Accession A1991-010, A1992-012 - Fredelle Maynard fonds

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Fredelle Maynard fonds

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  • Textual record
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  • Sound recording

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CA UMASC MSS 136-A1991-010, A1992-012

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  • ca.1915-1989; predominately 1932-1989 (Creation)
    Maynard, Fredelle

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2.31 m of textual records and other materials. [Note: Includes 163 photographs. -- 13 video cassettes. -- 22 audio cassettes.]

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Name of creator


Biographical history

Fredelle Maynard (nee Bruser) was born in Foam Lake, Saskatchewan in 1922 to Boris and Rona Bruser (nee Slobinsky). Raised in rural Saskatchewan and Manitoba, at the age of nine she moved with her parents and older sister, Celia, to Winnipeg, Manitoba. After completing public school in Winnipeg, Maynard entered the University of Manitoba, where she graduated with and Honors B.A. (English) in 1943. She continued her education at the University of Toronto, obtaining her M.A. (English) in 1944. Maynard then moved to Boston, Massachusetts where she attended Radcliffe College (Harvard University). She graduated Phi Beta Kappa in 1947 with a Ph.D. in English Literature. During her stellar academic career, Maynard received many awards including: the Governor General's Gold Medal (1942); Arts Gold Medal (1943); Canadian Federation of University Women Fellowship (1943-44); Flavelle Fellowship, University of Toronto (1943-44); Whitney Fellowship, Radcliffe College (1946-48); Warkman Fellowship, Radcliffe College (1945-46, 1946-47).

Maynard began her professional career in 1945 as an English tutor and Radcliffe College, a position she held until 1947. From 1947 to 1948 she was an Instructor in English at Wellesley College. In 1948, Maynard accepted a position as Instructor in English at the University of New Hampshire where her husband was a professor. Due to a university policy that forbade spouses from working in the same department, Maynard's contract was not renewed.

Discouraged but not defeated, Maynard began a successful journalism career that would span four decades. She wrote about education, child care and development, health and medicine, and family relationships. Over the years, Maynard contributed to many publications, both popular and scholarly, including: Good Housekeeping; Ladies Home Journal; Parents'; The New Republic; Family Circle; Woman's Day; Chatelaine; Saturday Evening Post; Reader's Digest; Studies in Philology; the American Association of University Professors Bulletin; University of Toronto Quarterly; the Manitoba Arts Review; the Malahat Review; the Kenyon Review; Scholastic Teacher and many others. In the 1960s and 1970s, Maynard was a ghost writer for Good Housekeeping, writing both the Dr. Joyce Brothers column and the popular column, "My Problem and How I Solved It."

Maynard also managed to continue with a teaching career despite her earlier setback. She was appointed as a Lecturer in English at the University of New Hampshire Department of Continuing Education in 1952, and in 1960-1961 served as an Instructor in English at the University of New Hampshire. Maynard found her way to the public school system, and after many years of substitute teaching was appointed as the Special Teacher and Consultant, Honors English Program, Dover High School. She served in this rewarding position from 1962-1967, inspiring several young students with their writing. Maynard also served as a College Board Reader; a National Examiner in English, CEEB; a consultant in Writing, Reading and Literature, NAEP; and as a Demonstration Teacher and Lecturer at the NEDA Summer Institute for Teachers of English (University of New Hampshire).

Maynard was also noted as an excellent public speaker. She gave seminars, workshops and lectures to many groups including: Canadian Association for young children; the Association of Early Childhood Education; La Leche League; Parent Cooperative Preschools; International Childbirth Education Association; Federated Women's Institutes of Canada; and the Ontario Association of Marriage and Family Therapy, among other. Maynard spoke to these groups about what she new best: family, children, health, and education. During the 1970s and 1980s Maynard was also the initiator and host of two popular Ontario parenting shows: Parents and Children , and The Parenting Academy .

In 1972, Maynard published her memoirs, Raisins and Almonds (Doubleday, 1972). The book, about a Jewish girl growing up on the prairies, was extremely well-received by the public. It spent many weeks on the bestseller's list, and was subsequently developed into a CBC television special, a one act musical (Calgary), a full length musical (Toronto), and a full length play (Saskatoon). Raisins and Almonds was followed by Guiding Your Child to a More Creative Life (Doubleday, 1973). In 1976, Maynard was contributing editor to The Parenting Advisor . Maynard's most controversial book, The Child Care Crisis (Penguin Books 1985, paperback 1986), was published in 1985. It created an uproar in the world of child care, especially from the women's movements. However, Maynard maintained both her position and her dignity throughout the furor. Maynard's last published book, The Tree of Life(Penguin Books 1988), is a poignant reflection of her life. She writes frankly about her relationships with her mother, sister, daughters, and, most telling, with her first husband, Max Maynard. At the time of her death, Maynard was working on a book about raising creative children.

In 1948, Maynard married her former English professor, Max Maynard. Fifteen years her senior, Maynard was a professor of English at the University of New Hampshire for most of their married life. He suffered with alcoholism for the entirety of their twenty-five year marriage. They had two daughters, Rona and Joyce, both of whom have followed literary paths with their careers. Soon after the 1972 publication of Raisins and Almonds the marriage dissolved. After the divorce, Max stopped drinking and moved to British Columbia, where he became a recognized landscape painter before his death. Fredelle met Sydney Bacon, a Toronto businessman. Bacon introduced Maynard to a world she had missed, and he remained her best friend and partner until her untimely death. Maynard moved to Toronto in the mid-1970s to be near Bacon, and spent many successful years there as an author, lecturer and radio-television broadcaster.

In 1989, Maynard was diagnosed with brain cancer. Typically, instead of despairing, Maynard threw a party and married her longtime companion, Sydney Bacon, in a garden ceremony on May 28, 1989. Maynard remained active, aware and involved in life until her death on October 3, 1989 at the age of 67.

Custodial history

The records remained with the creator until her death in 1989. From 1989 to 1991 the records were in the custody of her daughter, Rona Maynard, at which point they were transferred to the Department of Archives and Special Collections at the University of Manitoba. A subsequent transfer took place in 1992.

Scope and content

Fonds consists of materials created throughout the course of Maynard's career as a teacher, writer and journalist. There are also some materials pertaining to her personal life in the form of correspondence and photographs.

Fonds were created from 1915 to 1989, with the prominent dates of creation being 1950 to 1989. Maynard created the records both in Canada and the United States, with the bulk of the records being created in Durham, New Hampshire and Toronto, Ontario.

Fonds consists of four main series. The first is Correspondence. This is divided into two sections. The professional section consists of letters to and from Maynard's agents, editors, fans and other groups related to her literary career. The correspondence spans the years 1964-1989. The personal correspondence section is fairly small at the moment. It contains a letter from the Lieutenant-Governor of Manitoba (1945), a letter from Maynard's parents (mid-1940s), a letter to Max Maynard (1946), a letter from J.D. Salinger (1972), letters from Ruth Small (1985), letters from Marion Mainwaring, and other correspondence from friends and family.

The second series covers her Literary Career. There are sections regarding three of her books, Raisins and Almonds , The Child Care Crisis , and The Tree of Life . As well, her published magazine articles, including both drafts and final versions, are located here. The topics of articles include children, health, marriage, travel, and education and span the years 1950 to 1989. There is also a newspaper clipping section. There are some clippings regarding Maynard and her family from 1932, the 1940s and the 1960s. Most of the clippings are reviews or reactions to her published books. There is a section in this series that deals with Maynard's television show on parenting. This section includes scripts and sound rolls from 1984. There is an unpublished material section that includes typescripts and manuscripts, as well as poetry and other writings by Maynard. Most of the poetry is from the 1930s, when Maynard was a schoolchild.

The third series covers Maynard's Academic Career. This includes correspondence with students and parents from Dover High School in the 1960s. As well, there is marked student work, speeches, articles and examples of grading. The series involves the years that Maynard spent as a high school honors English teacher at over High School in New Hampshire.

The final section includes material from Maynard's Public Speaking Career. It includes typescripts of speeches she gave on many different occasions. The topics include her books, education, children, writing, midlife, Jewish mothers, an acceptance speech, and an eulogy. There are also dozens of brochures indicating when and where Maynard would be speaking that span the years 1982 to 1989.

Besides the four main series there is also a miscellaneous section. This includes recipes and partial notes; a transcript of her appearance on Donahue ; several calling cards created by her daughter, Joyce Maynard; a script of the 1985 Raisins and Almonds theatre production; and material relating to The Radcliffe Institute, of which Maynard was a member, spanning the years 1967 to 1972.

Another section is the Other Family Members section. This consists mainly of correspondence to and from other family members of Maynard's. There are many letters between her parents, Boris and Rona Slobinsky, during their courtship in 1915. There are letters to Rona Bruser regarding the 1964 publication of Maynard's article, "Jewish Christmas." There is a letter to Maynard's sister, Celia, from their mother. As well, there is correspondence with Joyce Maynard from her father (1965), Doubleday Books (1971-72), J.D. Salinger (1972), and a fan (1989). There is a letter to Max Maynard from a student, and a 1980 letter to Sydney Bacon from Carl Rakosi. Finally, there are several articles written by Joyce Maynard for The New York Times in the 1970s.

There is also a Photograph Collection (PC 143). Included in this collection is a photograph of a letter from Boris Bruser to Rona Slobinsky (1915), a photograph of Maynard (1983), five photographs of Maynard and Sydney Bacon's wedding (1989), and a photo collage from Maynard's memorial service (1990). There are also thirteen video cassettes regarding Maynard's television show in the mid-1980s.

Included in the Tape Collection (TC 90) are twenty-two tapes dealing with various subjects including speeches, interviews, and conversations. The audio tapes are mainly from 1983-1988, with a few undated.

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

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Finding aid created by Karyn Reidel Taylor (2000). Finding aid encoded by Julianna Trivers (October 2002). Finding aid converted by Justin Fuhr (July 2016). Revision history: July 26, 2005 - MSS 136, PC 143, TC 90 converted from EAD 1.0 to 2002 by v1to02.xsl (sy2003-10-15).

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