Archives, Queen's University

[photo of Adelaide Hall]

Queen's Archives preserves the historical records of the University and provides records management services to University departments, as well as preserving a wide variety of non-university historical records and manuscripts for use by researchers.

The archival holdings are a rich resource of national, provincial, and regional significance, supporting teaching, research and outreach at Queen's University and beyond.

A long archival tradition exists at the University, with the first archival document being presented to Queen's in 1869. At first, archival collections were held in the University Library. In 1960, the first Archivist was appointed. By 1981, through the generosity of Kathleen Ryan and the Queen's Quest, the New Medical Building (now Kathleen Ryan Hall), built in 1907, was renovated and made available for Queen's Archives.

The facilities include a spacious reading room for consultation and research, a modern conservation lab, an archival records processing area and large climate-controlled storage vaults. The Archives collections and fonds are described in a searchable database on the Archives website.

The holdings fall into six main areas:

  • the records of the university
  • public affairs
  • business records
  • fine arts
  • Canadian literary papers
  • regional collections

The University collection includes the historical records of the University administration, academic calendars, faculty papers, and University publications including all Queens' Theses, the Tricolour Yearbook, and the Queen's Journal from the first issue of 1873. These records document campus history and student life in all types of media, such as photographs, textual records, letters, scrapbooks, diaries, sound and moving image recordings, and architectural drawings.

The public affairs collections include the papers of Governor General John Buchan, Sir Joseph Flavelle, Charles Dunning, Norman Rogers, Grant Dexter, C.G Power, Tom Kent, Hugh Segal, the Liberal and New Democratic Parties of Ontario, and microfilm copies of prime ministerial papers up to John Diefenbaker.

Business collections include the Canadian Steamship Lines and the McLaughlin Carriage Company, the forerunner to General Motors. The literary collection includes the papers of Lorne Pierce (editor of the Ryerson Press from 1920 to 1960), George Woodcock, Al Purdy, Helen Humphreys, Dorothy Livesay, and many other writers, plus the records of Oberon and Quarry Press. The regional collection includes numerous records and papers of local families going back to Loyalist times.

The Queen's Archives also houses many of the historical records of the old City of Kingston and Frontenac County, and holds land registry copybooks for Frontenac and Leeds and Grenville counties.

Learn more about Queen's Archives...