos) 1970
6 Photographer John Reeves photographs of Cape Dorset artists & carvers (47 photos) 1968-1982
7 Terry Ryan photographs of Cape Dorset (13 photos & 1 sketch) 1970-1980
8 Inuit artists working in studio (8 photos) 2001
9 Cape Dorset artists 1964-1969
21 National Film Board photographs (18 photos) 1961-1968
2 Kenojauk Ashevak - Canadian Walk of Fame (8 photos) 2001
3 Inuit artist photographs (53 photos) 1958-2004
4 129 35 mm negatives & 1 2.5 x 3 negative ca.1980-2000

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