Fonds consists of records relating to the personal and professional lives of Timothy Findley and William Whitehead. The majority of records in the fonds relate to the literary career of Timothy Findley as an acclaimed novelist and playwright, with a small amount of material related to the literary works of William Whitehead as a documentary writer and broadcaster. However, in addition to a large quantity of records such as correspondence, which reveal the personal lives of Findley and Whitehead as companions and partners, the records also reveal Whitehead's involvement in the development and support of Findley's literary work. The fonds contains 8 series and 19 sub-series of textual records: Literary manuscripts series (including the sub-series Novels, Stage plays, Short stories (collected), Short stories (uncollected), Films, Television drama, Television documentaries and specials, Radio programmes, Poetry, Other writings, Manuscripts by others, and William Whitehead manuscripts); Journals, workbooks and calendars series (including the Address books sub-series); Correspondence and subject files series; Findley and Whitehead family papers (including the sub-series Findley family papers and Whitehead Family); Financial records series; Memorabilia and printed material series (including the sub-series Scrapbooks, Clippings and reviews, and Theatre programmes); Personal photographs series (including the sub-series Portraits of Timothy Findley). The fonds contains a mixed selection of art records as well as photographs. (See accession records 16278, 18690, 24014, 24454 and 198377). There is a considerable number of photographic materials from both Timothy Findley and William Whitehead that depict scenes from the everyday life, their childhood photographs, materials relating to the literary works as well as numerous images of awards, ceremonies and press tours. A more recent art accrual included twenty-five wood engravings by Gerard Brender à Brandis. The fonds contains moving images and sound recordings primarily related to Findley's contribution to CBC radio and television as a scriptwriter and host. Included are radio documentaries and plays and a number of programs from series on music and the performing arts, most of which were part of the weekday series The Learning Stage (later called Ideas) for which Findley was fine arts editor and Whitehead was the science editor. There are also a number of radio and television interviews of Findley in which he reflects on his personal life and his professional life as an actor, writer and activist. Also included are sound recordings of an editing session between Findley and Iris Tupholme, his editor at Harper Collins. Fonds also consists of various items of ephemera and memorabilia as well as published material.
Findley, Timothy, 1930-2002: Timothy Findley was born and educated in Toronto, Ontario. His first career was as an actor, and he worked at Stratford Festival during its opening season, 1953, before moving to London, England, to study at the Central School of Speech and Drama. Between 1953 and 1956, Findley toured in Europe and North America and it was during this time that he began writing. Upon his return to Canada, he worked in radio, television and the theatre before taking up writing full-time in 1962. Findley's involvement with radio and television continued, however, and he wrote many documentaries and plays, some in collaboration with his companion William Whitehead. These co-authored scripts include the CBC series The National Dream, 1974, and Dieppe 1942, 1979. Findley also wrote many of the episodes for The White Oaks of Jalna, 1971-1972.
Findley's first novel, published in 1967, was The Last of the Crazy People (re-issued in 1983). This was followed by The Butterfly Plague (1969; rev. 1986). After a hiatus of several years, Findley published a string of critically acclaimed and best-selling novels, including The Wars (winner of the Governor-General's Award in 1977), Famous Last Words (1981), Not Wanted On the Voyage (1984), The Telling of Lies (1986; winner of an Edgar Award from the Mystery Writers of America), Headhunter (1993; winner of the City of Toronto Book Award), The Piano Man's Daughter (1995), You Went Away (1996), Pilgrim (1999), and Spadework (2001).
Findley is also the author of the plays Can You See Me Yet? (1976), John A.-Himself (1979), The Stillborn Lover (1993), The Trials of Ezra Pound (1990, 1995), and Elizabeth Rex (2000, winner of the Governor General's literary award for drama). Three collections of his short stories have been published: Dinner Along the Amazon (1984), Stones (1988, winner of the Ontario Trillium Prize), and Dust to Dust (1997). The Wars was made into a film, directed by Robin Phillips, in 1983 and Not Wanted on the Voyage was made into a play in 1992. Two non-fiction works were published by Timothy Findley as well: Inside Memory: Pages from a Writer's Notebook (1990,) based on Findley's journals and notebooks; and From Stone Orchard (1998), a collection of articles Findley wrote for Harrowsmith Magazine, based on his experiences with William Whitehead at their farm near Cannington, Ontario. In the mid-1990s, Timothy Findley and William Whitehead sold their farm and moved to Stratford, Ontario and to a second home in the south of France near Cotignac, where Timothy Findley died at age 71 on June 20, 2002.
Whitehead, William, 1931-: Born in Regina, William Whitehead graduated from the University of Saskatchewan in 1955. After moving to Toronto in 1957, he worked as an actor with the Stratford Festival, the Canadian Players, the Crest Theatre and the Red Barn Theatre. During this time, he met the actor and aspiring writer Timothy Findley, with whom he had a long relationship, ending only with Findley's death in 2002. Whitehead began his career as a documentary writer and broadcaster in the mid-1960s and has been associated with CBC radio's Ideas and CBC television's The Nature of Things and Man at the Centre. During the 1970s, he wrote scripts for a CBC television film series for teenagers called Drop In, and three CBC television specials on Canadian history called Images of Canada. Among other projects, he contributed to CBC's series A Planet For the Taking in the early 1980s. His work has also included scripts for the NFB and TV Ontario, as well as some political speechwriting. Whitehead has won a number of awards for his work, including an ACTRA award for The National Dream (1975, with Timothy Findley), a Monaco Film Festival award for The Nature of Things (1975), and Ohio Awards for The Octagonal Approach to Spiders (1965) and Dimensions in Science (1976).