And the winner is…

After 3 weeks of submissions and much debate by our panel of judges:

The second runner up in our contest is Debra-Jo Sujka of the Library.  She submitted the names Victoria and Gould for the location of the library where the dogs are now housed.

The first runner up is Deanne Wright in the Registrar’s Office. She submitted the names Mente and Artie – for Ryerson’s Motto “Mente et Artificio” (With Mind and Skill).

And the winner of the Ryerson University Archives Name the Dog contest is……………………

Daisy and Risis submitted by Marion Sharp of Human Resources.

Marion selected the name Daisy after Ryerson’s first general purpose computer – An IBM 360-model 30 christened DAISY ( “Direct Access Information System”). Its functions were varied and included student registration, payroll, grade reporting, library circulation control, academic support and student directories.

Marion also chose the name RISIS, after the Ryerson Integrated Student Records System. This system was designed by Ryerson for maintaining student record information.  RISIS II was implemented in 1984. In 2005 the RISIS system was replaced by Peoplesoft.

Thank you to all the people who submitted names for our contest.

Feature of the week: Portrait of Egerton Ryerson

Ryerson University is the recent recipient of a wonderful, early portrait of Egerton Ryerson, believed to have been painted by William Gush, a noted British portrait painter who painted many Methodist Ministers in Canada and the UK.

Gush, William. Egerton Ryerson. C. 1840. Ryerson Library Archives.

The painting, currently on display in the Archives, was generously donated by Chris Maybee Ryerson at a reception held in the Archives on February 11th.  A graduate of Electrical Engineering Technology at Ryerson University, Chris is also the great-great-grandson of Egerton Ryerson himself.  The family maintains a close connection to the University, not only are Chris and his wife, Michele Fransett, both graduates of the university but their daughter is currently a student, following in her mother’s footsteps and attending the Theatre School.

The University is the namesake of Egerton (pronounced Edge-erton) Ryerson, Methodist Minister and Chief Superintendent of Education for Upper Canada. Ryerson was appointed by the Governor-General (Sir Charles Metcalfe) in 1844 and made huge and far-reaching modifications to the education system in Upper Canada, which resulted in establishment of the public school system that we are familiar with today.  Ontario’s high standards for teacher training, curriculum and resources can be traced directly to Ryerson’s commitment to public education.  His crowning achievement was the opening of the “Normal School”; a state of the art teacher training college, complete with a model school for in-class instructor training. This complex was situated on what was once St. James Square (see our post from February 8th) and the façade of this building is still standing in the quad, as the entrance to the Ryerson Recreation and Athletics Centre.

Egerton Ryerson’s beliefs about education for Aboriginal children influenced , in part, the establishment of what became Indian Residential Schools. In 2010 the university acknowledged that role and issued a public statement with the support of Ryerson’s Aboriginal community (

For more information on Egerton Ryerson, drop by the third floor to learn more and see the painting in person.

Also, check out these resources in the library:

Egerton Ryerson and his times / edited by Neil McDonald and Alf Chaiton. Publisher Toronto : Macmillan of Canada, c1978.

Putman, J. Harold (John Harold), 1866-1940. Title Egerton Ryerson and education in Upper Canada / by J. Harold Putman. Publisher Toronto, Ont. : W. Briggs, 1912.

Hodgins, J. George (John George), 1821-1912. Title The Rev. Egerton Ryerson, D.D., LL.D. [electronic resource] / by J. George Hodgins. Publisher [Toronto? : s.n., 1882?]


Helmore, Dee. “William Gush.” The Institute of Heraldic and Genealogical Studies: The School of Family History. The Institute of Heraldic and Genealogical Studies, n.d. Accessed 23 Feb. 2011.

Doucet, Claude W. “Egerton Ryerson, 1803-1882.” Archives + Special Collections, Ryerson University Library. Ryerson University, June, 2002. Accessed 23 Feb. 2011.

Feature of the Week: Cameras for the Masses, Kodak & the snapshot

Taking photographs is like second nature to us now; we can snap a quick shot on our computers, laptops, cell phones, and with increasingly small and inexpensive digital cameras.  It’s cheaper and easier than ever before to preserve special moments and with no film or processing to worry about anymore, every moment can be documented and remembered. How many photos did you take on your last holiday?

An early point and shoot camera from the Historical Camera Collection at Ryerson University Library Archives and Special Collections

It’s difficult for us to imagine a time when most people could only have photos taken at a professional studio. In the 19th century, amateur photography was time consuming, often dangerous, and always very expensive.  Some images were taken directly on metal or glass and only one copy could be had.  Photographic “film” that allowed copies consisted of glass plates or paper soaked in chemicals.

When the Eastman Kodak Company introduced the first personal use camera in 1888, it was the beginning of the amateur snap shot.  The Kodak Camera cost about $25 (that may not sound like much, but that would be about $550 today) and came pre-loaded with 100 shots.  When the film was done, the customer packaged up the camera and sent it back to the Kodak Company in Rochester, NY for developing.  The pictures were mailed back, along with a newly loaded camera for the price of $10 (about $235 now).  Kodak had made photographs easier, but they were still expensive.  To really make money, and make sure the Kodak name was in every home, they had to make it cheaper.

The “Baby Brownie” (1934-1941) from the Historical Camera Collection at Ryerson University Library Archives and Special Collections

A brilliant entrepreneur, George Eastman challenged his designers to come up with the cheapest camera possible; something that was economical to make and easy to use.  The Brownie Camera was born.  First sold in 1900, the Brownie cost $1.00 (less than $25 today) and was a simple box design with few moving parts.  Ads claimed “Any school-boy or girl can make good pictures with one of Eastman Kodak Company’s Brownie Cameras!”  With a product cheap and sturdy enough for a child to use, Kodak aimed it’s marketing campaigns at kids, opening “Brownie Camera Clubs of America” and enticing budding photographers to get snap happy.  Nearly 250,000 of the first Brownies were manufactured.  The Brownie evolved over the years, becoming sturdier, smaller and eventually including flash.

The Brownie Hawkeye camera (c. 1949-1951) from the Historical Camera Collection at the Ryerson Library Archives and Special Collections

Ryerson Library Special Collections holds an extensive Heritage Camera Collection, including many popular models Kodak cameras.  Make an appointment ( or drop by the fourth floor to have a look!

The Brownie Flash camera (1946-1954) from the Historical Camera Collection at the Ryerson Library Archives and Special Collections

For more information on the history of the camera, check out these Ryeron Library Resources:

Camera : a history of photography from daguerreotype to digital / Todd Gustavson. Publisher New York : Sterling Pub., 2009.

History of Kodak cameras. Publisher Rochester, N.Y. : Photographic Products Group, Eastman Kodak Co., / 1987.

The art of the American snapshot, 1888-1978 : from the collection of Robert E. Jackson / Sarah Greenough and Diane Waggoner ; with Sarah Kennel and Matthew S. Witkovsky. Publisher Washington [D.C.] : National Gallery of Art ; Princeton, N.J. : Princeton University Press, 2007.


Kodak. “The Brownie @ 100 : A Celebration.” Kodak. N.p., n.d. Accessed 16 Feb. 2011.

Kodak. “Building the Foundation, Kodak”Kodak. N.p., n.d. Accessed Feb. 16 2011.

Feature of the Week: Map of Ryerson in 1923

Ever wonder what your campus may have looked like 100 years ago? What were the older buildings used for before they were part of the University? What kinds of structures were here before the new facilities appeared?

Charles E. Goad, Atlas of the city of Toronto and suburbs, 1910, 3rd ed. (revised to 1923), Plate 13

A wonderful historical resource was recently donated to Special Collections from the collection of Edward Koshchuk:  The Atlas of the city of Toronto and suburbs was published in 1910 in 3 volumes, expanded from the original 1890 edition because “the City has increased so rapidly, and the area is now so much more extensive.” The atlas contains maps of the city of Toronto including the land now occupied by the Ryerson University campus, and was revised using small pasted-in bits of paper and handwritten notations, so that the current view is actually more accurate to 1923.

The area identified as St. James Square in the detail below is now bordered on all four sides by the endless tunnel known as Kerr Hall, and all that remains of the Upper Canada Normal School, founded by Egerton Ryerson as a Teacher’s College in 1852, is the thin façade marking the entrance to our underground gym (the RAC). These buildings survived to the 1950s, just hitting the 100 year mark before they were removed for the construction of Kerr Hall. The Archives has a diorama of the Square and the buildings shown on this map in their reading room, and more information about Ryerson campus history is also available on this website.

Of note are the many different religious houses in the area, including a Catholic Church where Lake Devo is now, a Synagogue, Lutheran Church and a Congregational Church at Bond and Dundas. The Synagogue is now a Greek Orthodox Church and the Lutheran Church is still standing, hidden behind the construction for the new Image Arts building.

Other landmarks that have changed include a former public school where the Victoria Building stands, and the O’Keefe Brewery occupying the space now filled by the Bookstore, a parking garage and a Tim Hortons. Sadly, we have to count the Empress Hotel (more recently known as “the building that Salad King was in”) as a former landmark.

If you would like to take a look at the atlas yourself (Vols. 1 & 2 only), or one of the earlier atlases of the area such as The Illustrated historical atlas of the county of York and the township of West Gwillimbury & town of Bradford in the county of Simcoe, Ont, 1878 and The Topographical and historical atlas of the county of Oxford, Ontario, 1876, please make an appointment by sending an email to or phone 416-979-5000 x4996.

Ryerson Catalogue Entry:

Welcome to the new Archives & Special Collections site!

Allow us to introduce ourselves…

You are looking at the new blog space for the Ryerson University Archives, located on the 3rd floor of the Ryerson Library building, and the Library’s Special Collections, located one floor up on the 4th – now happily combined online as Archives & Special Collections. This is your one-stop shop for browsing the history of the university and campus, including past student newspapers, speeches, manuscripts, correspondence and many, many photographs, as well as the cultural artifacts collected to support courses at Ryerson, including the Kodak Canada Archives, Canadian Architect Image Collection, Leniniana and Historical Photography Collections. Each month, we’ll feature an item or two from one of these collections, post information about displays and contests, and keep you updated on our progress launching a new database on this website. (We’ll work on that whole on-different-floors-thing next.)

Check back here regularly for updates on exhibits on the Library’s 4th floor, movie night and special lecture announcements, contests and more! Welcome again to your Archives & Special Collections.