Introduction to U of G’s Archival & Special Collections
This video provides an introduction to the University of Guelph's Archival & Special Collections. It showcases different items from the various collections.
[University of Guelph Archival & Special Collections]
[Curtis Sassur, Head, Archival & Special Collections] Guelph's Archival and Special Collections is a repository of our rare books and non-circulating archival research material. Within those collections, we have a really nice collection of rare and valuable old books, as well as several areas of collecting focus for primary source research material.
[Ashley Shifflett McBrayne, Archives Associate] We collect many formats. They can include the personal papers of individuals and companies, as well as technical drawings, photography, audio-visual materials, and ephemera, among other things.
[Ashley grabs a book from the shelves and places it on a cart.]
[Curtis] Here in the Archival and Special Collections at Guelph, we have several areas of collecting focus.
[Lucy Maud Montgomery]
[Curtis] The Lucy Maud Montgomery collection, related to that famous author.
[Various books in the Lucy Maud Montgomery Collection.]
[Agricultural History & Rural Heritage]
[Curtis] We have a rural and agricultural focus, which relates to the University of Guelph's Ontario Agricultural College roots.
[Curtis] We also have numerous collections related to landscape architecture. One of my favorite collections in that area is the Stanley Thompson fond related to many of the beautiful golf courses he designed in North America.
[Curtis shows a landscape architecture plan of a golf course.]
[Regional & Early Campus History]
[Curtis] We also have a collecting focus on early campus history related to the University of Guelph, but also our antecedent institutions, the Ontario Agricultural College and Macdonald Hall.
[A silver University of Guelph trophy, 1911. A model of a University of Guelph building.]
[Curtis] We have a wonderful collection of Scottish materials, related to both Scottish highland and lowland early history.
[A book from the Scottish Studies collection, the first edition of the “Opuscula et tractatus” (circa 1497) by Felix Hemmerlin, is open to a woodcut illustration on the title page.]
[Curtis] Within our rare book collection, we have a focus specifically on culinary books and cookbooks, and we have a wonderful collection of vernacular cookbooks specific to Canadian regions, as well as published cookbooks.
[Books in the Culinary Collection are shown in the background.]
[Someone pages through the Frontispiece of the 5th edition of “The Queen-Like Closet” by Hannah Woolley.]
[Curtis] We also have a wonderful collection related to the Canadian theater scene with fonds and primary source material related to several important, large and small Canadian theaters.
[A model of a theatre set featuring a neon sign reads “Doral Valley Motor” and pencil sketches of theatre costumes each depicting some type of armor are shown.]
[Ashley] In Archival and Special Collections, we have a number of spaces that can be used.
[Ashley] We have the reading room, which is where researchers can access the items that they'd like to see
[In a timelapse, Ashley places a book from the collections on a rare book display pillow in the Reading Room.]
[Ashley] We also have a seminar room, which can accommodate a smaller group or a smaller class, and we have a larger space that can accommodate up to 150 people.
[Photos of individuals in the exhibit gallery mingling and viewing archival items in glass cases are shown. The room is full.]
[Ashley] We have a beautiful exhibit gallery that we use for experiential learning programs, where students and faculty can curate physical exhibits using items from Archival and Special Collections.
[Curtis] Guelph's Archival and Special Collections is here primarily for the Guelph community. So, that includes both the undergraduate and graduate student bodies, we're here to support them in whatever research endeavors they may be looking at. We're also here to support Guelph's faculty, both with their research and also with classroom support and outreach. And we are also here for members of the community that do not have Guelph affiliation, whether they are local, regional, national, or international, if they are researchers whose interests intersect with our collections.
[Ashley pulls a book from the archival stack and examines it.]
[Ashley] Having access to these rare and one-of-a-kind resources is, that's the primary source base of research, and so it also gives them the opportunity to tackle primary sources and learn how to analyze them and see them and hold them and connect with them in a way that is inherently different than looking at an image on a screen.
[Ashley places a string weight on a rare book which shows a map titled “Scotia Regnvm.”]
[Curtis] Our guiding underlying value is that we're here to be as helpful as possible.
[Curtis] We have a dedicated team working, digitizing our material. A common misconception that folks have is that all of our material is already digitized, when in fact, the vast majority of our material has not been digitized at this point. As a researcher, if you identify something in our collection that you'd like to have digitized, we can work with you and work through the rights issues and the technical specifications issues to get a digital file to you.
[Archives and Special Collections Clerk pulls a rare book from the archival stack and places it on a rare book scanner. The pages of the book are then shown digitally on the screen of the book scanner.]
[Ashley] We care very deeply about providing access as well as preserving the items.
[Curtis] Our digital operations are always growing and we're always looking to digitize more and more of our collection.
[An landscape architecture plan with an itemized list titled “List of Plants” and landscape drawings. A drawer containing various Factory Theatre posters.]
[Curtis] Ideally, we would like to be able to use this digitization work as a means to provide the most possible access to our material to the most number of people.
[A sign says “Hello! I am made of suet....” in front of a sculpture of a bear holding a fish.]
[Curtis] We, in the Archives and Special Collections, would really like to invite our student body and members of our community to come down and explore our spaces and see what we have to offer for you.
[Ashley] If you're interested in seeing what we have in our collections or getting your research project started, you can reach out to us through our website, either by booking an appointment or emailing us, and we can help you out from there.
[Explore U of G’s Archival and Special Collections. Visit lib.uoguelph.ca to get started]
[The University of Guelph logo Improve Life]