Going through the description of the Ryerson Press Textual Records archive at Ryerson University, I was puzzled to discover references to a number of titles by our authors—many in the Makers of Canadian Literature series—that seem never to have been published. Delving a bit deeper, I discovered a 1985 article by Margery Fee, currently at the University of British Columbia, exploring the history of the Makers of Canadian Literature series, conceptualized and edited by Lorne Pierce. (Margery Fee, “Lorne Pierce, Ryerson Press, and The Makers of Canadian Literature Series,” Papers of The Bibliographical Society of Canada 24.1 (1985): 51-69).

Among other fascinating information, Fee informs us that of the intended forty volume series, only twenty-eight manuscripts were written, and of those only thirteen were ultimately published. She discusses the various business decisions made, and difficulties that faced the project, ultimately resulting in its cessation by the end of 1926, only three years after its inception. From a business point of view, it was a failure. Ryerson Press evidently paid $500 for each title: $400 upon completion and $100 upon publication. This amounts to $6000 for unpublished works in the series, most of which now moulder in the Lorne and Edith Pierce Collection in the archives at Queen’s University in Kingston, ON. As Fee points out, though, despite the seeming failure of this early project, Lorne Pierce’s advocacy of Canadian literature as a distinctive entity is the foundation upon which projects like ours are built.

Fee’s article is meticulously presented, but adding the Ryerson Press Textual Records description to her statistics suggests that at least forty-two titles were intended. To satisfy my own curiosity regarding this apparent anomaly, and to determine which of our authors wrote for the series without being published, I created a chart from the combined resources of the article and the Ryerson Press papers. Here is the result.

Five of our authors were contracted to write titles for this series; three manuscripts were submitted; only Katherine Hale’s biography of Isabella Valancy Crawford was ultimately published. (How significant is it, I wonder, that “Katherine Hale” was the pseudonym of Amelia Beers Warnock Garvin, wife of publisher and literary critic John Garvin, who collaborated somewhat with Lorne Pierce on the project?)

Items found only in the Ryerson Press Textual Records are indicated by an asterisk.*

Subject Author Status
Abbé Henri Casgrain Seraphin Marion intended but not written
Albert Durrant Watson Margaret Lawrence intended but not written
Antoine Gérin-Lajoie (1925-26) Louvigny de Montigny published
Archibald Lampman Duncan Campbell Scott typeset but not published
Arthur Stringer Grace Blackburn written but not published
Arthur Stringer (1941) Victor Laurison co-published by Bobbs-Merrill in the USA; RPTR notes that this volume was by Arthur Stringer himself, “written in part by Victor Laurison”
Bliss Carman Rufus H. Hathaway intended but not written
Charles G.D. Roberts (1925) James Cappon published
Charles Heavysege Edmund Kemper Broadus written but not published
Charles Mair John W. Garvin written but not published
Dean Harris Thomas O’Hagan written but not published
Dictionary of Canadian Literature Lorne Pierce, Victor Morin, and Thomas Guthrie Marquis intended but not written
Duncan Campbell Scott* O. Pelham Edgar intended but never published
E. Pauline Johnson Ethel T. Raymond written but not published
Etienne Parent Abbé Camille Roy intended but not written
Fifty Years Retrospect* Lawrence J. Burpee intended but never published
François Xavier Garneau (1925-26) Gustave Lanctôt published
George Frederick Cameron Richard Albert Wilson written but not published
Gilbert Parker Lorne Pierce written but not published
Isabella Valancy Crawford (1923) Katherine Hale (ABW Garvin) published
James DeMille Lawrence J. Burpee intended but not written
John Richardson (1923) William Renwick Riddell published
Joseph Howe John D. Logan written but not published
Joseph Howe Garnet Gladwin Sedgewick intended but not written
Literary Backgrounds: French-Canadian Victor Morin intended but not written
Literary Backgrounds: Indian Marius Barbeau written but not published
Literary Backgrounds: The Lakes William Stewart Wallace intended but not written
Literary Backgrounds: The Maritime Provinces Ray Palmer Baker intended but not written
Literary Backgrounds: The West Paul A.W. Wallace intended but not written
Louis Honoré Fréchette* Blodwen Davis intended but not written
Louis Honoré Fréchette (1925) Henri d’Arles (Henri Beaudré) published
Marjorie Pickthall Pelham Edgar intended but not written
Norman Duncan Andrew Macphail written but not published
Octave Crémazie Pierre Dupuy intended but not written
Peter McArthur (1923) William Arthur Deacon published
Philippe Aubert de Gaspé Aegidius Fauteux intended but not written
Ralph Connor Robert Stead written but not published
Robert Norwood (1923) Albert Durrant Watson published
Robert Service Arthur L. Phelps intended but not written
Stephen Leacock (1923) Peter McArthur published
The Strickland Sisters Lorne Pierce written but not published
Thomas Chandler Haliburton (1925) John D. Logan published
William Henry Drummond (1925) John Ford MacDonald published
William Kirby (1923) William Renwick Riddell published
William Wilfred Campbell Thomas Guthrie Marquis published
Victor Morin contracted as associate editor for the French collection