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Dunbar, Scott (d 2006): papers

Identity Statement

Reference code(s): GB 2108 KUAS49
Held at: Kingston University
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Full title: Dunbar, Scott (d 2006): papers
Date(s): [1977-1984]
Level of description: collection
Extent: 2 boxes
Name of creator(s): Dunbar | Scott | d 2006 | philosopher, theologian and teacher


Administrative/Biographical history:

Scott Dunbar was a teacher, philosopher and theologian from Canada. Dunbar led a difficult life, experiencing a near death experience due to an alcohol overdose, later ending up an Alcoholics Anonymous member, 1975; became a bio-ethicist via the Cleveland Clinic and wrote on many aspects of bio-ethics; later moving to Toronto, 1997, only to return to Montreal unemployed. He then worked, teaching English as a second language. Scott, a profound thinker and skilled writer met Iris Murdoch in 1966; Scott became arguably the most important 'gay' friend she had, one of the many including Roly Cochrane and Andrew Harvey. Scott Dunbar died 1 March 2006.


Scope and content/abstract:

Papers of Scott Dunbar, [1977-1984], largely comprise letters from Iris Murdoch to Dr Scott Dunbar and copies of his work. Letters from Iris Murdoch to Dunbar raise issues including religion, politics, structuralism, philosophy and also more personal matters including her mother's illness. The collection also includes an itinerary listing a series of ten lectures to be given by Iris Murdoch in October 1982 at the University of Edinburgh, the Gifford Lectureship in Natural Theology entitled 'Metaphysics as a guide to morals', possibly attended by Dunbar and a photocopy of a letter from Scott Dunbar to Murdoch answering a question at length: 'why are gay bars so sad?'.

The collection also contains letters from other individuals to Dunbar including Duncan Averbach, 1989, discussing Dunbar's thesis and the difference between the human being and person; letter from Theodore Brotsis, enclosing a photograph of Theodore, 1986; published works by Dunbar including 'On art, morals, and religion: some reflections on the work of Iris Murdoch', Scott Dunbar, Religious Studies, Vol 14, No 4, 1978; typescript copies of works including 'Alcoholics Anonymous and Alcohol Dependency' Part One and Part Two and handwritten notes, presumably by Dunbar, including notes titled 'IVF and all that' and lecture notes including 'The Iliad Lectures'.

Access & Use

Language/scripts of material:

System of arrangement:

Uncatalogued, arranged in original order.

Conditions governing access:

Open. Please contact the archivist to make an appointment.

Conditions governing reproduction:

Contact archive for information concerning reproduction at

Finding aids:

No additional finding aids currently exist.

Archival Information

Archival history:

Immediate source of acquisition:

Acquired in 2008.

Allied Materials

Related material:

Publication note:

Description Notes

Archivist's note:
Sources: Scott Dunbar acquisitions file (Archives and Special Collections reading room, Kingston University).
Entry compiled by Samantha Velumyl, AIM25 cataloguer.

Rules or conventions:
Compiled in compliance with General International Standard Archival Description, ISAD(G), second edition, 2000; National Council on Archives Rules for the Construction of Personal, Place and Corporate Names, 1997.

Date(s) of descriptions:
May 2008.

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