In her own words, Ethel Brant Monture was a “one-woman crusade to reverse over four centuries of propaganda.” It was her wish that the contributions of Aboriginal people be known to all Canadians and that school textbooks be revised to eliminate bias and falsehood, to reflect historical reality in relation to First Nations. Her contribution to Clarke, Irwin’s Canadian Portraits series, Famous Indians (1960), was a significant biographical achievement that she employed in her crusade.
Like many nineteenth- and early twentieth-century newspapers, the Collingwood Bulletin played a major role in its community, providing information to residents, advertising commercial enterprises and social events, and weathering challenges from competitors. Its significance is documented within the pages of the newspaper itself, as well as in articles and notices in the trade journal Canadian Printer and Publisher, and in a unique scrapbook filled with examples of the job printing that emanated from the presses of the Bulletin. Stationery, concert programs, handbills, church announcements, and other intriguing items tell their own tales of a bustling Ontario town and reveal much about the technological capabilities of the newspaper’s print shop.
From the beginning of his career Robertson Davies (1913-95) was considered a talented and respected author who had written many successful books, including the Salterton trilogy and several works under the pen name of Samuel Marchbanks. It was not until the publication of Fifth Business in 1970 that he achieved true international success. As Judith Skeleton Grant observes in her biography, Robertson Davies: Man of Myth, the novel Fifth Business was “the book that made his reputation,” and had an immense impact on Davies’s writing, his career, and the development of Canadian literature.
J. Macdonald Oxley was one of the best known Canadian authors of his time, but few people today have heard of Bert Lloyd’s Boyhood. In his diary we learn that it was reviewed in 15 periodicals and newspapers upon its publication in 1889, and that he was paid $175 for it by his American publisher.
Hugh Kane (1911-84) is regarded as one of Canada’s foremost publishers, having held senior positions at both McClelland & Stewart and Macmillan of Canada, two of the country’s most important firms. During a career that spanned some 50 years, he helped lead the companies through difficult financial times, and won the respect of colleagues and authors with business acumen, an even temper, and good humour.