Poet, novelist and short story writer Elizabeth (Betty) Brewster was born in Chipman New Brunswick in 1922. Brewster was a member of the Bliss Carman Society and a founding member of The Fiddlehead magazine. She received an Honours Bachelor of Arts degree in English and Greek from the University of New Brunswick in 1946, and pursued graduate work at Radcliffe, receiving her Master of Arts degree in 1947. She attended the University of Toronto library school in 1952, and pursued doctorate studies in English at the University of Indiana. Brewster worked as a librarian at the New Brunswick Legislative Library and in Ontario, Alberta, and British Columbia, and became a professor of English at the University of Saskatchewan in 1972.
In September 17, 1964 correspondence with the Canada Council Scholarship Section, Pacey describes Brewster as a "minor but distinctive and perceptive poet. Her poems are not dazzling in either thought or technique, but they are deft, sincere, thoughtful and sensitive" (Case 7 File 2).
Brewster's publications include Passage of Summer (1969), Sunrise North (1972), In Search of Eros (1974), The Sisters (novel, 1974), Junction (novel, 1982), It's Easy to Fall on the Ice (short stories, 1977), and Spring Again (1990).
This series consists of photocopies of 252 letters, 5 articles, several poems, and a transcript of a 1970 taped interview between Brewster and Robert Gibbs (Case 8 File 1). Files are arranged chronologically.
The correspondence between Brewster and Pacey began in 1946 while Brewster was studying at Radcliffe. Pacey wrote several letters of recommendation to help her secure financial assistance for graduate studies. She frequently sent Dr. Pacey poems and manuscripts for his constructive criticism, and in turn she often critiqued his works in many of her letters.
The Pacey-Brewster correspondence during the nineteen sixties chronicles Brewster's librarian positions at Victoria College British Columbia and at the University of Alberta. She discusses her involvement with the League of Canadian Poets and she and Pacey write about their contacts with Canadian writers including Donald Gammon, Eli Mandel, Raymond Souster, Fred Cogswell, Alden Nowlan, Rudy Wiebe, Margaret Atwood, Alfred Goldsworthy Bailey, James Reaney, Malcolm Ross, Morley Callaghan, Dorothy Livesay, Robert Gibbs, Patrick White, Margaret Laurence, Nancy Bauer, P.K. Page, Norman Levine, Mordecai Richler, Kent Thompson, Joy Kogawa, Al Purdy, Hugh MacLennan, Jay MacPherson, and Ethel Wilson. During this period, Brewster shifts away from poetry towards prose as she continues work on a New Brunswick narrative.
Reference is made in the Brewster-Pacey correspondence to the student riots at UNB during the late sixties (Case 7 File 2).
Correspondence during the seventies discusses Brewster's nomination for the Governor-General's award in 1970, the infighting taking place in the League of Canadian Poets, and Brewster's desire to teach at the University of New Brunswick. Her correspondence reveals a lingering feeling of displacement and discontentment with her work as a librarian, and disappointment about her perceived snubbing by UNB.
Pacey wrote an article on Brewster's poetry for publication in Ariel in 1973, and Case 8 File 1 contains the manuscript of this article.
File titles are based on file contents.
The original letters are located in the Pacey Papers in the Manuscript Division of the National Archives of Canada (MG 30, D339). A descriptive file list of two of the series in the Pacey Papers, poets and novelists, has been compiled by the National Archives (finding aid # 1729).
The Pacey Papers in the National Archives of Canada remain closed until the year 2007. The same access restrictions apply to the Brewster correspondence series of the Pacey Fonds located in the University of New Brunswick Archives and Special Collections Department.
Case 7 Correspondence - Elizabeth Brewster File 1 Brewster, Elizabeth - Correspondence 1946-1959. -- 1946-1959. File 2 Brewster, Elizabeth - Correspondence 1960-1969. -- 1960-1961, 1964-1965, 1967-1969. File 3 Brewster, Elizabeth - Correspondence 1970-1972. -- 1970-1972. Case 8 Correspondence - Elizabeth Brewster File 1 Brewster, Elizabeth - Correspondence 1973-1974. -- 1973-1974.