Fonds P240 - Merrily Weisbord fonds

Title and statement of responsibility area

Title proper

Merrily Weisbord fonds

General material designation

  • Textual record
  • Graphic material
  • Sound recording

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  • Source of title proper: Title based on the content of the fonds.

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Issuing jurisdiction and denomination (philatelic)

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  • 1941-1994 (Creation)
    Weisbord, Merrily

Physical description area

Physical description

0.55 m of textual records
62 audio reels
5 compact cassettes
142 photographs

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Archival description area

Name of creator


Biographical history

Merrily Weisbord is an author, journalist, filmmaker, and broadcaster. She has contributed articles and stories to newspapers and magazines such as Maclean’s, Weekend, and the Montreal Star. As a radio broadcaster, she produced many CBC documentaries. Her first book, The Strangest Dream: Canadian Communists, the Spy Trials, and the Cold War was first published in 1983 (Toronto: Lester & Orpen Dennys) and was republished in 1994 (Montreal: Véhicule Press). The Strangest Dream was also translated in French in 1988 (Montréal: VLB) under the title Le Rêve d’une génération: les communistes canadiens, les procès d’espionnage et la guerre froide. Merrily Weisbord’s books also include The Valour and the Horror, co-authored with Merilyn Simonds Mohr (Harper Collins 1991), Our Future Selves (North Atlantic Books 1991), Dogs with Jobs, co-authored with Kim Kachanoff (Pocket Books 2000) for which Weisbord also wrote and created a TV series that was aired on the Life Network, CBC, PBS, Oxygen, National Geographic US and National Geographic International. Her book The Love Queen of Malabar (McGill-Queen’s University 2010) was a Finalist for the 2010 Writers’ Trust Non Fiction Prize, and for the 2011 Charles Taylor Prize in Non-Fiction.

Custodial history

Original donation was made by Merrily Weisbord to the Concordia University Records Management and Archives Department in 2011. Materials from this original donation were transferred to Concordia University Libraries' Special Collections in 2015. Other materials were transferred to the Libraries' April 21, 2016, May 5, 2016, and May 10, 2016. New donations were made to the Libraries' Special Collections in 2014 and 2015.

Scope and content

Fonds consists of research material and oral history interviews conducted by Merrily Weisbord for the writing of The Strangest Dream. The interviews cover various aspects of the evolution of the Communist Party of Canada (renamed the Labour Progressive Party in 1943) and the life of some of its Quebec members.

Fonds includes more than 20 hours of sound recordings consisting of interviews with about fifteen individuals who were members of the party between the 1930s and the 1950s, such as Lea Roback, Irene Kon, Gilles Hénault and Fred Taylor. All the players, from the upper middle class intellectual Stanley Ryerson to the working class lumber camp labour organizer, Gérard Fortin, are included. There is also a 15 minute recorded message by Paul Robeson urging Montreal voters to reelect Fred Rose in 1945. Fonds also includes interview notes and transcriptions, correspondence, and printed materials.

Notes area

Physical condition

Immediate source of acquisition

Materials were donated to the Concordia University Records Management and Archives Department by Merrily Weisbord in 2011, and to the Libraries' Special Collections in 2014 and 2015..


Language of material

  • English
  • French

Script of material

Language and script note

Most of the material is in English. Some documents are in French.

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Restrictions on access

There are no restrictions on access.

Terms governing use, reproduction, and publication

Reproduction for research or private study is permitted in most cases. No reproduction of the audio materials. Use of material in publications cannot be done without permission of the copyright holder.

Finding aids

For the audio materials see the AV Document database. Box listings of the textual records are available.

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Further accruals are expected.


Copyright belongs to the creator(s).

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