Fonds UBCA-ARC-1079 - Ruth Humphrey fonds

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Ruth Humphrey fonds

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27 cm of textual records

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Biographical history

Helen Ruth Humphrey was Associate Professor Emerita and taught English at U.B.C. from 1945 to 1963. She was born in Hampton, New Brunswick and took an Honours B.A. in English Language and Literature at Oxford in 1926. She then taught at Victoria College from 1927 to 1945. Humphrey was a long-standing friend of B.C. artist Emily Carr whom she met when she was teaching at Victoria College, and Carr was a struggling artist. She was apparently among the first friends who discovered the potential of Emily Carr's writing and encouraged her when she began her second career as a writer after ill-health prevented her from going into the forest, travelling with her van, or sketching at summer cottages. There is also some evidence that she assisted Carr with her early short stories. Humphrey received an honorary doctorate from Mount Allison University in 1977, recognizing her services to Canadian literature and teaching. She died on October 21st, 1984.

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Fonds consists of assorted materials relating to Emily Carr, and Ruth Humphrey's friendship with her. They include forty-seven letters from Carr, dating from the period 1937-1944 when Humphrey was travelling. The fonds also includes Humphrey's own transcripts and notes on the Carr correspondence; manuscripts written by Carr; copies of works by other authors on Carr; correspondence regarding the publication of the Carr correspondence in the University of Toronto Quarterly; and other Carr memorabilia collected by Humphrey.

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Acquired as a bequest following Ruth Humphrey's death.


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General note

The Carr correspondence was ultimately published, with annotations by Ruth Humphrey, in the University of Toronto Quarterly, Vol. 419, No. 2 (Winter 1972), in honour of the centenary of Carr's birth.

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