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FORD, ROBERT A.D., 1915-1998

Robert A.D. Ford fonds. - 1933-1995 - 2 m of textual record and other material.

Biographical Sketch

Poet, translator and diplomat Robert Arthur Douglas Ford was born in Ottawa, Ontario in 1915. He graduated from the University of Western Ontario with honours in history and English (1937) and received his M.A. in history (1940) from Cornell University, where he studied Russian and French-Russian relations. Ford joined the Department of External Affairs in 1940 and served, throughout his distinguished career, in appointments as Ambassador to Colombia (1957-1959), Ambassador to Yugoslavia (1959-1961), Ambassador to the United Arab Republic (1961-1963), and Ambassador to the USSR, where he served for 16 consecutive years (1964-1980). Following his retirement, he acted as Special Advisor to Canada on East-West Relations (1980-1984) and was a member of the Independent Commission on Disarmament and Security Issues. In 1971, Ford was awarded the Gold Medal of the Professional Institute of the Public Service of Canada and admitted as Companion of the Order of Canada.

Throughout his career as a diplomat, Robert Ford was also a poet of distinction. His first book of poetry, Window on the North (1956), won the Governor General's Literary Award. He translated and edited a book of Russian poetry, as well as, works in French, Spanish and Portuguese. Ford's finely-crafted works include The Solitary City (1969), Needle in the Eye (1983), Doors, Words, and Silence (1985), Russian Poetry: A Personal Anthology (1984) and Dostoevsky and Other Poems (1988). His memoirs, Our Man in Moscow, were published in 1989.

Scope and Content

The Robert Arthur Douglas Ford fonds includes manuscripts and typescripts of published and unpublished works, including Doors, Words and Silence (1985), Dostoevsky and Other Poems (1988), Coming from Afar: Selected Poems, 1940-1989 (1990) and A Moscow Literary Notebook (unpublished); correspondence with publishers and Canadian writers, such as Ralph Gustafson, Seymour Mayne, and Kenneth Millar (Ross McDonald); manuscripts of speeches, articles, and book reviews; cassette tapes of Ford reading; clippings and memorabilia documenting his career. The second accession contains earlier material concerning Russian writers and manuscripts, notes and correspondence about later published works by Ford. The third accession documents the rewriting and publication by the University of Toronto Press of A Moscow Literary Memoir (formerly titled A Moscow Literary Notebook) published in 1995. The fonds also includes correspondence covering the same period [ca. 1991-1995].

Immediate Source of Acquisition: acquired from Robert Ford in 1988, 1992, and 1995. [1988-07, 1992-05, 1995-06]

Language: material in the fonds is mainly in English.

Restrictions: some correspondence restricted.

Finding Aid: finding aid available.

Associated Material: Correspondence with William Heine is deposited at the Weldon Library, University of Western Ontario. Material related to Ford's diplomatic career is held at the National Archives of Canada.

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