Thomas, Clara McCandless

Clara McCandless Thomas, teacher, critic (b at Strathroy, 22 May 1919). After completion of her BA and MA at the University of Western Ontario, she published her MA thesis as Canadian Novelists, 1920-1945 (1946), taught extension courses for UWO's English Department for many years, and completed her PhD in 1962 at the University of Toronto. In 1961 she became a member of the Department of English at York University, where she taught until her retirement in 1984. She was named the York University Libraries Canadian Studies Research Fellow. She is the author of many biographical and critical studies, among them 2 seminal works: Love and Work Enough: The Life of Anna Jameson (1962), and The Manawaka World of Margaret Laurence (1975). Her other books include Ryerson of Upper Canada (1969), Our Nature - Our Voices: A Guidebook to English-Canadian Literature (1973), William Arthur Deacon: A Canadian Literary Life (1982, with John Lennox), and a collection of essays, All My Sisters: Essays on the Work of Canadian Women Writers (1994).

As well as her many contributions to literary histories, reference works, collections of essays and periodicals, Clara Thomas has served on editorial boards and national scholarly committees. In 1971-72 she was president of the Association of Canadian University Teachers of English. Her unremitting and enthusiastic support of graduate students has been a hallmark of her career and she has been an active promoter of Canadian literature abroad. She is a member of the Royal Society of Canada and in 1989 was awarded the Northern Telecom Canadian Studies International Award for distinguished service.