Lady Joan Roberts collection

MG L27c

This finding aid was funded by a grant under the
Canadian Council of Archives Control of Holdings Program

Archives & Special Collections
Harriet Irving Library
University of New Brunswick
P.O. Box 7500
Fredericton, NB E3B 5H5

March 1999

Table of Contents

  1. Book contents
  2. Photographs, paintings and other graphic material
  3. Artifacts

Lady Joan Roberts collection [textual record and graphic material]. -- [1891?]-1962, predominant 1925-1943. -- 17 cm of textual records, 14 photographs : b&w, some sepia tone and 1 col.; 32.5 x 27.5 cm or smaller and other graphic material

Note: Also includes 1 drawing, 2 watercolours and 2 paintings as well as 3 artifacts

Biographical sketch: Margaret Joan Maude Montgomery was born in India in 1910. When she was a young girl, her family relocated first to Regina, where her father was employed as a civil engineer, and, in the 1920s, to Oak Park, Chicago. She attended high school there and completed one year at the University of Illinois. In 1929 Margaret Joan Maude continued her education, enrolling at the University of Toronto. She graduated in 1932 with a bachelor of arts in languages and history, and later earned a degree in library science. About this time, she began calling herself "Joan", having been addressed previously as "Maude."

In 1933 Joan met Charles G. D. Roberts, and was immediately attracted to him. During their 10 years together, they counted a number of artists, writers and actors as friends. For several years in the 1930s, Joan and Sir Charles worked together on Canadian Who Was Who. They married in Holy Trinity Church, Toronto on 28 October 1943, one month before his death. At that time, she was working as a wireless operator at Malton aiport.

In 1949 Lady Joan Roberts moved to Scotland, but eventually returned to Toronto, taking up residence at Summerhill Gardens. In 1964 she moved to a farm at Campbellville, Ontario near Guelph. A lover of animals, she kept a number of dogs, cats and farm animals. For a time, she was involved with the Ontario Society for Prevention of Cruelty to Animals. In 1972 she was again on the move, relocating to the village of Burrell Boom in Belize, Central America. She resided there for no fewer than 13 years. About 1985 she moved to Chetumal, Mexico where she died on 19 November 1989.

Boone, Laurel, "Acquisition of the Lady Joan Roberts Collection", unpublished report, 1985

Custodial history: Most of the material in this collection was once in the possession of Charles G. D. Roberts. It passed to Lady Joan Roberts on his death in November 1943. The items probably moved with Lady Joan from Toronto to Scotland and, subsequently, to Campbellville, Ontario. In 1972 they arrived with Lady Roberts in Burrell Boom, Belize.

Scope and content: This collection contains a variety of items which reflect the interests, activities, friendships and talents of Charles G. D. Roberts and other members of the Roberts family. It includes correspondence, newspaper clippings, published articles, holograph and typescript poems, broadsides and advertising leaflets all of which were filed in Charles G. D.'s books. Also included are 2 early paintings by Goodridge Roberts, a bronze bas-relief head of Sir Charles, his Lorne Pierce medal (1926), and his Underwood typewriter with case as well as a number of family photographs, notably, one of the last taken of Bliss Carman.

This collection consists of 3 series: 1. book contents, 2. photographs, paintings and other graphic material and 3. artifacts.

Title based on content of the collection

Laurel Boone travelled to Burrell Boom, Belize to collect this material from Lady Joan Roberts in September 1985. Before being deposited at Archives and Special Collections, Harriet Irving Library, the collection was kept briefly in freezers located in the University of New Brunswick, Department of Chemistry to kill insects.

A number of Sir Charles's books, in which much of this material was originally filed, arrived with the collection and have been processed separately. A complete title listing, which includes titles other than those set out in series 1, is available. Some of the books are by Roberts, but most are by other authors who inscribed copies of their works to Sir Charles. Included in the former category is a copy of Orion and Other Poems (1880) which was given to Marshall Saunders by T. H. Rand in 1895. Saunders gave the book to Roberts in 1929.


Document Maintained by:
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Last Update: 1999/05/17