Biographical Sketch: Alvin Shaw was born on August 30th, 1921 in Owen Sound, Ontario to Norman L. and Edith Shaw. Alvin Shaw's mother died when he was two years old; consequently he was raised by his grandmother, Mrs. [I. A.] Crawford. He attended Owen Sound Collegiate Vocational Institute, where he participated in various high school plays.
Shaw served in the Canadian Army 1942-1946, and upon finishing his service, enrolled at the Khaki University of Canada in England for eight months. Here he helped to organize and was president of the dramatic society.
Shaw's true roots in drama, however, can be traced to his time spent as an undergraduate at the University of Toronto 1946-1950. Apart from earning his Honours BA in modern languages, it was here that Shaw devoted a large part of his time to Hart House theatre, considered one of the best amateur theatres in Canada. Under the direction of Robert Gill, Shaw participated in 14 legitimate plays, either as actor, director, or a combination of the two. His interest and devotion to drama led to his winning the Professor W.J. McAndrew award for most outstanding contribution to drama in University College in 1950.
Shaw came to UNB in 1950 when he was appointed to the position of lecturer in the Modern Languages Department. Shaw only intended to stay one year, but stayed for 37. He became Assistant Professor in 1951, Associate Professor in 1960, and gained full title of Professor in 1969. In 1955, he spent a year in Ann Arbor, Michigan, obtaining an MA. While at UNB, Shaw was involved in many university activities, including heading the Modern Languages Department from 1967-1972, serving as associate Dean of Arts from 1971-1987, acting as don of the Lady Beaverbrook Residence from 1954-1970, and acting as Dean of Men's Residences from 1954-1961. He was twice designated acting dean of his faculty, and served on many committees, including the UNB Senate and Board of Deans. While at UNB, Shaw received the UNB Merit Award twice. Following his retirement in 1987, he was awarded the distinction of Professor Emeritus of Spanish in 1988.
What Shaw was best known for, however, was his involvement with theatre, both at the university and community levels. Between the years of 1951-1973, he directed 22 major productions as faculty advisor for the UNB Drama Society. During this time, he took plays to the national finals of the Dominion Drama Festival on four separate occasions (1957, 1958, 1964 and 1966), and won many awards for his plays both at these events and other festivals throughout the years. Personal awards of note that Shaw received were the Canadian Drama Award in 1955 in recognition of his service to Canadian theatre, and the very first New Brunswick Drama Award for excellence in community theatre in 1980.
Aside from his hands-on experience in productions, Shaw also served on various committees, including Board of Governors for the both the National Theatre School and the Playhouse. He was the president of the New Brunswick Drama League for many years, governor and first vice president of the Dominion Drama Festival, and the co-founder and artistic director of Theatre Fredericton. On top of all these accomplishments, Shaw was also involved with University Radio Productions, Fredericton Players Guild, the Company of Ten, UNB Workshop Productions and Theatre New Brunswick , lectured on theatre and adjudicated drama festivals.
Alvin Shaw continued to make his home in Fredericton until his death on April 9, 1992.
Scope and Content: This fonds documents Alvin Shaw's lifelong involvement with drama at the university and community levels, but also includes some material depicting Shaw's academic career (UNB 1950-1987) and travels. There are a few items reflecting his military service and education before coming to UNB, as well as after his retirement in 1987. This fonds includes 34 scrapbooks and more than 3700 slides assembled by Shaw, various awards both in and out of the field of theatre, as well as material relating to specific plays such as set models, scripts and production information.
The fonds is divided into 8 series:
1) Scrapbooks. -- 1939 - 1971
2) Loose Scrapbook Material. -- 1972 - 1992
3) Scripts and Production Information. -- various dates
4) Theatre Awards. -- 1932 - 1980
5) University Related Awards. -- 1962 - 1988
6) Portraits of Alvin Shaw. -- [1945 - 1971]
7) Set Models. -- [1983 - 1992]
8) Slides. -- 1952 - 1991
Title: Title is based on contents of the fonds.
Physical Description: Includes 3707 col. slides; 7 framed certificates, 38 x 30 cm and smaller; 11 drawings; 4 photographs, 1 b&w and 3 col.; and 30 artifacts.
Immediate Source of Acquisition: The material in this fonds was deposited in the UNB Archives, May 11, 1992 by the estate of Alvin J. Shaw.
Related Material: Alvin Shaw's " Baby Book" was purchased and deposited in the UNB Archives separate from the material in this fonds. For convenience of access, it is located in Box 1 of the textual material.