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:

THE 2016 FIRST EDITION PHOTOBOOK AWARD

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.

History

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.

ColourblueRyerson LogoRyerson University Library & Archives logo

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.

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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 95.1.41.53.01)

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 RG95.1.41.53.01)

(2009.002.2883.004)

(2009.002.2883.004)

1950s

Holiday Card from the 1950s.

Ryerson Snoball advertisement (RG 95.1.21.34.01)

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.

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Letter sent from Nursing Sister serving overseas, June 9, 1944. RG 946.01.03.01.15

“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.

RG946_01_03_01_15

Letter sent from Nursing Sister serving overseas, June 9, 1944. RG 946.01.03.01.15

“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.  For more information about Alumni Weekend click here.

 

Yearbook_1950

 

 

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.

 

1955

 

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

 

1960

 

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 4.04.01.11)

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

 

1965

 

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 4.04.01.16)

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 76.04.01.16)

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 2005.001.08.06.03)

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 2005.001.08.06.03)

Detail of Employee Suggestion Book, showing a $500 award. 1915-1954 (accession number 2005.001.08.06.03)

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.

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

To round out the month looking back at the creation of the Archives, We have discovered the first Archives report dated June 29, 1971.

It was interesting reading for Archives staff as it answered questions about the collection and how it was filed and stored.  It also delves into the beginning of the retention of objects as a way to preserve Ryerson’s history along side the textual and published materials.

To view the report click on the picture below:

A report of the Ryerson Archives by James Peters Archivist for President Donald Mordell June 29, 1971

Many of the items mentioned in the report are on display or in open storage in the current Archives reading room. This includes Egerton Ryerson’s desk and bust, The Ryersonian and Eyeopener newspapers, and the course calendars.

We encourage you to stop by the Archives and take a walk through Ryerson’s history.

 

“I know I should never be quite satisfied to be back, before it is finished at least over here” – Wellesley Nurses in World War II

In celebration of the Wellesley Hospital School of Nursing Alumnae Association’s 100th anniversary, the Archives focuses on the Alumnae Association and its members serving at home and overseas during World War II.

The Wellesley Hospital School of Nursing had graduated twenty-five classes at the time World War II was declared in the Fall of 1939. Like their nursing sisters before them (8 of 10 members of Wellesley’s first class of graduates served overseas in World War I), Wellesley Alumnae continued the tradition with many enlisting to serve in the Royal Canadian Army Medical Corps., the Royal Canadian Air Force, and the Royal Navy during World War II. They served in hospitals and casualty clearing stations in Africa, Italy, England, and France between 1940 and 1946.

When the Association’s collection was donated to the Ryerson University Archives in 2011, included was a scrapbook compiled by Grace Bolton, member of the Alumnae Association’s executive, that spotlights the Association’s activities here at home. In it are pages detailing the Association’s activities which included the mailing of care packages to Nurses serving in the Military and alumnae serving overseas in non-military capacities during World War II.

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List of items, and their cost, sent in boxes to the Wellesley Alumnae serving overseas. RG 946.01.03.01.12

RG946_01_03_01_02_01

Contents of box sent to a Wellesley Alumnae working with children in England, 1946. RG 946.1.03.01.02

There are also letters from a variety of aid organizations such as the British Minesweeper’s Auxiliary, Royal Canadian Naval Volunteer Reserve Ladies Auxiliary, and the Navy Knitters thanking the Association for their knit and monetary donations. The British Minesweepers Auxiliary supplied the wool for the knitting projects – blue or grey.

RG946_01_03_01_75

Letter written to Grace Bolton from Harry N. Barry, member of the Navy Knitters committee, thanking the Wellesley Alumnae Association for their knit contributions. RG 946.01.03.01.75

RG946_01_03_01_76

General letter sent to all contributors letting them know that the Navy Knitters have discontinued their operations and would now be giving their support to the Red Cross and the Overseas Parcels League which also has a knitting program. RG 946.01.03.01.76

RG946_01_03_01_56

Letter of thanks from the Ladies Auxiliary of the Royal Canadian Naval Volunteer Reserve to the Wellesley Alumnae Association for their knit contributions including turtle neck sweaters, gloves, helmets, and socks. RG 946.01.03.01.56

RG946_01_03_01_36_01

“Dear Miss Bolton – This organization is grateful to you and the members of Wellesley Alumnae group for your generous donation of twenty-three articles. We acknowledge receipt of 12 pairs of socks, 1 helmet, 6 seamens caps + 4 scarves” RG 946.01.03.01.36

These are just some examples of what the Association was doing on the home front. They also hosted fundraisers, and sent money to support schools in England.

The scrapbook also contains letters and airgraphs home from the people the Alumnae Association sent care packages to. The boxes contained everything from cheese, crackers, and chocolate to silk stockings, bobby pins, powder puffs, and sanitary napkins – all items that weren’t readily available in Europe because of the on-going war and rationing. These letters, at times light and fun and at others introspective, give the reader an idea of life serving as a woman and a nurse in the Canadian Military in a theatre of war.  Another interesting aspect of the letters is that they are free of censoring. Every piece of mail sent home went through a censor board – leaving some letters marked with black or having had sections cut out.

This letter was written by a Wellesley Alumnus who was living in Ireland. This section of letter touches on the rationing that was taking place in Europe and here at home in Canada.

RG946_01_03_01_34_04.01

Letter sent from Wellesley Alumnae in Ireland. RG 946.01.03.01.34

“The box as soon as ever it arrived – such variety too. We see very little “candy” on account of the sugar rationing. Eggs too are rationed. Bobby pins are very scarce + the new biscuits are all made with the dark flour. So you see your box is really a great treat – on the whole we aren’t a bit to be pidied [sic] for if we don’t get one thing like sugar, we get golden syrup or something to make up.”

She continues in her letter to describe what she has been doing.

RG946_01_03_01_34_06.01

Letter sent from Wellesley Alumnae in Ireland. RG 946.01.03.01.34

“I too have been busy at our First Aid Post here. I am at present running a Home Nursing Class on Monday nights & on Friday nights a first aid class. I am in charge of “The Post” & attend for “exercises” or blitz turn-out.”

This second letter is from a Wellesley Alumnus enlisted with the Royal Canadian Army Medical Corps (R.C.A.M.C.) stationed at #7 Canadian General Hospital in Taplow, England at the time the letter was written.  She writes about all the great things sent over in her box including Modess – a brand of sanitary napkins.

RG946_01_03_01_26_05.01

Letter sent from Nursing Sister serving at the #7 Canadian General Hospital in Taplow, England. January 12, 1943. RG 946.01.03.01.26

“Of course, I was tickled to also find Kleenex and Modess in the box. I know they seem like funny gifts but we all have to get them from home.”

She goes on to talk about her leave, taken in Scotland between Christmas and New Year’s.

RG946_01_03_01_26_04.01

Letter sent from Nursing Sister serving at the #7 Canadian General Hospital in Taplow, England. January 12, 1943. RG 946.01.03.01.26

“We also visited Dunrobin Castle – the home of the Duke and Duchess of Sutherland, half of which they have turned into a convelescent military hospital. It’s beautiful – sits on a hill overlooking the sea – in Sutherland-shire. Dunrobin, by the way, is the castle which Goering said was going to be his summer home after the Germans had conquered England. Some hope eh?”

Dunrobin_Castle_2011

Dunrobin Castle, as it stood in 2011. Very distinctive style not often seen in the Scottish Country side.

The third letter is from a Wellesley Alumnus enlisted with the R.C.A.M.C. stationed at #1 Canadian General Hospital in Horsham, England at the time of writint. It is actually an Airgraph – which was a letter that had been photographed, shipped as a negative, and printed out as a photograph and mailed to the recipient. In her airgraph she writes about the package sent and Christmas at the Hospital.

RG946_01_03_01_30_04

Letter sent from Nursing Sister serving at the #1 Canadian General Hospital in Horsham, England. January 17, 1943. RG 946.01.03.01.30

“My dear Grace – You can’t imagine how thrilled I was with that gorgeous box that arrived to-day. I just stood and gazed at it. It was so beautifully wrapped and packed, and all the marvellous things in it. Really you have all put a lot of thought, time and effort into packing these boxes and it is indeed appreciated. But Wellesley was always noted for doing things in a grand way. People are always admiring my identification bracelet. We had a good time in the hospital – a turkey dinner with all the trimmings, even ice cream. The Red Cross ladies brought xmas stockings filled with cigarettes, candies, socks, etc which the boys loved. The Wards were all decorated & each one had a xmas tree. In the afternoon there was a picture show & evening a concert so the lads all went to bed like tired little boys.”

She continues on to describe the hospital’s set up and to complain about the lack of trained orderlies:

RG946_01_03_01_30_05.01

Letter sent from Nursing Sister serving at the #1 Canadian General Hospital in Horsham, England. January 17, 1943. RG 946.01.03.01.30

“We have quite a nice Hosp. & well equipped, but few orderlies with much training. I asked the Registrar one day why the scores of trained men in Mil. Hosps in Canada…he said that the Hosps wouldn’t release them. Seems were not sent over. A very peculiar attitude to take toward the fighting forces, doesn’t it, for when the time for action comes, it is trained people we shall need. Each ward is  a separate hut with 40 beds, but we often have to put in extra beds. 3 stoves provide sufficient heat & we have good floors – battleship linoleum. Each hut has a pantry, 2 bathrooms, 3 toilets, a sluice room (service room in Canada), linen room & an office. The huts are placed opposite each other on either side of a covered runway. The administrative offices, stores, main linen room & main kitchen quarters and the personnel are all located in different parts of the hospital area. There is a huge vegetable garden and quite a nice little flower garden. Two chapels – Prot & R.C…”

The fourth letter, also an airgraph, is from a Nursing Sister enlisted with the R.C.A.M.C. and stationed in a military hospital in Sonderwater, Transvaal, Africa. She thanks the Alumnae for the package and its hard to get items like kleenex and Kotex.

RG946_01_03_01_24_01

Letter sent from Nursing Sister serving at a military hospital in Transvaal, Africa, March 19, 1943. RG 946.01.03.01.24

“Dear Miss Bolton: The lovely parcel arrived today and was there a variety in it? The kleenex and kotex both were especially acceptable since they are almost unobtainable here. Also the bobby pins are very scarce. The eats are very acceptable and we are going to start on the cheese tonight. It is my favourite brand.”

She goes on to describe the set up of the hospital where she is serving, and the weather in Africa.

RG946_01_03_01_24_02

Letter sent from Nursing Sister serving at a military hospital in Transvaal, Africa, March 19, 1943. RG 946.01.03.01.24

“I have just finished a term of night duty as night supervisor which was a very posh job. The buildings (wards) are all separate so you see there is lots of walking as there are seventeen of them but the weather was simply lovely and I enjoyed it ever so much as I didn’t mind all the walking. We really haven’t had a hot summer here this year. Last year at Durban we came off duty ringing wet and they say it is just as hot this year down there. It was also hot here last year but something must have happened to the weather man and I hope he makes the winter just as mild. We have only had a fair amount of rain too. But you should see the rain here – it isn’t any of that nice mild rain we get at home but deluge type.”

Near the end of her letter she talks about re-signing up and the hopes for the war’s end:

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Letter sent from Nursing Sister serving at a military hospital in Transvaal, Africa, March 19, 1943. RG 946.01.03.01.24

“We signed for service anywhere in the world today so I would get a thrill if I could move to a distant part again and I am concentrating on it to see if it will do any good!!! Some of our first group have gone up north the luckies. I hadn’t intended staying another year at first but after a spell of homesickness at Christmas time I got over the feeling and when the contracts came out I signed as by that time everyone was beginning to think the war would be over this year. So here’s hoping.”

The fifth letter, written on official R.C.A.M.C. letterhead, is from a Nursing Sister stationed at #18 Canadian General Hospital in Cherry Tree, England. She starts her letter by thanking the Alumnae for the box she received.

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Letter sent from Nursing Sister serving at a #18 Canadian General Hospital in Cherry Tree, England. December 19, 1943. RG 946.01.03.01.21

My dear Grace, Please thank the Wellesley Alumnae for the most beautiful parcel. I received yesterday. I did not think it was possible to get such a varied assortment of good things in Canada now. Stockings, cake, candy, tooth powder and brush, soap, gum and a can of steak and onions which I can hardly wait to open, but am trying to hold off until Xmas. How they can get so much into one box I really don’t know.”

She continues on in her letter to describe how they decorated the wards for Christmas:

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Letter sent from Nursing Sister serving at a #18 Canadian General Hospital in Cherry Tree, England. December 19, 1943. RG 946.01.03.01.21

“Weather here not at all like Xmas, cold enough but pouring with rain. Our chief occupation at the moment is gathering armsful of holly to decorate the wards and mess of Xmas. The holly is very beautiful and grows like a weed all over this area. It makes a delightful splash of colour in otherwise rather drab wards. I must finish off , it is almost time to draw the black out.”

The sixth letter was written by a Nursing Sister enlisted with the R.C.A.M.C. and stationed with the #10 Canadian General Hospital in Watford, England. She talks about the work in the hospital and mentions a job well done by the staff.

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Letter sent from Nursing Sister serving at a #10 Canadian General Hospital in Watford, England. January 9, 1944. RG 946.01.03.01.16

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Letter sent from Nursing Sister serving at a #10 Canadian General Hospital in Watford, England. January 9, 1944. RG 946.01.03.01.16

“We here in England, really are most comfortable and well fed and except for the convoy we had from Italy our work here has been just about similar to our work in the army at home. We have no claim to any honour or sympathy. I certainly enjoy England & our work throughly.

“One thing I think maybe our staff did well was the efficient manner in which they admitted Italian casualties (200 + some) over 100 stretcher cases. They arrived here after nine p.m. were put to bed, bathed, temp taken, given a hot meal, all seen by medical or surgical officers and all settled by twelve o’clock. All the sisters were on duty till then.”

The seventh letter was sent from by a Nursing Sister enlisted with the R.C.A.M.C. and stationed with the #2 Canadian General Hospital in Bramshott, England. She talks of all the things there are to do and places to go on her days off.

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Letter sent from Nursing Sister serving at a #2 Canadian General Hospital in Bramshott, England. February 1, 1944. RG 946.01.03.01.18

“So far I am enjoying myself immensely. We have been very busy but we have a very nice hospital to work in and all the boys are so good – and lots of fun. We have a day off each week and there are so many interesting places to visit that its quite a problem to make up one’s mind where to go. London is near enough to visit for a day and there again there are a thousand and one things to see and do. There are always good plays & concerts. Lots of movies and all the famous places to see. I have had just one leave so far and spent half in Bristol and half in Devon. Bristol was dreadfully bombed during the Blitz but they all carry on just the same. Devon is very lovely – red soil and fields of heather and rolling hills.”

The eighth letter is sent from a Nursing Sister enlisted with the R.C.A.M.C. and stationed at #4 Casualty Clearing Station in Vasto Italy. She describes her activities since shipping out to Italy.

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Letter sent from Nursing Sister serving at a #4 Casualty Clearing Station in Vasto, Italy, March 3, 1944. RG 946.01.03.01.23

” I want to thank you and all the members of the Wellesley Alumnae for the very nice box you sent me for Christmas. Whoever was responsible for putting it together deserves a lot of credit as once again you have made it very useful as well as attractive box. Unfortunately our December and January mail had been rerouted and was awaiting us here in Italy when we arrived. But shortly after landing, I was sent in company with five other girls up over here to #4 Casualty Clearing Station to help out.”

The ninth letter is sent from a Nursing Sister enlisted with the R.C.A.M.C at 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.

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Letter sent from Nursing Sister serving overseas, June 9, 1944. RG 946.01.03.01.15

“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.

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Letter sent from Nursing Sister serving overseas, June 9, 1944. RG 946.01.03.01.15

“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.”

There were no letters written in 1945, but the scrapbook finishes with several letters from 1946 – after the war was complete – from Nurses still located in Military hospitals overseas. This letter was sent from #7 Canadian General Hospital near Bayeux, France.

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Letter sent from Nursing Sister serving overseas, January 23, 1946. RG 946.01.03.01.03

“I really must apologize for not writing sooner to thank the alumnae for the lovely Christmas parcel which they so very kindly sent me. It’s such a nice feeling to know that, now that the war is over, the people at home haven’t forgotten those of us who are unfortunate enough to sill be on the wrong side or the Atlantic.”

Also included with the donation was a second scrapbook also compiled by Grace Bolton that further documents the Alumnae Associations activities here at home and stories about the Nursing Sisters overseas through newspaper clippings from a variety of newspapers.

A great source for information on the Canadian Medical Services in World War II is the following book:

Official History of the Canadian Medical Services 1939–1945

Listed below are other great sources of information about World War II and the people who served:

Canada and the Second World War – Veterans Affairs Canada

The Canadian War Museum

The Call to Duty – Canadian Nursing Sisters – Library and Archives Canada

To view this scrapbook in its entirety or to view other items in the The Wellesley Hospital School of Nursing Alumnae Collection – please contact the Archives at archives@ryerson.ca or call (416) 979-5000 ext. 7027 to make an appointment.

Yousef Karsh at Ryerson

Yousef Karsh, world renowned photographer best known for his portraits of the many people who shaped the 20th century, visited Ryerson on December 4, 1957 to interview third year photography students for a position as one of his assistants.

Reginald Soame and Yousef Karsh

Ryerson Director of the School of Photographic Arts Reginald Soame and Yousef Karsh. (RG 95.1.72.12.01)

This visit was featured in the Ryersonian newspaper.

Story courtesy of the Ryersonian Newspaper

News story published December 5, 1957. (courtesy of the Ryersonian Newspaper)

Yousef Karsh, born December 23, 1908 in Armenia, immigrated to Canada in 1925 to live with his uncle, a photographer, in Sherbrooke, Quebec. This move would change his life. His original goal in life was to be a surgeon. In 1926 he went to work for his uncle and then apprenticed with John Garo in Boston. In 1931 he opened his own studio in Ottawa. The turning point in his career was befriending then Prime Minister of Canada William Lyon MacKenzie King. This friendship gave him the opportunity to photograph English Prime Minister Winston Churchill in 1941, which Karsh felt changed his life.

He went on to do over 15 000 portrait sittings with some of the most influential people of the 20th Century. He travelled to London during WW II, photographing the Royal Family and others. In 1952 he began what would become a 17 month assignment with MacLean’s magazine documenting a post-war Canada.

He closed his Ottawa studio in June of 1992 and stopped taking commercial assignments as well. Yousef Karsh died July 13, 2002.

To learn more about Yousef Karsh visit www.karsh.org 

Special Collections has two Karsh photographs:

2008.001.1498.2 Portrait of a Soldier

2008.001.1498.3 Portrait of J. Gordon Forgo

The Ryerson Library also has many books including:

Canadian Prints and Drawings

In Search of Greatness: reflections of Yousef Karsh

Karsh: a biography in images

Karsh: American Legends 

Karsh Canadians

The Library also has some audio visual materials available:

Karsh is History

Karsh: The searching eye