Fonds F-176 - Ann Messenger fonds

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Ann Messenger fonds

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  • Photographic materials
  • Textual records

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  • Source of title proper: Title of the fonds is based on the name of its creator.

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  • 1917 - 1999 (Creation)
    Messenger, Ann

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Physical description

1.98 m of textual records
53 photographs
7 negatives

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Name of creator

(31 May 1933 - 1 February 1996)

Biographical history

Ann Carey Messenger was a Professor in the Department of English at Simon Fraser University. She was born in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania on May 31, 1933 to Raymond and Lillian Parshall. Between 1951 and 1955, Messenger attended Oberlin College in Ohio. Awarded a Snell Scholarship for 1952 to 1955, she completed a B.A. in English Literature in 1955. In September of 1955, Messenger began studies at Oxford University in England; she attended Oxford under a Fulbright Scholarship in 1955/56 and a Snell Scholarship in 1956/57. After completing a second B.A. at Oxford, Messenger returned to the United States in 1957, where she procured a job as a secretary at the Princeton University Library Rare Books Department. The following year, in 1958, she began studies at Cornell University. She remained at Cornell for two years, teaching freshman composition and earning credits for an Hon. M.A. at Oxford, which she completed in 1961.

During her first year at Cornell she met William (Bill) Messenger, a fellow graduate English student, and the two were married in Pittsburgh in 1960. After their marriage, they stayed in Pennsylvania, teaching at Bucknell University in Lewisburg for a year, before moving to California. In California, Ann taught, and Bill took post-graduate courses and taught, at the University of California, Berkeley. In September 1963, she began teaching at San Francisco State College. While teaching, she continued working towards her Ph.D., which she was awarded through Cornell University in 1964; Bill completed his PhD. from Berkeley in 1968.

In August 1966 the Messengers moved to Vancouver, British Columbia, to teach at the University of British Columbia (UBC). They immediately fell in love with the city and purchased a home in Point Grey. In September 1968, Messenger secured a job as an Assistant Professor in the English Department at the recently established Simon Fraser University, attaining the rank of Professor in 1973. Her area of expertise as a professor was Restoration and 18th Century literature. In the early 1970s she began to cultivate an interest in the forgotten female writers of the period, and her research developed in this direction. Bill became an Assistant Professor at UBC in 1969, and an Associate Professor in 1982.

In 1988, Messenger was diagnosed with the first of multiple cancers. As a result of her illness, she was unable to teach, and in 1990 she went on long-term disability.

In spite of her illness, her passion for bringing to light female writers of the Restoration and 18th Century encouraged Messenger to continue to write and edit books, papers, and journal articles on the subject, often hiring people to do some of the research that she was unable to carry out herself. These works included the books "His and Hers: Essays in Restoration and Eighteenth Century Literature" (author, published 1986); "Gender at Work: Four Women Writers of the Eighteenth Century" (contributor and editor, published 1990); a new edition of Ellis Cornelia Knight's "Dinarbas"(editor, published 1993); "Woman and Poet in the Eighteenth Century: The Life of Mary Whateley Darwall (1738-1825)" (author, published 1999); "Pastoral Tradition and the Female Talent: Studies in Augustan Poetry" (author, published 1999); and "The Works of Mary Leapor" (co-editor, published 2004).

In 1993, Messenger set up the Aphra Behn Endowment Fund, named after the female poet. This fund was renamed the Ann Messenger Graduate Endowment Fund in 1996.

Despite Messenger's determination to fight her illness, the cancer continued to reoccur, and she passed away on February 1, 1996. Bill Messenger, who had taken early retirement in 1988 to care for Ann, passed away on June 15, 2003 due to complications from pneumonia and Alzheimer's Disease.

Custodial history

Scope and content

Fonds consists of records relating to the personal and academic activites of Ann Messenger. Activities, events and topics documented include Messenger's social and academic activities while attending college and university; her marriage to Bill Messenger; her career as an academic, including her experiences as a young professor at Simon Fraser University; and her academic activities, including her research, writings, and publications. Fonds also includes correspondence of Bill Messenger and his father, Edmund Messenger.

Records include correspondence; publications, papers, articles, and reviews; notes, assignments, and examinations; course outlines, lesson plans, and lecture and tutorial notes; typescripts and proofs; journals; photographs and postcards; applications and appointment forms; and a text book.

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Physical condition

Immediate source of acquisition

The records were donated to the Simon Fraser University Archives by Bill Messenger in one accession in 2003 and Betty Schellenberg in one accession in 2003.


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Restrictions on access

One file (F-176-1-2-0-12) has been restricted in part because it includes a document containing 3rd party personal information; researchers can access the file minus the restricted document. All other files are open.

Terms governing use, reproduction, and publication

Finding aids

File and item lists are available.

Finding aid

Associated materials

For other material relating to Ann Messenger, see the William Messenger fonds at the University of British Columbia Archives.

Related materials


No further accruals are expected.

General note

Photographs are located in series 1 (sub-series 1 and 2), 6, 7, and 8.

General note

Financial assistance for the arrangement and description of the records and production of the finding aid was generously provided by the Estate of Bill and Ann Messenger.

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Finding aid prepared by Melanie Hardbattle (March 2005); updated by Richard Dancy (August 2009); objects formerly identified as items re-assigned as files, file-level name access points added (October 2012).

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