Fonds UBCA-ARC-1296 - William Herbert New fonds

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William Herbert New fonds

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35.88 m of textual records and other materials.

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Name of creator


Biographical history

William Herbert (Bill) New was born in Vancouver, 28 March 1938. He enrolled at the University of British Columbia in 1956. Over the next five years, he completed the Secondary Teacher Training program, earning his teaching certificate and specializing in Geography and English. After graduating with his B.Ed. Degree (with the Maxwell Cameron Medal) in 1961, he won a scholarship to enter the MA program in English; there, he began his studies of Canadian writing and the politics of the region and literary form in earnest. In 1963, with the MA complete, he won the IODE international scholarship to pursue further education at the University of Leeds. Specializing in the literature of the Commonwealth, he completed a dissertation on the modern Bildungsroman as a social paradigm, receiving his Ph.D. in 1966. In 1965 New joined the UBC English Department to establish a program in Commonwealth Literature. In 1966, he became assistant editor of Canadian Literature, working with George Woodcock and Donald Stephens. In 1977, New became editor of the journal, which he held for 17 years. Frequently called upon as a manuscript reader and external examiner, he is recognized internationally for his innovative scholarship, critical writing, and development of reference materials, all of which has provided students of Canadian and Postcolonial culture with enhanced access to materials and has transformed how these pieces of literature are now studied and understood. By the year 2000, he had published several hundred articles and over 40 books, which range from several pedagogically effective and widely-used anthologies to six volumes of Dictionary of Literary Biography, from studies of Lowry and Laurence to studies of Mansfield and Munro, from an original rethinking of the history of literature in Canada to comparative studies of the social consequences of literary form, from analysis of the short story genre and of Canadian negotiations between landscape and power to books of poetry for both adults and children. Several of his books have been translated, and he has taught or lectured in the United States, Scotland, France, Germany, Italy, Spain, New Zealand, Australia, China, Finland and Norway. New has received many honours and awards, including the Killam Research and Teaching Prize (1988, 1996), the Gabrielle Roy Award (1988), Jacob Biely Prize (1995), the Association of Canadian Studies Award of Merit (2000), the Confederation of University Faculty Associations of BC. Career Achievement Award (2001) and a VP Research Award in 2002. In 2002 New was named a University Killam Professor. He had also held several distinguished lectureships and was elected to the Royal Society of Canada in 1986. Before he retired from UBC in 2003, New was active in University administration, serving as Assistant Dean of Graduate Studies at UBC (1975-1977), as acting head of the English Department, and on numerous university, national and international committees dealing with a variety of issues. He has also served on numerous award adjudication committees.

Custodial history

Scope and content

The fonds consists of records which document William New's publications, lectures, and other activities between 1947 and 2018. Most of the series are based on published works written or edited by New. The remaining records relate to other projects, prizes, awards, papers, conferences, correspondence, or professional interests. Collectively, these records reflect New's various roles as professor, public speaker, editor, author, and poet.

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Physical condition

Immediate source of acquisition

Fonds acquired from the creator in several accessions, the most recent in 2023.


Fonds was intellectually re-arranged in July 2017. Written and edited works were consolidated into one of five new series based on New’s groupings of his writing and material: criticism and history, children’s books, poetry, unpublished works, and editions and anthologies. Previously, each work was its own series.

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Location of originals

The 8" floppy discs and the CDs are currently filed with the textual records. The remainder of the digital media is in the Archives Vault. Unfortunately, only some digital media have access copies; this backlog is still being processed. Please ask archives staff for an update. UBC Archives currently does not have the hardware to access 8" floppy discs or zip discs.

Availability of other formats

Selected photographs have been digitized and included in UBC Library's Open Collections series UBC 60.1

Restrictions on access

Terms governing use, reproduction, and publication

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

Finding aids

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Further accruals are expected.

Physical description

Includes: 223 photographs (prints and negatives, b&w and colour), 2 negative sheets, 4 5¼" floppy discs, 11 8" floppy discs, 1 zip disc and 7 3 ½" floppy discs, 1 CD (photographs), 2 CD-DA (audio), 1 audio cassette, and ephemera. File list available.

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