This guide is intended to draw together Roberts family records held by University of New Brunswick Archives and Special Collections Department and to facilitate their use by researchers. UNB houses 12 separate fonds and collections relating to this literary family. Acquired piecemeal from the 1940s to the 1980s, these records span approximately 130 years.
Sir Charles G. D. Roberts, the son of Emma Wetmore Bliss and George Goodridge Roberts, was the most prominent family member. Acknowledged as the father of Canadian literature during his lifetime, he produced over 350 poems, dozens of animal stories and other works. His literary achievements, friendships and personal and professional activities are documented in these records as are those of his brother, poet and novelist Theodore Goodridge Roberts; his sister, poet and story writer Elizabeth Roberts MacDonald; his son, poet and fiction writer Lloyd Roberts; his niece, poet and story writer Dorothy Roberts Leisner; and his friend and Dorothy's husband, essayist August Roberts Leisner. These records also shed light on the lives and activities of other family members, most notably, Canon George Goodridge Roberts, Emma Roberts, Goodridge Bliss Roberts, William Carman Roberts, Mary (May) Fenety Roberts, Edith Roberts, Douglas Roberts and William Goodridge Roberts. Poet Bliss Carman, a cousin of Charles G. D. Roberts, is also represented.
Scholars of Canadian literature have shown a keen interest in the Roberts family, particularly in the life and work of Charles G. D. Roberts. In 1985 a scholarly work, The Collected Poems of Sir Charles G. D. Roberts: A Critical Edition, edited by Desmond Pacey with editorial assistance from Graham Adams, appeared. Four years later Laurel Boone edited The Collected Letters of Charles G. D. Roberts, under the supervision of Fred Cogswell, a project initiated by Pacey. UNB's Roberts family holdings document activities relating to the production of these two volumes.
The 12 separate fonds and collections comprising the Roberts family records contain a mixture of literary, business and personal papers. Included are holograph, typescript and published copies of poems and short stories; literary notebooks; literary agreements; business, personal and family correspondence; newspaper clippings; photographs; and published articles about the Roberts family. Records relating to the collected poems and collected letters projects include project correspondence, photocopies of poems, photocopies of Roberts letters, a few original Roberts letters, financial records, research materials, draft typescript manuscripts and photographs.
Researchers interested in any member of the Roberts family should begin by reviewing the finding aids for ALL fonds and collections listed in the table of contents. Material contained in any one fonds or collection relates to more than one family member as well as to friends of the Roberts family, including a number of literary figures. This is especially true of MG L10 Sir Charles G. D. Roberts fonds, MG L5 Lloyd Roberts fonds, MG L12 Theodore Goodridge Roberts fonds, MG L3 Dorothy Roberts and August R. Leisner fonds and MG L27c Lady Joan Roberts collection.
Family, personal and business correspondence discusses events, activities and matters pertaining not only to members of the Roberts family but also to family friends and literary acquaintances. The activities of Bliss Carman, for example, are documented in family correspondence. Holograph, typescript and published copies of his poems can be found in several different fonds. This guide also includes a Roberts family genealogical table and a chronology of important dates.
A. Archives and Special Collections Department
In addition to the fonds and collections listed in this guide, Archives and Special Collections Department houses other materials relating to Charles G. D. Roberts and his family. Researchers may wish to consult:
1. Rufus Hathaway collection (catalogue)
2. MG L32 Isabel St. John Bliss collection (finding aid)
3. Tributes Through the Years : The Centenary of the Birth of Charles G. D. Roberts by Elsie M. Pomeroy (1959)
4. Private book collections donated by Lady Joan Roberts, William Carman Roberts and Edith Roberts.
B. Harriet Irving Library
HIL holds several microfilms, sound recordings and other material relating to the Roberts family:
1. Charles George Douglas Roberts papers on 6 reels of microfilm (PS8000 A1, no. 2 r 1-6) contain records listed in MG L10 Sir Charles G. D. Roberts fonds, MG L5 Lloyd Roberts fonds, and the Rufus Hathaway collection as well as relevant items found in the University of New Brunswick Presidents' papers (1924-1941) and the Beaverbrook collection (Cambrai and Marne). The originals of these records are all housed at Archives and Special Collections Department.
2. A Catalogue of Canadian Manuscripts Collected by Lorne Pierce and Presented to Queen's University, published in 1946, lists Roberts records held by that institution (PS8031.Q43). They may be viewed on microform at Harriet Irving Library (see next item).
3. Sir Charles G. D. Roberts papers [in the] Edith and Lorne Pierce collection of Canadiana manuscripts [housed at Queen's University] on 4 reels of microfilm (PS80060 A1 no. 12 r. 1-4).
These records include Charles G. D. Roberts correspondence, copies of his poems and prose, correspondence with other members of the Roberts family, copies of published works by Dorothy Roberts, Lloyd Roberts and Theodore Goodridge Roberts and a few miscellaneous items.
4. Modern Canadian poets sound recording / League of Canadian poets (PS8273.M62) contains a brief interview with Dorothy Roberts and a recording of her reading from her works.
5. An Inventory of the Elsie Pomeroy Collection of Manuscripts and Materials and the Elsie Pomeroy Library of the Poetry of Sir Charles G. D. Roberts in the Ralph Pickard Bell Library of Mount Allison University, Sackville, N.B. (PS8485.O24Z992 1976)
Records relating to Sir Charles G. D. Roberts and other members of his family are housed at a number of archives and libraries in Canada and the United States. Researchers may wish to consult The Sir Charles G. D. Roberts Symposium, edited and with an introduction by Glenn Clever, for a listing of such repositories (PS8485.O24Z92 1983; 2 copies, 1 each in archives and the main library).
In the Maritimes, Acadia University Library, Dalhousie University Library, King's College Library, Mount Allison University Library, and New Brunswick Museum Archives all hold records relating to the Roberts family. The Provincial Archives of New Brunswick houses MC 703 When the Roberts lived in Fredericton / written for the C.B.C. by Lloyd Roberts (aired on 5 December 1956).
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