Title and statement of responsibility area
William Messenger fonds
General material designation
- Textual record
- Photographic material
Other title information
Title statements of responsibility
- Source of title proper: The title is based on the contents of the fonds.
Level of description
Edition statement of responsibility
Class of material specific details area
Statement of scale (cartographic)
Statement of projection (cartographic)
Statement of coordinates (cartographic)
Statement of scale (architectural)
Issuing jurisdiction and denomination (philatelic)
Dates of creation area
- Messenger, William
Physical description area
4.95 m of textual records
46 photographs : prints and negatives
4 game boards
Publisher's series area
Title proper of publisher's series
Parallel titles of publisher's series
Other title information of publisher's series
Statement of responsibility relating to publisher's series
Numbering within publisher's series
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Archival description area
Name of creator
William (Bill) Edmund Messenger was a professor of English at UBC from 1966 to 1988. He was born in Independence, Missouri, in February 1931 to Edmund Earl Messenger and Inga Therese Messenger (née Enger). He attended elementary schools in Kansas City, Missouri; Kansas City, Kansas; Merriam, Kansas; and Everett, Washington. He spent two years at Everett Junior College and majored in Architectural Engineering. From there, he began working at the Boeing Aircraft Company in Seattle. While working at Boeing, he entered the United States Air Force, where he learned and taught electronics for four years. After leaving the Air Force, he went back to Boeing.
In 1955, Messenger entered the University of Washington Seattle and completed a BA in English in 1956. In September 1957, he began graduate work at Cornell University as a National Woodrow Wilson Fellow and continued on a Cornell University Junior Graduate Fellowship in 1958 and 1959. At Cornell, Messenger met Ann Parshall, who was also a student of English. After graduation, he taught at Bucknell University in Lewisburg, Pennsylvania. In 1960, Bill and Ann were married in Ann's hometown Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. In the early 1960s, Messenger began post-graduate studies at the University of California, Berkeley. In 1968, Messenger received his doctorate from Berkley and became an Assistant Professor at UBC in 1969, moving to Associate Professor in 1982. His areas of particular interest were nineteenth and twentieth-century British and American fiction and the works of writer Joseph Conrad.
William Messenger co-authored and co-edited several works during his career at UBC, including The Canadian Writers Handbook (1980, 1986, and 1995), Active Voice (1980, 1996, 1991), Literature in English (1993), and Elements of Writing: A Process Rhetoric for Canadian Students (1984). Messenger was also active in the academic literary community. He served as the Canadian National Editor for the editorial board of the international scholarly journal Conradiana from 1969 to 1980, contributed several papers and reviews on the topics of Conrad and Melville for various other academic literary journals, and was a member of numerous professional and learned societies. Messenger's pursuits included creating games and word puzzles, and he contributed a regular puzzle column called Triple Ploy to Western Living Magazine in the 1970s and 1980s. Messenger also enjoyed cooking and gardening and produced two works of fiction: a sea-themed novel entitled The Last Horizon and a murder mystery called A Necessary End that he co-wrote with Ann Parshall Messenger under the pseudonym Edmond Carey; both of which remained unpublished.
In 1988, Messenger retired and spent the next eight years caring for his wife. Ann Parshall Messenger died in Vancouver, Canada, in February 1996 of cancer. After his wife's death, William Messenger donated part of his collection of books to the University of British Columbia and Simon Fraser University Libraries. He also provided endowments to UBC for the Ann and William Messenger Fellowship in Graduate Education and the Ann and William Messenger Graduate Fellowship. On June 15, 2003, William Messenger died in Vancouver, Canada, from pneumonia and complications related to Alzheimer's Disease.
Scope and content
The fonds consists of correspondence, revisions, drafts, notes, theses materials, reviews, photographs and negatives pertaining to Messengers personal life, education, career, research and personal interests and the various publications that he was associated with. The fonds also includes game boards, notes, drafts and original word puzzles. Finally, the fonds contains the Ann Parshall Messenger sous-fonds.
Immediate source of acquisition
Accruals transferred to the University Archives by William New in 2003 and from Messenger estate after his death.
Language of material
Script of material
Location of originals
One of the board games is located in the vault in cabinet 2, drawer 15.
Availability of other formats
Photos are available through UBC Library Open Collections series UBC 73.1
Restrictions on access
Terms governing use, reproduction, and publication
Online Finding Aid
Please see the finding aid for an inventory of files.
Uploaded finding aid
Standard number area
Subject access points
Place access points
Name access points
- Messenger, Ann (Subject)
- New, William Herbert (Subject)
- University of British Columbia. Dept. of English (Subject)