Fonds F0453 - Herbert Whittaker fonds

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Herbert Whittaker fonds

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    Reference code

    CA ON00370 F0453

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    • [192-]-2001 (Creation)

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    Physical description

    4.66 m of textual records 94 photographs 7 postcards 7 prints 1 watercolour

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    Name of creator

    Biographical history

    Herbert Whittaker was born on 20 September 1910 in Montreal where he gained an early interest in the theatre from his mother Eleanor Trappitt Whittaker. He studied design at the École des Beaux-Arts and was employed with the Montreal Gazette from 1935 -1949 where he reviewed film, ballet and theatre. He moved to Toronto and from 1949-1975 he was employed by the Globe and Mail as drama, film and dance critic. During this time, he also wrote reviews for the "New York Times", the "Herald Tribune", the "Christian Science Monitor" and other papers. He also continued working as a director and designer mounting productions for the Montreal Repertory Theatre, the 16-30 Club, the Shakespeare Society, the Everyman Players, Hart House, Jupiter, the Crest, University Alumnae Theatres and the Canadian Players. He devoted much time and energy to organisations such as the Canadian Theatre Critics Association, the National Arts Centre, the Dominion Drama Festival, Theatre Museums and the Toronto Drama Bench. In addition to these activities, he was instrumental in having a theatre named after Jane Mallet, a bridge after Morley Callaghan, in planning a Mary Pickford exhibition and was founder/member of the organising and implementation committee of the Harbourfront Theatre Museum. Whittaker travelled extensively to cover events in the theatre world. He was called upon to judge National Play Awards, playwright competitions, and adjudicate drama festivals and was involved in the Universities of Canada seminar at Stratford. He has been a member of the Canada Council Awards Committee and the American Council of Drama Judges. He is the author of several books about various aspects of Canadian Theatre and has been the recipient of many awards and medals for distinguished service in the theatre. He received the Canada Centennial Medal in 1967, an honorary Doctor of Letters from York University in 1971, the Toronto Drama Bench Award and the first honorary membership in the Actor's Equity in 1975, Officer of the Order Canada and appointment to the Board of Trustees of the National Arts Council in 1976. He received a Canada Commemorative Medal in 1992. When he retired from the Globe and Mail in 1975, he was named Critic Emeritus and in December 1993 was named a Trustee of the Herman Voaden Fund.

    Custodial history

    Scope and content

    The fonds consists of records accumulated by Herbert Whittaker which document his activities from the 1920s to 2001. The original order of the fonds has been maintained. The first three accessions are arranged into five series which reflect the activities of the creator over the years. Physical file lists exist for later accessions yet to be integrated into series. The fonds comprises the following series: Personal files Sydney Johnson correspondence Subject files Newspaper articles Scripts

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    Immediate source of acquisition

    Donated by Herbert Whittaker in on various dates between 1994 and 2002.


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        No restrictions on access.

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        The fonds comprises the following accessions: 1994-013, 1995-011, 1996-028, 1998-031, 1999-054, 2000-049, 2001-008, 2001-057, 2002-002. Further accruals are expected.

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