Fonds MSS 275 - Jake MacDonald fonds

Title and statement of responsibility area

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Jake MacDonald fonds

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  • Multiple media

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Dates of creation area


  • 1974-2010 (Creation)
    MacDonald, Jake

Physical description area

Physical description

3.79 m of textual records and other material.

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Name of creator


Biographical history

Jake MacDonald was an award-winning Canadian author based in Manitoba. MacDonald was born in Winnipeg in 1949 and received his B.A. in English from the University of Manitoba in 1971. He supported himself as a carpenter and fishing guide for several years before embarking on a career as a writer that spanned almost four decades.

He is the author of ten critically acclaimed fiction and non-fiction books as well as numerous short stories. He published over two hundred articles and received over twenty-five awards for his work including the Greg Clark Award for best outdoor article in Canada in 1990. He was awarded the National Magazine Award six times. His 2002 book, Houseboat Chronicles, won three awards including the prestigious Hilary Weston Writers' Trust Prize for Nonfiction.

His 1997 young adult novel Juliana and the Medicine Fish was made into a feature film in 2015. In 2019, his first play "The Cottage" was staged at Royal Manitoba Theatre Centre's John Hirsch Mainstage. Also in 2019, MacDonald won the Winnipeg Arts Council "Making a Mark Award."

Jake MacDonald died on January 30, 2020 after a fall in in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico where he was building a house.

Custodial history

The fonds was donated to the University of Manitoba Archives & Special Collections by Jake MacDonald in accessions in 2009, 2011, and 2012.

Scope and content

A2009-006 consists of 8 series. They include: Biographical & family material, published & unpublished manuscripts, copies of MacDonald's books, poems, shortstories, articles & screenplays, correspondence, day planners, photographs & tapes.

A2011-079 consists of print and digital drafts of MacDonald's published and unpublished work, notes, correspondence, and research pertaining to those works, scrapbooks containing clippings related to MacDonald and his work, audio cassettes containing radio plays written by MacDonald, DVD copies of the film adaptation of MacDonald's book Juliana and the Medicine Fish, and CD-RWs containing photographs and text documents.

A2012-002 consists of notebooks containing research for several of MacDonald's books; three photographs; personal correspondence; audio cassettes containing radio adaptations of MacDonald's works and messages from MacDonald's answering machine; a VHS copy of an American Experience episode about spiritualism and Harry Houdini; digital copies of notes, research, and drafts of MacDonald's work on floppy disks and a rewritable compact disc; medals received by MacDonald; and a cork from MacDonald's fortieth birthday celebration.

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Physical condition

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There are no restrictions on access.

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Finding aids

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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Further accruals are expected.

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Dates of creation, revision and deletion

Finding aid for A2009-006 was created and encoded by Lewis St. George Stubbs (2009).
Finding aid for A2011-079 and A2012-002 was created by Elizabeth-Anne Johnson (2012).
Revised by N. Courrier (April 2020).

Language of description

  • English

Script of description


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