Fonds LA.SC095 - Douglas Duncan fonds

Identity area

Reference code



Douglas Duncan fonds


  • 1921-1971 (Creation)

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Extent and medium

21 cm of textual records and graphic material 14 photographs : b&w ; 25 x 18 cm or smaller 3 drawings

Context area

Name of creator


Biographical history

Douglas Moerdyke Duncan (1902-1968) was a Canadian art collector and dealer, book collector and director of the Picture Loan Society in Toronto. He was born in Kalamazoo, Michigan, and studied at the University of Toronto. From 1925 to 1928 he trained as a bookbinder of fine books in Paris, then returned to Toronto to open a studio. In 1936 he was a member of the founding committee of the Picture Loan Society and soon after its director. Over the next thirty years, his taste in selecting work for inclusion in the society’s frequent exhibitions became increasingly influential. With his private income Duncan supported artists by purchasing their work, eventually amassing an important collection of Canadian art. After his death in Toronto in 1968, the collection was dispersed to public galleries across Canada, including over 600 works to the National Gallery in Ottawa.

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Biographical history

Archival history

Douglas Duncan’s papers were bequeathed to his friend and executor Norman Endicott. After his death, Endicott’s children inherited both Douglas’s and Endicott’s papers. His daughter Clare Endicott was their principal custodian and made the selection of letters and other materials donated to the Art Gallery of Ontario 2004/2005.

Immediate source of acquisition or transfer

Fonds was donated by the Endicott family in 2004 (Series 1) and 2005.

Content and structure area

Scope and content

Fonds consists chiefly of correspondence to Douglas Duncan as director of the Picture Loan Society in Toronto between 1936 and 1966, and his personal correspondence with Norman Endicott and their friends in common during the 1920s. Also included are records of Canadian artist David Milne from the 1950s and British painter Robert ‘Scottie’ Wilson from about 1945 to 1970; both were clients of Douglas Duncan and friends of Norman Endicott. Fonds is comprised of the following series: 1. Picture Loan Society correspondence 2. Duncan-Endicott correspondence 3. David Milne records 4. Scottie Wilson records

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Conditions governing reproduction

Various copyright holders. It is the researcher’s responsibility to obtain permission to publish any part of the fonds.

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Related units of description

The Art Gallery of Ontario Library acquired a selection of art books from the estate of Douglas Duncan in 1968. A list of these titles is in the administrative file for this fonds.

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Notes area


In English and French.

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Archivist's note

Prepared by Amy Marshall, 2004. Modified by Sylvia Lassam with assistance from Gary Fitzgibbon, 2006.
Uploaded and adapted by Nirvana Chainani, 2019.

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