Nancy-Lou Patterson Papers Donated to the UW Library

Tuesday, April 1, 1997

Library Newsletter, Vol. 28, No. 1, April 1997

Nancy-Lou Patterson Papers Donated
to the UW Library


Nancy-Lou Patterson and Reverend Douglas MadgeFrom the Archives: This 1970 photo shows Nancy-Lou Patterson and the late Reverend Douglas Madge hanging one of Professor Patterson's liturgical banners representing St. Margaret and St. Columba. The banner was exhibited in the Ontario Crafts Foundation's exhibition on liturgical weaving and stitchery prior to its being hung in St. Columba's Church, Waterloo.

Credit: K-W Record Photo Collection, University of Waterloo Library.

The Library recently received, as a most welcome donation, the papers of Distinguished Professor Emerita Nancy-Lou Patterson, widely-known as a writer, artist, scholar, teacher, novelist, and poet whose educational and artistic career spans five decades. Patterson's collection adds significant holdings to the Library's archival and original research resources. The collection, extending to about five linear metres, represents what Professor Patterson has described as her work as a "creative author."

Coming to Waterloo in the University's very early years, Professor Patterson taught the University's first Fine Arts course in 1966 as a part-time lecturer while she was the University's Director of Art and Curator of the Art Gallery. In 1968 she founded the Department of Fine Arts. In that same year she wrote the first of over 40 articles on mythopoeic arts and literature on the works of C. S. Lewis, J. R. R. Tolkien, Charles Williams, Dorothy L. Sayers, and George MacDonald among others. In addition to manuscripts and typescripts of her articles and reviews in this area, copies of papers she presented at national and international conferences are also included. The most interesting of these are papers with such intriguing titles as Bright-Eyed Beauty: Celtic Elements in Charles Williams, J. R. R. Tolkien and C. S. Lewis and All Nerves and Nose: Lord Peter Wimsey as Wounded Healer in the Novels of Dorothy L. Sayers.

Also available in the collection are materials documenting her prose and poetical writing including her earliest work in the 1950s to holograph and typescript versions of poetry and short stories as well as manuscripts, research materials, and correspondence relating to her fantasy novel Apple Staff and Silver Crown which was published in 1985. Her more contemporary writing is represented by her two recent novels The Painted Hallway (1992) and Barricade Summer which was published in 1996.

Correspondence and manuscripts relating to her scholarly writing are available in the collection in files relating to her 1973 book Canadian Native Art: Arts and Crafts of Canadian Indians and Eskimos.

While the collection does not contain examples of her work as a liturgical artist, it does contain documentation on both her career as an artist and her exhibitions ranging from her first one-person exhibition held in 1962 at the Emory Gallery in Everett Washington to a review of her most recent retrospective entitled Nancy-Lou Patterson: The Canadian Years 1962-1995 held at the Homer Watson Gallery in Kitchener. Also available is documentation on the many exhibitions and shows which she has curated.

Her papers now reside in the Doris Lewis Rare Book Room along with those of her fellow artists and colleagues from the Fine Arts Department, Tony Urquhart and Virgil Burnett. Not only will they provide unique resources to future scholars in the fields of fine art and literature, but they will also be of importance to students of local history and women's studies. This latter aspect of her work can be found not only through such articles as Some Women in C. S. Lewis's That Hideous Strength and The Chthonic in Women's Spirituality, but most especially through her lectures including Traditional Women's Arts in the Waterloo Germanic Community and Family Values: Spirituality and Ethnicity in Southern Ontario Quilts.

Cataloguing of the collection is nearing completion and it should be open to researchers in the spring term.

For more information contact Special Collections & Archives.

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