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Thistledown Press Ltd. fonds: MSS 116, PC 118 (A.90-64)

Thistledown Press Ltd.:

Thistledown Press Ltd.:

An Inventory of Its Records at the University of Manitoba Archives & Special Collections

Inventory prepared by John E.L. Richthammer and Meaghan Buchanan
University of Manitoba Archives & Special Collections
331 Elizabeth Dafoe Library, Winnipeg, Manitoba, R3T 2N2
(July 1996; July/August 2002)

Finding aid encoded by Brett Lougheed (June 2006)
Finding aid written in English. 

Table of Contents

Collection Summary

Administrative History of Thistledown Press Ltd.

Scope and Contents of the Records

Restrictions on Use

Related Materials

Custodial History

Other Finding Aids

Detailed Description of the Collection

Business Records, 1976-1987

Literary Records, 1975-1988

Published Works Post-1985, 1986-1990

Photograph Collection (PC 118), 1982-1984, n.d.

Collection Summary

Repository:
University of Manitoba Archives & Special Collections
331 Elizabeth Dafoe Library, Winnipeg, Manitoba, R3T 2N2
Creator:
Thistledown Press Ltd.

Title:
Thistledown Press Ltd. fonds

Dates:
1975-1990

Quantity:
10 m of textual records and other material

Identification:
MSS 116, PC 118 (A.90-64)

English

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Administrative History of Thistledown Press Ltd.

Thistledown Press was founded in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, in 1975 to publish and promote the poetry of both new and established prairie writers. One of Canada's premiere literary presses, Thistledown was formed by Glen Sorestad (1937-), a writer, editor, and teacher who earned his Master's in English at the University of Saskatchewan, and Neil Wagner, a prairie artist who was also a graduate of the University of Saskatchewan.

Thistledown grew from modest beginnings during meetings in the kitchens of the Sorestads and the Wagners into a series of business offices to having a staff of employees. From the outset, its goal has been to publish new and established writers, especially from the prairies, and to produce a consistently high-quality literary product. At the time of its formation, its founders believed that there were not enough outlets for Canadian poets and that Canadian publishing generally had not created "a wider reading audience for poets."

Thistledown Press was one of a number of publishers which developed in the mid-1970s as a response to a proliferation of quality poetry (be it lyric, narrative or experimental) from mostly young writers throughout the western provinces of Canada. The creative writing movement which took root in the prairies was responsible for bringing to light such poets/writers as Bert Almon, Peter Christenson, Lorna (Uher) Crozier, Lorne Daniel, Joseph D. Fry, Patrick Lane, William Latta, Andrew Suknaski and many others. Among Thistledown's most prolific writers were John V. Hicks and Gertrude Story, both of whom began to be published later in life.

As a Canadian literary publisher, Thistledown quickly earned a national reputation as a company willing to give young or new writers a chance. Recognition in the form of awards for publishing quality works soon followed. Among others, Thistledown won the Canadian Authors Association Award for the best book of poetry published in Canada in 1980 (Leona Gom's Land of the Peace ).

Thistledown became known for organizing special community events including editorial workshops and poetry readings and especially, an annual autumn gala in Saskatoon. Thistledown proudly considers itself part of western Canada's business, cultural and artistic community, taking special delight in publishing an author's first book. Many evenings of readings by such articulate, entertaining authors have been held under the auspices of Thistledown.

Through the financially-responsible efforts of the Sorestads and the Wagners, Thistledown kept its financial head above water. Sonia Sorestad and Susan Wagner (a University of Saskatchewan graduate), spouses of the founders, had the responsibility of working with an outside accountant for the purpose of planning, updating and overseeing all financial objectives. Several government agencies, such as the Canada Council, provided essential financial support.

To maintain its high standard of book publishing, Thistledown established an editorial board consisting of Allan Forrie, Patrick (Paddy) O'Rourke, Raymond Penner and Glen Sorestad, all University of Saskatchewan graduates. This board ensured that every submission considered for publication was thoroughly appraised, that fair criticism was provided the author and that the original objectives of Thistledown were maintained.

Currently, Thistledown concentrates primarily on publishing poetry and fiction, both for adults and young adults, exclusively by Canadian writers. They also publish a series of teachers’ resources. They have also published several anthologies for both adults and young adults, including one commemorating their 20th anniversary of publishing. They have currently published over 250 books, with 170 still in print. In 2002, Thistledown published their first creative non-fiction title.

As of 2001, Thistledown Press had received a total of 12 awards. The most notable being the Commonwealth Writers Prize for Best First Book, won by Jeffrey Moore’s Prisoner in a Red-Rose Chain .

In 2000, Glen Sorestad, one of the founding members of Thistledown, was named as Poet Laureate for the province of Saskachewan. He retired from his position at Thistledown in 2000. The company is currently owned and operated by Allan Forrie and Patrick O'Rourke, with a staff of four.

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Scope and Contents of the Records

The Thistledown Press Ltd. fonds documents all of the activities of this Saskatoon-based literary publishing house from its inception in 1975 until 1985. Its business records consist of daily office journals (1977-1985), budgets, business correspondence (with granting institutions, governments of Saskatchewan and Alberta, arts councils and literary presses), legal, accounting, marketing and taxation records.

Of the fonds' important literary holdings, there are a substantial number of original manuscripts and a collection of every book published by Thistledown Press at the time of processing the fonds (101 titles in all, many of which are in both hardcover and softcover). These are all in mint condition (some are signed) and have been included after each series of manuscripts.

Also included are submission and rejection records, literary correspondence with poets, editors and other writers, author tours, workshops and book launchings. The overall coverage of the fonds is its greatest strength. The number of original manuscripts is most significant. Contained in literary correspondence records are letters from such luminaries as Earle Birney, W.P. Kinsella, Robert Kroetsch, Margaret Laurence, Dorothy Livesay, John Newlove and Alden Nowlan.

The Thistledown Press Photograph Collection consists mainly of authors' photographs as they appeared in the published books. In some cases there are photographs which were used in the book itself. The collection is fairly complete until the early-1980s. The records indicate at the beginning of press, author's and book photographs were retained, but by the early-1980s, they were routinely returned to authors.

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Arrangement of the Papers

This collection is arranged into four series: Business Records; Literary Records; Published Works Post-1985; and Photograph Collection (PC 118). The Business and Literary Records Series are comprised of numerous sub-series.

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Restrictions on Use

There are no restrictions on the use of the material in this fonds. Any excerpts or quotations from the material in this fonds must not be used without acknowledgement and source attribution.

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Related Materials

MSS 116 (A.01-36)

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Custodial History

The Thistledown Press fonds wad purchased by the University of Manitoba Libraries in March 1990 and shipped from Saskatoon to Archives & Special Collections a short time later.

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Other Finding Aids

On-line and printed finding aids exist for MSS 116 (A.01-36).

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Detailed Description of the Collection

            Business Records, [1976-1987]
 

Daily Journals and Log Books, 1977-1985
Box Folder  
1 1 Daily Journals and Log Books, 1977
  2 Daily Journals and Log Books, 1978
  3 Daily Journals and Log Books, 1979
  4 Daily Journals and Log Books, 1980
  5 Employee log book, 1980-1981
  6 Daily Journals and Log Books, 1981
  7 Daily Journals and Log Books, 1982
Box Folder  
2 1 Daily Journals and Log Books, 1983
  2 Daily Journals and Log Books, 1984
  3 Employee log book, 1984
  4 Daily Journals and Log Books, 1985

Day-to-day activities of the Thistledown Press office in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan.

Business Correspondence, 1976-1986
Box Folder  
2 5 Association of Canadian Publishers: Correspondence, 1980-1986
  6 Association of Canadian Publishers: Membership, 1977-1983
  7 Canada Council: Correspondence, 1976-1985
  8 Canada Council: Grant Applications, 1978-1982
Box Folder  
3 1 Canada Council: Public Reading Program, 1981-1985
  2 Canada Council: Book Purchase Program, 1977-1984
  3 Canadian Book Information Centre: Correspondence, 1977-1985
  4 Canadian Telebook Agency: Correspondence, 1983-1985
  5 Catalogue of Thistledown publications, 1984
  6 Cloudland Literary Press Group Distributors: Correspondence 1, 1978-1979
  7 Cloudland Literary Press Group Distributors: Correspondence 1, 1980-1985
  8 Customers (various), 1981-1985
  9 Queries, 1983-1985
  10 Queries, 1986
  11 Prairie Publishers Group: Correspondence, 1979-1985
  12 Other Publishers, 1976-1985
  13 Saskatchewan Arts Board: Correspondence, 1978-1985
  14 Saskatchewan Arts Board: Publishing Grant Applications, 1980-1981
  15 Saskatchewan Arts Board: Special Projects Grants, 1979-1981
Box Folder  
4 1 Saskatchewan Cultural Secretariat: Correspondence, 1980-1981
  2 Saskatchewan Department of Culture & Recreation: Correspondence, 1976-1985
  3 Saskatchewan Department of Economic Development & Trade: Correspondence, 1977-1983
  4 Saskatchewan Department of Education: Correspondence, 1977-1983
  5 Saskatchewan Government: Correspondence, 1984-1985
  6 Saskatchewan Publishers' Group: Correspondence, 1980-1981
  7 Saskatchewan Writers Guild: Correspondence, 1980-1985
  8 Saskatchewan Writers Guild: Policy Proposal, 1982
  9 Standing Orders for Thistledown publications, 1980-1985
  10 Writers Guild of Alberta: Correspondence, 1983-1985
Legal Records, 1979-1987
Box Folder  
4 11 Battleford's Bookery, 1982-1983
  12 Lease agreements and correspondence, 1981-1987
  13 Small claims case, 1979-1980
  14 Wheatland "book store", 1981-1985
Accounting Records, n.d.
Box Folder  
4 15 Business corporations fees, n.d.
  16 Business tax license, n.d.
  17 Insurance: Liability, equipment & inventory, n.d.
  18 Insurance: Saskatchewan Workers' Compensation, n.d.
  19 Inventory valuation records, n.d.
  20 Office procedures & policy, n.d.
  21 Logged shareholders' office hours, n.d.
Marketing Records, 1976-1985
Box Folder  
4 22 Book publishing surveys (Statistics Canada), 1976-1985
  23 In-house workshop: editorial workshop, 1981
  24 In-house workshop: book design, n.d.
Taxation Records, 1975-1985
Box Folder  
5 1 In-house workshop: book design, n.d.
Taxation Records, 1975-1985
  2 Income Tax, 1978
  3 Income Tax, 1979
  4 Income Tax, 1980
  5 Income Tax, 1981
  6 Income Tax, 1982
  7 Income Tax, 1983

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       Literary Records, 1975-1988

Correspondence with Authors, Poets, Editors, and Other Writers, 1975-1985


 

Box Folder  
5 8 Adam, Ian, n.d.
  9 Alford, Edna, n.d.
  10 Allen, Elizabeth (Liz), n.d.
  11 Almon, Dr. Bert, n.d.
  12 Amabile, George (also see Dales, Kim), n.d.
  13 Amprimoz, Dr. Alexandre L., n.d.
  14 Amstrong, Patricia G., n.d.
  15 Bailey, Leuba, n.d.
  16 Bandura, Lynn D., n.d.
  17 Barclay, Byrna, n.d.
  18 Barbour, Douglas, n.d.
  19 Bartole, Genevieve, n.d.
  20 Beissel, Henry, n.d.
  21 Bersea, Dianne, n.d.
  22 Bett, Stephen, n.d.
  23 Bidwell, Paul, n.d.
  24 Birney, Earle, n.d.
  25 Bissett, William, n.d.
  26 Bornstein, Eli, n.d.
  27 Borsono, Roo, n.d.
  28 Botan, Kenneth, n.d.
  29 Botan, Kenneth, n.d.
  30 Brewster, Elizabeth, n.d.
  31 Brown, Ronald, n.d.
  32 Buckaway, Catherine, n.d.