TABLE OF CONTENTS
Robert Boyer Inch was born in 1903 at Oak Point, New Brunswick, the first child of James Nathanial Inch and Phoebe Elizabeth Boyer. Following in the footsteps of his parents, Inch studied at Mount Allison University in Sackville, New Brunswick, where he graduated with a Bachelor of Arts degree in 1924. He subsequently worked for the Telegraph-Journal in Saint John and later moved to western Canada, where he worked as a journalist for the Calgary Herald and for the Manitoba Free Press. In 1929 Inch was appointed secretary to the President of the National Research Council in Ottawa and also began a four-year term as editor of the League of Nations Society in Canada publication, Interdependence. In 1935 he succeeded T.W.L. MacDermot as the national secretary of the League of Nations, remaining with the organization until 1942. After retiring from the League, Inch organized a series of CBC radio segments that were broadcast in sixteen parts under the title Of Things to Come - Inquiry on the Post-War World in the spring of 1943.
In 1944, while serving in the Canadian military, Inch married Elizabeth Gowling (1908-1956), who after graduating from the University of Toronto in 1930 worked in Ottawa for the League of Nations Society of Canada (1934-1943) and the United Kingdom Information Office (1943-1947). After his wedding, Inch joined the Second Infantry Division in France, remaining there until the end of the war. Upon returning to Canada, Inch and his wife moved to Sackville, New Brunswick, and had two children, George and Jeanne. In July 1947 Inch was appointed Director of Alumni and Public Relations at Mount Allison University in Sackville, where he became close friends with the artist Alex Colville and his family. Colville had been hired by the university in 1946 to teach painting and art history.
After the death of his wife, Elizabeth, in 1956, Inch continued to live in Sackville with his children until 1967, when he accepted a position as a sessional lecturer at Brandon University in Brandon, Manitoba. Following his retirement from teaching in 1972, Inch was active in the formation of the Canadian branch of Amnesty International (1973), and served briefly as the group's first national executive director. Robert Inch died in Brandon on January 8, 1983, and was buried alongside his wife in Sackville. Eulogists at his funeral in Sackville included Alex Colville.
The fonds consists of ninety-six items of correspondence, including ninety-two letters between Robert Inch and Alex and Rhoda Colville, three letters between Robert Inch and Graham Colville, and one letter from Rhoda Colville to Jeanne Inch; miscellaneous articles and newspaper clippings related to Alex Colville's career as an artist; two invitations to Colville events; thirty-one colour slides showing paintings, prints, and jewelry by Colville; and one poster advertising a Colville exhibition at the Mira Godard Gallery (Toronto and Montreal) in 1978. The letters were written during the years Inch lived in Brandon, Manitoba, from 1967 until 1982; topics discussed include family, travel, and work. Colville's letters occasionally refer to art works on which he was working or had recently completed. The slides in the fonds were sent by Colville to Inch and mainly depict paintings and prints he had recently finished such as the series of twelve paintings from 1979 entitled the Labours of the Months. Most of the slide mounts include the title and the date of the image depicted.
Source of supplied title proper: Title based on contents of fonds.
Immediate source of acquisition: Donated to the National Gallery of Canada by Jeanne Inch, daughter of Robert Boyer Inch, in 2013.
Physical Description: The photographs in the fonds are 35 mm colour slides.
Arrangement: Correspondence is arranged chronologically in three files. Slides are arranged chronologically as well, with the exception of the Labours of the Months series, which is grouped chronologically by month following the other slides.
Language: Text is in English.
Terms governing use: For permission to reproduce or publish material from the Robert Boyer Inch fonds, a written request must be made to the National Gallery of Canada Library and Archives.
Associated material: Associated material can be found in the Robert Boyer Inch fonds at Library and Archives Canada and in the Robert B. Inch fonds at the S.J. McKee Archives, Brandon University. The main focus of the Library and Archives' collection is Inch's association with the League of Nations Society before the Second World War and his work with Amnesty International Canada in the 1970s. Materials in the S.J. McKee Archives at Brandon University include books, pamphlets, and newspaper clippings on Canadian and British politics and public affairs from the 1940s.
Related material: Related material can be found in the Alex Colville fonds and the Liliane and Cyril Welch fonds, National Gallery of Canada Library and Archives.
Finding aids: Box list available.
Accruals: No further accruals are expected.
General note: Publications from the fonds transferred to the National Gallery of Canada Library include: Banfer Gallery, New York, Alex Colville: Paintings, February 13-March 2, 1963; Westerly (a quarterly published by the University of Western Australia Press), August 1965; Atlantic Provinces Art Circuit and National Gallery of Canada, Ottawa, Artists of Atlantic Canada / Artistes de la cöte Atlantique du Canada, 1966; National Gallery of Canada, Ottawa, The National Gallery of Canada Bulletin / Bulletin de la Galerie nationale du Canada, vol. 4, no. 2, 1966; Owens Art Gallery, Mount Allison University, Sackville, New Brunswick, The Acute Image in Canadian Art, April 1-May 15, 1974; Norman MacKenzie Art Gallery, Regina, Saskatchewan, Alex Colville, January 30-February 29, 1976; and Städtische Kunsthalle, Düsseldorf and Fischer Fine Art, London, Alex Colville: Paintings and Drawings 1970-1977 / Bilder und Zeichnungen 1970-1977, April 19-May and June 9-July 8, 1977.
The fonds was acquired from Jeanne Inch, daughter of Robert Boyer Inch, in 2013.
Collection processed and finding aid prepared by Philip Dombowsky in 2014.
[Title of item], Robert Boyer Inch fonds, National Gallery of Canada Library and Archives.
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Detailed Description of the Collection