Great Canadian novelist born (1913)

On today’s date in 1913, Canadian novelist, playwright, critic, journalist, and professor William Roberton Davies was born in Thamesville, Ont.

Issued 100 years from the date of his birth, a 63-cent stamp (Scott #2660) celebrates Davies life, during which he rose to become a prominent author and founder of master of Massey College. Printed by Lowe-Martin on Tullis Russell paper using six-colour lithography, one foil stamping and embossing plus varnish, this stamp has simulated perforations and general tagging along each side. Issued in booklet panes of 10, the stamp had a print run of two million.

When Davies’ father purchased the Kingston Whig-Standard in 1925, the family made the move to Kingston, Ont. Davies attended Toronto’s Upper Canada College and then Queen’s University before receiving his Bachelor of Literature from the University of Oxford’s Balliol College in 1938. While in the U.K., he met and married stage manager Brenda Mathews.

The stamps were issued in booklet panes of 10.

The stamps were issued in booklet panes of 10.

In 1940, Davies returned to Canada as literary editor of Saturday Night, and in 1942, became editor, and then publisher, of the Peterborough Examiner. He published 18 books, produced several of his own plays and served on the board of the Stratford Festival.

By the 1960s, Davies was teaching at Trinity College. In 1961, he became the founding master of Massey College, which opened in 1963.

In 1970, Davies published his best known novel, Fifth Business, which appeared on the Toronto Star bestseller list for nearly a year. It was followed by The Manticore (1972) and World of Wonders (1975), which became known as The Deptford Trilogy.

“The typography is based on Carl Dair’s Cartier, acknowledged as Canada’s first typeface. Dair’s important type archive and a press donated by Davies’ father are housed in the Robertson Davies Library at Massey College,” said designer Steven Slip. “As a cultural luminary who helped to form the Canadian identity, a portrait of him by Yousuf Karsh was essential. The stamp frames an all-knowing academic figure, with his trademark beard worthy of a mythic god.”

Keep up to date with the philatelic community

Sign up to receive our newsletter.

Canadian Stamp News

Canada

Canadian Stamp News is Canada's premier source of information about stamp collecting and related fields.

Although we cover the entire world of philatelics, the majority of our readers are Canadian, and we concentrate on the unique circumstances surrounding collecting in our native land.

Send Us Your Event

Running an event? Send it to us and we will display it on Canadian Stamp News!

Submit Event →

Subscribe To 26 Issues For Just $45.75/year

Subscribe today to receive Canada's premier stamp publication. Canadian Stamp News is available in both paper and digital forms.

Subscribe Now