CanLit treasures given to McGill
A priceless collection of letters, photos and rare autographed books by a quartet of CanLit greats will soon be available for public consultation at McGill. Author, filmmaker and native Montrealer William Weintraub will donate hundreds of his letters with authors Mordecai Richler, Mavis Gallant and Brian Moore to the McGill University Libraries, Rare Books and Special Collections Division.
William Weintraub donates hundreds of letters with Richler, Moore and Gallant
A priceless collection of letters, photos and rare autographed books by a quartet of CanLit greats will soon be available for public consultation at McGill.
Author, filmmaker and native Montrealer William Weintraub will donate hundreds of his letters with authors Mordecai Richler, Mavis Gallant and Brian Moore to the McGill University Libraries, Rare Books and Special Collections Division. Anyone who's ever wondered what Canada's literary establishment shared in private will be able to read for themselves at McGill come fall, when the collection will be ready for public viewing.
A 1947 McGill arts graduate, the 76-year-old Weintraub has collected a range of personal documents from his illustrious career, which included stints as a Montreal Gazette reporter and two decades at Canada's National Film Board, where he directed, wrote and produced almost 150 films. One recent book, Getting Started: A Memoir of the 1950s, was a best-seller.
Beyond words, Weintraub's collection offers a rare, tangible and candid glimpse of exchanges between friends on their lives and careers. The typed letters are coloured by their times and include irreproducible touches, from typos to crumpled paper. Many wittier notes feature salty language. One dispatch from Richler to Weintraub shows the late author's mischievous nature: "Dear Bill: Why don't you write? You can't be working that hard you bastard."
Other highlights of Weintraub's collection include:
- Hundreds of Weintraub photos of the four writers and other Montreal luminaries.
- Multiple videos of documentary and dramatic films Weintraub produced at the NFB.
- First-edition autographed copies of books including Gallant's Green Water, Green Sky, Richler's The Apprenticeship of Duddy Kravitz, Moore's Judith Hearne and Weintraub's Why Rock the Boat?
- Copies of book reviews concerning the work of the four CanLit friends.
Please note William Weintraub will be visiting McGill on April 9 at 6 p.m. to announce his gift and to deliver McGill's F.R. Scott Memorial Lecture for the Friends of the Library entitled, "Struggling to Get Published: The Young Mordecai Richler." Where: Rare Books Division, 4th floor, McLennan Library, (3459 McTavish St.). All media are welcome.
Given that Weintraub, Richler, Moore and Gallant all launched their writing careers in Montreal, says Irena Murray, chief curator of McGill's Rare Books and Special Collections Division, it's quite appropriate that this collection may soon be viewed at McGill. "Weintraub's gift is a special one that will provide an important link between researchers, Montrealers and McGill libraries," she says. "This gift will also considerably strengthen McGill's Canadian Literature collection."