Library and Archives Canada
Symbol of the Government of Canada

Institutional links

Literary Archives

Previous | Table of Contents | Next

List of Fonds and Collections

ROY, GABRIELLE, 1909-1983

Gabrielle Roy fonds. - 1940-1983. - 20 m of textual record and other material.

Biographical Sketch

Photo of Gabrielle Roy in Quebec City

Photo of Gabrielle Roy in Quebec City, 1959.

Pre-eminent French-Canadian writer, Gabrielle Roy, was born to a francophone family in Saint-Boniface, Manitoba in 1909. She was educated at the Académie Saint-Joseph in Saint-Boniface and the Winnipeg Normal Institute. She taught for 12 years, first in isolated villages, then in Saint-Boniface, where she was also involved in theatre with the Cercle Molière. In 1937, she moved to Europe (France and England, 1937-1939) where she studied drama and wrote her first articles, which were published in the French periodical Je suis partout. On her return to Canada in 1939, she settled in Montreal and published feature stories, descriptive pieces and essays in various newspapers and journals: Le Jour, La Revue moderne, Le Bulletin des agriculteurs and others. Inspired by life in the working-class district of Saint-Henri, she wrote her first novel, Bonheur d'occasion (1945). The English translation, The Tin Flute, was published in 1947; this novel was eventually translated into 15 languages. Bonheur d'occasion won the Prix Fémina (1947) and was named best-seller by the Literary Guild of America in 1947. Also in 1947, Gabrielle Roy married Dr. Marcel Carbotte and moved to Quebec City.

Photo of Gabrielle Roy in Petite-Rivière-Saint-François

Photo of Gabrielle Roy in Petite-Rivière-Saint-François.

Bonheur d'occasion was followed by other novels and collections of short stories and essays. The many honours and artistic awards were showered on her including being the first Canadian woman to be accepted by the Royal Society of Canada (1947). She was made a Companion of the Order of Canada in 1967, she received the Prix Duvernay for the body of her work in 1956, le Prix David in 1971 and the Molson Prize in 1978. Her other important works include Ces enfants de ma vie (1977), which earned her a third Governor General's Literary Award. Her autobiography, La Détresse et l'Enchantement, which relates the first 30 years of her life (until 1939), and her letters to her sister, Ma chère petite sœur, Lettres à Bernadette 1943-1970, were published posthumously in 1984 and 1988 respectively.

Scope and Content

The Gabrielle Roy fonds contains manuscripts and typescripts and proofs of published and unpublished works: La Rivière sans repos, Cet été qui chantait, Un Jardin au bout du monde, Ces enfants de ma vie and La Détresse et l'Enchantement. The fonds does not include any documentation for Bonheur d'occasion and only a few pages for La Petite Poule d'eau. The fonds also includes a considerable amount of personal and business correspondence, financial records and memorabilia, copies of books by Gabrielle Roy and the anthologies and periodicals in which her works appeared.

Immediate Source of Acquisition: The Gabrielle Roy fonds was acquired in two accessions from Fonds Gabrielle-Roy Inc. [1982-11, 1986-11]

Photo of Gabrielle Roy and the boys of St. Henri

Photo of Gabrielle Roy and the boys of St. Henri.

In 1989, the National Library of Canada received approximately 100 letters written by Gabrielle Roy to Berthe Simard, her friend and neighbour in Petite-Rivière-Saint-François. [1989-08]

In 1994, François Côté donated two unpublished works by Gabrielle Roy to the National Library of Canada. [1994-17] They were part of the Émile-Charles-Hamel fonds. Hamel was a journalist and critic who had received them for publication or comment in the newspaper Le Jour (1939-40). The Émile-Charles-Hamel fonds is found at the Université de Sherbrooke.

Language: material in the fonds is in French.

Restrictions: Researchers who wish to consult the unpublished texts and personal correspondence must obtain written authorization from the Directeur administratif du Fonds Gabrielle-Roy Inc. c/o Professeur François Ricard, 451 Stuart Ave., Montréal, Quebec H2V 3H1.

Finding Aid: finding aid available.

Related Records Different Fonds: the Gabrielle Roy and Marcel Carbotte fonds0173 [1990-17, 1993-11]; the Marie-Anna Roy fonds0105 [1984-05]; the Jeanne Lapointe fonds0172 [1990-16]; the Société des Éditions Pascal fonds0216 [1995-11].

Previous | Table of Contents | Next