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From the editor: On archival treasures

From the editor: On archival treasures

Our public health issue benefitted greatly from the resources of the Queen's University Archives, Stauffer Library, and the Museum of Health Care at Kingston.

[photo of Andrea Gunn]

I’m a frequent visitor to the Queen’s University Archives (QUA) for my work, hunting down photographs and fact-checking primary resources for stories. For this issue, I visited the QUA to acquire a copy of a photo of a hospital influenza ward for our story on the 1918 Spanish flu pandemic in Kingston. And from the comfort of my office, I read through old copies of the Queen’s Journal from 1918 to 1919. The QUA has digitized the first 100 years of the Journal, going back to 1873.

In the fall of 1918, the Journal began reporting on members of the Queen’s community affected by the pandemic. Some of these were cheery updates, like the November 1918 note that student Joe Stauffer was recovering from the flu in Kingston General Hospital. Others were grim, reporting on deaths of both students and alumni. J.J. “Jock” Harty, MD 1897, was among those mourned; in February 1919, the Journal reported that the prominent Queen’s grad and sportsman had succumbed to the Spanish influenza in England. In his memory, his Queen’s friends raised the funds for the Jock Harty arena, which opened in 1922.

I also visited Stauffer Library (named for Joseph Stauffer, BSc 1920) to read old copies of the Daily British Whig on microfilm. And thank goodness for technology advances! I was able to save newspaper articles and ads concerning the Spanish flu at both the library and the archives as high-resolution JPG files.

This public health issue also benefitted from historic research done through the Museum of Health Care at Kingston. The museum offers the annual Margaret Angus Research Fellowship to enable university students or recent grads to explore the history of health and health care. Thanks to the museum for allowing me to excerpt the research report of last year’s fellow, Andrew Belyea.

There’s some good news for our readers interested in doing genealogical research. The QUA has digitized the first student registers from Queen’s College/University, going back to 1842. These registers were used up to 1907, at which time individual student cards were used. Learn more at archives.queensu.ca/search-our-collections/university-records/student-registers.

QUA staff and I hope that in the future, given enough time and resources, we can also digitize the Queen’s Alumni Review and make older issues available online. (The last seven issues of the magazine are already available through our app. And PDF versions going back to 2009 are available on our website. But the Review goes back to 1927!

As always, please contact me anytime (by phone, email, or regular mail) with your comments about the magazine and your “Keeping in touch” submissions. And please get a flu shot!

Andrea Gunn, Editor
613-533-6000 ext. 77016

Plastic wrap and the environment

Some readers get their Review sealed in plastic wrap, either to include magazine inserts or because of international mailing requirements. The plastic wrap we use is both recyclable and biodegradable. Online and app versions of the magazine are available for readers who want to help us reduce our carbon footprint. Learn more: queensu.ca/yourmagazine.

[illustration for 'the public health' issue of the Queen's Alumni Review]