Betty Jane Wylie fonds

Call Number: Mss 144, Pc 150, Tc 95, El 29 (A.01-26, A.10-91)

Title: Betty Jane Wylie fonds.

Dates: [ca. 1946]-2000.

Extent: 12.4 m of textual records and other material.

Biographical sketch: Betty Jane Wylie (nee McKenty) was born in Winnipeg, Manitoba in 1931. She attended the University of Manitoba where she earned a B.A. (Hons.) in French and English in 1951. She completed an M.A. in English in 1952, majoring in 20th century poetry, with minors in Anglo-Saxon and Old Norse. Soon after graduation in 1952, Wylie married William Tennant (Bill) Wylie, with whom she eventually had four children. For the first part of their marriage, the Wylies resided in Winnipeg where Bill Wylie was manager of the Manitoba Theatre Centre. They then moved from Winnipeg to Stratford, Ontario in 1968, where Bill Wylie served as administrative director of the Stratford Festival Theatre until his death in 1973. While married, and raising her four children, Wylie found some time to write poetry and plays, but Bill Wylie's sudden and unexpected death in 1973 caused her to take up writing as a career.

While coming to terms with her husband's death, Wylie wrote Beginnings: A Book for Widows (1977), which went through several editions, and has been published in six countries. Since then, Wylie has published books of various types such as children's books, cookbooks, self-help, and other non-fiction books. Over three dozen of her plays have been produced. During the 1989-1990 academic year, Wylie had a fellowship at the Bunting Institute, now part of Harvard University. She was one of only a handful of Canadians ever accepted as a fellow. At the Bunting Institute, Wylie began work on her book about women's diaries, Reading Between the Lines, by taking a Harvard seminar for fourteen invited participants on diaries. Her Bunting symposium took the form of a play about Alice James, performed twice unofficially in Boston and in Cambridge, and published by Playwright's Press as "A Native of the James Family". 

Wylie has also been involved in radio and television productions, including a television movie called Coming of Age that aired on TMN (1994) and Global (1995), and won two Gemini Awards. She won the University of Manitoba Alumni Association's Alumni Jubilee Award in 1989. In 2003 she was the recipient of a D. Litt  from the University of Manitoba and was named a member of the Order of Canada.

Custodial history: The fonds was donated to University of Manitoba Archives & Special Collections by Betty Jane Wylie in 2001 & 2010.

Scope and content: The fonds consists of material relating to Betty Jane Wylie's writing career including notes, manuscripts, correspondence, drafts, and published copies of many of her works. It also contains speeches, material relating to Wylie's activities in professional associations, and reviews and press coverage of her work.  PC 150 consists of 12 videocassettes of recorded performances of Wylie's works as well as interviews with the author. The tape collection (TC 95) consists of 1 compact disc, 12 audio-cassettes, 1 audio reel, and 1 phonograph.

The second accrual (A.10-91) consists of  12 series. They include: biographical information & awards; play, opera, television & film scripts; writing; organizations; diaries - Bunting Institute; correspondence; day planners & journals; books; ephemera; photographs (21 photos) & videocassettes (7); tapes (11 & 1 CD); electronic records (2 discs).

Source of supplied title: Title based on provenance of fonds.

Restrictions: There are no restrictions on this material.

Accruals: Further accruals are expected.

Finding aid: Printed finding aids are available in the Archives reading room and on-line finding aids are available at the links below:

MSS 144, PC 150, TC 95 (A.01-26)

MSS 144, PC 150, TC 95 EL 29 (A.10-91)