Fonds MSS 141 - Melinda McCracken fonds

Title and statement of responsibility area

Title proper

Melinda McCracken fonds

General material designation

  • Multiple media

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Level of description

Fonds

Reference code

MSS 141

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Issuing jurisdiction and denomination (philatelic)

Dates of creation area

Date(s)

  • 1949-2000 (Creation)
    Creator
    McCracken, Melinda

Physical description area

Physical description

5.84 m of textual material; 199 photographs; 18 audio tapes; 1 record; 20 tapes; 1 VHS and 5 SP videocassettes; 81 computer disks (5 1/4 double sided) and 1 (3 1/2 double sided)

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Archival description area

Name of creator

(June 1, 1940 - May 17, 2002)

Biographical history

Melinda McCracken was born on June 1st, 1940 in Winnipeg, Manitoba to William Frederick and Edith (nee Cochran). She has one brother, John. McCracken attended Riverview School from 1946-1955 and Churchill High School from which she graduated in 1957. McCracken then entered the University of Manitoba on a music scholarship and she received her B.A. in Honors English in 1961.

From 1961 to 1962, she worked on the women's pages of the Winnipeg Free Press. In 1962, McCracken went to Paris to study drawing and painting at the Bynam Shaw School. The following year, she took a silversmithing course at the Hornsey College of Art in London. During the two years that McCracken was in Paris and London she wrote a bi-weekly column for the Winnipeg Free Press. McCracken returned to Canada in 1964 and settled in Montreal. After trying her hand at making jewelry for a living, which proved to be too labour-intensive, she relied on her writing skills to support herself. She began working at Weekend Magazine, a national supplement magazine, as a caption, headline and edited copy writer, with the occasional feature story.

From 1967 to 1967, McCracken was a freelance writer. She wrote a weekly column for the Toronto Daily Star called "The Montreal Scene," wrote continuity for a CBC-TV public affairs program called The New Generation. She also wrote articles for The Montrealer, The Winnipeg Free Press, and The Star Weekly. In 1968, McCracken moved to Toronto and began working on the entertainment pages of The Globe and Mail. She was transferred to the copy desk of The Globe Magazine in 1969 where she wrote captions headlines and edited stories. In 1971, McCracken was transferred back to the features department of The Globe and Mail, where she edited columns on the second front, the Parliament page, the Saturday international page, and did some work on the television page. In 1972, McCracken freelanced for Maclean's Magazine. She also wrote short stories for Chatelaine and Miss Chatelaine. As well, she wrote book reviews for The Globe and Mail book pages. One interview that garnered McCracken quite a bit of attention was her profile of Adrienne Clarkson in the September 1972 issue of Maclean's.

In 1973, McCracken gave birth to her daughter, Molly. McCracken was given an Ontario Arts Council grant to write a story about growing up in Winnipeg. The completed manuscript, Memories Are Made of This, was published by James Lorimer & Co. in 1975. Also in 1975, McCracken contributed to an anthology of Canadian women. She wrote chapters featuring painter Edith Warkov and McCracken's mother, Edith. The anthology, Her Own Woman, was published by Macmillan. McCracken also contributed a chapter on architect Etienne Gaboury in the anthology, Winnipeg 8: The Icecold Hothouse, published by Queenston House in 1983. McCracken spent the years from 1973 to 1984 as a freelance writer. She moved to Winnipeg in 1976. From 1981 to 1985, McCracken worked as a salesclerk at Classics Books in Winnipeg. In 1984, McCracken returned to school, where she took the Red River Community College Library Technician course. In 1985, McCracken was hired as an Information Writer at Manitoba Energy and Mines. She was employed here until 1989. From 1989 to 1991, McCracken was employed as a Library Technician for the St. Boniface School Division.

From 1991-2002, McCracken has been a freelance writer/researcher. She was the Writer-in-Residence in Carman in 1996. McCracken has also been involved in many literary organizations including: The Writers' Union of Canada- The Status of Women Writers Committee; Re:Visions Women's Film and Video Festival; St. Norbert Arts and Cultural Centre; Payment for Public Use/Book Committee; Manitoba Arts Council; Manitoba Writers' Guild; Manitoba Film Board; Women and Words; and The Canada Council. McCracken's articles have appeared in many Canadian magazines. She has also worked as the Manitoba contributing editor to the NeWest Review. She passed away on May 17, 2002.

Custodial history

A1998-035 and A2002-043 were donated to the University of Manitoba Archives & Special Collections in 1998 and 2002 by Melinda and Molly McCracken.

Scope and content

A1998-035 consists of six series. The first series is Correspondence. This is further separated into professional and personal. The professional correspondence generally deals with the publication of McCracken's work, job applications, and grant information. There are also letters from several notable people including: Margaret Laurence, Eric Wilson, Timothy Findley, Peter C. Newman, Brian Mulroney, and David Suzuki. The personal correspondence includes letters from her father, brother and mother, and her friends: Sarah Yates-Howorth, David, Heather Robertson (see MSS 77), Joy Tataryn, and Myfwany Philips. As well, there is extensive correspondence with poet Coney Burns during the 1970s and 1980s, including samples of his poetry. The second series involves McCracken's Literary Career. It is divided into research, drafts, and published materials. There are newspaper clippings and book reviews regarding her literary work. As well, there is a small section of published work by other authors. The third series regards the years that McCracken worked at Manitoba Energy and Mines. This includes performance appraisals from 1986 and 1988, as well as speeches and other material that she produced during her years there. The fourth series has material from various Organizations that she was or is involved with. This organizations include The Writers' Union of Canada, Re:Visions, St. Norbert Arts and Cultural Centre, the Payment for Public Use/Book Committee, The Status of Women Writers Committee, the Manitoba Arts Council, the Manitoba Writers' Guild, Women and Words, the Manitoba Film Board, and The Canada Council. The fifth series contains material from McCracken's Academic Career. This includes a University of Manitoba transcript, English notes from Red River Community College, and material from Writers Who Teach Writing Roundtable 1997, and Artists in the School 1997. The final series is Miscellaneous. This includes ephemera from 1969, including tickets to see a newly formed band, Led Zepplin, as well as a receipt from a John Lennon/Yoko Ono concert in Toronto. There are also several folders of personal writings that include information on love, pregnancy, adoption, unemployment, and her college course, as well as other notes. These personal writings are considered confidential. There is also a Photograph Collection (PC 147) consisting of 69 photographs, and a Tape Collection (TC 93) consisting of 18 audio tapes and 1 record.

A2002-043 consists of biographical information, correspondence, personal journals, manuscripts, newspaper articles and clippings, personal files, photographs and audio and video tapes.

Notes area

Physical condition

Immediate source of acquisition

Arrangement

A1998-035 is organized into seven series:

1. Correspondence
2. Literary Career
3. Manitoba Energy and Mines
4. Organizations
5. Academic Career
6. Miscellaneous
7. Original Letters
PC 147 - Photographs
TC 93 - Audio Tapes

A2002-043 is organized into 12 series
1. Biographical information
2. Career
3. Correspondence
4. Literary works
5. Articles
6. Miscellaneous works, handwritten notes
7. Personal files
8. Miscellaneous
9. PC 147 - Audiotapes
10. TC 93 - Photographs
11. Artifacts
12. Videocassettes and Computer disks

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Restrictions on access

A1998-035 Box 19 is restricted. There are no other restrictions on access. Please contact the Archives for more information.

Terms governing use, reproduction, and publication

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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Alternative identifier(s)

A

1998-035

A

2002-043

PC

147

TC

093

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Draft

Level of detail

Partial

Dates of creation, revision and deletion

A1998-035 finding aid created by Karyn Riedel Taylor and Lisa Friesen (2000). Finding aid encoded by Vladimira Zvonik (2003). Finding aid converted by Justin Fuhr (July 2016). Revision History: July 26, 2005 - MSS 141, PC 147, TC 93 converted from EAD 1.0 to 2002 by v1to02.xsl (sy2003-10-15). Revised by N. Courrier (April 2019).

A2002-043 finding aid created by Vladimira Zvonik (2002). Finding aid encoded by Vladimira Zvonik 2003. Finding aid converted by Justin Fuhr, July 2016. Revision History: July 26, 2005 - Mss 141, TC 93, PC 147 - A.02-43 converted from EAD 1.0 to 2002 by v1to02.xsl (sy2003-10-15). Revised by N. Courrier (April 2019).

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