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Fonds Level Description

Accession Number: 87-002


Gordon Roper fonds. -- 1948-1984. -- 30.5 cm of textual records.

Biography / History

Gordon Herbert Roper was born in Brantford, Ontario in 1911. He married Helen Caddy and they had two children, Susan and Mark. Professor Roper was educated at Peterborough Collegiate Institute; George Williams College in Chicago and the University of Chicago (B.A. 1938, M.A. 1939 and Ph.D. 1944). He served in the Canadian Army from 1944 to 1946. Professor Roper taught English at Yale University from 1939 to 1940; at the University of Chicago from 1941 to 1944 and in 1946; at Trinity College at the University of Toronto from 1946 to 1969 and at Trent University from 1969 to 1975. He has researched and written extensively on a number of English Literature subjects including Herman Melville, Mark Twain, Nathaniel Hawthorne and Robertson Davies. Roper was a founding member of the Melville Society and an advisor to the Centre for the Editing of Early Canadian Texts. He was a key figure in the building of the Shell Collection of Canadian Literature for Bata Library at Trent University.

Custodial History

This fonds was created by and in the custody of Gordon Roper before it was donated to the Trent University Archives.

Scope and Content

This fonds consists of clippings, correspondence and notes mostly concerning Robertson Davies. Materials include taped interview transcripts of Davies and Roper.


Title based on creator of fonds.

This fonds was donated by Gordon Roper.

Restrictions: N

Finding aids: Y

Additions to the fonds include 95-015.

Finding Aid

Box 1


1: 1948 Clippings: Premiere of "Fortune, My Foe"

2: 1950 At My Heart's Core clippings and notes

3: 1951 "The Theatre" and essay for the Royal Commission on Arts, Letters and Sciences (and notes)

4: 1951 Letter from Robertson Davies to Gordon Roper regarding Moby Dick article

5: 1952 "A Mosque for Aesop" clippings

6: 1952 "Tempest-Tost" reviews and notes

7: 1953 "King Phoenix" script and notes

8: 1954 "The Double Life of Robertson Davies" article and notes

9: 1954 "Ajig For the Gypsy" notes and clipping

10: 1955 "Hunting Stuart" playscript

11: 1959 "General Confession" playscript

12: 1960 "Love and Libel" notes and clipping

13: 1960 Biographical sketch for the Lorne Pierce medal

14: 1960 Trinity College correspondence

15: 1961 Massey College appointment

16: 1962 Clippings

17: 1962 "Literature and Medicine" reprint

18: 1963 1963 Clippings

19: 1963 Peterborough Examiner special issue

20: 1964 Clippings; reprint on Garrick's letters; program on Confederation Centre

21: 1965 Clippings and "A Theatrical Trip for a Wager"

22: 1966 clippings

23: 1966 "The Theory and Theatre of the Abound" by R.B. Parker

24: 1967 Vincent Massey clippings

25: 1967 Senator Davies will and estate, clippings

26: 1967 Peterborough Examiner special issue

27: Marchbanks Almanac, notes

28: 1967 clippings

29: 1967 Scenario for Centennial spectacle

30: 1968 clippings

31: 1969 clippings

32: 1969 "Leacock the Humorist" and notes

33: 1970 clippings and "The Heart of a Merry Christmas"

34: 1970 "The Fifth Business" outline and notes

35: 1971 clippings

36: 1972 clippings

37: 1972 Roper's article on "Fifth Business and Jung" Journal of Canadian Fiction

38: 1972 Correspondence re introduction to book of 3 plays

39: 1973 "Jung and the Theatre" text of speech

40: 1973 Leaven of Malice clippings for 1973 and 1975

41: 1973 clippings

42: 1974 convocation address at Trent University

43: 1974 Notes on CBC play

44: 1974 clippings

45: 1975 Penman interview with Robertson Davies for Sunday supplement

46: 1975 clippings especially on World of Wonders

47: 1975 Peterborough letter found (hoax)

48: 1975 "Canadian Nationalism in Arts and Science" article by Robertson Davies

49: 1976 clippings

50: 1977 clippings

51: 1977 Notes on CBC broadcast

52: 1977 "A Davies Log" annotated

53: 1977 "The All-Hallows Horrors" a ghost story by Robertson Davies

54: 1978 "Delusions of Literacy" speech

55: 1978 clippings especially regarding "One-half of Robertson Davies"

56: 1979 "Robertson Davies and Fifth Business" revised article by Gordon Roper

57: 1979 "Shamanstvo" speech by Robertson Davies

58: 1979 clippings especially on Fifth Business and World of Wonders

59: 1980 Notes on North Toronto lecture

60: 1980 "A Return to Rhetoric" lecture by Robertson Davies

61: 1980 Speech at the opening of the new Peterborough Public Library

62: 1980 clippings, mostly book reviews

63: 1981 clippings

64: 1981 "Masque of Honor" program and clipping

65: 1982 clippings including Galbraith on Robertson Davies

66: 1984 clippings

67: Play reviews and programs

68: Notes on Robertson Davies as reviewer

69: Notes on Diary of Samuel Marchbanks

70: Notes on Table Talk of Samuel Marchbanks

71: Further notes on Diary and Table Talk

72: Notes on a "Writer's Diary"

73: Notes on A Voice From the Attic

74: Notes on Samuel Marchbanks Almanac

75: book dust jackets

76: Tayne's World Author Series correspondence

77: table of contents for proposed book

78: Bibliography for proposed book

79: Notes on items to be checked

80: background materials for book

81: Robertson Davies' assumptions, values and general definitions (notes)

82: interview tape transcripts, Gordon Roper and Robertson Davies

83: Gordon Roper's early draft of parts of book and associated notes