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This series consists of H. Rocke Robertson’s private life, documented in a series of correspondence with his father, Harold Bruce Robertson, Justice of Appeal, British Columbia; his Uncle, Dr. Edward M. Eberts, known as Uncle Ted; his brothers, Alexander Bruce Robertson, known as Bruce and Alan McGregor Robertson; and his sister, Ethel Marian Robertson, known as Marian, 1915 1926, 1962-1979 (Container 4, Files 85, 89; Container 3, Files 60, 63), as well as personal papers which include Robertson’s birth certificate, expired passports, and CVs 1912 1978, 1996 (Container 4, Files 83 84; Container 19, File 267 . Files pertaining to Robertson’s father’s role on the Court of Appeal of British Columbia are also included, 1943 (Container 20, File 285-286) as are documents recognizing Robertson’s acts of kindness in his personal life including one such incident where he exchanged his first class seat on Trans Canada Airlines for the coach seat of a sick child, 1963 (Container 1, File 24).
Of particular interest are the correspondence files photos, and news clippings in the form of a scrapbook, which circulated between Robertson’s father, his Uncle Ted Eberts, and Robertson discussing strategic plans for his career path, marriage, and financial situation, 1935-1936 (Container 4, File 91). Robertson also maintained a regular correspondence with his brother, Bruce, a lawyer in British Columbia, from whom he sought advice on such matters as the McGill Daily Affair and the Stanley Gray Dismissal, among more personal subject matters, 1939-1969, 1939-1989 (Container 8, File 165; (Container 11, File 194 ). Other personal correspondence consists of birthday cards, congratulatory cards for his many achievements, and letters from Family members and friends, 1953, 1955-1986, 1994-1997 (Container 4, File 94; Container 3, Files 61-62, 64-66, 68, 70; Container 8, File 173). Also of note is a letter from his neighbour James or “Jasper” Cross, in which Cross thanks Robertson for greeting him on his return from captivity during the FLQ crisis while congratulating Robertson on his wise decision to move to Ontario due to the perceived dangers to prominent Anglophones in Quebec (Container 3,
This series also contains documents pertaining to Robertson’s properties, for example, photos of his numerous private residences, 1956 1971, 2001 (Container 4, Files 93, 111); information on the sale of “Struan”, his retirement home; as well as information on his investments and donations, including the division of his estate and chattels amongst family members, 1948-1998 (Container 3, Files 71-77). Personal letters received during his principalship discuss topics such as his mother’s declining health as well as letters from his nieces and nephews that recount such events as the loss of Toni Robertson’s baby teeth, 1962-1966 (Container 3, Files 60, 69). These letters reflect the space that Robertson reserved for his family, even during times of professional stress and turbulence.
His interest in his lineage is evident through files that document his family’s genealogy, including a detailed family tree, 1984-1994 (Container 4, Files 82, 86). This series contains documents in diverse formats, such as photos, travel brochures, and postcards from a family trip to Europe in 1958 (Container 4, Files 81, 89), as well as other vacations with friends and family (Container 15, Files 226 228, 232). Additional correspondence files, newspaper clippings, in the form of wedding announcements, and photographs pertain to family related events such as Robertson’s courtship and marriage to Beatrice Rosyln, 1935-1936 (Container 4, File 91), and to the celebration of the Robertsons’ Fiftieth Wedding Anniversary 1987 Container 2, File 43). Robertson’s courtship was largely documented through letters that circulated between his Uncle Ted, his father, and Thomas Arnold, Rolly’s father.
Several files, including health notes and medical charts on Robertson and his wife that were compiled by caregivers, 1997-1998 (Container 2, File 44), condolence letters and cards on the death of H. Rocke Robertson, 1998 (Container 2, File 45; Container 8, File 174), H. Rocke Robertson’s obituary, 1998 (Container 3, File 78), and memorial service, 1998 (Container 1, File 14) were added to the archives by Stuart Robertson following H. Rocke Robertson’s death.
Robertson’s interest in rare English dictionaries and his penchant for collecting are reflected in his personal library of dictionaries, numbering almost 500, which he donated to the University of British Columbia, 1986-1994 (Container 2, Files 38-40). Numerous articles and correspondence files reinforce his interest in this subject, 1976-1989, 1981, 1969-1991 (Container 2, Files 41, 58; Container 8, File 168). In particular, letters to his friend, Geoffrey Keynes, a William Blake Scholar and collector, suggest that Keynes may have been the stimulus for Robertson’ interest in collecting, 1989-1994 (Container 4, File 82). His membership in the Osler Society and the H. Rocke Robertson Rare Book Room in McGill’s Osler Library which houses Robertson’s rare book donation to McGill, coupled with conferences he attended on the history of medicine signify his interest in this topic, 1970-1998, 1927-2005, 1979 (Container 1, Files 15-18, 20; Container 3, Files 1/80 3/80; (Container 8, File 159). Robertson’s interest in the creative arts is reflected through the plethora of theatre and opera brochures and pamphlets that he preserved 1965-1983 (Container 15, File 231).