Cora Greenaway fonds

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Cora Greenaway fonds

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Physical description

3.4 meters of textual and graphic materials (31 boxes).

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Name of creator

(1915 - .)

Biographical history

Cora de Jong Greenaway, C.M., D.F.A., D.Hum.L., F.R.S.A., teacher, broadcaster, history researcher and author, was born in Medan, Indonesia 4 July 1915 to Klaas and Bernardine Antoinette Louise (Calkoen) de Jong. She was educated at universities in Europe until the German occupation of Holland in 1940, when she became active in the Dutch Resistance and subsequent liberation of Holland. On 7 July 1949 Cora de Jong married British Major William (Bill) Greenaway, MC, and together they immigrated to Canada and settled in Paradise, Nova Scotia. From 1956 to 1979 she worked for CBC Radio as a freelance broadcaster on cultural and heritage subjects. She was a founding member of the Heritage Trust of Nova Scotia in 1959. In 1963 she became a teacher and vice-principal of Dartmouth Academy private school in Dartmouth, NS until 1979. In 1960 she discovered the painted 19th century wall murals of the “Croscup Room” in Karsdale, NS, now preserved as part of the permanent collections of the National Gallery of Canada. Subsequently, Dr. Greenaway received funding from the Canada Council and became a full time researcher on historic interior decorative painting. She discovered and documented examples in private homes (including folk artist Maud Lewis), published several articles, curated an exhibit at the Art Gallery of Nova Scotia (1986), and lectured nationally and internationally, from 1980 to the late 1990s. In 2011 she published the book Painted Dreams, the culmination of her life’s work on the subject. She received multiple awards, including the Order of Canada in 1996. As of 2015, Dr. Greenaway lives in The Hague, Netherlands.

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Scope and content

Fonds consists of approximately 7800 images of painted murals, border designs, simulated marbling and other decorative elements on walls, floors, ceilings and doors in private homes and public buildings in Nova Scotia, with some examples from New Brunswick; correspondence with home owners, publishers and historical societies; research notes; manuscripts and published articles; and manuscript versions of her book Painted Dreams. Fonds also includes her CBC Radio scripts, videos of her 1993 and 1997 lectures on decorative painting and Maud Lewis, founding documents and early publications from the Heritage Trust of Nova Scotia, photographs and some correspondence of her childhood in Indonesia and the Netherlands; and photographs and news clippings about her husband Major Bill Greenaway, MC. The records document the unique 19th century decorative artworks Dr. Greenaway discovered and her role in the preservation of historic architecture in the province.

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Physical condition

Immediate source of acquisition

Donated by Cora Greenaway in 2011.


There are several sets of research files on decorated homes compiled by Dr. Greenaway. Some are arranged by county, others by town or village. Minimal duplication between them.

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Copyright owned by Nova Scotia Archives.

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Associated materials

Cora Greenaway’s book collection (63 titles) on local/community histories and architectural heritage are available from the Nova Scotia Archives Reference Library.

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General note

For information on Dr. Greenaway’s life in Holland during Second World War, see the video recording of her interview with Rick Grant of CTV News (Vb1121) and biographical files in Box 001.

Physical description

Includes 2.13 m of textual records (22 boxes); 2,826 photographs; 2,836 negatives; 2,172 slides; 36 postcards; 20 transparencies; 4 photographic contact sheets; 11 VHS videocassettes, 4 watercolours; 2 data compact discs; 1 audio cassette; 1 map; 1 drawing.

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Women of Nova Scotia

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