Fonds RBSC-ARC-1257 - Irene Howard fonds

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Irene Howard fonds

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  • Source of title proper: Title based on the provenance of the fonds.

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  • 1892 - 2011, predominate 1967 - 2008 (Creation)

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Physical description

1.59 m of textual and other materials

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Archival description area

Name of creator

(1922 -)

Biographical history

Irene Howard is a freelance writer, researcher, broadcaster, literary agent and teacher of English literature. She was born in Prince Rupert, B.C. on November 19, 1922 to a Swedish father and Norwegian mother, and has lived most of her life in British Columbia. She obtained a permanent teaching certificate from the University of Victoria in 1943 and graduated from the University of British Columbia in 1948. She went back to UBC in 1964 and obtained her MA in English, specializing in medieval literature. She taught at the elementary school, college and university levels from 1941-1983. She was a full-time lecturer at UBC from 1964-1965, a full-time instructor at Vancouver City College in 1971, and a full-time instructor at Capilano College from 1977-1983.

Howard's interest in her Swedish heritage led her to write her first book, Vancouver's Svenskar: A History of the Swedish Community in Vancouver published by the Vancouver Historical Society in 1970. She published several articles on the life and work of Vancouver writer Ethel Wilson (1888-1980). She researched and wrote an article about the Branvolds, "The Brandvolts of Diamond Head," who developed the Diamond Head area of Garibaldi Mountain in the 1940s and 1950s. She had a great interest in aural history research, and taped interviews of members and survivors of Vancouver's turn-of-the-century "high society" families which culminated in an article called "High Tea: Society in the Old West End." In 1992, she wrote a biography of social reformer Helena Gutteridge, the first woman elected to Vancouver City Council in 1912. Howard was also the literary agent and editor for Ronald Liversedge and worked on his unpublished manuscript, A Memoir of the Spanish Civil War. She went on to publish other books, such as one on Bowen Island in 1973 and one based on her family history called Gold Dust on His Shirt.

Irene Howard is also a member of several organizations, such as the Vancouver International Folkdancers, and was a candidate agent for the B.C. New Democratic Party in 1996. Her interests included issues relating to the Royal Commission on the Status of Women, nuclear disarmament, the peace movement and the Vancouver West End Tenant Association.

Custodial history

Scope and content

The Irene Howard fonds consists of general correspondence and materials related to Howard's personal interests and associations, and materials relating to her work as researcher, literary agent and writer. The fonds is divided into eight series: Association involvement and general interest; Interview recordings; Photographs and maps; "Monday Morning" magazine issues; Literary activities; NDP campaigns materials; Materials related to Ronald Liversedge; and Gold dust on his shirt publication records. The Gold dust series is further subdivided into Publication records and Research records.

The fonds includes research notes, notebooks, file cards, photocopied materials from various sources, correspondence (with publishers, research subjects, colleagues, librarians and archivists), drafts of Howard's books and essays, biographical materials, newsletters, magazines, newspaper clippings, articles, pamphlets, brochures, photographs and cassette tapes.

Notes area

Physical condition

Immediate source of acquisition

Material was first transferred by Irene Howard on October 5, 1984 and officially gifted in January 6, 1986. Subsequent accruals were added in 2006 and in 2012.


The RAD-compliant description was prepared by Sergey Kovynev, Lisa Snider and Lindsay Szymanski in December, 2009 based on the existing arrangement. The finding aid was updated to include the records donated in the 2012 accrual by Katie Sloan in June, 2015.

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Language and script note

The majority of materials are in English, with some Swedish and Norwegian research materials present.

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Availability of other formats

Restrictions on access

One file in this fonds contains personal information and is thus restricted. To see this file, or for more information, please contact the Archivist.

Terms governing use, reproduction, and publication

Literary rights are held by Irene Howard and her estate.

Finding aids

A file list is available as a supplement to this description.

Generated finding aid

Associated materials

International Order of Good Templars fonds (donated in part by Irene Howard) and Ethel Wilson fonds, both in UBC RBSC.

Related materials


Further accruals are not expected.

General note

Books and publications from Irene Howard’s personal library have been added to the general book collection at Rare Books and Special Collections.

Physical description

Fonds includes 63 photographs, 18 sound recordings, 9 CD ROMs, 4 maps on illustration boards, 1 microfilm reel, and 1 floppy disk

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