Scope & content
The Jane Keddy papers are divided into correspondence, research files, index cards, text of the Champlain book, and illustrations for the Champlain book. The correspondence is mostly professional. In her capacity as owner and editor of Parameter Press, there are editor to author exchanges. In her capacity as a researcher, there are requests for photocopies of chapters relevant to Champlain, 17th century Canadian history and the settlement of New France, assurances of copyright protection, and exchanges with park officials on touring the areas Champlain explored. There is also a large folder of rejection letters from potential publishers of the Champlain book. The few personal items include one postcard of condolence on the death of her husband in 1992 and letters to the editor. One letter to the editor, sent to William Safire, gives her views on feminism and proper forms of address for married women. Her correspondence reveals both a personal and a professional interest in theology with entire folders devoted to exchanges with Edward Schillebeeckx (1914- ), the Belgian theologian of the Dominican order known as a Thomist and reformer, and Reijer Hooykaas (1906-1994), a professor of the history of science at the University of Utrecht interested in the interface between science and religion, as well as other less well known theologians.
While the research files contain information on hypothermia, lapis lazuli, sun spots, rocks, geologic eras, and safe drinking water, they primarily concern Champlain and Keddy's research on him, his exploits, and his life. Handbooks from museums and parks rest alongside photocopies of chapters from Pirenne, Roelker, Armstrong and many others in both French and English. The collection also includes fourteen boxes of index cards, each one labeled with the contents. Glued to the top of each box was the typed note: "Please do not drop: To put the cards all together again will take a person who knows 4 languages and several Indian dialects and who has a passion for the alphabet!!!"
The collection also consists of chapters of Keddy's biography of Champlain. Almost all the chapters have extant drafts and as many as four versions. Each version is carefully annotated not only with changes in text but with editorial mark-ups for the printer. Keddy changed her mind about how many chapters there were to be. Chapter two began as chapter two and three so many of the versions are numbered incorrectly or have been renumbered in the green ink Keddy used for her editorial markings. There are nineteen chapters of text, appendices and introductory material. Of particular note is the appendix devoted to a comparison of the three known manuscripts of Champlain's Brief Discours held by the John Carter Brown Library, the Archivio di Stato di Torino and the Biblioteca Universitaria di Bologna. The chapters are followed by twenty-three folders of illustrations, maps, and captions. The collection does not include a final, clean, unannotated copy of the book.