Feb. 18, 1938

J.R.M. Butler
Tutor
Trinity College
Cambridge, England.

Dear Sir:

W.C.D. Pacey of Victoria College in the University of Toronto is making application for a Research Studentship at the University of Cambridge, and I should like to support his appeal.

He is one of the most brilliant students the University of Toronto has had in recent years and one of the most deserving. He has led his year in Philosophy, English and History right up to the present and has shown a capacity for research in the necessarily limited fields of an under graduate course. He has an energetic, original mind and thorough in the pursuit of any assigned subject.

He was 'proxime accessit' for the Rhodes, beating his rival in scholarly qualifications but falling somewhat below in respect to social and artistic attainments. The general margin was very slight.

He has since won the Massey Scholarship which, though considerable, is scarcely sufficient to cover his expenses abroad. He has no private means whatsoever. He has put himself through his college career by prizes and scholarships and by working as a farm-hand during the summer vacations.

All of the teaching staff who know him believe that he will fulfil his promises.

Yours sincerely

E.J. Pratt
Professor of English
Victoria College
University of Toronto


working as a farmhand
In a letter to David G. Pitt (29 March 1967), Pacey wrote:

When I was a student [Pratt] somehow got the idea that I was a poor English lad who had come out to Canada to work on a farm and that I was working my way through college. Each September when I returned to Victoria he would ... say "Well, Des, you're looking wonderful. That work on the farm agrees with you!" And if anyone else was around, he'd say: "Look at Des Pacey! He slaves away on that farm all summer but he thrives on it!" All this was a bit embarrassing, for I had come to Canada with my widowed mother who married a quite well-to-do Ontario farmer – and my summer farm-work was arduous but quite voluntary.