TORONTO — Anne Murray’s decision to downsize led to some good news for her Toronto-based fans: the singer has donated 40 years’ worth of memorabilia that can now be viewed at the University of Toronto.
Packing up her Toronto home to move into a condo meant having to decide what to do with dozens of boxes of memorabilia, and the school convinced her to donate it rather than throw it away.
A makeshift storage room in her house was filled with shelves packed with albums, photos, press clippings, tour itineraries, videos from TV appearances, correspondence, and more, going back as far as when the 72-year-old singer was 18.
“It’s so comprehensive,” says Christina Stewart, assistant media archivist with the school’s Media Commons archives.
“If you want to know what Anne was doing in 1970, you could totally plot out her year.”
One of Stewart’s favourite parts of the collection is Murray’s homemade scrapbooks. They allow fans to see Murray’s career through a more personal lens, says Stewart, adding she believes the singer’s mother began assembling the mementoes early in her career.
“They’re really in-depth, and they were so personal,” Stewart says. “Sometimes it’s not even a big story, a big magazine article — it’s just a tiny little blurb clipping from a local newspaper in Nova Scotia, which is so sweet.”
Stewart says the sheer volume of the archive’s content is notable, and includes “not just (Murray’s) career, but the workings of the music industry, the television industry, and how that has changed through the years.”
Although she grew up in the United States, Stewart says looking through the collection stirred up many personal memories.
“I grew up watching Anne Murray on the TV specials, and on ‘Anne Murray’s Christmas,’ and on the Muppets,” she says. “In my mind, she has always been the pre-eminent Canadian artist.”
The collection is now open to the public and can be seen by making an online reservation through the Media Commons website.
Maija Kappler, The Canadian Press