CLOSING December 9th – Archives and Special Collections is on the move!

Move time is  almost here and the staff here in Archives and Special Collections could not be more excited.

Please note – Archives and Special Collections will be closing at end of day Friday December 9th, 2016 and re-opening Monday January 16th, 2017.

We ask during this time, if you need to contact the Archives or Special Collections to please use email: and as our telephones will be in flux during the move.

See you in the new year in our beautiful new space.

Integrated Pest Management 2.0 in A&SC

Pokémon Go pests infesting your reading room? Who you gonna call? Student intern! Problem: your once peaceful reading room has been overrun with strange colourful pests.

Drowzees were found all over the place, whether it be hiding with our reel collection…


…or sitting by the Archives entrance waiting for archival research assistance.


Speaking of sitting, a Jynx was spotted on top of Egerton Ryerson’s desk from when he was Ontario’s Chief Superintendent of Education. It seemed to be enjoying itself hanging out with Egerton Ryerson and our resident Kodak Kolorkin genealogist.


Egerton Ryerson’s desk (Artifact 162)

A Pidgey was discovered lounging on the architectural model of the Toronto Normal School and St. James Square.


Toronto Normal School and St. James Square architectural model.

Pokémon seem to really enjoy our architectural models as a Bellsprout was found listening in on a meeting.


Jorgenson-Learning Resources Complex architectural model (RG 8.17)

A Rattata was seen keeping one of the reading room tables all to itself.


Even the books from Special Collections were infested with Zubats flying around the shelves.


However, our biggest problem seems to be in the stacks. In the span of a few minutes a Gastly, a Rattata, and a Spearow had to be caught in order to keep everything in order!




We’ve resorted to hanging these pheromone traps around the archives and tracking them down…


…but if anybody can think of a better way to capture and remove these critters, we’d love to hear from you. We’d hate to have to resort to letting these hard workers out of their box…

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Doozer figurines (2012.005.05.07)

…but if we need to, our contingency plan involves setting up intricate sugary lattice traps in the hopes of attracting and capturing these pests.

For now we’re hard at work catching Pokémon when we find them! Or you might say we’re hardly working…

It’s Preservation Week, do you know where your photos are?

ALA’s Preservation Week.

It’s Preservation Week, an initiative headed up by the American Library Association to raise awareness around the millions of artifacts in public collections that require special preservation attention. Photographs, films, videos, manuscripts, artworks and digital material can be invaluable cultural objects, containing unique information not found elsewhere. Many of these objects are in danger of becoming damaged or obsolete over time, and require more care than institutions can offer.

What we’re doing

Ryerson Library is doing its part by digitizing photographic and film materials that are degrading, including producing digital scans of the Canadian Architect photograph collection to make them accessible, and freezing the negatives to stop further damage to the original objects. Propaganda and documentary films from the Leniniana collection have also been digitized and are now accessible without having to run the fragile films through aging projectors.

What you can do

Closer to home, what happens to all those selfies you take? The likelihood is you’re not printing them (Some estimate that over 80% of all photographs taken now remain digital and are never printed out). The speed at which technology changes makes this is a cause for concern. Vint Cerf, Vice President of Google, noted at a meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science that the loss of our primarily digital culture due to obsolescence may create a “forgotten generation, or even a forgotten century”.

There are some simple steps you can take at home to protect your personal digital photos, videos and file:

  1. Don’t keep everything: every once in awhile, go through your images and select the most important memories to keep. Do you really need all those photos of your cat?
  2. Organize your stuff: use a file organization and file naming system that makes sense to you. This could be chronologically, by subject or a combination of those (ex. by year and then by event).
  3. Make several copies: store your important files in a few different places (on your desktop, on a portable hard-drive, DVD, or on cloud storage), and make sure at least one copy is physically in a different place. Be careful relying solely on third party providers, if a company goes out of business you might be out of luck!
  4. Save files in common formats: proprietary files such as raw image or specialized software formats are at a higher risk of becoming obsolete. Save important files in high-quality formats like PDF or TIFF.

For more information on preserving different file formats, see the Library of Congress Personal Archiving site for helpful tips.

Feeling old school?

Still taking polaroids? Do you have boxes of old family photographs in your closet? Or worse, one of these: 

Self-adhesive photo album

Self-adhesive photo album



For information on how to preserve them, see this Archives and Special Collections blog post from last summer about caring for your family photos.

Celebrate Preservation Week with us, back up your photos and videos!

Alison Skyrme
Special Collections Librarian


First Edition Book Award 2016 Award Winners

The Photography Studies program at Ryerson University together with Ryerson Archives & Special Collections is pleased to announce the 2016 recipients:


Book Award Recipients

Andrea Chartrand
Kaya Kelley
Mina Markovic
Terence Reeves
Gabriel Steele
Alia Youssef

Honourable Mentions

Jeffrey Christenson
Kelsey Danahy
Alexandra Demelo
Sophie Trecroce

"Save As" by Andrea Chartrand

“Save As” by Andrea Chartrand

"Dear Dad" by Kaya Kelley

“Dear Dad” by Kaya Kelley

"Komplikovani Identiteti" by Mina Markovic

“Komplikovani Identiteti” by Mina Markovic

"Looking Outside Looking In" by Terence Reeves

“Looking Outside Looking In” by Terence Reeves

Gabriel Steele

“Jackson” by Gabriel Steele

"Self-Portraits of my Family in our Backyard" by Alia Youssef

“Self-Portraits of my Family in our Backyard” by Alia Youssef

Award Statement

As part of MPS507, a 3rd year Ryerson University Image Arts class in The Photographic Book, students are expected to conceive of and create their own photobook. This is, in part, related to work that has been completed in the co-requisite class, MPS506 – Photographic Production. These are both required courses for the Bachelor of Fine Arts (Image Arts) Photography Studies Option. Each year, the Library purchases the top photobooks in the class, as judged by the professor, Christopher Manson, and the Special Collections Curatorial Specialist, Alison Skyrme. The library pays fair market value for each book, and commits to spending a maximum of $1000 per semester. The books are judged at the First Edition Photobook Show – an exhibition of the photobooks at the end of the semester. For evaluation, particular attention is paid to design, sequencing, and integration of images and text. The library catalogues each book, including a note about the award, and houses the books in Special Collections. Occasional exhibits are created to showcase the works.


The First Edition Photobook Award was established in 2015 to honour 3rd year photography students who have made exceptional achievements in photobook production. It provides incentive for them to achieve early recognition that will have a lasting legacy in our collection.

Previous Award Recipients

The following 2015 award winners were presented with a certificate during the Image Arts Awards Night, November 19th, 2015: Lodoe-Laura Haines-Wangda, Emily Pleasance, Evan Hutchinson, Imogen Walis-Mayer, Rebecca Zynomirski, Kristina Smith, Lucy Lu.

For more information contact: Christopher Manson or Alison Skyrme.

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Happy Holidays from Ryerson Library Archives and Special Collections

As the Holiday season approachs, Ryerson students are making their final mighty push to get assignments done and exams written before the winter break.

Featured from our collections are some Holiday and Winter scenes from around campus and beyond for a little light viewing during this busy time of year.


Quadrangle in the Snow (RG 395.121.01.08)


Black and white photograph of young men and women playing a hockey style game with brooms on an ice rink

Howard Kerr Hall, ca. 1965, decorated for the holidays. (RG

3 storey academic building at night with red, green and white twinkle lights decorating the outside

Ryerson Students participating in a massive broomball tournament in the Quad. Tournament was part of Ryerson’s Winter Carnival held in January 1969. Part of the Quad was turned into the ice rink. (Winter Carnival Documentation File RG95.




Holiday Card from the 1950s.

Ryerson Snoball advertisement (RG

A reminder that the Library, and the University as a whole, will be closed from Thursday December 24th, until Wednesday January 6th, reopening on Thursday January 7th. We wish you a safe and happy holiday season and look forward to seeing you in the New Year!




First Edition Book Award 2015

Exhibition of the winning 2015 books on now

First Edition Book Award 2015

We are thrilled to announce that 2015 marks the first annual awarding of the First Edition Book Awards, sponsored by Ryerson University Library Special Collections. The awardees this year are  Evan Hutchinson, Lodoe Laura, Lucy Lu, Emily Pleasance, Kristina Smith, Imogen Wallis-Mayer, and Rebecca Zynomirski. Their books are currently on display in Special Collections, on the 4th floor of the Ryerson University Library on Gould Street.

As part of MPS507, a required 3rd year Image Arts class in The Photographic Book at Ryerson, students are to conceive of and create their own photobook featuring their original work.

Double page spread with a portrait of a woman and text telling her story

Stateless, by Lodoe Laura, foreward by Tashi Wangdi, 2014. Lodoe Laura’s first photo book, Stateless, attempts to tackle the notion of identity of the stateless Tibetans in Northern India.

Two page spread of a photo book, black and white abstract photo on right hand page and white hard cover book with black numbers on the cover.

43.7000 79.4000, by Evan Hutchinson, 2014. Departing from straight photography to more of a multi media approach, Hutchinson’s photos discuss and address the idea of identification, perception and self-reflection. Hutchinson strive to challenge the viewer’s perspective, allowing them to question what they are seeing and how they define what they are observing.

Double page spread, beach scene with blue sky and a woman in a bathing suit holding an elaborate cocktail and cover of the book, a photographs of the water in a blue swimming pool

Sheila’s Tropical Vacation, by Rebecca Zynormirski, 2014 “This project began with the realization that I had never gone on a tropical vacation before. I felt strongly like I had experienced one but the truth was, the closest I had gotten to this experience was though images. Images found in magazines and through friends. I wanted to experience this first hand but I didn’t have the resources. Instead, I created a fictional lady named Sheila who I would send off to experience the Tropical Vacation that I was familiar with. Using appropriated familiar Tropical Vacation imagery I created backdrops which allowed me to construct a new reality, one that I had experienced though the repetitive, monotonous imagery that I often saw in magazines and on the Internet. I played the role of Sheila performing in front of these tableaus combining truth and fiction, narrative and reality.” –Page 4.

Cover and spine of a book entitled Memories of Nowhere and double page spread with two cyan photographs, a portrait of a shirtless man wearing an animal mask.

Memories of Nowhere, by Lucy Lu, 2014 There is one distant set of images in mind from my childhood, perhaps it is my first memory, or perhaps it isn’t one at all. It had become so obscured that sometimes I am convinced that it’s actually a dream I’m remembering all along. It is strange to consider how the mind reconstructs and recalls the past, whether it is actualized history or fleeting narratives of the subconscious.” — page 66.

The Library will purchase the top five books in the class each year, as judged by the professor, Christopher Manson, and the Special Collections Curatorial Specialist, Alison Skyrme. The books are judged at an exhibition of the books at the end of the semester. For evaluation, particular attention will be paid to design, sequencing, and integration of images and text. The books are catalogued and held in Special Collections. They are available for reference by students and the public for research.

The Award was established to honour Ryerson photography students who have made exceptional achievements in photobook production. It provides incentive for them to achieve early recognition that will have a lasting legacy in our collection.

Double page spread, 2 black and white photos of abstract figure studies

An Ambiguous Form, by Imogen Wallis-Mayer, 2014 “In this series of photographs of the female body has been redefined; it has been contorted, lit, and manipulated to form juxtaposing images ranging from vast rounded landscapes to detailed macroscopic views. Both techniques force the viewer to disregard their previous understanding of the body as a physical structure, including the bones, flesh, and organs, of a person and instead observe the body as an ambiguous form, comprised of shadow and light, curves, and lines.”– cover page.

Open portfolio, title page reading My Relative LIfe , a small booklet titled My Relative Life The Archives, colour photograph of a family portrait projected on a backyard fence

My Relative Life: A Mapping of Memories, by Emily Pleasance, 2014
Emily Pleasance’s work explores themes of memory, time, identity, perception and the archive. Her introduction to art and art culture was primarily classical mediums such as paints, pastels, and sculpture. This background allows her to approach photography in a unique way. She recognizes light as the true medium of photography in the same way as paint is the truest form and medium in a painting. Having this type of awareness makes light itself her biggest visual inspiration.

Hardcover book, abstract orange background with the title Orillia and Double page spread, urban scene of a sidewalk, lawn and metal staircase on the left, cardboard box and garbage bags on the right

Orillia : A Photographic Exploration, By Kristina Smith, 2014 Orillia is a book documenting the smaller details of everyday scenes often unnoticed on routine journeys throughout the city. The photos lend a truthful eye to the place; mundane scenes with a quirky appeal that often go unnoticed. The interaction between the natural environment and urban developments are a common throughout. With over sixty photographs and captions the book offers an opportunity to pause and see banal everyday scenes in a different light.

“It is most strange to know that the invasion has begun…” Remembrance Day 2015

In 2011 the Ryerson Archives received the Wellesley Hospital School of Nursing Alumnae Association Archives. Among the boxes and files was a scrapbook kept by Alumnae President Grace Bolton. In the scrapbook were letters home from the front during World War II. The Association had been sending Christmas boxes and care packages to their Nurses and Doctors serving in Europe and South Africa.

Perhaps the most poignant letter was sent from a Nursing Sister enlisted with the R.C.A.M.C (Royal Canadian Army Medical Corps) from an undisclosed hospital in an undisclosed place in Europe. The letter was written 3 days after D-Day, when Allied forces stormed the Beaches of Normandy.


Letter sent from Nursing Sister serving overseas, June 9, 1944. RG 946.

“This is a bit disjointed, but the mess is crowded and noisy, radio blaring, and so difficult for me to concentrate. The censors will not allow me to tell you what I am doing or where I am, but at a later date I will write you about what has taken place when it’s no longer any secret.”

She continues talking about staying overseas instead of going home (she was injured by shrapnel) and discusses the horrors of war on the land and the people.


Letter sent from Nursing Sister serving overseas, June 9, 1944. RG 946.

“It is a great privilege to be in the thick of things in these days. I often think I was foolish not to come home, when I could have done so quite easily, but I know I should never be quite satisfied to be back, before it is finished at least over here. Life in the country is peaceful and very beautiful this time of year. It is most strange to know that the invasion has begun with all its horrors, heartaches and destruction of humanity and cities and buildings, whilst living here. Soon however we will begin to see the results in some of our grand boys who will be coming back to be patched up by us. They are simply magnificent in the way in which they accept the loss of legs and arms.”

Take a moment to pause and remember. Ryerson has a ceremony every November 11 in the Howard Kerr Hall quad by the flag pole.

Looking back – celebrating the classes of 1950, 1955, 1960, and 1965.

This Saturday October 3rd, Ryerson is hosting is annual alumni weekend activities. This year the feature years are the classes of 1950, 1955, 1960, 1965, 1975, 1990, and 2005. In celebration of this the Archives decided to look back at those years and see what was happening on campus. This two part blog starts by looking at the classes of 1950, 1955, 1960, and 1965.





In the school year 1949-1950 Bud Evans and “Honest” John Vail were the SAC presidents, and Ted Toogood was appointed as the Athletic Director. There were 390 day school and 1355 evening school student were enrolled. The first “At Home” dance was held.

Ryerson’s First “At Home” Dance held in the gymnasium (Ryersonia yearbook 1950)

List of Faculty members (Ryersonia yearbook 1950)

Ryerson Faculty and Staff, circa 1949. (History Documentation file, 1949)

RIOT was held for the first time on March 3.

RIOT 1950 football sketch featuring Ted Toogood as “Coach Nogood”. (Ryersonia Yearbook, 1950)

CJRT began broadcasting on November 1st, and the first live T.V. show in Canada was broadcast from Ryerson on November 14th.

First live Canadian Television Broadcast at Ryerson, November 1949. [Ryersonia Yearbook, 1950)

Most significantly Ryerson graduated its first class of 212 graduates on Friday May 12. Click here for Principal Howard Kerr’s commencement address.




In the school year 1954-1955 the Blue and Gold Ball was held on February 16th at the Royal York Hotel, and RIOT ’55 was titled “Ghouls and Dolls”. The Ryerson Opera Workshop (ROW) staged Mademoiselle Angot in the Bloor Collegiate auditorium.

Blue and Gold Ball, 1955 (Ryersonia Yearbook, 1955)

ROW ’55 – Mademoiselle Angot (Ryersonia Yearbook, 1955)

“The Ryerson Story” – a CBC TV film presentation directed by Rollo Gamble of the NFB and commentated by Lloyd Bochner – was filmed at Ryerson. It featured many Ryerson students and highlighted Ryerson’s various programs. It aired on February 20th.

Ryersonian article, dated January 19, 1955, about the filming of the Ryerson Story. (History 1955 documentation file)

Photograph of Lloyd Bochner with Ryerson students. Clockwise from top left: Margo McGregor, Gerry Farkas, Vicky Jory, Lloyd Bochner, and Bill Burrows RTA ’56. (RG 95.1)

And on May 6th, 1955 Ryerson graduated 365 students from the following programs: Architectural Technology; Business Administration; Secretarial Science; Electrical Technology; Electronic Technology; Radio and Television Arts; Fashion; Furniture and Interior Design; Journalism; Printing Management; Instrument Technology; Research Technology; Public Health Laboratory Technology; Laboratory Technology; Hotel, Resort, and Restaurant Administration; Home Economics; Childhood Management; Mechanical Technology; Metallurgical Technology; Tool Design and Technology; and Photographic Arts.

1955 Convocation program of event




In the school year 1959-1960 Bruce Dobbs was the SAC President. RIOT 1960 was held at the Riverside Auditorium November 18th-21st.

Photographs from RIOT and ROW. (Ryersonia Yearbook, 1960)

The Blue and Gold Ball was held on February 5th, crowning Joan Fujimoto as Miss Ryerson and Papa and Mama Wycik as Mr. & Mrs. Ryerson.

February 11th, 1950 edition of the Ryersonian newspaper.

The second unit of Howard Kerr Hall was taken over by Ryerson.

March 9th, 1960 edition of the Ryersonian Newspaper.

Convocation for 516 graduates was held May 6th at Yorkminster Park Baptist Church.

Graduation at Yorkminster Church (Ryersonia Yearbook, 1960)

The Graduation banquet was held on the evening of May 5th. The Gold and Silver medalists were presented with their awards during the dinner.

Awards Night programme (RG

Lynn Fournier, Molly Copus, Howard Kerr, and Bruce Dobbs at the graduation banquet after receiving their medals. (Ryersonia Yearbook, 1960)




The school year 1964-1965 saw some major changes at Ryerson – the first being its name.

A 1963-1964 and a 1964-1965 course calendar showing the change in the school’s name.

Open House held October 24 – the same weekend as Homecoming.

Wednesday October 14th, 1964 edition of the Ryersonian newspaper.

The clock tower on South Kerr Hall get carillon bells. Wayne Detcher played the bells for the first time during a Christmas Carol concerts over the lunch hour in December.

Carillon bells in Kerr Hall Clock Tower. January 12th, 1965 edition of the Ryersonian

Ryerson’s annual graduation banquet was held April 8th

Graduation banquet menu and programme of events (RG

Ryerson also changed its coat-of-arms late in the year.

Old coat of arms

New coat of arms, adopted in March or April of 1965

And finally graduation was held May 7th with a morning and an afternoon ceremony.

Convocation programme, Friday May 7th, 1965 (RG

Convocation photographs (Ryersonia, 1965)

We hope you enjoyed this brief journay down memory lane – For more information on these years stop by the Archives (LIB387) on Saturday October 3rd and visit our Anniversary display. We will be open 11:00am to 2:00pm.

Next month we will look at the classes of 1975, 1990, and 2005



Feature from the collection: Canadian Kodak Suggestion Book

The Kodak Corporate Archives and Heritage Collection, acquired by Ryerson Library in 2005, includes many insights into the unique corporate culture of Eastman Kodak and its affiliates. One of these is a group of employee suggestion books, used by the company to record suggestions submitted by employees from 1915-1959.

Ledger sized book with columns of suggestions along with employee name, date and money awarded.

Employee Suggestion Book. 1915-1954 (accession number 2005.

Along with the suggestions and the name of the employee responsible, is a record of the amount of money awarded for suggestions that were implemented. The highest award during this time was in 1923, to W. Coldwell for suggesting a change the Japanning process on box camera components, as well as adding a safety feature to punch presses in the factory.

Detail of Employee Suggestion Book, showing a $500 award. 1915-1954 (accession number 2005.

Detail of Employee Suggestion Book, showing a $500 award. 1915-1954 (accession number 2005.

Kodak Canada valued employee input quite highly; the $500.00 bonus awarded to Coldwell in 1923 would be worth about $6,900.00 today.

If you would like to view these artifacts in person or do other research in our collections, make an appointment or drop by the 4th floor of the library building. To search our collection online, check out or newly launched collections database.