Fonds SCA395-GA460 - Joan Hollobon fonds.

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Joan Hollobon fonds.

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1.01 m of textual records
76 photographs : col. ; 13 x 18 cm or smaller
63 photographs : b&w ; 20 x 25 cm or smaller
44 photographs : col. negatives ; 16 mm
1 folder : leather ; 18 x 15 cm

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Biographical history

Joan May Hollobon is a Canadian writer and reporter. She was born January 29, 1920, in the Isle of Wight (United Kingdom) to Ernest Frederick “Tony” and Alice Hollobon (nee Ford), and grew up in North Wales (United Kingdom).

During World War II, Hollobon volunteered as an administrative and press officer with the British Red Cross and the St. John War Organization in Wales. From 1946 to 1948, she worked in Berlin for the Allied Control Commission of Germany and Austria (a British Army bureau). And, in 1949, she worked for the Canadian and British Reader’s Digest. In 1952, Hollobon emigrated to Canada where she worked at the Kirkland Lake Northern Daily News (Kirkland Lake, Ontario), first as editor of the women’s section, later as a general reporter. In 1954, Hollobon moved to the daily North Bay Nugget (North Bay, Ontario) where she worked as general reporter and columnist.

In 1956, Hollobon began working as a general reporter for the Globe and Mail in Toronto. After covering medical news in the early 1960s, Hollobon received the fellowship in the Advancement of Science Writing and attended the Graduate School of Journalism at Columbia University in 1963-1964. Upon her return to Canada, and during the 1960s and 1970s, Hollobon wrote in-depth pieces on medical subjects that gained her national recognition. Some pieces included the Saskatchewan Medicare crisis of 1962, reportages on mental care facilities, and a three-part series on transsexuality and the first sex reassignment operation in Canada, among others.

During the 1970s, she travelled to Dublin for the Canadian, British, and Irish Medical Associations Conference and, from there, she wrote several articles about the medical conditions in the Isles, especially focusing on Northern Ireland during the Troubles. Also during the 1970s, Hollobon was part of the organizing committee for the Canadian Science Writers Association.

In 1983, Hollobon became assignment editor for the Globe and Mail. She retired in 1985 and, shortly after, she received the Canadian Medical Association Medal of Honour (1986), and published the book The lion’s tail: a history of the Wellesley Hospital 1912-1987 (1987). In 1987, the Health Care Public Relations Association of Canada (today Canadian Public Relations Society) presented the Hollobon Award for the first time. The award is given to members of the media whose work has contributed significantly to the public’s understanding of healthcare. And, in 2019, Hollobon was named Officer of the Order of Canada. In 2022, the National Newspaper Awards named their Beat Reporting award after Joan Hollobon.

In retirement, Hollobon shared a house with her friend Kay Rex.

Custodial history

Scope and content

Materials created or accumulated by Joan Hollobon during her professional and personal life. Includes correspondence sent and received by Hollobon, published and draft articles written by and about Hollobon in different media, research materials, educational materials, tax information, drafts of speeches, and awards and certificates received by Hollobon throughout her career as a medical journalist. Also contains materials related to or created by Kay Rex during her personal and professional life.

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Donated by Joan Hollobon in 2021.


Arranged in series as follows:

  • 1. Correspondence.
  • 2. Professional life.
  • 3. Personal life.
  • 4. Awards and speeches.

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  • English

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Access to some files may be restricted due to the presence of personal contact information.

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Copyright University of Waterloo Library.

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General note

Some of the content in fonds includes examples of outdated terminology and language that is no longer used or appropriate, especially regarding medical and social terminology. Where possible these items have been flagged at the file level. Specifically, this content has been flagged in files 3, 6, 7, and series 2.

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Described by CGD in 2021.

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  • English

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