Heather Robertson:

An Inventory of Heather Robertson's Records at the University of Manitoba Archives & Special Collections

Inventory prepared by Chantel Banman
University of Manitoba Archives & Special Collections
Dafoe Library, University of Manitoba
(August 2014)

Finding aid encoded by Chantel Banman (August 2014)
Finding aid written in English.

Collection Summary

University of Manitoba Archives & Special Collections
Dafoe Library, University of Manitoba

Heather Robertson

Heather Robertson fonds


1 Map Folder in Map Cabinet

2 Folders in Small Collections

MSS SC 77, PC 7 (A12-133)


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Biography of Heather Robertson

Heather Robertson was born in Winnipeg in 1942. She received a B.A. (Honours) in English from the University of Manitoba in 1962. Robertson displayed a penchant for invoking controversy during her term as Editor of the University's student newspaper, The Manitoban. A column criticizing Bison football resulted in her being hung in effigy. She was awarded a Woodrow Wilson Fellowship and studied Victorian Literature at Columbia University in New York, where she received an M.A. in English. Returning to Winnipeg, Robertson began a journalism career at the Winnipeg Free Press. She was quickly hired away by the Winnipeg Tribune, where she worked for two years. Robertson received $3000 to pursue her research on Aboriginal Peoples. The resulting volumnious study became the foundation for her first book, Reservations are for Indians, published in1970. Three years later she wrote Grass Roots, with Salt of the Earth appearing the following year. In 1975 Robertson profiled Barbara Frum and Judy Lamarsh in the book Her Own Women . Two years later she wrote A Terrible Beauty: The Art of Canada at War . In 1981, she chronicled the life of the infamous Winnpeg bank robber, Ken Leishman, in the screenplay The Flying Bandit. Robertson's literary career took a new direction in 1983 with the publishing of Willie, A Romance. The book marked the author's initial attempt at fiction, and she garnered a best first novel award, Books in Canada. The intimate look at the life of Prime Minister Mackenzie King was further developed in Lily, A Rhapsody in Red, published in 1986, and Igor, published in 1989. Robertson has published a number of other works of non-fiction. A Gentleman Adventurer: The Arctic Diaries of R.H.G. Bonnycastle , appeared in 1985. The bestseller More Than a Rose was released in 1991, followed by On The Hill (1992). Robertson also wrote Meeting Death (2000), The Road Well Kept: Branksome Hall Celebrates 100 Years (2001) and Driving Force: The McLaughlin Family and the Age of the Car (2003). In 2003, Robertson edited the autobiography of Angus Shortt, entitled My Life With Birds. Robertson's most recent book, which she co-wrote with Melinda McCracken, is Magical, Mysterious Lake of the Woods (2003). It received the Fred Landon award for the best work on Ontario regional history in 2004. Like most Canadian writers, Robertson has held a host of other jobs to supplement her literary career. She has worked for the CBC and writtne columns for Macleans, Chatelaine, Saturday Night, Canadian Forum, and Equinox. Robertson passed away on her 72nd Birthday, March 19, 2014.

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Scope and Contents of the Collection

The fonds contains literary manuscripts of most of her books, personal and professional correspondence, material pertaining to both her literary and academic careers, 1000+ photographs, 33 audio-cassettes, 1 videocassette, and 3 computer diskettes. The 2012 accession of the fonds consists of legal documents and correspondence relating to the Robertson v. Thomson Corp. class action lawsuit, as well as awards, portraits and other corresondence.

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Arrangement of the Papers

This collection is arranged in one series

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Restrictions on Access

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Restrictions on Use

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Related Materials

MSS 77, PC 7, TC 67 (A.03-90); MSS 77, PC 7, TC 67 (A.05-17); Unprocessed records (A.00-19)

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Custodial History

The fonds was donated to University of Manitoba Archives & Special Collections by Heather Robertson in several accessions between 1979 and 2012

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Other Finding Aids

On-line and printed finding aids exist for MSS 77, PC 7, TC 67 (A.03-90) and MSS 77, PC 7, TC 67 (A.05-17).

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Detailed Description of the Collection

A12-133 Accession [ 1977-2012 ]

11 Correspondence & Review of "A Terrible Beauty" 1977-2012
2 Periodical on Heather Robertson & National Magazine Awards Booklet 2011-2012
3 Awards and Portraits [2010-2012]

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