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Archives at U of T: An Overview

In general, campus archives hold the administrative records of their institution, as well as some records of individuals who have an association with the institution, for example faculty members. There are many archival repositories at the University of Toronto as well as some libraries and research centres on campus that have some archival holdings. 

list of archives at U of T can be found in Discover Archives or you can browse select subject specialties, institutional mandate, and service information about each archive below.

If you can't find what you need on this page or in Discover Archives, contact one of the archives at U of T.

 

University of Toronto Archives and Records Management Services [UTARMS]

The University of Toronto Archives acquires, preserves, and provides access to materials that document the history of the University and its communities. The Archives was established in 1965, but their antecedents date back much further to the Art Room in what is now the Science and Medicine Library (Gerstein). UTARMS holds the private papers of more than 1000 individuals and groups affiliated with the University of Toronto, including faculty, alumni and student organizations. These papers document teaching, research, learning and extracurricular activities of the University’s prominent members, students and groups.
 
Holdings also consist of the University’s administrative records. This material documents the day-to-day operations of the University of Toronto, the founding of the University and its development since 1827, and the work of administrators, staff and students in the various academic divisions of the University. This material is used for historical research, but also supports university administration and promotes accountability.
 
Subject strengths:

  • History of the University of Toronto and its community members
  • History of education
  • U of T campus architecture 
  • Subject areas and disciplines taught at the UofT in particular political science, engineering, nursing

 
Institutional mandate:
 
The University of Toronto Archives is responsible for the appraisal, acquisition, preservation and use of University records of permanent value and the private records of individuals and organizations associated with the University. The University Archives works cooperatively with other permanent campus archives programmes devoted to preserving their sponsors' documentary heritage. As well as providing a research service, the University Archives provides an administrative service through the development and implementation of the University's records management programme. The objectives of this programme are detailed in the Terms of Reference of the Presidential Advisory Committee on Archives and Records Management. Please note: The University of Toronto Archives' mandate does not include the records of the federated universities of St. Michael's, Trinity and Victoria or of the theological colleges, Knox, Wycliffe, and Emmanuel. (http://utarms.library.utoronto.ca/about)
 
See Discover Archives for contact information and opening times.

What's online: https://utarms.library.utoronto.ca/archives/online


Services:

  • UTARMS provides accessible facilities
  • Regular reading room hours are M-F 9am-4:45pm (subject to holidays and other closures, please consult website)
  • Designated reading room
  • Archival instruction
  • Records management / file planning services
  • Facility tours are available
  • Reproduction services are available
  • Capacity of facility -- maximum 20 patrons (smaller groups preferred)

Trinity College Archives

The Trinity College Archives contains some 400 linear metres of textual, photographic, architectural, sound, electronic, and other records, most of which are open to researchers.  The Archives’ holdings include the administrative records of the College from 1850, the personal papers of faculty, administrators, and others associated with the College; records of student organizations, and copies of official and student publications.  The Archives supports the academic program of Trinity College by collecting the papers of Canadian diplomats, government figures, and historians.  Currently we hold the papers of John W. Holmes, William C. Graham, George Ignatieff, Michael Ignatieff, Robert Bothwell, James Eayrs, Dan Livermore, John Hadwen, Blair Seaborn, and others.  The College art collection is also administered through the Archives.
 
Subject strengths:

  • Canadian politics and diplomacy
  • International Relations
  • Trinity College, administrative and student records
  • Early Anglican clergy
  • Classics

Institutional mandate:

The mandate of the Archives is to acquire, preserve, and make available to researchers the non-current corporate records of the College and other records of academic and historical importance.
 
See Discover Archives for contact information and opening times.
 
Services:

  • Trinity College Archives provides accessible facilities
  • Designated reading room
  • Archival instruction
  • Records management/ file planning services
  • Facility tours are available
  • Reproduction services are available
  • Capacity of facility -- maximum 30 patrons for class visits; 6 researchers
  • Estimate less than 1% of collection available online

Media Commons Archives

The Media Commons Archives is an audio-visual archive and special collections that focuses primarily on Canadian Cultural Production, but acquires international material as well. This includes, but is not limited to, historical and contemporary film/video production, advertising, electronic and print journalism, broadcasting (both radio and television), photographic arts, and multimedia and music production.  These collections contain film, video, audio, photographic, and digital media formats, as well as all available contextual documentation regardless of format. To support the diverse Media Commons Archives collection, the Media Commons Archives continues to acquire appropriate current and non-current audio/video technology to allow access to and creation of research copies from the Media Commons Archives collections.


Subject strengths:

  • Canadian Cultural Production:
    • Film/television
    • Music
    • Photography
    • Advertising
    • Animation 

Institutional mandate: 

The mandate of the Media Commons Archives is to support the curriculum and research in various disciplines at the University of Toronto. While it serves primarily the faculty, staff, and current students at the University, it is also available to U of T alumni and the broader community. Media Commons Archives acquires, preserves and makes available archival and special collection of materials of primarily Canadian national and regional significance relating to the audio-visual and media communities and popular culture. This includes, but is not limited to, historical and contemporary film / video production, advertising, electronic and print journalism, broadcasting, photographic arts, and multimedia and music production. These collections contain film, video, audio, photographic, digital and printed media formats.

See Discover Archives for contact information and opening times.

 
Services:

  • Media Commons Archives provides accessible facilities
  • Designated reading room
  • Archival instruction
  • Facility tours and class visits are available
  • Capacity of facility -- maximum 50 patrons for visits/ tours/ use of theatre, 15 patrons for reading rooms (smaller groups preferred)

Thomas Fisher Rare Book Library

The Library houses over 750 manuscript collections covering a wide range of subject areas. It includes collections of literary, historical and personal papers for individuals and organizations, with a focus on Canadiana. Holdings range from a collection of about 40 third-century B.C. Egyptian papyri; to papers of the co-discoverers of insulin: Banting, Best, Collip and Macleod; as well as drafts, research notes, and correspondence of Canadian authors such as Margaret Atwood, Gwendolyn MacEwen, Leonard Cohen, Mazo de la Roche and Josef Skvorecky. The majority of our manuscript collections date from the nineteenth, twentieth and twenty-first centuries and pertain to Canadian historical, literary, artistic or scientific fields. Collections of personal papers are listed by the surname of the creator or collector, e.g. Birney, Earle. Institutional records are listed under the name of the institution, e.g. Royal Canadian Institute.
 
Subject strengths:

  • Literary papers
  • Canadian small and fine press materials
  • Publishers
  • Booksellers
  • History of science and medicine
  • Theatre
  • History
  • Economics
  • Politics
  • Book history and print culture

Manuscript holdings:
The Fisher houses over 750 manuscript collections covering a wide range of subject areas. Includes collections of literary, historical and personal papers for individuals and organizations, with a focus on Canadiana.
 
Bound manuscripts:
The collection contains approximately 1000 bound manuscripts, which represent a range of disciplines including history, theology, literature, philosophy, science, and medicine, and in languages as diverse as Arabic, English, French, Persian, German, Hebrew and Latin, among others. They range chronologically from eighteenth century B.C.E. to the twentieth century.
 
Individual or general manuscripts:
These encompass a broad cross section of individual items. Consisting of 39 boxes, these manuscripts chronologically date in age from the thirteenth to the twentieth centuries, and are principally (though not exclusively) focused on European and Canadian personalities. Most of it consists of correspondence, some examples include Susanna Moodie, Sir John A. Macdonald, Charles Dickens, etc.
 
Institutional mandate:

The mandate of the Thomas Fisher Rare Book Library is to foster the search for knowledge by supporting research and learning across all disciplines taught at the University of Toronto. The Library acquires, makes accessible and preserves comprehensive research collections of national and international significance. It serves the faculty, staff, students and alumni of the University, as well as the general public.

See Discover Archives for contact information and opening times.

What's online:

Services:

  • The Thomas Fisher Library provides accessible facilities
  • Designated reading room 
  • Archival instruction
  • Facility tours and class visits are available
  • Onsite reproduction services
  • Capacity of facility -- maximum 30 patrons for visits/ tours

Victoria University Archives

The Victoria University Archives holds the records of University administrative bodies, staff, faculty, students, student clubs, alumni associations, and affiliates dating from the founding of the University in 1836 to the present.
 
Subject strengths:

  • University records: Includes Victoria University and its two colleges (Victoria College and Emmanuel College).
  • Personal papers: From administrators and faculty (including teaching and research materials) as well as from students and alumni. 
    • The personal papers collected are focused on documenting the individual’s time at the University.
  • Photographs, artifacts, and ephemera relating to Victoria University.

 
Institutional mandate:

The Victoria University Archives is the repository responsible for acquiring, maintaining, and providing access to University records of permanent value. The Archives Program is described in the Victoria University Records and Archives Policy available on our website: http://library.vicu.utoronto.ca/archives
 
See Discover Archives for contact information and opening times.

What's online:

Services:

  • Archival research instruction, based on our holdings, for individuals or groups
  • Research consultations with the Archivist
  • Digitization and photocopy services available on request
  • Online databases, finding aids, and other tools
  • Records Management services, guidance, and instruction for Victoria University. See our Records Management website for more information on this program: http://library.vicu.utoronto.ca/archives/records_management

University of Toronto Scarborough (UTSC) Library, Archives & Special Collections

UTSC Library Archives & Special Collections’ holdings are predominantly private fonds and collections. These holdings date predominantly for the 1960s to the present.
 
Subject strengths:

  • Scarborough History
  • Immigration History
  • Food Studies
  • Sports/Physical Education
  • Global Asian Studies
  • Urban Development
  • Human Geography
  • Environmental Sciences

Institutional mandate:

The University of Toronto Scarborough Library, Archives & Special Collections’ mandate is to acquire, preserve, arrange, describe and provide access to rare and unique materials that support curricula and research at the University of Toronto Scarborough, materials documenting the history of the University of Toronto Scarborough campus and material documenting the Scarborough community.

See Discover Archives for contact information and opening times

Services:

  • Reproductions services

University of St. Michael's College (USMC), John M. Kelly Library, Special Collections and USMC Archives

The University of St. Michael’s College John M. Kelly Library Special Collections includes rare books, the administrative records of the College and private manuscripts. Supporting the research and teaching mission of St. Michael’s College programs, the archival and manuscript collections within the library’s Special Collections hold the papers of prominent individuals and organizations. Strong in the areas of literature, Christianity, Christian spirituality and Catholicism, private papers include those of Canadian writer Sheila Watson, Marshall McLuhan bibliographer James Feeley, Irish politician Patrick O’Neill, the Henri J.M. Nouwen Archives and Research collection and records related to Jean Vanier and the l’Arche communities, among others. The department also houses archival collections that complement the Kelly Library Rare Book Collection including an extensive 19th French theatre collection and a small archives of intellectual and writer G.K. Chesterton.
 
The USMC Archives is responsible for collecting and preserving the official records of the College, including those of administrators, faculty department and student bodies. With over 450 meters of records, the College Archives documents the activities and work of staff, faculty and students as well as providing records management services to the College.
 
Subject strengths:

  • Christianity
  • Christian spirituality and Catholicism
  • 19th Century French literature and theatre, Canadian literature
  • USMC administrative archives and faculty papers.

 
Institutional mandate:

To support the research and teaching mission of the College programs (Celtic studies, Christianity and Culture, Mediaeval Studies and the Book and Media Studies) and the Faculty of Theology.
 
See Discover Archives for contact information and opening times for USMC Archives.

See Discover Archives for contact information and opening times for USMC John M. Kelly Library Special Collections.

What's online:

 
Services:

  • The John M. Kelly provides accessible facilities
  • Designated reading room
  • Archival instruction
  • Records management/ file planning services (for USMC)
  • Facility tours are available
  • Reproduction services are available
  • Conservation studio
  • Capacity of facility -- maximum 25 patrons (smaller groups preferred)
  • Dedicated outreach and instruction archivist available for class instruction
  • Estimate less than 5% of collection available online

OISE Library

The OISE Library's Ontario Historical Education Collections (OHEC) hold historical materials documenting the development and cultural history of the Ontario public education system. The Library's historical collections also include materials relating to education more broadly, including educational theory, philosophy, and adult education initiatives.

Subject strengths:

  • Ontario Historical Textbook Collections
  • Ontario Government Education Documents
  • Curriculum Materials
  • Historical Education Periodicals
  • OISE Archival Materials
  • Teacher Training Materials

Institutional mandate: The library of the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education (OISE) at the University of Toronto is the largest academic education library in Canada. Our staff and collections support teacher training, graduate studies, professional development, and research and teaching in the field of education. Our collections include the Children's Literature Collection, the Curriculum Resources Collection, the Ontario Historical Education Collections (OHEC), and the main Research Collection (Stacks). In addition to our specialized collections, staff at the OISE Library are engaged in providing in-depth research services, customized library instruction, and support for all aspects of research, teaching, and learning for the OISE community, education practitioners, and the public.

See Discover Archives for contact information and opening times.

What's Online:

Services: 

  • Access to the OHEC is available by appointment.
  • Please reach out to use at oise.library@utoronto.ca with questions about the OHEC and to book an appointment.
  • We have a designated reading room for scheduled OHEC visitors.

U of T Music Library

The University of Toronto Music Library's archival holdings are predominantly private papers and collections of prominent individuals and organizations affiliated with the University of Toronto Faculty of Music. These materials document contributions to music creation, performance, education, and research on a local, national, and international scale. Records include manuscripts, correspondence, programs, photographs, and recordings. Holdings also include the Faculty's institutional repository of event recordings from 1965 to present, featuring the Faculty's ensembles, faculty members, and guest artists. 

Subject strengths:

  • Canadian composition
  • Jazz composition
  • Toronto performing arts' organizations
  • Programs and recordings of Faculty of Music performances
  • Early opera recordings

Institutional mandate: The Archives at the University of Toronto Music Library acquires, preserves, arranges, describes, and provides access to records created or collected by individuals affiliated the University of Toronto Faculty of Music, including materials created by faculty and staff, and materials that document their professional contributions to local, national, and international music communities.

See Discover Archives for contact information and opening times.

Services:

  • Designated reading room, available Monday to Friday, 10-4pm
  • Archival instruction
  • Reproduction services
  • Facility tours and class visits are available
  • Research consultations with the Archivist

University of Toronto Mississauga Library (UTM) Library, Archives & Special Collections

The University of Toronto Mississauga (UTM) Library's Archives & Special Collections provides curriculum and research services for students and faculty in support of the University of Toronto Mississauga's (UTM) strategic framework. The holdings of the Archives & Special Collections include rare books and print, manuscripts and photographs, moving image media, and computer software. The Archives & Special Collections has historically acquired materials relating to the history of Erindale College and the Erindale region in Mississauga and Peel County. In recent years it has expanded to include rare and unique materials in support of unique program offerings at the UTM, such as the Toronto Erindale Herbarium Collection for Biodiversity, the Syd Bolton Collection for Game Studies, the United Fruit Company fonds for Latin & Caribbean Studies, and the Abualy Alibhai Aziz Collection for South Asian Studies

Subject strengths:

  • Biodiversity
  • Erindale history
  • Game Studies
  • Latin & Caribbean Studies
  • South Asian Studies

Institutional mandate: The mandate of the UTM Library, Archives & Special Collections is to acquire, preserve, arrange, describe, and provide access to rare and unique material that supports curricula and research at the UTM. It works cooperatively with the University of Toronto Archives & Records Management Services (UTARMS) to preserve and provide access to material that documents the history of the UTM campus and community.

See Discover Archives for contact information and opening times.

 

What's online:

Services:

  • The UTM Library provides accessible facilities
  • Designated reading room with capacity of 10 patrons
  • Class instruction and workshops are available
  • Limited facility tours are available
  • Reproduction services are available
  • Less than 2% of holdings available online

Victoria University Library Special Collections

The Victoria University Library Special Collections is housed in E.J. Pratt Library. It consists of rare books, manuscripts and archival fonds that reflect the rich cultural and scholarly life of the University since its founding in 1836. With over 80 archival fonds in the broad subject areas of Art, Canadiana, Literature, Politics and Religious Studies, the Library provides significant research materials to Victoria University, the University of Toronto and to the international scholarly community. 


Records in the Victoria University Library Special Collections primarily support the educational and institutional programming of Victoria University, in particular its undergraduate studies (Victoria College Programs, Vic One, and Vic Pathways courses), and also reflect the research and teaching interests of Victoria University faculty.

Subject strengths:

  • Art
  • Canadiana
  • Film Studies
  • Literature
  • Philosophy
  • Religious Studies

Institutional mandate:
The Victoria University Library Special Collections acquires, preserves, and makes available to researchers the private archival records of faculty, staff and alumni which document their achievements following their studies and careers at Victoria University. The records supplement the Library’s mission to support Victoria University’s academic programming. 

See Discover Archives for contact information and opening times.
The E.J. Pratt Library is wheelchair accessible. Staff will accommodate other mobility limitations.

What's online: 

Services:

  • Online finding aids: http://library.vicu.utoronto.ca/collections/special_collections
  • Designated reading room
  • Onsite reproduction services – please visit the Library website for more information
  • Research consultations with Archivist or Librarian
  • Course-based and/or Archival Instruction based on the collections

John W. Graham Library Rare & Special Collections

John W. Graham Library’s main collection of rare books relate to theological history, with a particular emphasis on the development of Anglicanism. We also have notable collections related to Churchill, G8/G20 and the collector and bibliophile J. Kemp Waldie. As well, Graham Library holds bibliographic material relevant to Trinity College’s history, such as the SPCK and Strachan Collections.

Subject strengths:

  • Theological history
  • Development of Anglicanism
  • SPCK and Strachan
  • Churchill
  • G8/G20

Institutional mandate:
To support the research and teaching mission of the College programs (Ethics, Society, and Law; International Relations; Immunology) and the graduate theology programs at Trinity College and Wycliffe College.
 
See Discover Archives for contact information and opening times.

Services:
•    Accessible facilities
•    Rare Book carrels
•    Distinctive collections instruction
•    Reproduction services are available
•    Exhibitions
•    Estimate less than 5% of collection available online

Cheng Yu Tung East Asian Library

The Cheng Yu Tung East Asian Library is proud to be the intellectual and cultural centre of the academic community for East Asian and Asian Canadian-related studies and programs at the University of Toronto. As of late 2013, the University of Toronto Libraries has collaborated with a number of members of the Japanese Canadian community in an effort to collect and preserve archival materials related to the history of Japanese Canadians -- more specifically related to the Japanese Canadian internment and redress. Recognizing the existence of the Nikkei National Museum and Cultural Centre, as well as the Library and Archives of Canada, both carriers of national mandates, the University of Toronto Libraries concentrates on collecting materials with a strong Toronto focus. The main determining factor was the acceptance of donations of redress materials from many Japanese Canadians who had been uprooted and built their post-war lives in Ontario. Toronto became a centre for redress activism, and many leading figures of the movement were Toronto residents. Keeping the materials that tell the stories where they originated aligns with the donors' wishes of preserving the materials locally. Materials were previously held by both the Thomas Fisher Rare Book Library and the Media Commons Archive. For Japanese Canadian collections predominantly containing media material, please contact the Media Commons Archive.
 
See Discover Archives for contact information and opening times.