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A New Name!

On Tuesday, April 26, 2022, the official announcement was made.  We are now Toronto Metropolitan University. This marks the 5th name our school has had since its opening in 1948. Let’s look back at these names and how they reflect the evolution of our University and its community.

1948-1963Ryerson Institute of Technology (RIT)

In 1961, founding principal, Howard Kerr, wrote that he chose the name ‘Ryerson’ for the new post-secondary school, because the Egerton Ryerson statue stood on-site (since 1889).  Furthermore, the site, known as St. James Square, was a centre of education starting with the construction of the Normal School building in 1852 (Normal School is an older name for a teachers’ college.)

1963-1993Ryerson Polytechnical Institute (RPI)

Prior to 1963, the Government of Ontario had the final word on the school’s policies, senior administrative and faculty hirings, and building maintenance.  The Institute was granted independence in April 1963 with its own Board of Governors and a new name.  A committee proposed a change to adopt the British terminology for a school offering multiple technical and applied arts programs, a polytechnical and, thus, we became the Ryerson Polytechnical Institute.

1993-2002Ryerson Polytechnic University (RPU)

Despite the 1990s wide economic slump and government cost cutting, President Terry Grier and the Board of Governors increased the number of degrees offered and began to change the designation of degrees. For example, engineering students graduated as full accredited engineers rather than as technicians. Grier worked tirelessly for University status. It was granted with a new name, Ryerson Polytechnic University in 1993.

2002-2022Toronto Metropolitan University (RU)

University status brought with it improved funding for research and for graduate programs.  The number of graduate programs rose and more opportunities opened for faculty to conduct advanced research.  Ryerson was gaining status and with it came a new name approved by the provincial government in June 2002 – Toronto Metropolitan University.

2022 and BeyondToronto Metropolitan University (TMU)

In the Fall of 2020 President Mohamed Lachemi established the Mash Koh Wee Kah Pooh Win (Standing Strong) Task Force to gain a comprehensive understanding of both Egerton Ryerson’s life and legacy and the role of commemoration in our community.

Over the course of nine months, the Task Force oversaw an in-depth historical research project, a 2-month community engagement period and learned from Traditional Knowledge Keepers and various subject matter experts about the life and legacy of Egerton Ryerson, statues as forms of public art and memorialization, the history of colonization, Traditional Knowledge of Indigenous Peoples and place-making, the naming of public spaces, the Indian Residential School System, the public education system, segregated and separate schooling, Truth and Reconciliation, and the uses of commemoration. 

Mash Koh Wee Kah Pooh Win (Standing Strong) Task Force / website https://www.ryerson.ca/standing-strong-task-force/about/

The Task Force produced a final report with 22 recommendations addressing:

  • Principles of Commemoration at the University
  • Commemoration of Egerton Ryerson
  • Responsibility to Educate
  • Advancement and Support of Indigenous and Black Scholarship
  • Use of Public Space
  • Acknowledgement of the Land
  • Fulfillment of Previous Commitments
  • Implementation of the recommendations

The University’s Board of Governors accepted the implementation of the 22 recommendations including #4 “The University rename the Institution in a process that engages with community members and University stakeholders”.

In September of 2021 an Advisory Committee on University Renaming was appointed. The University Renaming Advisory Committee held community consultation between November and December 2021 in which they had over 23 000 respondents with 2200 unique name suggestions. On March 1, 2022 the Committee issued an update on the process and on April 26 President Lachemi announced the new name via Ryerson Today (now Toronto Metropolitan Today). You can learn more about the process, the name change, and the University’s action plan regarding the adaptation of the other 21 recommendations on the Next Chapter website

  • TMU social Media logo

References

  • RG 12.192.001.001, excerpt taken from A History of Ryerson, Howard H. Kerr, 1961.
  • from Cradle to Computer, Ronald Stagg, 1984.
  • Serving Society’s Needs, Ronald Stagg, 1998.
  • A Brief History of Toronto Metropolitan University, Claude Doucet, 2007.
  • Mash Koh Wee Kah Pooh Win (Standing Strong) Task Force https://www.ryerson.ca/standing-strong-task-force/

Archives A to Z 2022 Week 4

We’re joining the Archives of Ontario in their #ArchivesAtoZ month-long campaign. The aim is to increase the public’s awareness of archives and their collections. We’ll be sharing four blog posts throughout the month showcasing items and collections from our holdings or archival concepts related to each letter of the alphabet.

  • April 4: A to F
  • April 11: G to M
  • April 18: N to S
  • April 25: T to Z

Theatre Programs

Did you know we have more than 2700 theatre programs in our collection, including 638 published by Toronto companies between 1959 and 2012? Some of the programs have the original ticket stubs and paper inserts from the attended performance. Here are a few examples from local theatres & acting groups:

Uniforms

We are lucky enough to be home to a large selection of textiles/clothing – everything from nylons to rally caps. A large part of these collections are uniforms of different types. We have school uniforms, athletic uniforms, nursing uniforms, and even old mascot costumes in uniform. Here is just a sample of what we have.

Vinegar Syndrome

Vinegar Syndrome – this is something that most Archives and Special Collections have to deal with especially those that house large collections of film and photography. Acetate film bases were first introduced in the early 1900s as an alternative to the highly combustible nitrate film and was in use between the 1930s and the 1990s.

One of the major preservation concerns with acetate film, both in motion picture and still photography, is vinegar syndrome. As the film base starts to degrade (usually caused by levels of high temperature and humidity) there is a build up of acetic acid (the vinegar smell!). As the syndrome progresses the film begins to suffer from shrinkage, embrittlement, and buckling of the gelatin emulsion eventually making the film unplayable and the photographs illegible.

The Northeast Document Conservation Centre has information on the identification and care of film negatives . The Glenbow Library and Archives has information on Vinegar Syndrome and Acetate motion picture film

William Notman

Willian Notman immigrated to Montreal from Scotland in 1856 and founded what would become an internationally known photography studio. Notman photographed mostly prominent politicians and notable families but he was also well known across local athletic clubs and social groups.

He became known for his large composite group portraits and innovative portraiture techniques.  The composites were made by assembling multiple individual portraits through a collage. Notman also hired artists to paint realistic backdrops for his portraits in order to re-create outdoor settings in his studio.

His photography business expanded quickly and by 1872 Notman had 26 studios across North America. The company was renamed William Notman & Son in 1882 when his eldest son William McFarlane Notman, became a partner.

X-Rays

x-ray image of a hand

This image is copy of the x-ray Wilhelm Conrad Rontgen took of his wife’s hand in 1895. Kodak reproduced the image in 1970 to celebrate the 75th anniversary of Rontgen’s discovery of x-ray imaging. This copy was made using their KODAK RP/D X-OMAT Radiograph Duplicating Film.

Yellow Book

The Yellow Book is a Victorian magazine that published 13 quarterly editions between 1894 and 1897. The book’s bright yellow cover was a nod to the illicit French fiction novels of this era. The Yellow Book distinguished itself from other fin-du-siècle magazines through its division of literary and art content (treating each as standalone piece) and its avant-garde and lavish aesthetic (minimalist layouts and spacious margins). This magazine didn’t include advertisements and focused on the book itself being a piece of art rather than a vessel for information. Aubrey Beardsley was the magazine’s first art editor. The magazine published several of his extravagant Japanese-woodcut inspired black ink illustrations (as seen on the book cover below).

The Centre for Digital Humanities has a website dedicated to the time period, which became known as the Yellow Nineties. Issues of The Yellow Book have been digitized and can be viewed online.

Zebras

The Men’s soccer team in the early days of the School were called the Zebras for their bright gold and blue jerseys. The team debuted in 1951. They were intermediate champs in 1956-1957 and Intermediate Ontario-Quebec Conference Champions in 1958-1959. In 1964 they switched to the Ontario Intercollegiate Athletic Association and in 1965 changed to a bright orange/yellow jersey from the striped jersey that gave them their name. The Zebras continued under that name until the 1973-1974 school year when they became Rams.

We hope you have enjoyed our Archives A to Z blog post series. Explore the hashtag #ArchivesAtoZ to see what other repositories have shared online!

Archives A to Z 2022 Week 3

We’re joining the Archives of Ontario in their #ArchivesAtoZ month-long campaign. The aim is to increase the public’s awareness of archives and their collections. We’ll be sharing four blog posts throughout the month showcasing items and collections from our holdings or archival concepts related to each letter of the alphabet.

  • April 4: A to F
  • April 11: G to M
  • April 18: N to S
  • April 25: T to Z

Names on Campus

Have you wondered about names around campus? Let’s take a peek at two individuals connected with two campus buildings.

Jorgenson Hall was named after Fred Jorgenson, who, in 1966, took over as principal from retiring and founding principal, Howard H. Kerr. An extensive campus expansion being planned included the construction of a consolidating administrative building. Ten days before the turning of the sod, Jorgenson announced his unexpected resignation, effective July 1969, due to family illness. The building received its name in his honour. Jorgenson Hall officially opened in late 1971.

Fun facts about Fred Jorgenson :

  • Highly unusual at the time, he asked faculty to call him by his first name.
  • His title changed from principal to president in 1968.
  • The family pet was a monkey named George.
  • Believing in a tight-knit community, he went to a hospital to confer a diploma on a graduating, ill student.
  • The student body referred to him as “Uncle Fred”.
  • He worked diligently for Ryerson’s authority to grant degrees (first degree granted 1971).
  • He sent Christmas greetings to the Ryerson community every year into the 1980s.
  • Fred Jorgenson died at 93 in June 2016.
Fred Jorgenson with George, 1966

Oakham House, the original structure facing Church Street, was designed and named by its architect, William Thomas. Born in 1799 to Welsh parents in England, Thomas arrived in Canada in 1844. Little is known of the Thomas family life in Toronto other than he was married to Martha and had 10 children, three of whom died young, aged 2 months, 14 and 17 years, and two others who joined him in business. He was prolific in his building designs in both England and Ontario.

Besides Oakham House, Thomas is noted for :

Sadly, many of his buildings have been destroyed or only the façade remains, such as :

Original Order

One of the two fundamental principles used when arranging Archival records. The idea behind this principle is that it is not just the records and the information within them that is important. It is the context in which the records were originally used and organized that is equally important – adding to the history of those records. Once the records have been donated to an Archive, the records’ organization will be maintained and no other order will be imposed (alphabetical, numerical, chronological).

That being said – if there is NO obvious original order – an Archives will arrange the materials in a way that makes the most sense in relation to the nature of the records.

Box of slides – no organization and no obvious sign of original order

Polaroid

Our Polaroid collection has over 200 instant cameras! The collection was donated by a former Polaroid employee and includes some unique publications, camera manuals and promotional material from the company. The Polaroid Corporation was a leader in instant cameras and film, but the company’s initial research focus was on polarizers. The company developed polarized lenses and filters for various uses, which led to the creation of instant photography in 1947.

A purple polaroid camera stacked on top of a box of polaroid film and a box with a Polaroid remote control
2018.10.01.05.93 – Polaroid Impulse Camera (in Burgundy!)

Questions?

Questions about Archives? Not sure what is a Special Collection?

We’re here to help answer those questions and support patrons navigate the world of archival research! If you want to know more about what collections are available at Archives & Special Collections (or A&SC) and how to search them, a great place to start is our Research Guide.

Some of the most common questions we get are:

  • Do I have to wear gloves?

In most cases you don’t! The use of white cotton gloves are a common misconceptions in libraries and archives (see this fun blog by the Smithsonian on the topic!) Cotton gloves can actually damage material by getting caught on the edge of an object or a torn piece of paper. We prefer that researchers arrive with clean hands before handling the material. The only instance when gloves need to be used is when handling prints or negatives that are not in protective housing.

  • Can I copy or take photos of the material?

Yes, you are welcome to take reference photos of the material for research or private study during an appointment. There are some cases when it is not possible, if there are privacy concerns for instance, but our staff will let you know beforehand.

  • Can I check out this book?

Unfortunately not. We love patrons to use our collections, but items in Archives & Special Collections must be kept in our reading room. Books and records in our holdings can be unique, fragile or may require special handling. We don’t want to limit access to our collections, but by keeping them in the reading room we can ensure that future generations will have access to them!

Robert MacIntosh Collection

The Robert Macintosh City of Toronto Book Collection contains historical and contemporary publications on the history of Toronto. Macintosh donated this collection to Special Collections in 2013 (he is also the author of one of the books titled Earliest Toronto). The collection includes 141 books on the history of Toronto, featuring tourist guides and souvenirs about the city from the late 19th and early 20th centuries.

You can see the full list of books from this collection in the library catalogue.

Storage

Storage can mean two things – What we re-house the materials in and where we store them once they have been re-housed.

One of the last steps in preparing new donations for entry in our collections is re-housing them. When records and objects are delivered to us they are usually in their original file folders, boxes, and housing that, in the long run, can be harmful to the materials. For example, file folders may be replaced with acid free folders and placed in special archival boxes that help protect the records and prolong their life. Photographs are often placed in neutral see-through sleeves that enable the photographs to be seen, but protect the print from the damage that handling can cause. Because of the varied make up of most Archives and Special Collections, there is a wide variety of materials, cases, and boxes that are available for re-housing from a small case to house a coin to an 8ft long box made to house gowns and dresses. The Canadian Conservation Institute has published “CCI Notes” – guides for the care, handling, and storage of a wide variety of materials – you can access them at Canadian Conservation Notes

Storage also means the shelving and room(s) where the collections are stored. The one universal truth across Archives and Special Collections is that, with collections constantly expanding, there never seems to be enough room! Storage can range from a small closet to a state of the art climate controlled vault. At our Archives and Special Collections we are lucky enough to have compact storage – which greatly increased our storage footprint.

Next week, in our final April post, we’ll highlight items and archival concepts for the letters T to Z!

Archives A to Z 2022 Week 2

We’re joining the Archives of Ontario in their #ArchivesAtoZ month-long campaign. The aim is to increase the public’s awareness of archives and their collections. We’ll be sharing four blog posts throughout the month showcasing items from our collections and demystifying archival concepts related to each letter of the alphabet.

  • April 4: A to F
  • April 11: G to M
  • April 18: N to S
  • April 25: T to Z

Graphic Materials

According to the Canadian Council of Archives graphic materials are “…are defined as documents in the form of pictures, photographs, drawings, watercolours, prints, and other forms of two-dimensional pictorial representations.” This definition includes a diverse range of materials and processes that often make up the bulk of an Archives or Special Collections holdings. While conducting research last year – we came across these amazing hand painted and hand drawn theatrical posters created by students to advertise Ryerson Opera Workshop productions. The Ryerson Opera Workshop, or ROW, was established in 1951 by Jack McAllister, at the time faculty in the English Department and would later be one on the founding faculty in the School of Performance. The workshop was an institute-wide, student endeavour from production crew to cast members.

Hot Docs

The Hot Docs Fonds includes physical and digital material produced for the annual Hot Docs Canadian International Documentary Festival. Digital copies of the programs from 1994 to 2001 festivals can be viewed on our database by clicking on the program’s cover images. We’re looking forward to this year’s festival, which begin on April 28th !

Imaging

Imaging, also known as digital imaging, reformatting, scanning or digitizing, refers to creating an electronic representation of an analogue object. The are several standards for imaging cultural heritage material, such as the Federal Agencies Digital Guidelines Initiative (FADGI) and the Canadian Heritage Information Network (CHIN).

We generally use a flatbed scanner for graphic material, and an overhead copy stand for large prints and 3-D objects. We also digitize audiovisual formats such as VHS tapes and audio-cassettes, since they tend to deteriorate quickly and the playback equipment required for reformatting is becoming less readily available (a tape deck or a VCR for instance.)

We often get asked why libraries and archives can’t digitize all of our collections for online access! The Peel Art Gallery Museum + Archive has a blog post with great answers to this question, but it generally is tied to the amount of resources required for mass digitization (staff time, technical equipment, digital storage, copyright clearance, etc.) Take a look at what we’ve digitized so far through our online database!

An example of imaging using a copy stand. We use colour bars to identify the scale of the object and to have reference for tone and colour balancing.

Jorgenson Hall Model

The Jorgenson Hall/Podium/Library Building architectural model is one of three campus building models in our collections (the other two being Pitman Hall and the RAC). This one was created by Webb Zerafa Menkes Housden Architects Engineers and shows the three buildings plus the west side of Kerr Hall which attaches to the complex via footbridges at either end.

Keyword Searching

Keyword searching can be hit and miss when it comes to looking for archival records – especially if you are starting your research in an internet search engine. Every search comes back with hundreds of thousands of returns – so how do you improve your chances of finding what you are looking for?

Having a plan of action that includes an initial list of keywords is a good way to start. When thinking of what keywords you want to use there are several things to keep in mind:

  • 1) The age of the records you are looking for and the time period of their creation – terminology is ever evolving and you may find your search returns include offensive and outdated terminology that is no longer in use, but would have been at the time of the records creation
  • 2) Word spelling – countries may spell words differently so include all the potential spellings of your keywords when you are searching.
  • 3) Alternate/previous names – this is especially important if you are researching a geographic location – has it always been called what it is named now?

Finally – consider adding some of these terms to the end of your keywords: papers, photographs, collections, exhibition, primary source, archives, special collections, library, museum, curriculum. Any or all of these terms may help narrow down your search and help you find what you are looking for. Robin M. Katz’s “How to Google for Primary Sources” has some other suggestions to help you with your search.

Word cloud of search terms

Lorne Shields

Lorne Shields has been an avid collector of bicycles and bicycle ephemera since 1967. His passion for bicycles led him to collect photographs on the subject as well as books, magazines, and bicycle memorabilia.

Shields donated his collection of photographs unrelated to bicycles to Special Collections in 2008. This includes studio portraits and carte-de-visites as well as landscape and industrial imagery from the Victorian era to the 1960s. The collection also comprises many vernacular photographic albums, good examples of glass and metal photographic processes including cased daguerreotypes, ambrotypes and tintypes. Explore our database for more information on the Lorne Shields Historical Photograph Collection.

2008.001.1872 – [Portrait of three women]

Miniature Cameras

 Did you know we have several miniature and sub-miniature cameras in the collection? These mini photo devices are designed to take photographs on film sized smaller than 135 format (24mm x 36mm). The Minolta-16 camera seen below takes 10×14 mm exposures on 16 mm film.

Miniature cameras gained a reputation as “spy” cameras, and while some of the higher quality ones (including the Minox) were used by government agencies, most were simply for amateur use.

Next week we’ll highlight items and archival concepts for the letters N to S!

Archives A to Z 2022 Week 1

We’re joining the Archives of Ontario in their #ArchivesAtoZ month-long campaign. The aim is to increase the public’s awareness of archives and their collections. We’ll be sharing four blog posts throughout the month showcasing items from our holdings and demystifying archival concepts related to each letter of the alphabet.

  • April 4: A to F
  • April 11: G to M
  • April 18: N to S
  • April 25: T to Z

Artifacts (oversized!)

Archives and Special Collections often go beyond papers, books, and photographs in their collections. Many will have objects and artifacts as well. Our Archives and Special Collections is home to a robust collection of artifacts in all shapes and sizes, including many oversized and heavy ones that make storage tricky. Here are a few examples from the collections. (tap on the photographs to learn more about the objects)

Books

Our collection contains a large variety of published materials including books and journals. The Archives previously collected the published works of faculty. Special Collections houses rare books with a photographic focus, children’s books and History of Toronto books. They also have a large collection of photography related journals. Unlike the rest of the library – these books are not out on open shelving for viewing – they need to be pulled by Archives and Special Collections staff, and they are not available to take home. The books can be searched using the library catalogue and narrowing the location to either Archives or Special Collections

books on shelves
Books and catalogues on the shelves in Archives and Special Collections.

Campus Maps

Campus maps are an important part of our collection. They show the evolution and growth of the campus starting with its creation in 1948. They highlight not just the growth of the campus, but also show movement within the campus by the programs and schools that make up the University. For example the School of Architecture is currently located at 325 Church Street. But in the 1960s it was located at 44 Gerrard Street (former School of Performance building), in the early 1970’s it was housed at in the City Hall annex building at 465 Bay Street and after a fire in that building Architecture was housed at 720 King St. (near Bathurst).

Doozers

The Doozers, a favourite of the Archives and Special Collections staff, were part of the Jim Henson Television show “Fraggle Rock”. These tiny creatures were forever building structures only to have them eaten by the Fraggles. The photograph and the book are part of the Robert Hackborn Fonds. This collection contains extensive documentation of the creative processes for television show including on-set images, sketches of set designs and correspondence. Robert Hackborn was a Canadian set designer and art director. He started working at the CBC in 1955 as a scenic paint artist and later progressed to the Set Design Department where he would produce versatile special visual effects incorporated in years of Canadian film and television programming. (Tap on the photographs to learn more about the records)

Exhibition publications

Special Collections has a selection of pamphlets, press releases and publications for exhibitions in museums, galleries, festivals and universities across Canada, the United States and abroad. The collections is continuously growing, but the original acquisition was donated by Alison Nordström, the Curator of Photographs at George Eastman House International Museum of Photography and Film, who collected the material between 1986 and 2011.

Frank Sommers interviews

The Frank G. Sommers Fonds contains text and audio records of interviews he conducted with European and Canadian film directors Marianne Ahrne, Walerian Browczyk, Bert Haanstra, Claude Jutra, Ettore Scola, and Alain Tanner between 1978 and 1979. The goals of the interviews were to review converging trends in international cinema through director’s perspectives and gain a deeper understanding of the works.

Promotional material accompanying the Ettore Scola interview (2018.019.05)

Next week we’ll highlight items and archival concepts for the letters G to M!

This Week in University History – Space Shuttle Discovery Mission Patch presentation

March 24, 2022 will mark the 30th anniversary of Astronaut and Photographer Roberta Bondar’s visit to Ryerson to present then President Terry Grier with space mission patches – including one bearing the school’s coat of arms, that had been to space aboard the Space Shuttle Discovery.

framed space shuttle discovery mission patches and Ryerson Crest patch
Space Shuttle Discovery mission patches and Ryerson crest patch (RG 12.85)

Why would these be presented to our school? Because Roberta Bondar had been studying and researching the effect of blood flow under weightless conditions and its effect on space adaptation (dizziness, nausea etc) with the help of Ryerson’s Centre for Advanced Technology Education (CATE). Under contract with the Canadian Space Agency, researchers at CATE were working on experiment methodology, modeling, evaluation, data collection and analysis. You can read more about relationship in the following articles from the Forum Newsletter:

Celebrating Black History with Photography Books & Catalogues

Special Collections has a variety of books related to the history, production and exhibition of photography. In honour of Black History Month, we are featuring exhibition catalogues and books centering Black photographers, artists and curators. Although this is a small sample from the collection, all of these works highlight the importance of self-documentation in photography as a way to celebrate communities and counter the historical misrepresentation of Black people.

In the 1948 book “Camera Portraits : the techniques and principles of documentary portraiture” Gordon Parks shares insight into how he photographed 40 individuals with his unique style of photography. He recounts his interactions with the subjects and analyses his overall approach to the portrait. Parks also includes valuable technical elements for each photograph, such as the camera model, exposure, film stock and light source.

Cover of the book Imagining Families: Images and Voices. Two photographs are shown, one depicts a while family with a young Black boy, the other is a similar portrait but heavily scratched out.

“Imagining Families : Images and Voices” is the catalogue for the 1994 inaugural exhibition at the National African American Museum at the Smithsonian Institute. It was shown at the Anacostia Community Museum, years before the Smithsonian established a permanent building for the National Museum of African American History and Culture in 2016. 

Deborah Willis and Claudine Brown curated the works of 15 artists who examine roles played within families and communities. The catalogue recounts how the exhibition was created when the Smithsonian was contemplating the need for a dedicated museum to preserve African American history. They were unsure if they would receive enough donations to build a museum collection and some believed that African American material culture was already preserved in other museum branches.

The exhibition served as an inspiration for underrepresented communities to self-document their stories and validated personal narratives as a key part of history.

Front book cover with the title "A Portland Family album: Self-portrait of African American Community" with a black and white photograph depicting two Black women in front of a house

The 1995 exhibition “A Portland Family Album : self-portrait of an African-American community.” was developed using archival photographs. The images were donated by several local families and new prints were created for exhibition purposes. The works were shown at Blue Sky Gallery in Portland.

Cover of book with the text "Contact Sheet" and "Embracing Eatonville". The cover has a black and white image of a house with a large tree in front.

The 2003-2004 exhibition “Embracing Eatonville : a photographic survey” presented works by Dawoud Bey, Lonnie Graham, Carrie Mae Weems and Deborah Willis. Eatonville, Florida is one of the oldest Black towns to be incorporated in the United States. In 2002, the four artists were tasked to capture the spirit of this historical city through documentary photography. Each photographer brought their unique approach to this exhibition to provide a snapshot of the community and its landscape. The exhibition was shown at Light Work in New York and the Robert B. Menschel Media Center in Eatonville.

Special Collections books can be searched through the Library’s catalogue. The Library also has access to fantastic documentaries on the topic, including Through a Lens Darkly which is based on the book “Reflections in Black : a history of Black photographers, 1840 to the present” by Deborah Willis. The documentary explores the significance of family photo albums and examines the depiction of Black subjects throughout history.

Our book collection is constantly growing! Keep an eye for the announcement of the winners of this year’s First Edition Book Award.

Winter in the Collections

Love it or hate it – snow in the winter is inevitable in most of Canada. Going along with this theme – let’s take a look at some images and items from the collections showcasing winter and snow. So put on a warm sweater and pour yourself a mug of something hot and take a look.

This beautiful scene is a painting done on plexiglass, which was then mounted in a wooden frame. We have back lit it for this image to give you an idea of what they might have done when using it for filming. It is from the Robert Hackborn collection. Robert Hackborn had a long and important career in the design and production of sets and special visual effects for television – working on shows like Mr. Roger’s Neighbourhood, Mr. Dressup and Fraggle Rock.

“A Christmas Fantasy”
2012.005.05.12

These five images below of the University Campus in winter (RG 395.121.01.216) were taken by then staff photograph Dave Upham. The photographs taken between 1992-1999 were used in campus publications like the now defunct Forum newsletter. They are part of a larger collection of images used by the University for promotional purposes and news stories.

The next two images are part of the Lorne Shields Historical Photograph collection. The collection consists studio portraits, cabinet cards, photograph albums, dageurreotypes, tin types and other photographic formats donated to Special Collections in 2008 by Lorne Shields.

Portrait of a child in winter coat with snowshoes (2008.001.1408)
Notman Winter Scenes (2008.001.919)

For many years the University had a winter carnival sponsored by the Students’ Union. It had many different activities such as ice carving, a broom ball tournament on Lake Devo, various food eating contests, concerts, pub nights, and skiing day trips.

Calendar of Events from the 1979 Winter Carnival (RG 79.009)
“Stopped Cold? – Broomball games on the ice rink on Devonian Square were part of the winter festival activities in January” Forum Newsletter January 31, 1992 (RG 76.14.438)

Lastly lets take a look at some Kodak advertising around winter and Christmas. The Kodak Canada collection contains records and artifacts from the Kodak Heights manufacturing facility in Toronto, as well as the historical collection belonging to the Kodak Heritage Collection Museum.

“Kodak Welcomes Winter” (2005.001.03.2.001.01.162), Kodak Canada Ad Ledger, 1922-1923
“For so many lucky ones…this is sure to be a Ciné-Kodak Christmas” (2005.001.03.2.001.07.172), Kodak Canada Ad Ledger 1936-1937
“Give a Kodak” (2005.001.03.2.001.07.102), Kodak Canada Ad Ledger 1936-1937

War Efforts at Kodak Heights

Kodak is most likely known for its photography related wart efforts, such as their advertisements encouraging citizens to send images to soldiers or the Vest Pocket camera sold as “The Soldier’s Kodak.”1 Nevertheless, they were also supporting wartime demands through employee initiatives and by shifting their manufacturing plants at Kodak Heights in Toronto.

A Kodak advertisement titled "Send Him Snapshots Every Week" with a soldier holding photographs
2005.001.03.2.001.10 1944 Kodak Advertisement

A group of employees organized the Kodak War Efforts Club to send packages overseas with sweets, knitted goods and magazines. In addition, they partnered with the Red Cross to host a weekly Kodak Blood Clinic and rewarded employees with badges for recurring donations.2

Kodak War Efforts Club featured in the May 1945 edition of KODAK magazine

In 1941, Kodak Heights was approached by the Department of Munitions and Supply to manufacture compasses. They had previously built tools and parts for combat airplanes, but this was their first venture in producing instruments for the armed forces.3 As seen in many sectors, women stepped into manufacturing positions during the war, and Kodak was no different in finding new roles for women to support the production of compasses.

  • Black and white image of a women inspecting with a magnifying glass a piece for a compass
  • Black and white image of a group of women in an assembly line building parts for compasses
  • Black and white images of a women using an industrial machine
  • Black and white images of a pile of boxes with compass material

In their internal employee publication, the company celebrated this endeavour and shared positive feedback received from the U.S. War Department as well as their own employees who were redeployed in the war fronts and recognized the C.K.C engraving (Canadian Kodak Company) on a compass.4

Kodak Heights even exhibited images of the compass in the Employee Building cafeteria to promote the initiative among staff. These images may have remained on the walls as a memory of their war efforts, because by fall of 1945 Kodak had already pivoted back to its regular production of cameras and photographic material.

Two Kodak compasses on a white background
2005.001.06.03.327 Kodak Mark III Compass

Kodak had several internal magazines which provide incredible first hand accounts of the day to day life at the company. Running from 1936 to 1955, “KODAK: A Magazine for Kodak Employees” was a bimonthly internal publication designed to communicate the activities of Canadian Kodak and its employees. For more information on war efforts at Kodak Heights, explore the publications in our database or on the Internet Archive for online versions.

  1. Roger, Andrew C. ‘Amateur Photography by Soldiers of the Canadian Expeditionary Force’. Archivaria, vol. 26, no. January, 1988, pp. 163–68.
  2. ‘Kodak Meets the Wartime Challenge (Part 1)’. KODAK: A Magazine for Kodak Employees, vol. 1, no. 3, Apr. 1945, pp. 1–2.
  3. ‘Kodak Meets the Wartime Challenge (Part 2)’. KODAK: A Magazine for Kodak Employees, vol. 1, no. 4, May 1945, pp. 1–3.
  4. Ibid.

2021 Archives and Special Collections Virtual Alumni Open House

With our doors closed to visitors for a second COVID year, let’s go back and visit anniversary years close to 70, 60, 50, 40, 30, 25, and 10 years ago.

 

We are located within the Library (Library Building), 4th floor, opposite the elevators :

 

First, a peek into the Reading Room with tables and chairs spaced out for physical distancing :

 

Student newspapers are available to peruse on-site.  However, there are no digitized copies. 
Bound copies of The Ryersonian and The Eyeopener are seen here :

 

Fortunately, we have this Victorian stained glass window from a Church Street residence Ryerson briefly used for offices in the early to mid 1970s.  The house, with other buildings, was demolished for the Architecture Building in the late 1970s :

 

A behind-the-scenes look into the vault – storage for some of our collections :

 

Many of the collections are held in archival boxes, such as these grey Hollingers :

 

Our extensive clipping files are an excellent source of information, including subjects on campus, faculties and programmes, sports, students, faculty members, events, and many more :

 

Inside an artifact box :

 

A sample of what might be displayed for Alumni Weekend.  Did you use one of these calendars :

…or maybe you wore one of these…

 

However, it’s been 70 plus years since these adding machines were used in Business courses :

 

Students started the year in September 1961 with a campus still in transition from the old (Ryerson Hall, now demolished, behind the magnificent tree and its out buildings), to the new with Kerr Hall, here under construction.  KHE  is in the background…

The photograph above shows the south and west facades of Ryerson Hall, while the photo below (October 1961) you can see the north and west facades of Ryerson Hall.  KHE and its radio tower are visible behind and in the foreground, the trench for KHW :

 

Shot glasses were student union graduating gifts.  Clearly visible is 1971 :

 

For those of you who started your final year in 1971, you might be in this 1972 graduating class :

 

Did you skate on the rink in 1981 :

 

A 1995 procession of graduands reflects all graduates’ experience whose ceremonies were in the Ryerson Theatre :

 

If you graduated in 2001, you might have been at this ceremony when Nelson Mandela and Graca Machel received Honorary Degrees :

 

And, finally, what was the tuition in each of the feature years?
Annual tuition includes ancillary fees (not course fees) :

1951/1952 = $62

1961/1962 = $246 – $256

1971/1972 = $318 – $328

1981/1982 = $756

1991/1992 = $2,042

1996/1997 = $3,365

2011/2012 = not available

and currently (2021/2022) = $7,053 – $11,140

 

Thank you for joining us for our second virtual alumni event.

We hope we see in you person in 2022!

Re-visit the 2020 Virtual Alumni Open House blog