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Description found in Archives

P.K. (Patricia Kathleen) Page fonds [textual record, graphic material, sound recording] 


1860-2005; predominant 1933-2005

Place of creation

No place, unknown, or undetermined

15.82 m of textual records.
1454 photographs : 456 b&w and 881 col., 116 b&w negatives, 1 transparency.
202 drawings : pencil and col. pen.
40 audio cassettes (approx. 44 hours).
3 audio reels (2 h, 30 min).
6 prints.
2 collages 1 fabric and paper, 1 pencil drawing attached to photocopy.
2 prints: serigraph.
46 posters : 1 fabric.
10 audio CDRs
2 VHS tapes
1 mock-up

Scope and content

Fonds consists of literary manuscripts, personal papers and photographs documenting the career and personal life of P.K. Page. There are also audio-visual records and other graphic material. The textual records consist of seven series: manuscripts by P.K. Page (including seven sub-series); manuscripts by other authors; correspondence - I (including some graphic material); correspondence - II (including some graphic material); subject files (including some graphic material); personal and family material (including some graphic material); and personal journals. The photographs include snapshots, formal portraits, family photographs, photographs of various events in Page's life, and reproductions of her artwork produced under the name P.K. Irwin. They have been arranged in one series, with the exception of the later records instalments in which photographs remain with the correspondence. Other graphic material includes a drawing sent by Marilyn Bowering to P.K. Page, 1988; cover layout for Winter 1987 issue of West Coast Review with a drawing by Page; Christmas cards sent by James Reaney and Colleen Thibodeau, 1982-1987, and other greeting cards; a sheet, ca. 1943, bearing caricature drawings of Eleanor Roosevelt by Page; and an invitation by Joe Plaskett for his 70th birthday party, 1988. See accession records. Finally, the sound recordings are by or about P.K. Page, 1975-1985, and include three audio reels, 1985, of an interview and reading on the CBC Radio program Anthology which were acquired from CBC in 1985. See accession records. Audio and visual material from the later and final instalments are located in container ** and include sound recordings by and for Page, as well as sound and video recordings relating to the study of Sufism.

Textual records
Sound recordings
90: Open
Graphic (photo)
90: Open
90: Open
Graphic (art)
96: Restrictions vary
A300-02 Item no. assigned by LAC 1 -- 6
90: Open
Archival reference no.
Former archival reference no.

Terms of use

Textual record: The recipient of copies is responsible for determining whether material is subject to copyright and for ascertaining the name of the person or organization holding copyright. The recipient is also responsible for determining whether any use of copyrighted material does or does not constitute an infringement of copyright under the Copyright Act.
Sound recordings: Reproduction and use of any kind requires the written permission of the copyright holders and of P.K. Page.
Graphic material (art): Reproduction and use in any form, during P.K. Page's lifetime, requires her permission. Various copyrights. Materials must be consulted under close supervision for conservation reasons. Physical access to be given through an art archivist.
Graphic material (photos): No reproduction or copies allowed without consent of P. K. Page. Various copyrights on items less than 50 years old. Copyright expired on items more than 50 years old. Credit: Name of photographer / Library and Archives Canada / Copy negative no.

Textual records The finding aid for containers 1 to 56 consists of a file list. MSS1655 90 (Electronic)

Sound recordings Description of recordings available in AV documentation file. 90 (Paper)

Photographs Later photographs from accessions from 2001 and after are integrated with textual records in finding aid MSS1655. Electronic PK Page R2411 Finding Aid (A) Electronic PK Page R2411 Finding Aid (B) 90 (Electronic)

Biography / Administrative history

The poet and artist P.K. Page was born in Swanage, England, the daughter of a military officer, Lionel Frank Page, who rose to the rank of Major General in the Canadian army after bringing his family to Canada in 1919. P.K. Page spent most of her youth in Calgary but moved with her family to Rothesay, New Brunswick, in 1935. She went to Saint John in the late 1930s, where she worked as a radio actress and tried to establish a children's theatre with a friend. She moved to Montreal in the early 1940s, where she met poets F.R. Scott and Patrick Anderson and joined them in publishing the little magazine Preview.

Page's first published poem, The Moth, appeared in 1934, and between 1939 and 1942 a number of her poems were published in Canadian Poetry Magazine and Contemporary Verse. After she moved to Montreal, both her poetry and short stories appeared in Preview and in 1944 she published a novel, The Sun and the Moon, under the nom-de-plume Judith Cape. In that same year, Ronald Hambleton included twelve of her poems in his anthology, Unit of Five. Her first collection of poetry, As Ten, As Twenty, was published two years later.

Page moved to Ottawa in 1946 to work as a scriptwriter for the National Film Board. In 1950, she married National Film Board Commissioner W.A. Irwin, who later joined the diplomatic service. She subsequently spent nearly a decade away from Canada, travelling with her husband on diplomatic postings to Australia 1953-1956, Brazil 1956-1959, and Mexico 1960-1964. They returned to Canada in 1964 and settled in Victoria, British Columbia.

P.K. Page won the Governor-General's Award for her poetry collection The Metal and the Flower in 1954. Cry Ararat! was published in 1967 and a fourth collection, Poems Selected and New, in 1974. Evening Dance of the Grey Flies appeared in 1981 and included a futuristic/allegorical short story called Unless the Eye Catch Fire.... Another selection of poems, The Glass Air, was published in 1985 and excerpts from Page's travel diaries were published as Brazilian Journal (1987). In 1994, Hologram was published, in which Page pays homage to fourteen other poets through the poetic convention of glosas. In 1997, all the poems appearing in her previous titles were re-published in the two-volume collected works, The Hidden Room, edited by Stan Dragland. Rosa dei Venti/Compass Rose, Italian translations of Page's poetry by Francesca Valente, was published by Longo Editore in 1998. A collaboration between P.K. Page and Philip Stratford on a renga poem resulted in And Once More Saw the Stars (2001). In 2002 Page was short-listed for the Griffin Prize for a new book of poetry, Planet Earth, and her first U.S. publication, Cosmologies: Poems Selected and New, followed in 2003. An autobiographical poem, Hand Luggage: A Memoir in Verse, was published in 2006 and in 2007, Page's second collection of short stories, Up on the Roof, was published as was The Filled Pen: Selected Non-Fiction, a collection of essays, edited by Zailig Pollock. The final two works to be published during Page's lifetime are the poetry collections "Coal and Roses" (2009; shortlisted for the 2010 Griffin Poetry Prize) and "The Golden Lilies, poems by P.K. Page" (2009). Page has also written children's books, including A Flask of Sea Water (1989), The Travelling Musicians (1991), The Goat that Flew (1994), A Grain of Sand (2003), A Brazilian Alphabet for the Young Reader (2005), and Jake the Baker Makes a Cake (2008). In 1995 Page collaborated with Harry Somers on A Children's Hymn to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the United Nations and in 2001 she wrote the lyrics for A Children's Millennium Song (music by Oscar Peterson) for the ceremonial opening of the Trans Canada Trail.

As well as being a poet, P.K. Page is a well-known artist, painting under the name P.K. Irwin. Her work illustrates Cry Ararat! and Brazilian Journal and is represented in the permanent collection of the National Gallery of Canada. A film about P.K. Page was produced in 1991 by the National Film Board of Canada. In 2001 her poem Planet Earth was selected to be read on international grounds (Mount Everest, West Philippines Sea, Antarctica and the United Nations) as part of the United Nations' Dialogue Among Civilizations Through Poetry program, and in 2002 Trent University hosted a symposium, Extraordinary Presence: The Worlds of P.K. Page. Page is recipient of honorary degrees from University of Victoria (1985), Calgary (1989), Guelph (1990), Simon Fraser (1990), Toronto (1998), Winnipeg (2001) and Trent (2004) and the University of British Columbia (2005). She was appointed Companion of the Order of Canada in 1999.

Additional information

Most of the records were received between 1984 and 2010 from P.K. Page of Victoria, British Columbia. One pastel drawing of Rose Laura Page (P.K. Page's mother) by Kathleen Shackleton was received in 2008 from P.K. Page. The final instalments of records (registry accessions 2010-0154 and 2010-0191) were received following Page's death from her literary executor, Prof. Zailig Pollock.

Arrangement note
Arrangement Notes for volumes 1-24 of the P.K. Page fonds are as follows (additional notes on arrangement of later accessions are incorporated into MIKAN at the series and subseries level): NOTES ON THE ARRANGEMENT OF THE P.K. PAGE FONDS 1. In the Manuscripts series, drafts of collected poems have been arranged under the title of the earliest collection in which they appeared. Poems not appearing in any collection of Page's work at the time the papers were arranged in 1984, including both published and unpublished poems, were arranged together in one nominal series. 2. Some manuscripts by other authors are arranged in a separate series. Note that other such manuscripts may appear in the Correspondence series along with correspondence from the author. 3. The Correspondence has been arranged in two nominal series, largely following the original order. Series I is the more comprehensive and includes correspondence from other writers, artists, friends and acquaintances; it includes files of miscellaneous correspondence, some from unidentified correspondents, and files of correspondence from students, largely about their own work. Some correspondence originally filed as miscellaneous has now been filed under the name of the author, where the extent or the prominence of the author seemed to warrant it, and some correspondence has been moved from the original nominal files to complete related correspondence in the Subject Files series. Series II comprises personal correspondence from close friends, arranged nominally, and some individual letters removed from Series I files for special restrictions. 4. The Subject Files largely reflect the original order but have been re-arranged to some extent in the interests of consistency (eg. all Page's collections are now filed under the name of the publisher rather than, as originally, some appearing under the name of the publisher and some under the title of the collection; all the League of Canadian Poets and Writers Union of Canada material is now filed under the name of the organization). Some large files relating to a general subject have been broken into a series of smaller files (eg. material in the original "Art" files is now filed by gallery under the heading "Art"). Some correspondence has been brought from the Correspondence series to complete related correspondence found in the Subject Files. One new file was created, "Publishers. General", to bring together loose and miscellaneous correspondence with publishers. Some material has been removed from the "Canada Council", "Canadian Writers Foundation" and "Order of Canada" files and filed separately because of the need for special restrictions. Files in the later instalments (registry accessions 2006-0941 through 2010-0154) largely follow the arrangement noted above, with the exception that no new files – for correspondence, manuscript, or any other material – have been created by the archivist handling the fonds and the existing material has not been re-arranged in any way. This is felt to better reflect the original order and order of use of the creator, P.K. Page. In accordance with this, two new sub-series were created for the "Manuscripts by P.K. Page" series so as not to artificially re-order the material. The final instalment of records, registry accession 2010-0191, was gathered by literary executor Zailig Pollock and received by Library and Archives Canada following Page's death. As such, it presented an opportunity to record where and how the material was arranged in Page's home office; this in turn provides insight into the records' storage and use by the creator. Items for this final instalment have thus been assigned volume numbers and described according to notes and photographs taken to detail their arrangement in Page's office. Researchers will find indications of this in the finding aid, and can also request access to original box lists in order to view how the material was found by, and packaged and shipped to, the literary executor, as well as which material remains at Trent University in the Page Irwin Colloquium Room at Catharine Parr Traill College.

Subject heading

1. Poets, Canadian, 1877-1983 "As Ten, As Twenty", 1946-1981.
2. Publishers - Canada, 1877-1983 "The Metal and the Flower", 1946-1981.
3. Authors, Canadian, 1877-1983 "Cry Ararat", 1946-1981.
4. Women authors, Canadian, 1877-1983 "Evening Dance of the Grey Flies", 1946-1981.
5. Painters, Canadian, 1877-1983 National Film Board of Canada, 1877-1983.
6. Women painters - Canada, 1877-1983 Florence Bird, 1877-1983.
7. Poetry - Collections, 1877-1983 John H. Charnock, 1877-1983.
8. Poetry - Women authors, 1877-1983 Gail Fox, 1877-1983.
9. Maureen Harris, 1877-1983.
10. Jay Macpherson, 1877-1983.
11. Richard Chadbourne, 1877-1983.


Other system control no.

Related control no.

1. 1984/0003 MSS
2. 1985-0170 MISA
3. 1985-0222 MISA
4. 1985-089 NPC
5. 1985-284 NPC
6. 1986-080 PIC
7. 1986-144 NPC
8. 1992-503 DAP
9. 1996-173 DAP
10. 119-020048-1
11. 123-020053-3
12. 2000-01681-2
13. 2007-00184-5
14. 2008-00803-7
15. MG30-D311