Description & Finding Aid: Thoreau MacDonald - Art Gallery of Ontario

Description & Finding Aid: Thoreau MacDonald - Art Gallery of Ontario

E.P. Taylor Research Library & Archives Description & Finding Aid: Thoreau MacDonald Collection CA OTAG SC104 Amy Marshall Furness Gary Fitzgibbon, 2...

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E.P. Taylor Research Library & Archives

Description & Finding Aid: Thoreau MacDonald Collection CA OTAG SC104 Amy Marshall Furness Gary Fitzgibbon, 2013

317 Dundas Street West, Toronto, Ontario M5T 1G4, Canada Reference Desk: 416-979-6642 www.ago.net/research-library-archives

Thoreau MacDonald collection

Thoreau MacDonald collection Dates of creation: 1933–1979 Extent: 1 portfolio 2 v. of drawings 21 p. of textual records 4 prints Biographical sketch: Thoreau MacDonald (1901–1989) was a Canadian artist, book illustrator and art editor. Son of Harriet Joan Lavis and Group of Seven painter J.E.H. MacDonald, he was born outside Toronto and named for American transcendentalist author Henry David Thoreau (1817–1862). Largely self-taught, Thoreau MacDonald worked with his father to develop his artistic ability. His prints and drawings are chiefly in black and white owing to colour blindness. He never married. Thoreau MacDonald’s working career was spent for the most part at the Ryerson Press and Canadian Forum magazine, for which he produced hundreds of drawings and linocuts. In 1933 he became a founding member of the Canadian Group of Painters. He was especially regarded for his prints and drawings of subjects from nature. In the late 1930s he founded the Woodchuck Press in Thornhill, Ont. to produce bookplates and labels along with illustrated publications. Thoreau MacDonald died in Toronto in 1989. His work is in the collections of the Art Gallery of Ontario, Hart House at the University of Toronto, the McMichael Collection and the National Gallery of Canada. Custodial history: Materials now constituting the Thoreau MacDonald collection were acquired beginning in 1970 when Sybille Pantazzi, librarian of the Art Gallery of Ontario, purchased the page layouts for Maria Chapdelaine. Edmund Robert Hunter, author of Thoreau MacDonald (Toronto: Ryerson Press, 1943), purchased the portfolio of drawings for H.D. Thoreau’s Walden from MacDonald after 1936, lent it to the Art Gallery of Ontario in 1988 and donated it in 2007. Correspondence to Thomas Roche Lee was purchased from him at an unknown date. Other correspondence was transferred from staff of the Art Gallery of Ontario to the Library and Archives. Scope and content: Collection consists chiefly of illustrative works by Canadian graphic artist Thoreau MacDonald, including a portfolio of drawings for an unpublished illustrated edition of Henry David Thoreau’s study Walden and a volume of layouts for the novel Maria Chapdelaine by French author Louis Hémon. Collection also includes some correspondence. Contains series: 1. Some designs for H.D. Thoreau’s Walden 2. Page layouts for Maria Chapdelaine 3. Correspondence Notes: Source of title proper: Title of the collection is based on its contents. Restrictions on access: Open. Access to Special Collections is by appointment only. Please contact the reference desk for more information. Terms governing use and reproduction / publication: Page 2 of 5

Thoreau MacDonald collection

Material in this collection is in the public domain. Permission of the Art Gallery of Ontario is required for publication. Accruals: No further accruals are expected. Related material: The AGO Research Library & Archives holds published materials illustrated by Thoreau MacDonald in its Canadian Illustrated Books collection. Description control: Description and finding aid prepared by Gary Fitzgibbon, 2013. — Description based on Rules for Archival Description (Ottawa: Bureau of Canadian Archivists, 2008), with vocabulary authority from the Art & Architecture Thesaurus of the Getty Institute (Los Angeles, Calif.). Provenance access points: MacDonald, Thoreau, 1901–1989

SERIES 1: SOME DESIGNS FOR H.D. THOREAU’S WALDEN Date of creation: 1933 Extent: 1 portfolio ; 41 x 28 x 5 cm Scope and content: Series comprises a portfolio of ink drawings made in Toronto in 1933 for Thoreau MacDonald’s planned illustrated edition of Henry David Thoreau’s Walden (originally published: Boston: Ticknor and Fields, 1854), and a volume (booklet) of pencil sketches of the layouts of the book. A note pasted inside the front cover of the portfolio, written by MacDonald, indicates the scope of the project, which was to have included some 60 designs for the book. Notes: Credit line: Art Gallery of Ontario | Gift of E.R. Hunter, 2007 Also known as the Walden Portfolio. — Title of the series is based on the cover title of the portfolio: “Some designs for H.D. Thoreau’s Walden made by Thoreau MacDonald, 25 Severn St., Toronto.” Location: box 1 FILE OR ITEM TITLE

DATE(S)

DESCRIPTION

BOXFOLDER

Some designs for H.D. Thoreau’s Walden

1933

1 portfolio (30 drawings : pen and black ink ; 16 x 13 cm or smaller)

box 1

Item is a portfolio enclosing drawings (matted) for illustrations in MacDonald’s projected edition of Walden, including 20 drawings of historiated or inhabited initials containing birds, fish and plants of the area around Concord, Mass., and 10 scenes designated for particular chapters of the book such as Sounds, Visitors, Brute

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Thoreau MacDonald collection

FILE OR ITEM TITLE

DATE(S)

DESCRIPTION

BOXFOLDER

neighbours and House warming. Walden, or, Life in the woods

1933

1 v. of drawings : pencil

box 1

Item is a booklet (3 sheets of paper folded in quarto and bound in a wrapper with string) of layouts for the illustrated edition of Walden, comprising pencil sketches (5) for the frontispiece, title page, chapter openings and page openings. The title page of the booklet of layouts reads “Walden, or, Life in the woods by Henry D. Thoreau, with drawings by Thoreau MacDonald, Limited Editions Club, New York, MCMXXXIII”.

SERIES 2: PAGE LAYOUTS FOR MARIA CHAPDELAINE Dates of creation: 1937–1973 Extent: 1 v. of drawings 9 p. of textual records Scope and content: Series comprises a volume (booklet) of page layouts made in Toronto in 1937 by Thoreau MacDonald for his illustrated edition of an English translation of Louis Hémon’s Maria Chapdelaine: récit du Canada français (Paris : Bernard Grasset, 1921). On p. [2] of the booklet is a note written by MacDonald describing his concept for the illustrations and the planned number of drawings. Notes: Title based on the contents of the series. Title page of the layouts: “Maria Chapdelaine by Louis Hémon, a story of French Canada, translated by W.H. Blake, Toronto, The MacMillan Company, 1937.” Location: box 2 FILE OR ITEM TITLE

DATE(S)

DESCRIPTION

BOXFOLDER

Page layouts for “Maria Chapdelaine”

1937

1 v. of drawings : pencil

2–1

Thoreau MacDonald note on Maria

[1937?] 1973

Item is a booklet (8 sheets of graph paper folded in folio and bound with string) of layouts for the 1937 edition of Maria Chapdelaine, comprising pencil sketches (4) for the title page vignette, chapter endings and page openings. 9 p. of textual records

2–2

File contains a short note handwritten by Thoreau MacDonald describing the origin of his illustrated edition of

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Thoreau MacDonald collection

FILE OR ITEM TITLE

DATE(S)

DESCRIPTION

BOXFOLDER

Maria Chapdelaine, with a transcription (1973) of the note and photocopies of illustrated pages from the 1938 edition and the 1965 edition.

Chapdelaine

SERIES 3: CORRESPONDENCE Dates of creation: 1968–1979 Extent: 12 p. of textual records 4 prints Scope and content: Series comprises correspondence from Thoreau MacDonald to curator Nancy Robertson Dillow, to other staff at the Art Gallery of Ontario and to collector Thomas Roche Lee; with designs from Christmas cards. Note: The files in this series were transferred from the General Archives in September, 2013. Location: box 2 FILE OR ITEM TITLE

DATE(S)

DESCRIPTION

BOXFOLDER

N.R. Dillow correspondence

1968 1979

6 p. of textual records

2–4

Miscellaneous correspondence

1970 1974

File contains personal letters from Thoreau MacDonald in Thornhill, Ont. to Nancy Robertson Dillow. 6 p. of textual records 4 prints

2–5

File contains letters from Thoreau MacDonald in Thornhill, Ont. to Joan Murray (1970) and Sybille. Pantazzi (1974) of the Art Gallery of Ontario and to Thomas Roche Lee; Christmas cards designed by MacDonald and a card to T.R. Lee illustrated by MacDonald; with an undated invitation to an exhibition of works by Thoreau MacDonald at the Old Post Office, Grafton, Ont., illustrated with a numbered woodcut engraving.

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