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- Grove, Frederick Philip
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14 microfilm reels.
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Name of creator
Frederick Philip Grove arrived in Manitoba in September 1912. Although he kept his prior life very much a secret, he was born in 1879 as Felix Paul Greve in Radomno, a small Prussian town on the post-World War I German-Polish border. Greve grew up in Hamburg where he graduated from the famous humanistic Gymnasium Johanneum in 1898 and then studied classical philology at Bonn University. In late July 1909, he faked his suicide and immigrated to North America, taking second class passage on the White Star Liner "Megantic" from Liverpool to Montreal. The three years spent in the United States are described in ASA, 1927, except that Grove fails to mention the year he operated a small farm in Sparta, Kentucky, with Else Freytag-Loringhoven who had joined him in Pittsburgh in 1910. In Canada, he was a teacher/principal in a variety of rural schools, including Rapid City where he lived for seven years before moving to Ottawa in 1929. There, he joined Graphic Publishers until 1931, when he settled on an estate in Simcoe, Ontario. Grove wrote and his wife Catherine Wiens opened a Froebel Kindergarten. Grove suffered a crippling stroke in 1944 and although he continued to write, his health deteriorated. He died on August 19, 1948.
During his Manitoba years (1919-1929), Grove published twelve books, including Over Prairie Trails (1922), The Turn of the Year (1923), Settlers of the Marsh (1925), A Search for America (ASA, 1927, eEd. 2000), Our Daily Bread (1928) and It Needs to be Said (1929). He also wrote many short stories, reviews, essays and articles, and a very large number of poems (publ. 1993, eEd. 2007). In Ontario, several more books were published, starting with The Yoke of Life (1930). Fruits of the Earth (1933), Master of the Mill (1944), and his official autobiography In Search of Myself (ISM, 1946, eEd. 2007) followed. His "ant-book", the Swiftian satire Consider Her Ways (1947), was published as a fragment. Many more unfinished typescripts are among his papers. Grove was endebted to Stefan George's "Mache" or way of crafting for all his poetry, and to Flaubert's symbolic realism for his prose works. He is a key figure in Canadian literary history and is known for his vivid descriptions of life on the prairies which often tended to be dark and difficult.
Frederick Philip Grove is one of the most important and debatable novelists in Canadian literature. An intriguing aspect of this man is the mystery surrounding his origins. Grove kept secret his life prior to his arrival in Winnipeg, Manitoba in December 1912. Where he came from, who he was, what he did and why he left may never be absolutely known. However, a number of scholars have come to believe that Grove’s original name was Felix Paul Greve.1 Many aspects of this man’s life tie in with Grove’s, many do not. In accordance with increasing academic support in favor of Paul Greve and Frederick Philip Grove being the same individual, this thesis has been accepted in the present context.
In all likelihood, Frederick Philip Grove was born February 14, 1879 at Radomno, on the Polish-Prussian border. He studied at Bonn University in 1898 and sometime between 1909 and 1912 immigrated to North America. An important element of Grove’s life was his role as an educator. He spent many years teaching in various rural communities of Southern Manitoba. From January to June 1913 he taught in the town of Haskett and during the following summer was appointed principal of the Intermediate School in Winkler, where he remained until July 1915. Tena (Catherine) Wiens was a fellow teacher and became Grove’s close friend and confidante. On August 2, 1914 they were married, the bride aged 22, the groom giving his age as 41.
In the next seven years Grove taught in six different schools, as well as pursuing his own academic interests. In September 1915 he enrolled at the University of Manitoba as an extramural student, majoring in French and English. During this time, his daughter Phyllis May was born. Grove did not receive his Bachelor of Arts degree until 1922.
In the summer of 1922 Grove became principal of the high school in Rapid City, Manitoba, and although he suffered from several long-term illnesses, he taught there until 1924.
Two of Grove’s life-long associates were Arthur Leonard Phelps and Watson Kirkconnell, both of whom he first met in March 1923 at a teacher’s convention in Winnipeg. Kirkconnell was his “private library service”, while Phelps provided connections with many influential literary people such as W. A. Deacon, then literary editor of the Toronto Saturday Night, Graham Spry, later executive president of the Canadian Clubs, and Lorne Pierce, editor of Ryerson Press.
Between 1919 and 1929 Grove published twelve books including Over Prairie Trails (1922), The Turn of The Year (1923), Settlers of the Marsh (1925), A Search for America (1927), Our Daily Bread (1928) and It Needs to Be Said (1929). During this same period he also wrote several stories, reviews and articles, and a collection of poems dedicated to his daughter, Phyllis May, who died suddenly on July 20, 1927 at the age of twelve. These poems are highly emotional and portray the intense sorrow suffered by the Groves at this time.
In 1928 Grove conducted two lecture tours sponsored by the Canadian Clubs, one in Ontario (February to April) and the other in the Western provinces (September and November). Grove was a gifted lecturer, not only on literary subjects, but also on education, art, culture, farming, democracy and science. His wide-ranging interests and encyclopedic knowledge are especially evident in the collection of unpublished articles and addresses. Grove became quite popular and his works were well received by the Canadian public.
In September of 1929, just prior to the Depression, Grove left Rapid City, Manitoba and in December moved to Ottawa to join Graphic Publishers. However, due to personal disputes, he left the company in March of 1931 and used the money he had saved from this venture to buy a forty-acre farm in Simcoe, Ontario. Graphic Publishers declared bankruptcy on August 16, 1932. Before the Groves left Ottawa, their son, Arthur Leonard (named after Arthur Phelps), was born August 14, 1931.
While working hard at renovating their large, white frame farm house, the Groves opened the Froebel Kindergarten, whose pupils were members of the Simcoe English Club. Enrollment increased so that by 1935 it included the “first form” (for children age six or seven), plus extra courses in oral French, nature study, home geography, and art. Meanwhile, Grove farmed his land and the family was basically self-sufficient. Grove was realizing his dream of being a gentleman farmer and literary man. However in 1939, because of poor health, he was forced to give up farming. As the Depression persisted, fewer and fewer parents could afford the expense of private school. Accordingly, the school became less selective and began accepting children with serious learning problems. Mrs. Grove was particularly gifted in working with slow learners, and this ability provided her with an income for many years.
But Grove’s health was failing. In April 1944 he suffered a crippling stroke that totally paralyzed his right side. However, his mind remained clear and he continued his reading and writing by dictation. Early in 1944 Pelham Edgar established a fund for the “Canadian Writers Foundation Inc.” and in March Grove was made one of its first three beneficiaries. He received a grant of $100 per month which continued until his death.
The last few years of his life were painful and difficult for Grove; nonetheless he continued to write. In March 1944 he published The Master of the Mill, and in 1946 published his autobiography, In Search of Myself, destined to win the 1947 Governor-General’s award for non-fiction. He also managed to complete the final draft of Consider Her Ways before his final seizure in May 1946.
For most of Grove’s last two years, having lost his speech, his needs were served not only by his wife but by his teenage son, Leonard. After his death on August 19, 1948, Grove’s body was buried beside his daughter Phyllis May, in Rapid City, Manitoba.
Frederick Philip Grove is a key figure in the history of Canadian literature. His outstanding literary achievements and contributions as a writer, teacher, critic, and philosopher are becoming increasingly recognized and appreciated. Much has been written of this man and much more will be written in the years to come because of the power of his writings, their enduring popularity, and because of his own life and personality.
Scope and content
The fonds consists of correspondence, manuscript copybooks related to Frederick Philip Grove's published and unpublished novels, short stories, articles and poems, news clippings, financial documents, biographical material, and photographs. Clippings and financial documents are in chronological order. Most of the material is original, some, such as Greve's poems Wanderungen of 1902, are photocopied from originals held in Germany and elsewhere, like at Queen's University or the University of Toronto. A few published short stories, essays and articles are copied from magazines or newspapers, however, many are extant in original typescripts.
About half the correspondence is original; the rest is photocopied from original’s at Queen’s University, the University of Toronto, and elsewhere. Several letters, though not all, have been published in The Letters of Frederick Philip Grove (1976) edited by Desmond Pacey. They generally pertain to the publication of Grove’s various works. Those more personal in nature include the letters of Dr. W. J. Alexander (from the period 1928 to 1929), Watson Kirkconnell (1928 to 1947), Raymond Knister (1929 to 1931), Henry C. Miller (1926 to 1929), Arthur Phelps (1922 to 1926), Lorne Pierce (1925 to 1947), and Carleton Stanley (1928 to 1947). The letters to Warkentin (1913 to 1914) reflect Grove’s first years in Manitoba. The collection also contains many copies of letters which Grove wrote to his wife during his Canadian Clubs lecture tours of 1928 and 1929.
With respect to Grove’s published novels, some of the copybooks are marked “double page sequence”. This refers to Grove’s practice of turning a copybook around when he finished it and continuing back to front, writing on the back side of the pages. Consider Her Ways (1947) was also titled “Go to the Ant, Thou Sluggard” and “Man, His Habits, Social Organization and Outlook”. Included are three manuscript copybooks and two typescripts. “Abe Spalding” was the original title of Fruits of the Earth (1933). A total of fourteen manuscript copybooks reveal Grove’s second, third and fourth drafts of this novel. A copybook headed “The Autobiography” is a partial manuscript of In Search of Myself (1946). The Master of the Mill (1944) is presented in three typescripts, one manuscript volume or ‘publisher’s dummy’, and two sets of manuscript copybooks of the first and second drafts. Our Daily Bread (1928) is written in seven manuscript copybooks, Book I beginning with a chronological list of characters and events. Settlers of the Marsh (1925) was originally written as a three-book series titled “Latter-Day Pioneers”. The titles of the original three books were “The Settlement”, “The White Range-Line House”, and “Male and Female”. Working copies of this novel include three sets of manuscript copybooks and five typescripts. Two Generations (1939) is in two manuscript copybooks and The Yoke of Life (1931), originally titled “Equal Opportunity”, fills four manuscript copybooks. Unfortunately, the draft number of the manuscripts and typescripts is usually not indicated. This collection does not have manuscripts for Over Prairie Trails, The Turn of the Year or A Search for America.
The Grove collection also contains manuscripts and/or typescripts of the following twelve unpublished novels: “Democracy” (or “Peasant Revolt” or “Town and Country”), “Heart’s Desire”, “The Hillside”, “The House of Stone”, “Jane Atkinson”, “The Lean Five”, “Murder in the Quarry”, “The Poet’s Dream. A Romance and its Sequel”, “The Seasons”, “Tales from the Margin”, “The Weatherhead Fortunes. A Story of the Small Town”, and “Wilfred and Barbara”.
The majority of the published short stories are photocopies of magazine or newspaper articles. However, there are original typescripts of the following: “A Christmas in the Canadian Bush”, “A First Night on Canadian Soil”, “Hospitality”, “Lost”, “North of the Fifty-Five”, “The Platinum Watch”, Riders” and “The Flavour of Life” (published as “Traveler Stranded in Rural Wastes”). “The Adventures of Leonard Broadus” is also in manuscript form. Also included are twelve copies of The Canadian Boy, in which this story was serially published. “In Search of Myself” is represented in two offprints. This is actually the introduction to Grove’s published autobiography of the same title.
Of Grove’s unpublished stories, the following are in manuscript form: “Achievement”, “The Debt”, “Maid of All Work”, and “The Two Leaders”. Those in typescript form include: “Alien Enemy”, “Apparition”, “A Beautiful Soul”, “Blackmail”, “Camouflage” (plus two written pages), “the Camp of the Workers”, “Canadianization”, “Death by Spartacus”, “The Extra Man”, “An Eye for an Eye”, “The Finder”, “The First Day of an Immigrant”, “Fog”, “La Grande Passion” (a long short story), “Going After the Cow”, “Herefords in the Wilderness”, “Honey Ants”, “The Last Voyage”, “The Mystery of the Pond”, “Our Betters”, “Providence and the Sandhills”, “Radio Broadcast”, “The Spendthrift”, “The Spinster’s Tale”, “Stubborn Folk”, “The Threshers are Entertained”, “Tobacco”, and two untitled works. There are thirty-four unpublished stories as well as twelve others found in a group of “Additional Manuscript Notebooks”. These include “The Barber”, “The Murderer”, “The Hidden Sun”, “The House of Many Eyes”, “The Green-Eyed Mother”, “The Leader”, “The Principal”, “Hospital Ward”, “Salesmanship” and three untitled stories. These notebooks also contain poems, articles and notes dealing with such diverse topics as literature, science and religion.
The collection of poetry was arranged in a digest of four books. Emotionally charged, these poems are indicative of the grief suffered by Grove and his wife upon the sudden death of their daughter, Phyllis May. All are in typescript; draft numbers are not indicated. All poems are unpublished with the following exceptions: “The Palinode”, “The Dirge” (an excerpt), and “Indian Summer”. There are also several additional poems not included in the above material. Among them, “The Dying Year” is believed to be proof that Frederick Philip Grove was indeed Felix Paul Greve, for it was published by the latter in his book, Wanderungen, of which a photocopy is among the biographical material.
The majority of the published articles are typescripts or offprints and pertain to literature, education and aspects of immigrant life in Canada. Also included are five book reviews written by Grove.
His unpublished articles further reveal Grove’s wide variety of interests and concerns and include such topics as literature, education, art, democracy, farming, urbanization and mechanistic civilization. Several articles are actually typescripts of his addresses and lectures. “Civilization. A Sermon of the Unprofitable Life” is the only article in manuscript form. Other articles found with the “Additional Manuscript Notebooks” are: “Books – Why Read Books”, “The Happy Ending”, “Realism in Literature”, “The Physiological Foundation on Arts”, and “Civilization”. Unfortunately, only a small number of these items are dated.
Newspaper clippings are mainly reviews of Grove’s published novels with a few pertaining to his educational, literary, social activities and achievements, and also his obituary notice.
Perhaps the most interesting article within the Biographical materials is a diary entitled “Thoughts and reflections” found in a manuscript copybook and dating from March 14, 1933 to June 3, 1940. This volume of daily entries reveals Grove’s musings and reflections on a wide variety of topics and issues. Also included are miscellaneous notes; a copy of a newsletter announcing the publication of The Master of the Mill; biographical material for the book jacket of In Search of Myself; an editor’s suggestions pertaining to The Yoke of Life; a copper plate from the original 1939 Ryerson edition of A Search for America; pamphlets published for Grove’s lecture tour with the Association of Canadian Clubs; a photocopy of Wanderungen, by Felix Paul Greve; copies of Grove’s citizenship application and his oath of alegiance; his marriage registration; birth and death notices of Phyllis May Grove; a copy of Grove’s student mark record from the University of Manitoba; a copy of a file from the Department of Education on Frederick and Catherine Grove; four school attendance registers in Grove’s handwriting from 1913, 1913-14, 1919-20 and 1922; rural school board minutes from 1916-18, 1919-22, and 1922-28; records of the English Club in Simcoe (1932); a newsletter and questionnaire from the Canadian Authors’ Association (1947); and a centennial copy of the Red River Valley Echo (1970), which describes the people and places Grove knew during his Manitoba years.
This collection is organized into 17 series
Published Books and Novels, 1927-1933, some n.d.
Unpublished Books and Novels, n.d.
Published Short Stories, n.d.
Unpublished Short Stories, 1926, some n.d.
Additional Manuscript Notes, 1926, 1941, some n.d.
Poems Published Articles Unpublished Articles 1932-1940
Newspaper Clippings (about Grove), 1922-1973
Financial Records 1932-1947
Biographical Material, 1913-1973
Published Articles / Essays on Grove and Canadian Literature, 1925-1974
Unpublished Essays / Radio Broadcasts on Grove, 1947, 1976, some n.d.
Reviews of Articles / Books on Grove 1945-1976
Miscellaneous Publications, 1979
Photograph Collection, 1906-1974
Microfilm Collection (MF 2)
Microfilm Collection (MF 3)
Immediate source of acquisition
All material has been assigned a box and folder number. If an item has no location number indicated in the right hand columns, it is found in the box and folder last given above. Where two or more copies of a particular document exist, the total number is given in brackets as follows: (2). Photocopies, where indicated, are described “p.c.”; transcript copies “tsc.”.
The collection of correspondence is arranged into three major divisions. First, the correspondence of Frederick Philip Grove has been divided into two parts: regular or rather fully developed incoming and outgoing correspondence and short term correspondence consisting of one or two letters between the parties. Second, the correspondence of his wife, Mrs. Catherine Grove, is also arranged by outgoing and incoming letters. The third section consists of related correspondence, letters written neither to nor by Grove but which are directly related to or are about him.
The novels, short stories and articles by Grove are arranged alphabetically within the divisions of published and unpublished items. The poems are indicated with an asterisk. A section of manuscript notebooks contains short stories, articles, poems and notes by Grove. The different items cannot be divided due to the physical characteristics of these notebooks.
Tales from the Margin, a book of short stories, was posthumously published in 1971, edited, with introduction and notes by Desmond Pacey. Because Pacey’s volume differs from Grove’s original collection, which was never published, the original typescript is included with the other unpublished books. Pacey included only seventeen of the original stories and dropped “Bachelor’s All”, “The Deserter”, “Herefords in the Wilderness”, “Riders”, “The Spendthrift”, “The First Day of an Immigrant”, “The Extra Man”, and “The Boat”.
Newsclippings and financial documents are in chronological order. Biographical material, although in no fixed arrangement, includes the following subsections: vital statistics, education records, school registers, and school board minutes. Photographs are all individually numbered and described. Documents on microfilm are arranged according to reel number. They generally follow the original collection arrangement.
Appendix I is a bibliography of Grove’s published works, including books, short stories and sketches, articles and addresses and poems. Appendix II contains published and unpublished articles, essays and radio broadcasts on Grove and a few on Canadian Literature, arranged alphabetically by author. There are also a number of reviews of books on Grove, alphabetically arranged according to the author of the book. Appendix III is a guide to other manuscript collections of the University of Manitoba Archives & Special Collections which have a significant amount of information on Grove. Appendix IV is a list of “Articles on or relating to Frederick Philip Grove”, donated by Professor Desmond Pacey and now part of the Elizabeth Dafoe Library.
Although this collection is very extensive, it is probably not complete. It is likely that more of his correspondence and perhaps additional literary writings will eventually be discovered and added to the collection. However, until then, it is the indispensable source for primary research into one of the Canada’s best known and respected writers.
Language of material
Script of material
Location of originals
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Terms governing use, reproduction, and publication
MSS 2, PC 2, MF 2, MF 3 (A.78-54).