Former prime minister Joe Clark and Maureen McTeer donate collection to Carleton

Patti Harper, head of archives and research collections at the MacOdrum Library, will be adding a new archives collection from former Prime Minister Joe Clark and his wife, Maureen McTeer. (Kristy Strauss Photo)

Hundreds of books – some brown and leather-bound, dated back to the 1500s – line the shelves of Carleton University’s archives and research collections department at the MacOdrum Library.

The materials tell a story of events and places, directly from the perspectives of people who lived during the time.

Now, the archives has a new addition generously donated by former prime minister Joe Clark and his wife, Maureen McTeer.

Through hundreds of pages of speeches, campaign materials, and radio and television interviews, the collections will shed new light on a variety of topics – including women’s rights, politics, and major Canadian historical events like the Charlottetown Accord.

“I couldn’t be more thrilled with the fact that they wanted to donate their material here,” says Patti Harper, head of archives and research collections (ARC) at the MacOdrum Library. “It’s wonderful that we have this collection, and it’s so exciting.”

McTeer and Clark, who received honorary degrees from Carleton University in 2010, donated the collection late this year when McTeer realized that she wanted to safely house the materials.

“I strongly felt these documents were a history of a purpose and a time,” says McTeer, adding that the donation was a result of an initial conversation the couple had with their friend, university president Roseann O’Reilly Runte. “Carleton is the only place that has my collection. Not everybody reaches out to this history but Roseann did. The university has been very enthusiastic.”

The library is processing the collections shortly, which includes folders of papers directly from the former prime minister – but also from McTeer, a lawyer and author, who has dedicated her life to women’s rights.

Harper says one of the most unique parts of the collection is audio clips from McTeer’s early-1990s Internet program, Science Bytes, for

“This was before the Internet was really popular and it dealt with topics like science, law, health and society,” says Harper. “It was so cutting edge at the time because of the use of broadcasting over the Internet – but also because topics like science, law and technology were from a male perspective.”

She often looks for materials that can cover a wide range of research topics, and the Clark and McTeer collection will be a great addition – particularly because it will be useful for students in journalism, technology, women’s studies and politics.

“From Joe Clark, we have a lot of his actual words, speeches, campaign releases, and debating material, and that’s very valuable because you can look at those and see how they impacted history,” Harper says. “And, it was the sign of the times of what was going on politically in the country.”

McTeer hopes students and other archivists will recognize the materials’ importance and significance, and will give them an idea of what it is like to be a national leader.

“People going through it will think, how could one person give so many speeches?” she says. “They will realize how arduous and difficult it is to be a leader in a political position.”

Harper says she has always looked up to McTeer as a role model and hopes the collections will make an impact on students and researchers.

“It’s really great that Joe Clark and Maureen McTeer thought of Carleton to donate this material, and I will do my best to make them proud of making this accessible and encouraging people to use this for research.”

This entry was written by Kristy Strauss and posted in the issue. Tags applied to this article are: , , . Leave a comment, bookmark the permalink or share the following short URL for this article via social media:

Kristy Strauss

By Kristy Strauss

Kristy Strauss graduated from Carleton's journalism program in 2009. She is a regular contributor to Carleton Now. She has worked as a reporter for the Kemptville Advance. She currently reports for EMC Ottawa South.

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