Fonds UBCA-ARC-1005 - Jane Rule fonds

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Jane Rule fonds

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  • Multiple media

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Physical description

10.85 m of textual records and other material.

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Name of creator


Biographical history

British Columbia author Jane Vance Rule was born in Plainfield, New Jersey, in 1931. She received her BA from Mills College, Oakland, in 1952 and attended University College in London, 1952/53 as an "occasional student." In 1954 Rule taught at Concord Academy, a private school in Massachusetts. There she met Helen Sonthoff, a fellow faculty member who became her life partner. Rule first came to Vancouver in 1956. After writing for two years, she became the first assistant director of the University of British Columbia's newly-established International House in its first year of operation (1958/59). After that, she taught periodically in the English and Creative Writing Departments at UBC. Jane Rule distinguished herself as one of British Columbia's best fiction writers. She also made significant contributions to non-fiction, particularly in writing about homosexuality and women's rights. In 1964, she published Desert of the Heart, a novel centred on a professor of English literature who meets and falls in love with a casino worker in Reno. It received a chilly reception in most quarters. However, it was made into a movie by Donna Deitch called Desert Hearts in 1985 - both the novel and the movie are now considered classics in their genre. In 1976, she moved to Galiano Island and remained there until the end of her life. Rule served on the executive of the Writers' Union of Canada. Open about her sexuality; she was an outspoken advocate of both free speech and gay rights. Rule was inducted into the Order of British Columbia in 1998 and into the Order of Canada in 2007. She died on 28 November 2007 due to complications from liver cancer.

Custodial history

Scope and content

The fonds consists of notes, manuscripts, drafts, galleys, and correspondence relating to Rule's published and unpublished novels and short stories. The fonds also includes biographical and autobiographical material, college papers, teaching records, non- fiction manuscripts, typescript copies of book reviews by Rule, and personal and professional correspondence. Also included are numerous photographs, maintained both singly and in photograph albums, as well as digital images. Rule's collection of
reviews of her work, audio recordings of interviews and readings, her Orders of Canada and B.C. certificates, and the first XTRA! West Jane Rule Memorial Writer of the Year Award are also included.

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Physical condition

Immediate source of acquisition

The materials were donated by Jane Rule and members of her family in several accessions: the first one in 1987, and the most recent in 2016.


Language of material

  • French
  • German

Script of material

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Restrictions on access

Jane Rule's personal correspondence remained restricted until her death in 2007, but is now open.

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Finding aids

Online Finding Aid
Please see finding aid for the file list.

Uploaded finding aid

Associated materials

Associated records may be found in the Helen Sonthoff fonds, the Joan Coldwell fonds, the Ellen Stephen Order of St. Helena fonds, and the Ann Micou fonds.


Physical description

Other material includes 34 audio cassettes, 9087 photographs and memorabilia.

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