Points of Interest from the Collections – The Creation of the Archives

For the month of August, Archives and Special Collections will blog bi-weekly with points of interest from our collections.

This week we look at documents connected to the birth of the Archives at Ryerson.

In 1970 Ryerson Polytechnical Institute invited Professor D. McCormack Smyth to conduct a study of the structure of government at Ryerson.  The Smyth Commission Report was published and its 7th recommendation was the creation of an institutional Archives.

Page from report stating that an Archives be established to preserve historical documents.

Recommendation No. 7 – Smyth Commission report

On November 11, 1970 Ryerson President Donald Mordell sent out the following memo to all Deans, Chairmen, and Department heads.

Page 1 of the memo from Donald Mordell. Outlines what materials should be kept and asking people not to throw anything away until a system was in place to sort through the items to determine whether or not they were Archival.

Page 1 – November 11, 1970 memorandum

Page 2 of Mordell memo - Library will be storing the potential Archival material until a proper system is in place. He asks people to properly mark the materials.

Page 2 – November 11, 1970 memorandum


On November 17, 1970 Mordell sent the following memo to Jim Peters, a professor in the Department of English:

Donald Mordell memo to Jim Peters - thanking him for his suggestions and asking him if he would be interested in taking the position of Archivist.

Memo from Donald Mordell to Jim Peters

The Archives was officially established in 1971 as a special new department associated with the Library. Jim Peters was appointed Ryerson’s first Archivist.

Technikos magazine article announcing the establishment of Ryerson's Archives within the Library with Jim Peters as the Archivist.

Technikos magazine, Spring 1971

To learn more about the Archives and see what we have in our collections drop by. The Archives are open Monday – Friday from 9:00am t0 4:00pm.

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