And here’s a mystery. Above is a scan of the stationary Peregrine Acland used to drop a line to the editor of The Groton School Quarterly while he was working for Prime Minister W. L. Mackenzie King during the Second World War. Douglas Brown, the generous archivist at Groton, believes the undated letter was sent in 1947.
So what was Acland’s Magazine? There are a few clues that have emerged in my research, but nothing definitive.
Clue No.1 comes from Google Books: a listing in The Canadian Patent Office Record and Register of Copyrights and Trade Marks, 1942, Volume 70, Issues 5-8, page V, item 56835 (or so I believe –the last detail is blurry). The entry states, “Acland’s Magazine. (Volume 1, Number 1), by Peregrine Palmer Acland of Toronto, Ontario. Unpublished literary work. 13th April, 1942.” One can see the entry here.
Clue No.2 comes from Mackenzie King’s diaries (entries concerning Acland are available elsewhere on this site). On September 8th, 1942, King wrote:
In the course of the evening, I told him of the kind of thing that ought to be done at the office, the need particularly for some one to help in preparing messages for occasions, appreciation of situations, material for speeches, etc. To my surprise, I found that for 4 years past, he has been associated with the Walter Thompson advertising firm in New York, and was manager of their business in Toronto. He had to do with publicising [sic] different subjects, this involving research, etc. Had a large staff of writers under him. Was used to directing others, and seeing that work is quickly and exactly performed. He told my that his salary there had been $14,000 a year but of course he could think of nothing of this kind at the present time. I had previously mentioned the work Brown had been doing as a Professor. I thought he had received somewhere around $3,500 to $5,ooo. I explained that he was simply filling in for a time, and that there would be more responsible work. Peregrine, at the present time, is editing a magazine and supplying material for firms in different parts of Canada who issue publications to their employees and the public. His own magazine circulates over his own name. Some of its material and some which he prepares goes into other publications which have circulation running into many thousands.
Clue No.3 comes from the addresses I’ve cropped out of the scan above. Acland’s Magazine was originally based out of 394 Bay Street, in Toronto. The telephone number was “W.A. 9985.” This address was two blocks (or so) west of the centre of Toronto’s newspaper district at the time, and appears to have been an office building housing those working in advertising, literary/talent agencies, radio production etc. Google’s streetview leads me to believe it’s now a combination TD bank & Starbucks. In the Groton letter Acland has struck out the Toronto address and typed in the new address: 71 Bronson Avenue, Ottawa, Ontario. This is his father’s home, a few blocks from Parliament Hill, where I suspect Peregrine and his wife lived while they lived in Ottawa.
If Acland was running a magazine out of his father’s house, it’s likely it was a relatively small operation, or I suppose it’s equally possible that he’d folded the magazine and was just using up his stock of stationary (I’ve also heard tales of paper shortages during and just after the war, though doubt these shortages were felt amongst the PM’s staff).
There are no listings for Acland’s Magazine anywhere else that I can find. Nothing in Library and Archives Canada, nada in the Toronto Public Library, squat at the University of Toronto. On the off-chance there was something in the not-open-to-the-public Library of Parliament, I contacted my MP, whose helpful assistants turned up nothing.
So was Acland’s Magazine packed with book reviews and literary editorials? Did Acland use it as a forum to continue writing poetry well after we thought his literary career was over? Was it a trade publication related to advertising? Frankly, I haven‘t the foggiest, and am hoping one of my readers, with greater expertise in the world of Canadian magazines, can point me in the right direction.