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Dr. Robert Bohdan Klymasz was born in Toronto, Ontario in 1936. In 1957, he obtained a B.A. from the University of Toronto, and later studied at Charles University, Prague (1952), University of Manitoba (M.A., 1960), Harvard University (1960-1962), and Indiana University (Ph.D., 1971). He married Shirley Zaporozan in 1963, and they have two daughters, Andrea and Lara. In 1967, he joined the Canadian Museum of Civilization and served as its first programme director for Slavic and East European Studies. Throughout his career, he has held several prestigious positions, including the executive director of the Ukrainian Cultural and Educational Centre (Oseredok) in Winnipeg, visiting associate professor in Folklore for Memorial University's Department of Folklore, visiting professor in Folklore and Slavic Studies at the University of California at Los Angeles, and visiting scholar at Harvard Divinity School.
In 1993, as a curator with the Museum of Civilization, Dr. Klymasz began a comprehensive study on community life in Gimli, Manitoba. Fieldwork on this project began in 1993 and continued on an annual basis every summer until the summer of 2001. The project, which became known as the Gimli Community Research Project (G.C.R.P.), was meant to offer insight on what makes the Town of Gimli a safe and prosperous town in which to live. The early work was low-key in nature, focusing on the town's life and culture, for example, attending meetings of the town's council, various public forums, proceedings of the local public law court, and meetings of the Board for the New Iceland Heritage Museum. Gradually, the fieldwork shifted to monitoring phenomena that gave Gimli its "dreamtown" quality. The final report was completed in 2002 and was entitled ""Dream Town": Art and the Celebration of Place in Gimli, Manitoba."
Upon his retirement in 2000, he was named Curator Emeritus with the Canadian Museum of Civilization. Dr. Klymasz is a renowned expert on Ukrainian Canadian folklore, having extensively written, published, and lectured on this subject. His publications include An Introduction to the Ukrainian-Canadian Folksong Cycle (1970), Ukrainian Folklore in Canada (1980), 'Svieto': Celebrating Ukrainian-Canadian Ritual in East Central Alberta Through the Generations (1992), and The Icon in Canada (1996). Dr. Klymasz also published many reviews of books and exhibitions in Canada's Ukrainian and Icelandic ethnic press. He continues to pursue his recent interests with grants from the University of Alberta (CIUS) and the University of Manitoba (CUCS).
In 2004, he delivered a paper at the Congress of Humanities and Social Sciences in Winnipeg. Dr. Klymasz was awarded the Marius-Barbeau Prize by the Folklore Studies Association of Canada (Laval University) for his studies in Ukrainian Canadian Folklore. In 2005, he completed the Archival Research Project on Walter Klymkiw, the conductor of Koshetz Choir, titled "Playing around with Choir": the Correspondence and Papers of Walter P. Klymkiw. The manuscript is held at the University of Manitoba Archives & Special Collections. Between 2006 and 2008, he completed several archival research projects including A priest, a maestro, a community: epistolary insights into the music culture of Winnipeg's Ukrainian community, 1936-1944 (2006-2007), Winnipeg Papers on Ukrainian Music (2008), Nuggets from the past: quotations on the Ukrainian experience in Canada (2007), Winnipeg Papers on Ukrainian Book Culture (2009), and Winnipeg Papers on Ukrainians and Aboriginals. In2013 a Ukrainian translation of Klymasz's 1971 Indiana University PhD dissertation was published in Ukrainian, under the title, 'Ukrains'ka narodna kul'tura v kanads'kykh preriiakh' (Kyiv: Duliby, 2013) . The manuscripts are held at the University of Manitoba Archives & Special Collections.
Scope and content
The first accession (A.02-32) consists of research material pertaining to the Gimli Community Research Project. Included are published materials about Gimli and the Interlake (pamphlets, brochures, maps, and clippings), handwritten notes, correspondence, and the draft and final copy of the GCRP report. In addition to the textual material, the collection contains over three hundred photographs which depict life in the Interlake Area.
The second accession (A.03-87) consists of personal correspondence and research material during Robert Klymasz's career as a curator for East European Collections at the Canadian Museum of Civilization in Hull, Quebec, as an instructor of Ukrainian Folklore at the University of Manitoba, and as a contributor to the Ukrainian Catholic Newspaper, Postup (Progress). In addition to textual material, the collection contains personal photographs and audio-recordings (both commercial and non-commercial) pertaining to Ukrainian folklore (primarily Ukrainian-Canadian). The third accession (A.05-52) consists of documentation and research material pertaining to Klymasz's Archival Research Project on Walter Klymkiw.
The fourth accession (A.06-61) consists of correspondence (2002-2006), research material (Koshetz Project, Ukrainian Music), various announcements of Ukrainian Canadian cultural events, collections of post cards/collection cards, and a photographs (PC 170). The fifth accession (A.07-29) consists of correspondence (1995-2007), various cultural events and research projects, Shirley Klymasz's biographical information and art work and 2 family photographs (PC 170). The sixth accession (A.08-36) consists of correspondence, material on various archival research projects including A priest, a maestro, a community: epistolary insights into the music culture of Winnipeg's Ukrainian community, 1936-1944 (2006-2007), Winnipeg Papers on Ukrainian Music (2008), and Nuggets from the past: quotations on the Ukrainian experience in Canada (2007), and photographs from his family archives (PC 170).
The seventh accession (A.09-101) consists of biographical information, Winnipeg Papers on Ukrainian Book Culture manuscript (2009), research material and correspondence, photographs from "Leadership Courses" organized by the Ukrainian National Youth Federation in Lake Winnipeg (1955), and Ukrainian Music Culture papers in electronic format.
The eighth accession (A.11-49) consists of Winnipeg Papers on Ukrainian Arts Culture manuscripts (2010) and on Searching for Kanadiis'ka Rus'" (2011), research material and correspondence, and Ukrainian wedding photographs fro the 1950s taken in Toronto and Manitoba.
The ninth accession (A.14-98) consists of: biographical; correspondence; Winnipeg Papers; Ukrainian organizations & events; miscellaneous research materials; photographs (1930s to 1970s); and electronic memory stick.
The tenth accession (A.16-21) contains documents of biographical interest, selections from Klymasz’s correspondence (including e-mails); articles, reviews and letters submitted by Klymasz and published in scholarly journals and in newspapers, as well as one conference paper; research materials on the poets included in Winnipeg Papers #7, “From the Heart: The Best Anthology of Canadian Poetry in Ukrainian,” compiled by Klymasz for the CUCS at the University of Manitoba, as well as two copies of the anthology; and a selection of concert programs, annual reports, and miscellaneous newspaper and periodical issues collected by Klymasz.
In total, the photograph collection (PC 170) consists of 480 photographs, 52 slides, 113 negatives, and 3 videocassettes. The tape collection consists of 13 audio-cassettes and 7 compact discs. The electronic records collection (EL 20) consists of 3 computer diskettes. 3 compact discs and 1 memory stick.
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Edited by Elizabeth-Anne Johnson in July 2016