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Fonds Level Description

Accession Number: 82-010


Mary S. Edgar fonds. -- Photocopied 1982. -- 15 cm of textual records.

Biography / History

Mary Susanne Edgar was born on May 23, 1889, the daughter of Joseph Edgar and Mary Little, in Sundridge, Ontario. She was educated at the Sundridge Public School and the Barrie High School. Later she studied at Havergal Ladies College, Toronto, and took extension courses at the University of Chicago. She also took lectures at the Teachers' College, Columbia University, and graduated from the National Training School of the Young Women's Christian Association, New York City, in 1915. From 1912 to 1914, Mary Edgar was engaged in First National Girls' Work, Y.W.C.A., in Canada. From 1915 to 1919 she was Girls' Work secretary in Montreal, and Director of Camp Oolahwan in the Laurentians. In 1920, she spent four months in Japan doing volunteer work for the Y.W.C.A. In the same year, Mary Edgar purchased a large property on Lake Bernard, where she developed as a girls' camp, near her hometown of Sundridge. The camp, Glen Bernard Camp, was opened in the summer of 1922 with thirty-eight campers. Ms. Edgar was the Camp's Director, a position which she held until her retirement in 1956. Mary Edgar devoted much of her life to work in the field of camping and girls' work. Beside working with the Y.W.C.A., Mary also worked with the Canadian Girls in Training (C.G.I.T.), the Girl Guides of Canada, the Canadian Camping Association, and the Ontario Camping Association. Mary Edgar is the author of several books including "Wood-fire and Candlelight" (Toronto, 1945), "Under Open Skies (Toronto, 1956), "The Christmas Wreath of Verse" (Toronto, 1967), and "Once there was a Camper" (Toronto, 1970). She also wrote a number of one act plays and hymns. Her best known hymn is "God Who Touchest Earth with Beauty" which has been placed into hymnals around the world and has been translated into several languages, including Cree. Mary S. Edgar died at Toronto on September 17, 1973. (Taken from the finding aid for the Edgar Papers at Queen's University Archives.)

Custodial History

The original fonds was donated to the Queen's University Archives. The typescripts of "Under open skies : Excerpts from chapel talks and poems" and several poems were donated directly by Mary Edgar. The bulk of the collection was donated by John Gilchrist, Mary Edgar's nephew, and his wife to the Trent University Archives.

Scope and Content

The fonds consists of a selection of photocopies of records from the Mary S. Edgar Papers from Queen's University Archives. Included are: correspondence, diaries, and biographical notes. The records deal primarily with Mary Edgar's involvement in organized children's camping at her Camp Glen Bernard, near Sundridge, Ontario. The records range from 1920 to 1970.


Title based on the creator of the fonds.

The photocopies of the Mary Edgar Papers from Queen's University Archives were purchased with funds from the Ebbs Archives Fund.

The original items in the fonds are located at Queen's University Archives.

Restrictions: N

Finding aids: Y

Associated materials are located at Queen's University Archives.

For related records see: 72-007, 78-006, 82-009, 84-019, 85-011, 86-018, 88-006, 89-015, 92-005, 93-021 (all Ontario Camping Association fonds), 78-004, 82-012, 85-014, 86-022, 88-007, 92-004, 93-022 (all Canadian Camping Association fonds) and 82-015 (R.H. Perry fonds).

Finding Aid

Box 1


1: Correspondence A, folders 1 to 4

2: Correspondence B, folders 1 and 3

3: Correspondence B, folder 4

4: Diaries, folder 2

5: Biographical Notes, folder 1

6: Biographical Notes, folder 2

7: Biographical Notes, folder 4

8: Subject Files, folder 6

9: Subject Files, folder 7

10: Subject Files, folder 8

11: Addresses etc., folder 5