Kathleen Strathearn fonds

MG L31

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

Kathleen Strathearn fonds [textual record]. -- 1926-[1941?], predominant 1926-1928. -- 5 cm of textual records

Biographical sketch: Teacher and pianist Kathleen Strathearn met Charles G. D. Roberts in Vancouver, British Columbia during the winter of 1926-1927, when she was 24-years-old. Roberts gave a number of lectures at the University of British Columbia before leaving for Eastern Canada early in March 1927. He returned to Vancouver in early December to lecture again at the university, remaining there the rest of the winter. For a short time, Roberts pursued a romantic interest in Strathearn, which is reflected in his letters to her.

By the end of 1928, the romance had cooled, and Strathearn continued her concert circuit. Early in 1929 she gave a public performance in Vancouver, which was attended by Arthur J. Hughes, a wealthy executive of the China United Assurance Society. Following a whirlwind courtship, they married in Shanghai in late 1929. They had two children: Isobel (b. 1930) and Arthur W. Hughes (b. 1932).

While in China, Kathleen was a soloist with the Shanghai Municipal Orchestra. In 1940, amid threat of war, she and the children left China for Canada. Within a short time, she had divorced Hughes, later marrying William G. L. Dunbar, a shipping agent, who had worked in the Far East.

Adams, John Coldwell, "More Letters for the Roberts Collection," Studies in Canadian Literature, Vol. 16.1, 1991

Custodial history: In the summer of 1990, Arthur Hughes, the son of Kathleen Strathearn Hughes, discovered this material in a chest which had belonged to his mother.

Scope and content: This fonds contains letters and greeting cards from Charles G. D. Roberts to Kathleen Strathearn, which shed light on their relationship. It also includes a newspaper article about Roberts and a copy of book by Francis T. Palgrave, inscribed by Roberts to Strathearn. Each greeting card contains a photograph of Roberts.

Title based on content of the fonds

Deposited by Arthur W. Hughes, the son of Kathleen Strathearn, on 19 November 1991


1. 1926-1928; correspondence from Charles G. D. Roberts

2. Newspaper article about Charles G. D. Roberts, [1941?]

3. The golden treasury / by Francis T. Palgrave. - London : Macmillan and Co. Limited; 1922. - inscribed by Charles G. D. Roberts


Document Maintained by:
UNB Archives
email address archives@unb.ca
Last Update: 1999/05/18