Fonds MSS 326 - William O. Pruitt Jr. fonds

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William O. Pruitt Jr. fonds

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  • Multiple media

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Physical description

21 m textual records
12019 slides
1157 photographs
1061 negatives
8 video cassettes
16 audio cassettes
58 film reels
151 floppy discs
12 CDs
2 microfilm reels
38 maps

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Name of creator


Biographical history

William Obadiah Pruitt was born in Easton, Maryland on September 1, 1922. He served with US Army Medical Corp during the Second World War. He obtained a Bachelor of Science degree from the University of Maryland in 1947. The following year he completed an M.A. followed by a Ph.D. from the University of Michigan in 1952.

After teaching at the University of Alaska, University of Oklahoma, and Memorial University, Dr. Pruitt joined the University of Manitoba in 1969 and retired in 1996. He remained a Senior Scholar in the Department of Biological Sciences following his retirement.

In 1973, Pruitt launched the Taiga Biological Station, a research outpost in the boreal forest and he has been called has been called "the father of North American boreal ecology." Pruitt personally provided some of the original funding for Taiga.

Pruitt published extensively over a fifty-year period (1951-2001) and is known world-wide for his research on the influence of snow on animals.

He received several awards and honours including the Government of Canada Northern Science Award Centenary Medal in 1989 and the Vilhjalmur Stenfansson Award by the University of Manitoba Northern Studies Committee the same year. He was also a Fellow of the Explorers Club. He received an Honorary Doctor of Science from the University of Alaska in 1993 and an Honorary Doctor of Science from Memorial University in 2001. Dr. Pruitt died on December 7, 2009.

Custodial history

The fonds was donated to University of Manitoba Archives & Special Collections by the Pruitt family in 5 separate accessions between 2010 and 2012. Rick Riewe had temporary custody of A12-106 and brought it to the University of Manitoba Archives & Special Collections on behalf of the Pruitt family.

Scope and content

A10-03: This accession is divided into 13 series. They include: biographical information and awards; field trip diaries; articles, conference papers and reports; conferences; Taiga Biographical Station; TBS small mammal plots; organizations; student notes; Memorial University; University of Manitoba; teaching material; correspondence; and research material.

A10-93: This accession contains 8 series. They include: articles, manuscripts, book reviews and reports; Pruitt's student papers and dissertation; Taiga Biological Station; correspondence; organizations; class projects; research material, and photograph collection.

A10- 112: This accession is divided into 11 series. They include: articles, book reviews and reports; organizations; Taiga Biological Station; correspondence; research material; mould damaged journals; photo collection (PC 281); tape collection (TC 155); microfilm collection (MF. 32); electronic records (EL 25); and maps (MC 34).

A12-75: This accession contains eight audio cassettes containing material on Andrew Taylor and interviews related to "Wild Harmony".

A12-106: This accession is arranged into three series; correspondence and documentation (including correspondence, research materials, manuscript drafts, and other documentation); audio/visual materials (PC 281 and TC 155); and map cabinet items (MC 34 - one map and 3 bioclimate charts).

Notes area

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Records aquired from the Pruitt family.


Items are arranged into 4 finding aids with each accession from 2010 in a separate listing, and the two accessions from 2012 listed as one unit.

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A finding aid can be downloaded by clicking on the “Download’ link under “Finding Aid” on the right hand side of the screen.

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No further accruals are expected.

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Created October 2014 by Tyyne Petrowski. Revised by N. Courrier (October 2019).

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  • English

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