Browse Case Studies (alphabetical by title)


Dorothy Livesay’s works speak to the variety of periodicals and publishers that offer poetry to the Canadian public. Her documentary long poem, “Call My People Home,” is an excellent example of this diversity: it was published in both the poetry journal Contemporary Verse and as part of the Ryerson Poetry Chapbook series, and was also aired as a radio production by the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC). This study includes an audio recording of Livesay reading from "Call My People Home".


Douglas Gibson’s success as a publisher can largely be attributed to his savoir faire, his passion for good books, and his diplomatic and insightful skills as an editor. The Douglas Gibson Book imprint under the auspices of McClelland & Stewart provided Gibson with the autonomy he needed to work very closely with a few select authors. This case study highlights his particularly fruitful professional relationship with Alice Munro, with whom Gibson continues to work after thirty years. In addition to the digital images that accompany this study, appended are several promotional audio clips prepared and read by Douglas Gibson.


In her own words, Ethel Brant Monture was a “one-woman crusade to reverse over four centuries of propaganda.” It was her wish that the contributions of Aboriginal people be known to all Canadians and that school textbooks be revised to eliminate bias and falsehood, to reflect historical reality in relation to First Nations. Her contribution to Clarke, Irwin’s Canadian Portraits series, Famous Indians (1960), was a significant biographical achievement that she employed in her crusade.


Originally formed as a collective in 1981, Garamond Press was the first Canadian-owned book publisher to focus on the university and college market. The Press was established as an alternative to traditional university presses and mainstream multinational textbook publishers and became one of Canada’s foremost independent academic publishers.


Marjorie Harris’s The Canadian Gardener was a labour of love and helped usher in the gardening craze of the 1990s. This article situates Harris within the history of Canadian women garden writers, and describes the process of researching and publishing the book.


Grey Owl, writer and conservationist, transformed his passion for Canada's Wilderness (the latter word was always capitalized by him) into a phenomenally successful career in the 1930s as both an author and lecturer, in North America and Britain. He advocated for an environmental sensitivity uncommon in his own day. As he wrote so powerfully in the preface to his last book, Tales of an Empty Cabin (London: Lovat Dickson Limited, 1936): "The Wilderness should now no longer be considered as a playground for vandals, or a rich treasure trove to be ruthlessly exploited for the personal gain of the few-- to be grabbed off by whoever happens to get there first."


Founded in 1978, Guernica Editions was named after the Spanish city left in ruins after an aerial raid in 1937, the same city whose victims Picasso immortalized in the canvas that has become renowned for its appeal for peace. Guernica’s name is consistent with its mandate: to publish prose, poetry, non-fiction, and drama that reflect its commitment to a social agenda. For Antonio D’Alfonso, the company’s founder, Guernica represents a synthesis of various cultural, linguistic, and literary traditions.


Best known for his role as chief librarian at Queen’s University, H. Pearson Gundy spent much of his career gathering information on the early publishing history of Canada, particularly that of Kingston, Ontario. This case study briefly summarizes Gundy’s career as a publishing historian and provides some examples of the stories that he uncovered.


Harvest House was a small English-language publishing house established in 1960 by Maynard and Anne Gertler in Montreal. At one time it was the most important English-language publishing house in the province. May Cutler, founder of the successful children’s press, Tundra Books, told Montreal Gazette reporter Joe Fiorito, that Maynard Gertler ran his business “like a one-man university press,” focusing on intellectually rigorous books pertaining to politics, history, and the environment. Most importantly, Harvest House produced English-language translations of the works of Québécois intellectuals, academics, novelists, and poets, fostering a significant cultural exchange within Canada.


Prior to winning numerous awards for her prose publications, Helen Humphreys faced considerable difficulty obtaining a publisher for her early attempt to write about Toronto’s past. This case study examines how the urban mythology in Humphreys’s acclaimed novel, Leaving Earth, was originally told in a very different manner in her unconventionally formatted and unpublished novel, “Watermarks.”