Fonds UBCA-ARC-1319 - Frances Marr Adaskin fonds

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Frances Marr Adaskin fonds

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  • Sound recording

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14 cm of textual records
3 audio recordings

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Biographical history

Born in 1900 at Ridgetown, Ontario, to Dr. Del and Eunice Marr, Frances was the eldest of three siblings. Although the family was shaken by the death of her younger brother Charles at the age of three, and despite an early problem with stuttering, Frances Marr remained an optimistic person, devoted to her father and fascinated with the piano. Frances began playing the piano at an early age under the tutelage of Whitney Scherer. Later she would study with Thomas Martin at Alma College in St. Thomas. Eventually, Frances moved to Toronto to study at the Conservatory of Music under Paul Wells. Although she felt her study under Wells was unproductive, it was at this time that she had the opportunity to play her first professional accompanist engagement. At this engagement, she met her future husband, Harry Adaskin, whom she would marry in 1926. Initially, Frances would accompany her new husband and his band, the Hart House String Quartet, on their many tours throughout North America and Europe. In 1938, Harry Adaskin quit the quartet. He and Frances began to tour, with Frances' piano the sole accompaniment to Harry's violin. During this period, she would strike out on her own, appearing in the ensemble music and comedy act "The Town Tonics." In 1946 the couple and Harry's younger half-brother Gordon, whom the couple raised as a son, moved to Vancouver. Harry was offered a job with the new Music Department at The University of British Columbia. Frances was to accompany him to every class until his retirement in 1973. Interestingly, Frances Adaskin played her first solo recital at 75 and continued to play until shortly before her 90th birthday.
Frances Adaskin's accomplishments in music are many. However, she was an entertaining writer writing humorous anecdotes and stories. Many of which were published by Saturday Night Magazine in the 1940s. She also wrote her memoirs, entitled Fran's Scrapbook: A Talking Dream, in book form, which, as of 2002, remains unpublished. However, the crowning achievement of a lifetime of artistic achievement occurred in 1976 when Frances was awarded the Order of Canada. Frances Adaskin died in 2001.

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The fonds consists of material arranged in three series: 1) Reviews, programmes, and correspondence concerning the career of Frances Adaskin; 2) Assorted writing by Frances Adaskin; and 3) Audio Tapes.

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Related materials can be found in the Harry Adaskin and Gordon Adaskin fonds.

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Researchers are strongly advised to check with the University Archives regarding permission to publish or otherwise use materials from this fonds.

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