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Description found in Archives

James Houston fonds [multiple media]. 



Place of creation

No place, unknown, or undetermined

20 m of graphic material and textual records.

Scope and content

Fonds is composed of the manuscripts, paintings, and illustrations of Houston's novels: "Tikta'liktak", "Eagle Mask", "The White Archer", "Akavak", "The White Dawn", "Wolf Run", "Songs of the Dream People", "Ghost Paddle", "Kiviok's Magic Journey", "Ghost Fox", "Frozen Fire", "River Runners", "Long Claws", "Black Diamonds", "Eagle Song", "Ice Swords", "Falcon Bow", and "Spirit Wrestler". Fonds also contains correspondence, articles, lectures, book reviews, profiles and manuscript material or illustrations for works by other authors, photographs, maps, an audio cassette and tape, and computer discs.

Graphic (art)
90: Open
Graphic (photo)
90: Open
Cartographic material
90: Open
Sound recordings
90: Open
Textual records: electronic
90: Open
Textual records
90: Open
LMS container
from 1 to 93
90: Open
Textual records
90: Open
LMS container
from 1 to 35
90: Open
Archival reference no.
Former archival reference no.
Other accession no.
1988-08 LMS
2001-08 LMS

Terms of use

Copyright varies. The recipient of copies is responsible for determining whether material is subject to copyright and whether use of it does or does not constitute an infringement of copyright under the Copyright Act. Credit Library and Archives Canada.

Graphic material; textual records (some electronic); cartographic material; sound recording Finding aids available for both accessions. Consult archivist. 90 (Paper)

Biography / Administrative history

Author, illustrator, sculptor and filmmaker, James Houston was born in Toronto, Ontario in 1921. He received his artistic training at the Ontario College of Art (1938-1940), École Grande Chaumière in Paris (1947-1948) and in Japan (1958-1959) where he studied printmaking with Unichi Hiratsuka. He first travelled to Ungava in the Arctic in 1948 and settled on Baffin Island in 1951, where he lived among the Inuit for 12 years. Houston became the region's first civil administrator in 1953, a position he held for nine years. His appreciation of Inuit creativity led him to initiate the idea of marketing their sculpture and he established the West Baffin Eskimo Co-operative. He also introduced the Inuit to printmaking, a technique he learned in Japan. As a result, he is considered the prime force in the development of Inuit art and printmaking. In 1962, Houston moved to New York and became Associate Director of Design with Steuben Glass. A chance meeting with Margaret K. McElderry (editor of children's books for Harcourt) led to the writing and illustrating of his first book "Tikta'liktak: An Eskimo Legend" (1965).

Best known as a writer of juvenile fiction, he is, more than any other Canadian writer, responsible for bringing the life of Canada's First Peoples to the rest of the country through his fiction. He has won the Book of the Year Award of the Canadian Association of Children's Librarians three times for "Tikta'Liktat" (1966), "The White Archer" (1968), and "River Runners" (1980). His "Whiteout" received the Max and Greta Ebel Memorial Award for Children's Writing in 1989. Apart from writing and illustrating more than 20 children's books, novels, and other works dealing with the Arctic, Inuit or Native life and/or art, he has created documentaries and screenplays for feature films, resulting in numerous international film awards. Houston was made an officer of the Order of Canada for his work as an administrator, artist and writer.

Additional information

Physical condition note
Accession 1988-08 : Boxes 36, 81, 89-93 : Material in these boxes have been treated for mould. These papers have been wrapped in plastic with the following disclaimer : "This item has been treated for mould. Please wash hands after handling." Accession 2001-08 : Box 1 : Material within this box contains mould.

Restrictions on access note
None specified, does not contain personal material (illustrations, manuscript, publishing correspondence). Open to consultation.

Subject heading

1. Littérature de jeunesse Archives.
2. Children Literature Archives.