For a number of years, the Toronto Arts Students’ League published a calendar of their members’ art. has these calendars for the years 1893-1904, but I am not sure of the history of the endeavour: when did they begin? when did they cease? I surmise that they did not continue long after 1900, as the quality of production and content deceased significantly in the first couple of years of the twentieth century. Significant, too, is that the years 1893-1897 contain both artwork (sometimes fabulous) by the students and poetry by influential and popular Canadian poets of the day.

Art Nouveau decorations

The decoration in some of the early volumes is beautiful. I might be biased, in that I am particularly fond of Art Nouveau, but even so… While some of the other volumes are more elaborate and glorious, the title page from 1899 is perhaps my favourite.

Some poems

1894 was a particularly good year for illustration, too: the decoration surrounds the poems, rather than pictures sitting on the opposite pages. I have included here the 1894 poems by Eleanor Corkhill Addison (using her maiden name, Eleanor Corquille Adams, with a twist on the spelling), Alice Maud Ardagh (Esperance), E. Pauline Johnson,  Agnes Maule Machar (Fidelis), and Nellie Spence. The second image is the full-page illustration accompanying Eleanor Corquille Adam’s poem.


The contents

Here is a list of the calendars that contain poetry, and the poets included therein. I have written down the names as recorded, with a gloss in brackets, as I find it interesting that some of the male authors are only mentioned by last name. It is also interesting that in the 1893 volume, Esperance  (Alice Maud Ardagh) is included as L’Esperance.

1893: Ninety-Three: A Calendar for the Year of Our Lord MDCCCXCIII (Toronto: Toronto Art Students’ League, [1892]).

Campbell, W.W. [William Wilfred]
Carman, Bliss
Crawford, Isabella Valancy
Fidelis [Agnes Maule Machar]
L’Esperance [Alice Maud Ardagh]
Lampman [Archibald]
Mair, Charles
McCarroll, James
Roberts, Charles G.D.
Seranus [Susan Frances Harrison]
Wilson, Daniel

1894: Ninety-Four: A Calendar for the Year of Our Lord MDCCCXCIV with Verses by Some of the Canadian Writers of Verse and Drawings by Members of the Toronto Art Students’ League (Toronto: Toronto Art Students’ League, [1893]).

1894, for all that it has lovely illustrations also introduces some problems. One poem is anonymous, and one author’s name cannot be deciphered. Can anyone help with these?

Adams, Eleanor Corquelle [Eleanor Corkhill Addison, née Adams]
Anonymous (“Reflections”)
Charlesworth, H.W. [Hector Willoughby]
Edgar, Pelham
Esperance [Alice Maud Ardagh]
Johnson, E. Pauline
Jykes, (Tykes?) W. Henry (?)
Machar, Agnes M.
McArthur, P. [Peter Gilchrist]
McKellar, D.A.
Spence, Nellie

1895: Ninety-Five: A Calendar for the Year MDCCCXCV with Some Selections from Canadian Writers and Drawings by Members of the Toronto Art Students’ League (Toronto: Toronto Art Students’ League, [1894]).

Campbell, W.W. [William Wilfred]
Carman, Bliss
Heavysege, Charles
Johnson, E. Pauline
Lampman, A. [Archibald]
Roberts, Chas. G.D. [Charles]
Sangster, Charles
Scott, Duncan Campbell

1896: Ninety-Six: A Calendar for the Year MDCCCXCVI with Verses by Charles G.D. Roberts and Bliss Carman, and Wayside Notes of Wandering over Canadian Roads (Toronto: Toronto Art Students’ League, [1895]).

Carman, Bliss
Roberts, Charles G.D.

1897: Ninety-Seven: A Calendar for the Year of 1897 with Sketches of Canadian Water-Ways and Appropriate Selections from Canadian Writers (Toronto: Toronto Art Students’ League, [1896]).

Campbell, W.W. [William Wilfred]
Lampman, Archibald
Roberts [Charles G.D.]
Sangster [Charles]
Carman, Bliss
Stewart, J.L. [James Livingstone]