Fonds MS-2-753 - Donna Morrissey fonds

Title and statement of responsibility area

Title proper

Donna Morrissey fonds

General material designation

  • Graphic material
  • Graphic material (electronic)
  • Textual record
  • Textual record (electronic)

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Edition area

Edition statement

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Issuing jurisdiction and denomination (philatelic)

Dates of creation area


  • 1979-2012 (Creation)

Physical description area

Physical description

1.5 m of textual records and other material. - 932.32 megabytes of electronic records. - 63,269.5 kilobytes of electronic records.

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Archival description area

Name of creator

Biographical history

Donna Morrissey was born in 1956 and grew up in the small outport community of The Beaches on Newfoundland’s west coast. She was the first of six children born to logger and fisherman Enerchius Osmond and his wife Claudine. After dropping out of high school and working in the local fish plant, she left Newfoundland at age sixteen to travel across Canada. She moved throughout the country, spending time in Toronto and Alberta employed as a cook and bartender, among other things. At age nineteen, she married a fellow Newfoundlander. They were together for fifteen years and had two children. After ten years away, Morrissey returned to Newfoundland in her mid twenties. At age thirty-two, she was admitted to Memorial University of Newfoundland (MUN) as a mature student where she earned a Bachelor of Social Work degree. After working as a social worker for a year and a half, she returned to school and obtained a Diploma in Adult Education. Donna Morrissey has lived and worked in Halifax since 1993.

Morrissey is a well-known, colourful author of short stories, screen plays, and novels whose works draw heavily on her childhood experiences and Newfoundland background. She began writing in her late thirties and published her first novel, Kit’s Law, in 1999. Morrissey has published two Canadian bestsellers, Kit’s Law, translated into three languages, and Downhill Chance. Her literary accomplishments include winning the Libris First Time Author of the Year Award, the international Winifred Holtby Award for regional fiction, the Alex Award, and the Thomas Raddall Award. Two of her short stories have also been adapted as scripts, each winning the Atlantic Script Writing Competition. Her screenplay The Clothesline Patch aired on CBC and won a Gemini Award for Best Production.

Custodial history

The archives of Donna Morrissey was created by Morrissey and her affiliates. The fonds remained in the custody of Morrissey until it was donated to the Dalhousie University Archives in various stages. The first donation was made by Morrissey on March 25, 2005. She made further donations on July 9, 2008, November 5, 2012, and November 27, 2012.

Scope and content

Fonds contains manuscripts and typescripts (print and electronic), drafts, page proofs, illustrations, digital photographs, and published copies of the novels, scripts, and short stories written by Donna Morrissey. It also contains e-mail and printed correspondence, press material and book reviews, and resource material from a workshop.

Notes area

Physical condition

Immediate source of acquisition


Unless otherwise noted, files in this fonds are arranged chronologically.

Language of material

  • Multiple Languages

Script of material

Language and script note


Language and script note

English and some German.

Location of originals

Availability of other formats

Most of the typescripts are available in electronic format. Some manuscripts were also printed.

Restrictions on access

All materials are open for research. Reproduction restrictions apply.

Terms governing use, reproduction, and publication

For 20 years from the date of donation, users will be able to make photocopies of material from the fonds only with the written permission of the donor or her literary executor. Such copies will be for the user's own use and will be made in strict accordance with the University's copying policy and the copyright laws of Canada, as amended from time to time.

Finding aids

Associated materials

See the Writers' Federation of Nova Scotia fonds (MS-2-612).

Related materials


Further accruals are expected.

General note

Preferred citation: [Identification of item], Donna Morrissey fonds, MS-2-753, Box [box number], Folder [folder number], Dalhousie University Archives, Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada.

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