The Jack Layton Book Club

JLBC-FINAL-Web

The Jack Layton Chair, in partnership with the Ryerson Library and Achives, are pleased to invite you to the inaugural series of presentations of the Jack Layton Book Club. They promise to be interesting, inter-active discussions of books that mattered to Jack, and the ideas Jack championed through his remarkable career.

Jack Layton’s personal book collection has been donated to Ryerson, where he was a Professor of Politics during the 1970s and 80s. At each meeting of the Jack Layton Book Club, an expert speaker introduces us to a book Jack read, treasured and was inspired by. All are welcome to attend.

Three sessions of the Jack Layton Book Club are scheduled in the weeks ahead.  All begin at 5:30 PM in the Archives, 3rd Floor, Ryerson Library, 350 Victoria Street. The Archives currently hosts a Jack Layton exhibit, which you are welcome to visit from 5 PM before each Book Club meeting.

Session 1

Tuesday 12 March 2013
5:30 PM, Archives, 3rd Floor, Ryerson Library, 350 Victoria Street.

Terry Grier, Ryerson President Emeritus
“Jack Layton’s Political Journey: From the Classroom to National Icon”.

Terry Grier discusses Jack as student, teacher and political leader.
(See Poster Above)

Session 2

Thursday 28 March 2013
5:30 PM, Archives, 3rd Floor, Ryerson Library, 350 Victoria Street.

Dr. Alex Wellington, Philosophy Department, Ryerson University

“Jack Layton’s Environmental Vision: Green Economy and Climate Justice”

We will look at two books that reflect Jack’s contributions to environmental activism and climate justice: Guy Dauncy’s Stormy Weather: 101 Solutions to Global Climate Change and Tim Flannery’s Now or Never.

Session 3

Wednesday 10 April 2013

5:30 PM, Archives, 3rd Floor, Ryerson Library, 350 Victoria Street.

Dr. Jason Boyd, English Department, Ryerson University

“Pride, Prejudice and Politics:
Jack Layton and the Lessons of Christopher Marlowe’s Edward II”

Layton bookplate image

The Jack Layton Book Club is an initiative of the Jack Layton Chair, co-sponsored by the Ryerson University Library and Archives.

 

The Wilhelm E. Nassau Camera Collection at Ryerson University

1920s studio camera from the Wilhelm E. Nassau Camera Collection

The Heritage Camera Collection more than doubled in size this past January thanks to the generous donation of approximately 500 cameras and pieces of camera equipment from Wilfrid Laurier University. The collection improves the holdings in European and Japanese manufacturers, and provides a greater selection for research in early camera designs. These cameras are on display inside Special Collections.

"Mouse trap" camera developed by William Henry Fox Talbot, ca. 1834 (replica made 2006) from the Wilhelm E. Nassau Camera Collection

Watch Camera from the Wilhelm E. Nassau Camera Collection

Polaroid 110A from the Wilhelm E. Nassau Camera Collection

Crystar camera next to Pony 135 for size comparison. The Crystar measures only _. From the Wilhelm E. Nassau Camera Collection.

A Model Practice : Photographs from the Canadian Architect magazine archive

Architectural models breath life into otherwise straightforward ideas on paper; they easily and quickly communicate complex design schemes, embellishments, finishes and details, and they facilitate an easier dialogue between architect and client. Well-crafted architectural models even win competitions. While these models are very rarely preserved once building is begun, the realized design in miniature form represents the very essence of the architectural practice.

From January 4th- February 13th, 2012, photographs of models taken for Canadian Architect magazine will be on display in Special Collections on the Library’s 4th floor. These images were originally captured for project announcements, and today they give us as much to discuss as the finished buildings themselves. See the process that the architect goes through when bringing his or her idea to the public, and consider some of the challenges the architect faces in communicating with that audience. Is it useful to see the detailed model superimposed onto a photograph of the existing landscape, as with the Toronto Eaton Centre image? Why do some architects choose to put contextual detail in the model itself, making tiny trees and cars on the adjacent streets? Every model has a purpose and an audience, which is perhaps even more apparent in the scenic model taken from the set design for a CBC television special [borrowed from the Robert Hackborn collection for comparison’s sake]. With this model, the purpose is to show the interior to the cameras – not the exterior to a client.

Whatever the goal with these miniature worlds, either to emulate a real three-dimensional building as closely as possible or three walls that merely suggest one, the model serves as a stepping stone to the final idea. Here the idea of architecture is on display – judge for yourselves whether the real lives up to the imagined.

Feature from the Collections: Who is this man in the Archives?

Peter. It’s his name. An interesting fellow, don’t you think?

The Dream That Fagged Out” is Peter’s official title. The word fagged in historical usage means completely exhausted, and there certainly seems to be a weight on Peter’s shoulders. “The work is so successful in its depiction of human despair and misery that no one at Ryerson has been able to keep it for long.” [The Lectern, October 1975, Works of Art docfl.]

Peter, as he’s known, was given his nickname soon after arriving at Ryerson in 1967. He resided in the reception area of President Fred Jorgenson’s office, then in Kerr Hall South.

He was created by artist Julius Damasdy, (1937/38 –  ) in the late 1960s and was anonymously donated to Ryerson by a founding member of the Board of Governors, Franc Joubin, who acquired him from a show of the Ontario Society of Artists. Peter is part of the university’s art collection.

After two years of dismally greeting staff and visitors alike, Peter was moved to where he could cheer up the students. What better place than the Library (located, then, in the former Business Building, now the Victoria Building).

General feelings were:

  • “[I] couldn’t stand the sight of Peter staring at [me] every day.” – 1969, executive staff
  • “I can’t stand him staring at my face whenever I come out of the elevator.” – 1969 library staff

When the Library moved to its current location in the Library Building in 1974, Peter insisted he come along. His new home was in a semi-dark area (they tried to hide him) near the 2nd floor elevators.

Peter got a medical diagnosis in the mid 1970s by a some Ryerson nursing students which they posted on him stating, for example, he suffered from: Malnutrition, Scoliosis, Stove Pipe Legs, Middle Age Spread, Facial Paralysis, and other interesting ailments.

Finally, in an attempt at banishment, Peter was offered to the Archives in the mid 1970s. He was cheerfully accepted and has been in safekeeping since, still creeping-out Archives staff and a few researchers.

To meet Peter, read his other ailments, and decide if he has any creepy or otherwise ill effects on you, feel free to come to the Archives on the 3rd floor of the Library. He will be happy to see you!

The Ryerson University Archives
3rd floor of the Library
Monday to Friday – 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.

You can also visit our new Archives & Special Collections website and online database.  Please note the both are still in development.  http://www.ryerson.ca/archives/.

Canadian Fashion from the 60s, 70s and 80s on display

Style changed forever in the 1960s (and we’re not just referring to the hemlines). Space-age design met space-age fabrics, many of which are still in use today: polyamide, polyester, acrylic, polyvinyl, and spandex to name a few. These are laboratory-brewed fibres, extruded through spinnerettes in liquid or molten petro-chemical streams. These were cheaper and more versatile than many of the natural fibres used in clothing up to this point.

The dresses currently on display in Special Collections each use an unexpected fabric to achieve their look, whether it is the plasticized cloth of this shiny-copper mini-dress, the silver lurex suit with multicolored threads from the disco-influenced 70s, or the 100% silk power suit from the 80s. Visit Special Collections today to see these fashionable fabrics produced by Canadian designers.

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The dresses in this exhibit were taken from the Fashion Research Collection at Ryerson University, a collection of costume items, accessories, flat textiles and paper patterns donated to the School of Fashion for use in teaching and research. The collection consists of about 4,500 items of mid-twentieth century men’s, women’s and children’s clothes and accessories and illustrates many of the social, cultural, technological and economic influcences on style made or worn in Canada. It contains designs by leading Canadian figures such as Beate Ziegert, Ira Berg and Pat McDonagh, as well as internationally famous names such as Sonia Rykiel, Christian Dior, Calvin Klein, Givenchy, Diane von Furstenberg, Perry Ellis, Laura Ashley, Thierry Mugler and Valentino.  There are also pattern and reference books, magazines and articles which are not duplicated in the Ryerson Library catalogue, making this a rich and valuable resource for fashion education.

Dress photography by Olena Vivcharyuk. Detail photographs (below) provided by Renée Munn.

Cameras on display in Special Collections

Taking a vacation this summer or just dreaming of one? Either way you can fantasize about the lovely pictures you’d take with one of the cameras on display in Special Collections. Visit us on the 4th floor of the Ryerson Library this summer to see a rotating display of cameras from the past.

First up: Kodak through the years, featuring still and motion-picture cameras from the company’s early years right up to the Advantix point and shoot system popular in the 1990s. Film projectors like the Kodascope (see below), are also on display.

The Kodak No.1 Brownie camera, ca. 1900-1916 Kodak Canada Corporate Archives & Heritage Collection 2005.001.7.005

Kodascope Model B 16mm film projector, 1927-1929 Kodak Canada Corporate Archives & Heritage Collection 2005.001.7.166

Kodak Retinette 1B, ca. 1959-1963 Kodak Canada Corporate Archives & Heritage Collection 2005.001.7.055

Kodak Vigilant Junior Six-20 camera, 1940-1949 Kodak Canada Corporate Archives & Heritage Collection 2005.001.7.043

Instamatic 154, ca. 1965-1968 Kodak Canada Corporate Archives & Heritage Collection 2005.001.7.125

Butterflies in Special Collections

Photographs from Flora and Flutterbyes: Nature as Inspiration and Decoration currently on display in Special Collections, April 21 – June 8, 2011. Specimens courtesy the Cambridge Butterfly Conservatory.

The Ulysses Butterfly on green turf in the display case.

The idea for the springtime butterfly theme emerged from the same cocoon as another great exhibit idea: the Ryerson student-curated “With Us at Every Age: Selected Animal Photographs from the Mira Godard Research Centre” (runs April 13 – May 7, 2011 at the IMA Gallery as part of the CONTACT Photography Festival). The student exhibit explores human-animal relationships through photography, and it includes the traditional and heart-warming portraits we expect to see of people and pets (cats and dogs included), but also draws attention to some of our more irrational relationships. The exhibit invites us to consider our creation of rare to absurd animalia: a toy stork in a children’s window display or a bear rug on a wall, and shows us images of aging with pets (and pet-themed ceramics). The use of photography as the medium works to both invite the viewer into these intimate worlds, yet provides a safe distance from which to consider the animals we have not treated so well.

For all the birds, reptiles and mammals that are showcased, we couldn’t help but notice a distinct avoidance of that other class of animals we see daily: insects. Though hardly the type of creature to develop a lasting bond with, these misunderstood and sometimes repellant animals also inhabit our homes and inform our relationships with each other. In some cases, as with the butterfly, the insect is seen as a source of inspiration and enjoyment. The butterfly’s colours are copied for our clothes, its pattern in flight informs our social graces, its taste for the most vibrant and delicate flowers expresses a certain model of femininity, and its ability to withdraw from the world and transform helps us describe our desire for second chances. The butterfly is so familiar, but unlike the subjects in “With Us at Every Age,” how many have we ever seen? Using both photography and preserved specimens, we invite you to browse the 4th floor display and be inspired by nature.


The butterfly specimens were borrowed from the Cambridge Butterfly Conservatory, where at least 2000 free-flying tropical butterflies and moths are on exhibit throughout the year. Bred in Costa Rica or the Philippines, these vibrantly-coloured species metamorphose on arrival in Canada inside equally colourful chrysalides (also know as pupae), and flit about their business in an indoor rainforest as part of an effort to preserve butterfly populations through a sustainable form of agriculture. Here they offer us a fascinating look at the incredible variety of species in the wild.

The Ulysses Butterfly (left) and Blue Morpho see from both angles (dorsal – purplish colouring / ventral – spotted brown)

The Monarch Butterfly, the most familiar butterfly in Canada.

A Clipper Butterfly on green turf in the display.

Raw Materials: Inuit sculpture from the Sylvia A. Morley Collection

On display in Special Collections March 10-April 17, 2011

In the early 1950s, the first large scale north-south cultural exchanges in Canada established the market for what we now refer to as Inuit Art. The first communities to begin selling their work to a southern market in any organized way were Inukjuak and Puvirnituq (Quebec) and Cape Dorset/Kinngait (Baffin Island).  The sculptures from this early period tend to be small, easily transportable works created by what was still a nomadic people. In the late 1950s and early 60s, carving became a significant source of income within newly formed Inuit-owned co-operatives, and for many today it continues to provide a living while also supplying the means to express pride in their culture and their craft.

Special Collections received a donation of Inuit sculpture from a former Ryerson student who actively collected, both through galleries in the Toronto area and in person at northern co-ops. The small display on the Library’s 4th floor offers us an opportunity to discuss the use of materials from different regions, as she collected examples from across the Arctic (perhaps favouring Baffin Island and Labrador), and the growing art production within the Inuit communities over the latter half of the 20th century. The display also precedes the opening of a much larger exhibition of contemporary Inuit art scheduled to open at the Art Gallery of Ontario on April 2nd: Inuit Modern: The Samuel and Ester Sarick Collection. To learn more about these items and their creators, visit Special Collections and the AGO this spring.

Palliser, William, 1947-
Hunter in kayak
1996
soapstone and bone
North West River area, Labrador

Miki, Andy, 1918-1983
Bird figure, abstract
[date unknown]
stone, dark to light grey
Arviat, Kivalliq region of Nunavut

Pisuktie, Josie, 1901-
Bird figure, black
[date unknown]
stone
Iqaluit, Baffin Island region of Nunavut

Sannertannu, Annie Anaronar, 1913-
Standing figure
[date unknown]
soapstone
Repulse Bay/ Naujaat in Nunavut