An interesting National Post story by Robert Fulford about a guy with an enviable career:
In 1948, when William Toye was about to graduate from the University of Toronto, what he wanted most in the world was a job in Canadian book publishing. This was an outlandish career plan, since Canadian publishing barely existed. We had few publishers and they produced few books. They spent much of their time importing whatever the Americans and the British published. They kept afloat by selling Bibles, dictionaries and schoolbooks. Was this any way for a bright young man to start out?
But young Toye saw his destiny and insisted on it. When he applied for a job at the Canadian branch of Oxford University Press, he was told they had nothing for him but a place in the warehouse. He said that would be fine….
After starting at the bottom, he eventually learned the techniques of book production, began editing schoolbooks, then travelled the country to make Oxford books known in universities and schools. He wrote children’s books and edited Marshall McLuhan’s letters. He taught himself typography, not an easy thing to do.
He became the first and, for many years, only Canadian author or editor who could both provide the content of a book and design it at a high level. (Now there’s one other Canadian who can turn the same trick, Robert Bringhurst.) In 1956, when Robert Weaver organized The Tamarack Review, he recruited Toye as an editor and designer; Toye stayed with The Tamarack through its quarter of a century as the leading literary magazine in English Canada.
Almost alone in his profesion, Toye has had exactly one full-time employer. He joined Oxford in 1948, stayed there till he retired in 1991 and then began freelancing for Oxford. His long service in the trench warfare of editing was recognized by Oxford University.
On a September day in 1995, suitably gowned, he walked across the Oxford campus to the Sheldonian Theatre, the 1660s building by Christopher Wren, site of sacred Oxford rituals. There he heard the university’s public orator praise him in Latin, calling him Gulielmum Toye. His accomplishments were detailed and he was described as part of “our far-flung empire,” one of the governors of its provinces. “Educated at the University of Toronto, he has shown himself a true Oxford man,” the orator said. That’s the kindest thing anybody at Oxford could possibly say, if not precisely the way a Canadian patriot would put it.
I’ve been freelancing for Oxford for some years now myself; can I expect to hear my name read out as Stephanus Dodson one of these days? (Thanks for the link, Paul!)