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Francess Georgina Halpenny

b. Ottawa, May 27, 1919; d. Toronto, Dec. 25, 2017


1940 BA (University of Toronto)
1941 MA (University of Toronto)


1941-1942 University of Toronto Press
1942-1945 Royal Canadian Air Force
1945-1978 University of Toronto Press
1969-1988 General Editor, Dictionary of Canadian Biography
1972-1978 Professor and Dean, Faculty of Library Science, University of Toronto
1979-1984 Associate Director (academic) University of Toronto Press
1979-2017 Professor Emeritus


Halpenny, Francess G. (1940). Study of the writers who began the realistic trend in modern American fiction. MA thesis. Toronto: University of Toronto Press.

Halpenny, Francess G. (1965). “Literary history of Canada: an essay in co-operation.” Papers of the Bibliographic Society of Canada 4, no. 1: 6-13.

Halpenny, Francess G. (1967). “University presses.” Canadian Forum 47, no. 559: 110.

Halpenny, Francess G. (1970). “Of time and the editor.” Scholarly Publishing 1, no. 2: 159-169.

Halpenny, Francess G. (1971). “The editor and his campus.” Scholarly Publishing 2, no. 4: 369.

Halpenny, Francess G. (1972). Editing twentieth century texts: papers given at the Editorial Conference, University of Toronto, November 1969. Published for the Editorial Conference Committee, University of Toronto. Toronto: University of Toronto Press.

Halpenny, Francess G. (1972). “The thesis and the book.” Scholarly Publishing 3, no.2: 111-116.

Halpenny, Francess G. (1973). “Education and training for scholarly publishing.” Scholarly Publishing 4, no. 2: 165-174.

Halpenny, Francess G. (1973). The Robarts library [videorecording]. a more striking conviction. Toronto: Ontario Educational Communications Authority.

Halpenny, Francess G. (1979). Education for bibliography. Ottawa: Committee on Bibliographical Services for Canada, National Library of Canada.

Halpenny, Francess G. (1979). Practice of bibliography. Ottawa: Committee on Bibliographical Services for Canada, National Library of Canada.

Halpenny, Francess G. (1979). Visibility for bibliography. Ottawa: Committee on Bibliographic Services for Canada, National Library of Canada.

Halpenny, Francess G. (1985). Canadian collections in public libraries: a report. Toronto: Book and Periodical Development Council.

Halpenny, Francess G. (1986). “Twenty years of Canadian biography.” Proceedings & Transactions of the Royal Society of Canada.” 1: 193-201.

Halpenny, Francess G. (1990). “Horatio Lovat Dickson.” Proceedings & Transactions of the Royal Society of Canada 1: 489.

Halpenny, Francess G. (1990). “J. Russell Harper”. Proceedings & Transactions of the Royal Society of Canada 1: 511.

Halpenny, Francess G. (1990). “Teaching publishing in a master`s program in library science.” Book Research Quarterly 6, no. 1: 74-82.

Halpenny, Francess G. (1993). “Responsibilities of scholarly publishers: the responsibility in assessing the merit of scholarly manuscripts is not to individuals but to their work as scholarly endeavour; the context of scholarship is creating new pressures on this process.” Scholarly Publishing 24, no. 4: 223-231.

Halpenny, Francess G. (1998). Francess Georgina fonds.

Halpenny, Francess G. (2001). “Living a project.” Journal of Scholarly Publishing 32, no. 4: 204-220.

Halpenny, Francess G., ed. (2002). “100 books for 100 years.” Papers of the Bibliographical Society of Canada 40, no. 2: 57-93.

Halpenny, Francess G. (2003). The thesis and the book [electronic device] a guide for first time academic authors, edited by Elinor Harmon… [et al]. Toronto: University of Toronto Press.

Halpenny, Francess G. (2017). A world of words: Francess Halpenny’s autobiography. 1st ed March 2017. Toronto: Frances G. Halpenny.


1968-1970 Member, Canadian Historical Association Council
1973-1975 Chair, Committee on Editing and Publications Policy, Canadian Library Association
1976-1979 Member, National Library Advisory Board
1977 Chair, Bibliography Services for Canada


1979 Officer of the Order of Canada
1984 Companion of the Order of Canada
1977 Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada
1983 Molson Award awarded by the Canada Council for distinguished contribution to Canada’s cultural and intellectual heritage
Honorary degrees from 11 Canadian universities including University of Toronto


The Globe and Mail described Francess as an “undisputed star of the editing world.” She had a very clear idea of what an editor should be – a supporter for the author. One U of T professor is reported to have said “Francess can have anything she wants. She got our books published.” Her magnum opus was the Dictionary of Canadian Biography (DCB).” Officially she served as General Editor of the DCB/DBC from 1969 to 1988 working with her counterparts at Université Laval overseeing the completion of ten volumes of the Dictionary, comprising more than 5000 Biographies –a truly remarkable achievement. She adhered to and furthered the principles on which the Dictionary was based – a bilingual partnership with the Université Laval (with the result that the DCB/DBC became and remains the most important bilingual project in the Canadian humanities). The organization of biographies by period of death date rather than alphabetically, and the insistence that biographies be based on primary sources is a practice that distinguishes the DCB/DBC from all other national biographies. “

Francess`s mother was always her supporter. In conjunction with a group of editors she said ``that little girl knows more than all you boys put together`` and following the presentation of the Molson Award she said “Francess always did her homework.” Both of these things were probably true.


Dictionary of Canadian Biography: Francess G. Halpenny (1919-2017).
Canadian Who's Who, v. 15, 1980.
Obituary. Globe and Mail, January 6, 2018.
“Francess Halpenny 98 was the undisputed star of the editing world.” Globe and Mail, Jan. 14, 2018.
Francess Georgina Halpenny fonds at the University of Toronto

biographies/francess-georgina-halpenny.txt · Last modified: 2023/11/23 13:58