Sheldon Oberman fonds
Call Number: Mss 328, Pc 293, Tc 151, El 23 (A.10-13, A.10-68)

Title: Sheldon Oberman fonds.

Dates: 1965-2007.

Extent: 2.35 m of textual records and other material. 

Biographical sketch: Sheldon Oberman, known as "Obie" to friends and family, was born in Winnipeg, Manitoba in 1949.  Oberman grew up as an only child in the immigrant North End, where he lived with his parents above their clothing store on Main Street.  After graduating from St. John's High School, Oberman took a job as a dish washer and cook on the Canadian Pacific Railway Transcontinental.  During the early seventies, Oberman continued to travel through Canada, as well as to Europe and the Middle East before returning to Winnipeg.  In 1972, Oberman received a Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of Winnipeg and a Certificate of Education from the University of Manitoba in 1974.  Between degrees, Oberman married his first wife, Lee Ann Bloc, with whom he had two children, Adam and Mira.  By 1975, Oberman was working as an English and Drama teacher at Joseph Wolinsky Collegiate, where he continued to work for the next 30 years.  In 1985, Oberman met Lisa Dveris, the woman who was to become his second wife, life partner, and mother to his third child, Jesse.  During his early married and working life, Oberman experimented with writing, attending a creative writing program taught by author W.O. Mitchell at the Banff School of Art.  Throughout his life, Oberman drew creative inspiration from interacting with children, as well as reminiscing on his childhood in the North End.  Besides touring North America as a professional storyteller as well as writing countless short stories, poems, and articles, Oberman wrote lyrics for children’s entertainer Fred Penner.  Five of the albums released by Penner that featured Oberman’s songs received Juno nominations.   Especially well-known for his writing of children’s books, Oberman published 12 in his lifetime, including The Always Prayer Shawl, an award winning story about the inevitability of change and the importance of tradition.  Oberman received many awards and honours for his writing, including a short-listing in 2000 for the Governor General’s Award for The Shaman’s Nephew, which went on to win the Norma Fleck Award.  In the last years of his life, Oberman wrote and published The Island of the Minotaur (2003), a collection of myths about Crete.  Oberman’s final project, a collection of Jewish folktales, has been published posthumously.  Besides writing, Oberman acted and directed in films and plays throughout his lifetime.  In the 1980s, Oberman produced the films Vind Hammen (House of the Wind) and The Amazing Creation of Al Simmons.  These two films are distributed by the Winnipeg Film Group.  A highly diverse individual, Oberman also received a certificate in hypnosis training and created art installations from objects found at local garage sales.  Oberman’s creative spirit knew no bounds.  On March 26, 2004, Oberman died of cancer.

Custodial history: The fonds was donated to University of Manitoba Archives & Special Collections by Lisa Dveris in 2008 and 2010.

Scope and content: The fonds consists of 14 series. They include personal/biographical materials, reviews and publicity, published materials, plays/musicals and songs, film scripts and notes, unpublished materials, correspondence, research materials, business related materials, miscellaneous, teaching materials, photographs and other graphic materials, films, audio tapes and floppy disks.  The photographs and other graphic materials collection consists of 41 colour photographs, 16 negatives, 141 colour slides, 26 illustrations, 7 miscellaneous graphic materials, 24 oversized cell illustrations, 11 video cassettes, 18 tiny trims from the film Vind Hammen, and 156 rolls of film. The recorded music and interviews collection consists of 4 compact discs and 17 audio cassettes. The electronic collection consists of 21 floppy disks.

Source of supplied title: The title is based on the provenance of the fonds.

Restrictions: There are no restrictions on this material.

Accruals: No further accruals are expected.

Finding aid: An online finding aid is available at the link below:

MSS 328, PC 293, TC 151, EL 23 (A.10-13)

MSS 328, PC 293, TC 151, EL 23 (A.10-68).