Skip to main content

W. Ormiston Roy papers

Identifier: SCU-RBSC-2004-10

This collection comprises a disparate set of materials by or collected by the Montreal landscape architect William Ormiston Roy (1874-1958) and reflecting some of his varied interests. Included are materials by or about the poet- naturalist John Burroughs and his physician-companion Clara Barrus; English followers and imitators of Walt Whitman; materials, newspaper clippings, about Robert Burns including information on the later sale of some of his works. The whole of the collection was donated by Roy’s grandson, George Ross Roy, whose Scottish Literature Collections are also housed in the Irvin Department of Rare Books and Special Collections.

W. Ormiston Roy was born at Dorval, Canada, December 4, 1874, the son of a landscape gardener and horticulturalist. A noted landscape architect in his own right, he was most famously known as the architect and general manager of Montreal’s Mt. Royal Cemetery. He became a friend of the American naturalist and writer John Burroughs four years before Burroughs’s death and was charged by Burroughs to carry out his last wishes for a resting place at his farm in upstate New York. Over the course of a long life, Roy also became known for his expertise on peonies and maples. His methods of reforestation in underdeveloped countries are still used.

He was a winner of the Sir Joseph Banks medal for horticulture and the Massachusetts Horticulture Medal. This professional and personal interest in nature eventual y led him to the work of John Burroughs. Ormiston Roy was a breeder of collies and a judge of them at the Westminster Kennel Club competition in Madison Square Garden. He was also an expert on Robert Burns and a noted collector of Burns’ works. Roy died in Montreal August 7, 1958.


  • 1888 - 2009


Conditions Governing Access

Collection is open for research

Conditions Governing Use

All rights reside with the estate of the creator. For permission to reproduce or publish, please contact the Irvin Department of Rare Books and Special Collections.


3 boxes