Frederick Philip Grove fonds

Call Number: Mss 2, Pc 2, Mf 2, Mf 3 (A.78-54)

Title: Frederick Philip Grove fonds.

Dates: 1913-1979.

Extent: 3.6 m of textual records. -- 165 photographs. -- 14 microfilm reels.

Biographical sketch: Frederick Philip Grove arrived in Manitoba in September 1912. Although he kept his prior life very much a secret, he was born in 1879 as Felix Paul Greve in Radomno, a small Prussian town on the post-World War I German-Polish border.  Greve grew up in Hamburg where he graduated from the famous humanistic Gymnasium Johanneum in 1898 and then studied classical philology at Bonn University. In late July 1909, he faked his suicide and immigrated to North America, taking second class passage on the White Star Liner "Megantic" from Liverpool to Montreal. The three years spent in the United States are described in ASA, 1927, except that Grove fails to mention the year he operated a small farm in Sparta, Kentucky, with Else Freytag-Loringhoven who had joined him in Pittsburgh in 1910. In Canada, he was a teacher/principal in a variety of rural schools, including Rapid City where he lived for seven years before moving to Ottawa in 1929. There, he joined Graphic Publishers until 1931, when he settled on an estate in Simcoe, Ontario. Grove wrote and his wife Catherine Wiens opened a Froebel Kindergarten. Grove suffered a crippling stroke in 1944 and although he continued to write, his health deteriorated. He died on August 19, 1948. 

During his Manitoba years (1919-1929), Grove published twelve books, including Over Prairie Trails (1922), The Turn of the Year (1923), Settlers of the Marsh (1925), A Search for America (ASA, 1927, eEd. 2000), Our Daily Bread (1928) and It Needs to be Said (1929). He also wrote many short stories, reviews, essays and articles, and a very large number of poems (publ. 1993, eEd. 2007). In Ontario, several more books were published, starting with The Yoke of Life (1930). Fruits of the Earth (1933), Master of the Mill (1944), and his official autobiography In Search of Myself (ISM, 1946, eEd. 2007) followed. His "ant-book", the Swiftian satire Consider Her Ways (1947), was published as a fragment. Many more unfinished typescripts are among his papers.  Grove was endebted to Stefan George's "Mache" or way of crafting for all his poetry, and to Flaubert's symbolic realism for his prose works. He is a key figure in Canadian literary history and is known for his vivid descriptions of life on the prairies which often tended to be dark and difficult.

Custodial history: The initial instalment of the fonds was acquired from Mrs. Catherine Grove in 1962.  A second acquisition was obtained from the Grove family in 1964.  The Grove library was donated by his son Leonard Grove (1930-2006) in 1991.

Scope and content: The fonds consists of correspondence, manuscript copybooks related to Frederick Philip Grove's published and unpublished novels, short stories, articles and poems, news clippings, financial documents, biographical material, and photographs. Clippings and financial documents are in chronological order. Most of the material is original, some, such as Greve's poems Wanderungen of 1902, are photocopied from originals held in Germany and elsewhere, like at Queen's University or the University of Toronto. A few published short stories, essays and articles are copied from magazines or newspapers, however, many are extant in original typescripts. Tales From the Margin were posthumously published by Desmond Pacey in 1971, as were Grove's and some of Greve's Letters in 1976. An edition of FPG's poetry appeared in December 1993, and, with partial support of the FPG & FrL Endowment (est. 1996), several e-Editions have been made available on a dedicated webpage since 1996. By 1994, the ca. 500 titles in Grove's private library were fully described, and most of Greve's translations had been acquired for the Rare Book Room.

Restrictions: Some restrictions on copying and/or publishing may apply.

Accruals: Additional acquisitions pending (particularly, in contingent research collections about FPG & Freytag-Loringhoven).

Finding aid: A printed finding aid is available in the Archives reading room and an on-line finding aid is available at the link below:

MSS 2, PC 2, MF 2, MF 3 (A.78-54).


Digitized Material

Frederick Philip Grove/Felix Paul Greve & Baroness Else von Freytag-Loringhoven Image Gallery

Prairie Immigration Experience