Fonds 11.001 - Walter Swayze fonds

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Walter Swayze fonds

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CA UWA 11.001

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23.5 m of textual records and graphic materials

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Biographical history

Walter Eugene Swayze was born in Toronto, Ontario, Canada in 1922. He entered the University of Toronto in 1940 and graduated with a BAH in English in 1944. During 1944-1945, he served a tour with the Canadian Royal Navy as a telegraphist; and in 1945-1946, he taught through a Fellowship at University College in Toronto. During the summer of 1946 he was a part of the United College summer school staff, Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada, after which he went to Yale University for graduate studies.

He received his MA from Yale in 1948, and married Margaret Hobbs in the same year. He received his PhD in 1951. He then moved to Williamsburg, Virgina for a teaching post at the College of William and Mary until 1953. In 1953 he was appointed Professor and Head of the Department of English at United College. He retired as Professor in 1987, and was awarded an Honourary Fellowship of United College in 1988. After his retirement until his passing in 2014, he continued to speak and write among the University of Winnipeg community.

During his academic career at United College and University of Winnipeg, he was also active on several committees, the Senate, and as a thesis advisor. He was also a foundational contributor to the Canadian Association of University Teachers, the Association of Canadian University Teachers of English, and many other professional organizations.

Custodial history

Fonds was donated to the University of Winnipeg Archives in 2011, prior to which they were in the custody of the Swayze family.

Scope and content

The fonds reflects Dr. Swayze’s long career as a writer and professor in the field of English literature, and an active contributor to academic associations and communities. Dr. Swayze studied and taught at several different institutions across Canada and USA; the records of these activities date from his undergraduate degree to well after his retirement as a professor. They include correspondence with colleagues, editors, and publishers; drafts of his papers, speeches, and articles, as well as published copies of some of his works; minutes and reports; research materials, including newspaper clippings and articles; some photographs; and ephemera from the various institutions with which he was affiliated. A large part of Dr. Swayze’s academic career was devoted to the study of the English poet, Sir William Watson. The fonds includes not only Dr. Swayze’s own research and writing on that topic, but also a quantity of original records and archival reproductions that he collected as part of his research dating from the late 19th and early 20th century. These materials mainly consist of Sir Watson’s correspondence, but include also poetry, music, photographs, and legal or financial documents.
The fonds is divided into five series that reflect different aspects of his research and career. The first series contains records related to Margaret Laurence, a colleague and personal friend of Dr. Swayze. The second, and largest, series is devoted to Sir William Watson, and contains Dr. Swayze’s research that began during his PhD in 1948 and continued throughout his academic career, as well as the materials from Sir Watson himself dating back to the late 19th century. The third series contains records from his professional career more generally: from his time as a student and a professor at several different institutions, and an active writer and member of professional organizations; it also contains some personal records and correspondence. The fourth series contains records generated during his tenure at United College and the University of Winnipeg that relate directly to that institution. The fifth and final series concerns the Crowe Affair, a controversial legal case at United College in which a professor was dismissed over a letter he wrote to a colleague; and also the Canadian Association of University Teachers that became involved in the dispute, of which Dr. Swayze was a formative member.

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Within the series, records are arranged mostly according to their original order and do not follow any chronological or topical sorting. The series all overlap somewhat in content, however they were based on separations present in the acquisition from Dr. Swayze and constitute original order.

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4 September 2015 - Daniel Matthes

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