Fonds MSS 144 - Betty Jane Wylie fonds

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Betty Jane Wylie fonds

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12.4 m of textual records and other materials [including 19 videocassettes, 21 photographs, 2 audio discs, 22 audio cassettes, 1 audio reel, 1 CD, 2 computer discs].

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Biographical history

Betty Jane Wylie (nee McKenty) is a prolific playwright and author. She was born in Winnipeg, Manitoba in 1931. She attended the University of Manitoba where she earned a B.A. (Hons.) in French and English in 1951. She completed an M.A. in English in 1952, majoring in 20th century poetry, with minors in Anglo-Saxon and Old Norse. Soon after graduation in 1952, Wylie married William Tennant (Bill) Wylie, with whom she eventually had four children. For the first part of their marriage, the Wylies resided in Winnipeg where Bill Wylie was manager of the Manitoba Theatre Centre. They then moved from Winnipeg to Stratford, Ontario in 1968, where Bill Wylie served as administrative director of the Stratford Festival Theatre until his death in 1973. While married, and raising her four children, Wylie found some time to write poetry and plays, but Bill Wylie's unexpected death in 1973 caused her to take up writing as a career.

While coming to terms with her husband's death, Wylie wrote Beginnings: A Book for Widows (1977), which went through several editions, and has been published in six countries. Since then, Wylie has published books of various types such as children's books, cookbooks, self-help, and other non-fiction books. Over three dozen of her plays have been produced. During the 1989-1990 academic year, Wylie had a fellowship at the Bunting Institute, now part of Harvard University. She was one of only a handful of Canadians ever accepted as a fellow. At the Bunting Institute, Wylie began work on her book about women's diaries, Reading Between the Lines, by taking a Harvard seminar for fourteen invited participants on diaries. Her Bunting symposium took the form of a play about Alice James, performed twice unofficially in Boston and in Cambridge, and published by Playwright's Press as "A Native of the James Family".

Wylie has also been involved in radio and television productions, including a television movie called Coming of Age that aired on TMN (1994) and Global (1995), and won two Gemini Awards. She won the University of Manitoba Alumni Association's Alumni Jubilee Award in 1989. In 2003 she was the recipient of a D. Litt from the University of Manitoba and was named a member of the Order of Canada.

Custodial history

Both accessions were donated by Betty Jane Wylie to the University of Manitoba - A2001-026 was donated in 2001, and A2010-091 was donated in 2010.

Scope and content

A2001-026 consists of material mainly relating to Betty Jane Wylie's writing career, created between the early 1940s and 2000. This includes: correspondence, notes, drafts, manuscripts, programs, essays, speeches, talks, tear sheets, promotional materials, audio recordings, videocassettes, and photographs.

A2010-091 consists of 12 series. They include: Biographical information & awards; Play, opera, television & film scripts; writing; Organizations; Diaries - Bunting Institute; Correspondence; Day Planners & Journals; Books; Ephemera; Photographs & Videocassettes; Audiotapes; & Electronic Records.

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A2001-026 is organized into 21 series:

Correspondence, 1953-2000
Contracts 1970-1997
Professional Associations, 1979-1999
Early Work, [ca. 1943]-1994
Books, [195-?], predominant [197-?]-1999
Cookbooks 1963-1996
Unpublished Books [ca. 1992]
Articles 1967-2000
Poetry 1940-1999
Puppet Plays 1964-[1979]
Theatre [196-?]-1997
Radio, [ca. 1965]-1993
Television [196-?]-2000
Short Stories, [1974?]-1995
Speeches, Readings, Talks, [ca. 1970]-2000
Press, 1962-2000
Miscellaneous, 1964-2000
Catalogues, Journals, Publications, 1959-2000
Computer Diskettes [ca. 1985]-2000
Photograph Collection (PC 150) 1981-1995
Tape Collection (TC 95) 1974, [1976?]-[ca. 1989]

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There are no restrictions on access.

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Researchers are responsible for observing copyright legislation.

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A finding aid can be downloaded by clicking on the “Download’ link under “Finding Aid” on the right hand side of the screen.

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The A2001-026 finding aid created by Julianna Trivers (October 2001). Encoded by Julianna Trivers (March 2002). Revision History: July 26, 2005 - MSS 144, PC 150, TC 95 converted from EAD 1.0 to 2002 by v1to02.xsl (sy2003-10-15).

The A2010-091 finding aid created and encoded by Lewis St. George Stubbs (2011).

Revised by N. Courrier (November 2019).

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