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175th Anniversary

A cornerstone of Queen's

Construction of Douglas Library started in 1922 and was completed in 1924. (Queen's University Archives)

The history of Queen’s University Library is the focus of a new virtual exhibit launched in honour of the university’s 175th anniversary.

This timeline exhibit outlines a history of the library, and is filled with stories exemplifying the strengths the present day library is still known for: strong research collections, dedicated staff and superb facilities. The library’s initiatives and activities over the years highlight these different areas of focus, and the ways they enhance the student learning experience and support research prominence, internationalization and financial sustainability at Queen’s.

“It has been wonderful to explore 175 years of Queen’s University Library, and it was an interesting challenge to narrow it down to the items reflected in our timeline. The library has always been a cornerstone of Queen’s, and as contributors have pointed out, Queen’s had a fledging library collection before it had a Royal Charter. We are so pleased to share and celebrate our unique history within the larger context of 175 years of Queen’s” says Martha Whitehead, Vice-Provost and University Librarian. “As the library includes the University Archives, we are well equipped to dig into our rich history.  We hope that this exhibit for the Queen's 175th anniversary celebrations helps our whole community reflect on the past and look forward to our future.”

The Virtual Exhibit can be viewed at the Queen’s University Library website. If you have a suggestion for an entry on the timeline, please email library.news@queensu.ca.

A site for celebration

[Grant Hall clock]

Queen’s 175th anniversary has a new, dynamic home on the web.

The 175th anniversary committee and University Marketing launched the revamped 175th anniversary website last week. The fully redesigned website offers a rich user experience, and introduces several new sections and features.

“This exciting new website allows us to profile in a dynamic way the special events, new initiatives, and existing activities that have happened or will take place during the 175th anniversary year,” says David Walker, Director and Chair, 175th Anniversary. “The website will live on after the 175th anniversary, serving as a useful resource for contemplating our past and considering our future as we head toward our 200th anniversary.”

The website highlights the all-alumni honorary degree initiative for 2016. The site profiles all 15 recipients, who describe how their time at Queen’s influenced their lives and careers.

The website also features moments from Queen’s history, curated by a committee of faculty and staff, with submissions from the broader Queen’s community.

“The moments represent significant signposts in the university’s development, and are not intended to represent an exhaustive history of the university,” says Mike Blair, Sc’17, 175th coordinator, who led the curation process.

University Historian Duncan McDowall conducted extensive research for most of the moments, and many campus community members offered feedback and insight. Queen’s University Archives played an integral role supporting Dr. McDowall’s work by sharing its vast holdings to illustrate the moments. University Marketing work study student Madison Pincombe, Artsci’17, helped to coordinate the image and video content for the moments.

Other features include:

  • Videos related to the 175th anniversary
  • Links to Gazette stories about 175th anniversary related initiatives
  • The #queensu175 Twitter feed
  • A feed of 175th anniversary related events drawn from the Queen’s events calendar

Questions or feedback about the 175th anniversary and the website can be sent to qu175@queensu.ca

In search of Professor Campbell

Peter Colin Campbell was the first professor to be appointed to Queen’s. In 1840, he accepted a post as professor of classical literature.

Together with Principal Liddell, the Reverend Professor Campbell, a Presbyterian minister, taught the very first classes of the new college, beginning in March 1842.

His name is in the royal charter as one of the founders of Queen’s College.

Treasures and tales

The Queen’s University Archives and the Agnes Etherington Art Centre are celebrated Queen’s 175th anniversary with a special exhibition, “Treasures and Tales: Queen’s Early Collections,” featuring significant works of art and archival objects from the university’s early collections.

The “Treasures and Tales” exhibition was on view in the Historical Feature Gallery of the Agnes until Dec. 4. You can learn more about the history of featured objects in the exhibition archived online: see agnes.queensu.ca.

The Queen's royal charter

Ask half a dozen current students why Queen’s celebrates University Day and, after a few blank stares, you’ll likely receive six different answers. Of those, it’s a pretty safe bet that none will include the words “royal charter.”

(Hint to our readers: University Day, October 16, marks the date in 1841 when Queen’s College at Kingston was incorporated by a royal charter issued by Queen Victoria.)

From the principal: Marking our 175th

I recently had the pleasure of meeting an alumna named Sheila Moll, Arts’67, who turns out to be the great-granddaughter of the Rev. William Snodgrass, Queen’s sixth principal from 1864–1877. During his tenure, Queen’s College, as it then was, turned 25. It was a troubled time, financially, and the odds against the little school seeing 50, never mind 100, seemed pretty high. But Snodgrass’s principalship kept Queen’s afloat, admitted women as students, and helped stabilize the finances, all while fending off takeover bids from larger Ontario institutions.


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