Fonds MSS 515 (A2016-005) - Mary H. Valentine fonds

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Mary H. Valentine fonds

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  • Graphic material
  • Textual record
  • Moving images
  • Sound recording
  • Records in Electronic Form

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CA UMASC MSS 515 (A2016-005)

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Issuing jurisdiction and denomination (philatelic)

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Physical description area

Physical description

6383 photographs, 0.92 m of textual material, 1130 photo slides, 16 cds, 5 cassette tapes, 2 dvds

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Name of creator


Biographical history

Mary Valentine was born in Ottawa, Ontario on May 6, 1931. Her interest and aptitude for art began in her early years and she attended a variety of art classes, including studying with Ernest Fosberry. She attended the (short lived) Fine Arts Program at McGill University, graduating in 1952. While at McGill she had noted Canadian artists John Fox, Arthur Lismer and John Lyman as teachers.

After her graduation Mary married Barry Valentine (1927-2009), a theology student who would become a clergy member of the Anglican Church. They first lived mainly in the Montreal area, with Mary working first as an art teacher and later at the Bell Telephone Company creating advertising images for the Yellow Pages. With the arrival of her first child in 1954 Mary took a step back from her art, concentrating on raising her four children (John, Leslie, Guy and Michael) and supporting her husband's career. With her husband's election as Bishop of Rupert's Land the family moved to Winnipeg in 1969, where Mary would continue to live. Mary would go on to work in the library and teach Art appreciation at St. Johns Ravenscourt School after receiving her Manitoba teacher certification.

With Mary's 1978 separation from her husband she made the foray back into the art world, with her first show in 1979 at the University of Manitoba. As she neared 50 years old she made the decision to stop teaching and concentrate full time on painting, making a living solely from her art from that point onwards. Mary painted both landscapes and people, creating some notable portraits, such as that of the late Senator Gildas Molgot which is held at the Speaker's Portrait Gallery in Ottawa, as well as a portrait of Captain George Blagdon Westcott which is held in Allhallows Museum in Devon, England. She gained inspiration for her paintings from her travels, particularly her travels to Canada's north. Beginning in 1980 she travelled throughout the Artic, including a trip to Alert on Ellesmere Island at the invitation of Governor General Ed Schreyer. She travelled extensively throughout Nunavut (then Northwest Territories), but also spent time in Alaska, BC, Greenland and Newfoundland. In 1987-1988 Mary took an extended trip around the South Pacific, Southeast Asia and Europe, while later years took her to Greece and Turkey. The people and the places of her travels are reflected in her paintings.

Mary's work was showcased in exhibitions throughout Canada and the United States at galleries such as the Buhler Gallery (Winnipeg), the Monkland Gallery (Montreal), the Mira
Godard Gallery (Calgary and Toronto) and the Plains Art Museum (Moorehead, Minnesota). Mary also held an annual show at her personal studio in Winnipeg. Her work continues to
be held in corporate, private and public collections, such as that of St. Paul's College at the University of Manitoba. Mary passed away February 21, 2016.

Custodial history

The fonds was donated to the University of Manitoba Archives & Special Collections by John Valentine in January 2016.

Scope and content

The fonds consists of material related to Mary’s life as an artist, from her early years in Ottawa and Montreal, to her later years in Winnipeg. Included is information about her education, her years teaching, and her transition to being a full time artist. Personal and professional correspondence is included, along with information detailing her professional life as an artist, such as finances. research, examples of her work and memorabilia from exhibitions. Of particular interest is her photographs on location in Canada’s arctic communities through the 1980s-1990s.

The 2016 accession is divided into 5 series, with one sous-fonds. Series I relates to biographical information, Series II relates to her personal correspondence, Series III relates to art activities, Series IV relates to her photographs and Series V is mixed media consisting of slides, cds and dvds detailing her work. The sous-fonds relates to Mary’s records of artist Keith Wood’s work.

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Handle notebooks, photographs and sketches carefully

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No restrictions

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A finding aid can be downloaded from this description by clicking on the download link under finding aid on the right hand side of this page

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Created by Krystal Payne August 2017

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