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2024 First Edition Photobook Award

Group of four individuals holding books
Award recipients and their books at the opening reception and awards celebration. Image courtesy of Artspace TMU gallery.

We are thrilled to announce the 2024 winners for the First Edition Photobook Award!

The TMU Libraries First Edition Photobook Award was instituted in 2015 by Special Collections Librarian Alison Skyrme and Image Arts Instructor Christopher Manson. As part of MPS507 – The Photographic Book, 3rd year Image Arts students conceive of, and produce photobooks during the course, based on their photography. The course concludes with a group show of the books at TMU Artspace gallery.

Each year, TMU Libraries purchases the First Edition Award winning books from the students, catalogues them, and houses them in Special Collections. The winning books are selected by a jury panel using design, sequencing, and integration of images and text as the main evaluation criteria.

The First Edition Photobook Award is generously sponsored by the Photographic Historical Society of Canada.

First Edition Photobook Award Recipients

Pink book cover with the title FRISSON!

Sai Bagni, Frisson! A universe built from my observations of my online youth. It is a coming-of-age that exists in pixels and code. Frisson: a word of French origin that describes a feeling of fear or excitement that precedes the anticipation of something that’s about to happen. It denotes the act of waiting and anticipating for something that stands out amongst the banality of everyday life.

Madison Chow, Works of the Flesh. A collection of Polaroids and long exposure imagery that explores the body, created with the intention to speak to experiences of sexualization in the church. Paired with handwritten text, the images create a biblical narrative, using its symbolism to confront and heal from religious trauma.

Dark red book cover with the title Works of the Flesh
Newsprint with an image of a metal paper airplane and the text HAUTE COUTURE

Max Grueninger, HAUTE COUTURE. By reimagining the purpose of each image and subtly weaving fashion elements into the narrative, the visuals aim to inspire a new generation to see the term haute couture as not merely clothing but as a dynamic, evolving concept that can transform and elevate the ordinary into the extraordinary.

Alejandra Harrison, Murder at Monochrome Manor. Inspired by the classic board game Clue and visual styling of film noir Murder at Monochrome Manor explores the limitations of photography in data collection and the power of individual understanding. Offering minimal context to enhance the interactive element, this work invites viewers to take on the role of investigator by examining the images for clues and piece the mystery together to find a solution they interpret.

Black book cover with the outline of a file folder
Grey marble book cover with stains from cups

Sophia Markelj, Generational Flavours. Explores the intimate connection between food, family traditions, and cultural heritage. Using passed-down dishware, tablecloths and cutlery, I explore a gift my grandmother gave me before she passed. Motivated by the notes she left me, these images become not merely representations of dishes, but visual tributes to the love and stories passed down through generations.

Joon-Young Lee, Nicotine, Glass & Fabrics. A photographic love letter to 3 friends who have been apart of my entire career as a photographer. The book recontextualizes each image to reflect on the memories and relationship built from them, paried with transcripts from my conversations with each friend.

Book cover with hands making the shape of a heart over cigarettes
Book cover with an image taken inside the front of an airplane

Christie Xu, A Place On Earth. In the summer of 2023 my partner and I plotted out our longest cross-country flight after a failed attempt last winter break. “A Place On Earth“ documented our trip from Albany, New York to visit Purdue University in Lafayette, Indiana where he started his flight training, just in time for our friend’s graduation. After that, we head South to Huston, Texas before turning back to New York via Louisiana, Tennessee and Ohio. This book includes polaroids and 35mm film during flying.

2024 Jury Panel

This year we were fortunate to have a judges panel that included Kristen Adlhoch, Holly Forsythe Paul, Jennifer Park and Rahim Perez-Anderson.

Kristen Adlhoch holds a BFA in Photography from Toronto Metropolitan University, and an MLit and PhD in the History of Photography from the University of St Andrews, Scotland. She is currently a Part-Time Lecturer and the Student and Partner Outreach Coordinator for the Film and Photography Preservation and Collections Management MA program at TMU.

Holly Forsythe Paul is a rare book librarian who received her M.I. from the University of Toronto in 2021. Prior to her studies in librarianship, Holly taught English literature and writing at University of Toronto for over a decade. She is currently the Special Collections Librarian at TMU Libraries and teaches Conservation & Preservation of Recorded Information at the University of Toronto’s Faculty of Information.

Jennifer Park is the Art Preparator at The Image Centre at Toronto Metropolitan University. She is also a Co-Coordinator of the IMC’s Art Handing Apprenticeship Program which offers training to BIPOC who are in the early stages of their career in museum work.

Rahim Perez-Anderson is a Black visual storyteller, working out of Tkaronto/Toronto. Intrigued by human experience and the observation of life, Rahim specializes in self-portraiture and documentary photography, exploring his lived experiences within and around topics of identity, race, and selfhood.

Related articles

First Edition Photobook Show (TMU Artspace Gallery)

First Edition Photobook Show highlights TMU image arts students (The Eyeopener)

1890s Little Magazines: Yellow Nineties 2.0

Do you know the Yellow Nineties 2.0 database? It is an open-access resource dedicated to the study of eight late-Victorian “little magazines” produced between 1889 and 1905. The brief period is known as the “Yellow Nineties” after The Yellow Book, a controversial quarterly publication that embodied the “decadent” culture of the fin de siècle.

Toronto Metropolitan University professor Lorraine Janzen Kooistra spearheaded the Yellow Nineties 2.0 website, a digitization project that has evolved into a world-class online database composed of searchable editions of each publication, a database of textual ornaments found in the issues, peer-reviewed essays on the “little magazine” contributors and much more research on the period and the people who produced these works. The scholarly site is dedicated to the study of The Yellow Book, The Dial, The Pagan Review, The Evergreen, The Savoy, The Pageant, The Green Sheaf and The Venture. Many of the physical publications held at Toronto Metropolitan University Libraries Special Collections were digitized to create online versions for the database.

To celebrate the Yellow Nineties 2.0’s completion, TMU’s Special Collections is hosting an exhibition until the end of April 2024 showcasing the Victorian “little magazines” in our holdings.

Over the years, the “little magazines” held in Special Collections alongside the Yellow Nineties 2.0 database have facilitated interactive student workshops and research creation through TMU’s English department among other partnerships on campus. Explore the Y90s Classroom website to learn more about the research and exhibitions created using these collections.

Student have shared their initial reactions after being introduced to the Yellow Nineties 2.0 and the physical copies held at TMU Special Collections below:

What a treat to hold a piece of art and literary history in your hands! Interacting with the collection online and in person is like night and day – they complement each other. While the online collection is wonderful for facilitating remote research, these magazines truly are art objects and must be appreciated in their proper, corporeal form. Nothing can compare to the opportunity to interact with the item itself. It’s a tremendous privilege to reach into the past and touch the same pages that were lovingly designed, printed, and bound, by literature lovers of the past. While there are no time-machines at TMU, historical literary collections are the next best thing.

Cameron Wheeler, TMU English Department Student

History preserved in time—a glimpse at the lives and creative pursuits of those who lived over a century before us.

It was very interesting to me that quite a large amount of the pages in some of the magazines were white, compared to present-day magazines which cover every single empty space with something. This really allows the reader to focus their attention on the sole thing that the page is presenting to them, whether it be a short story, a poem or a piece of art.

Erik Tahiliani, TMU English Department Student
page from The Evergreen with a poem titled Love Shall Stay
Love Shall Stay by Margaret Armour from The Evergreen, Autumn 1895

To view the current exhibition 1890s Little Magazines: Art for Art’s Sake in Print , visit us on the 4th floor of the TMU Libraries Building. The current exhibition, available until April 30th 2024, features several of the “Little Magazines” held at TMU Special Collections, including The Dial, The Yellow Book, The Evergreen, The Savoy, The Pageant and The Venture.

1890s Little Magazines: Art for Art’s Sake in Print

by Holly Forsythe Paul

After the great success of the Kelmscott Press under the direction of William Morris (1834-1896), artists and bookmakers recognized that there was a niche audience willing to buy expensive books with daring or progressive subject matter as long as they were beautiful. 


This change in the notion of the reading public, its taste and, particularly, its morality, liberated artists to make increasingly exotic books and periodicals. The ‘little magazines’ of the 1890s sprang up in this context. Beautifully designed and illustrated, they embody a different set of values from those we associate with Victorian orthodoxy: celebrating gendered, sexual, regional, or social alternatives.

Printing changed in the 1890s, starting with the Pre Raphaelite concept of total book design, and the Arts & Crafts return to artisanal craftsmanship. High-quality volumes could be sold for very high prices and no longer needed a mass audience in order to become financially viable productions. First-rate artists were drawn from the canvas to the page as technological developments gave them more control and the development of a niche, connoisseur audience gave them more thematic flexibility. The “Little Magazines” of the 1890s are among the most prized results: an outburst of sophisticated, beautiful publications by the most talented, avant-garde artists of the Aesthetic Movement.

The current exhibition, available until April 30th 2024, features several of the “Little Magazines” held at TMU Special Collections, including The Dial, The Yellow Book, The Evergreen, The Savoy, The Pageant and The Venture.

The Dial: An Occasional Publication (5 issues, 1889-1897)

Produced by joint editors Charles Ricketts (1866-1931) and Charles Shannon, The Dial featured art and literature, much of it produced by a core bohemian circle who congregated at Ricketts and Shannon’s home. Unlike most Art Nouveau magazines, The Dial prominently features wood engraving and lithography, illustrative techniques in which the artist controls the means of production. Although only five issues were produced by a small group of artists for a niche audience. the artisanal integrity and harmonious design of The Dial had a major impact, influencing a revival in wood engraving and leading to Ricketts’s founding of The Vale Press (1896-1904).

The Yellow Book: An Illustrated Quarterly (13 issues, 1894-1897)


The Yellow Book embodies the “decadent” culture of the fin de siècle. Aubrey Beardsley (1872-1898) proposed a quarterly that would focus equally on art and literature to the publisher John Lane (1854-1925) with Beardsley as art editor & principal artist while Henry Harland (1861-1905) acted as literary editor. Taking the colour yellow as a nod to risqué Continental literature and producing grotesque and suggestive images designed to shock the uninitiated, Beardsley courted controversy and found it. Fearful of Beardsley’s association with Oscar Wilde (1854-1900) when the latter was arrested for “gross indecency,” Lane fired Beardsley. The change from daring to conservative content that starts with the fifth issue highlights Beardsley’s impact on the early volumes.

The Evergreen (4 issues, 1895-1896/7)

Reflecting the diverse concerns of its polymath sponsor, Patrick Geddes (1854-1932), The Evergreen blends interests in ecology and urban renewal with a celebration of the Scottish Renascence and the Celtic revival. 


These conservationist & post-colonial priorities are manifest in the periodical’s appearance, particularly its type. The Evergreen was printed by Edinburgh’s foremost arts-and-crafts printer, Walter Blaikie (1848-1928), and deliberately revives Celtic art in its ornaments. Copies bearing the coloured leather bindings designed by Charles Mackie (1862-1920), with a stylized tree on the upper cover, are especially prized.

The Savoy (8 volumes, 1896)

When Aubrey Beardsley was fired from his role editing The Yellow Book, Leonard Smithers (1861-1907) seized the opportunity to enlist the talented artist. Like The Yellow Book, The Savoy combined art and literature, and adopted the format of the book, with stiff board covers, high-quality paper, and fine illustrations. In its pages, we can trace Beardsley’s departure from the influence of Japanese woodcuts to the rococo style of 18th-century France, with much more fine detail and texture. After two quarterly issues, Smithers retooled The Savoy as a monthly magazine, changing its format, streamlining the contents, and lowering the price. Although it ultimately failed to find an audience, it is a remarkable attempt to extend avant-garde art to a wider public.

The Pageant (2 volumes, 1896 & 1897)

Edited by Charles Shannon (1863-1937) and Gleeson White (1851-1898), The Pageant connects the little magazines to the earlier genre of the Christmas Annual. Like the Ladies’ Annuals that had been a dominant genre in the book market in the 1830s, The Pageant offered reproductions of famous works of art in print. Unlike its predecessors, this avant-garde journal had a distinctly sophisticated & intellectual array of content, including art history, ancient myth, modern western culture, and decadent cosmopolitanism. In this respect, The Pageant connected the Aesthetic movement to a long tradition of European art.

The Venture: An Annual of Art and Literature (2 issues, 1903-1905)

The Venture was published by gallery owner John Baillie (1868-1926) and edited by Laurence Housman (1865-1959) and W. Somerset Maugham (1874-1965). Determined to make The Venture into a “book beautiful”, Baillie enlisted James J. Guthrie (1874-1952) to print the letterpress and wood engravings of the first volume and Bernard Newdigate (1869-1944) to print the letterpress for volume two in collaboration with specialists in etchings, line blocks, lithographs, and photogravures. 
The Venture is beautiful and notable for its high literary quality, but failed to find a large audience. As its title indicates, producing a high-brow annual was always imagined as a risk.

Cover of The Venture with a person using a bow and arrow

Paul Christie: A Life in the Theatre

By Toby Malone

A picture of Paul Christie, wearing a hat, and gazing into the camera with a smile.
Joseph Paul Christie
September 17, 1937 –  October 4, 2021

We can trace the origins of theatre programmes to the publicly-posted British playbills of the seventeenth century, which then evolved to personal souvenir printings in the late-nineteenth century. We defer to the Canadian spelling, although you might see the interchangeable American “programs,” or defaults to the brand name “Playbill,” but they all refer to the same tradition. These personal reference items are sometimes sold as lavish souvenirs but are most often given freely to theatre patrons as they take their seats, and can have multiple functions. Most practically, they are a guide to the on- and off-stage artists involved with that night’s entertainment, and might include notes from the director or guidance on casting changes. They are souvenirs, to be filed away or consulted, to be autographed or even framed. Toronto Star theatre critic Karen Fricker noted in an April 2023 article that these “bridges between the spectator and the theatrical experience” can even double as a diary of sorts. They are evidence of attendance, something to spark memory and reminiscence over the joy theatre can bring. Programmes can be as simple as a single photocopied sheet; they can be glossy, high-quality publications. Some feature photos, some barely feature the names of the artists. Some are as thick as a novella, some are no bigger than a napkin, while some are printed as an entire newspaper. For many, the physical programme is intrinsic to the theatre-going experience, and despite recent moves to replace physical programmes with digital, smartphone-centred equivalents, collectors cling tight to their physical mementoes.

The Playbill for West Side Story at the Winter Garden Theatre on October 14th, 1957.
2021.12.06.22: Paul saw the Broadway premiere of West Side Story at the Winter Garden Theatre on October 14th, 1957.

On October 21, 2021, Joseph Paul Christie—Paul to his many friends—passed away peacefully at home. Paul lived a long and joyous life, from his youth in Toronto to adventures in London as a bookseller and a distinguished career as a court reporter with the Ministry of the Ontario Attorney General, but one of his many defining traits was his love of the arts. For the last thirty years of his life, Paul served as a front of house team member (to over-simplify, we might say ‘usher’) at theatres around Toronto, most notably the Elgin and Winter Garden Theatres. From this insider’s position, Paul saw as much theatre as he could. His theatregoing career stretched back to boyhood, and lasted until he literally could not see any more plays, as the COVID-19 pandemic closed theatres in the spring of 2020. After Paul’s passing, the Toronto Metropolitan University Archives and Special Collections were honoured to receive a gift commemorating a life in the theatre. In dozens of carefully curated binders, we were presented every programme (and ticket stub, and clipping, and souvenir postcard) that Paul Christie collected over the course of sixty-eight years, filed chronologically and with extensive annotation to create the Paul Christie Theatre Program Collection reflecting a lifetime in the arts.

  • A theatre programme with a blue cover, signed the artist.
  • A blue program for a concert with a picture of Licia Albanese in the centre.
  • A blue program for a concert with a newspaper clipping picture of Licia Albanese and another person stapled to it.
  • A white card invitation with information about Lucia Albanese's testimonial dinner.
  • A clipping commemorating the testimonial dinner including a newspaper clipping.
  • A white program with a picture of Licia Albanese, for an event at the Eaton Auditorum.

As a former theatre professional and current contract member of the TMU libraries team, I was thrilled to have the opportunity to help with the description and cataloguing of the Paul Christie collection. This collection stretches from the sporadic souvenirs of a teenage boy, starting with an autographed 1952 programme for a piano concert by Lubka Kolessa at Etobicoke Community Concerts Association, one of two items that year. From these humble beginnings, it is clear Paul “caught the bug,” a theatregoing habit which peaked in 2012, in which he attended one hundred and fifty six performances, at a rate of three per week. A lover of opera, orchestral performance, theatre, and dance, Paul’s tastes were eclectic and adventurous. 

A blue program for the 40th anniversary season of Sheridan Theatre, featuring black doors in front of indistinct bodies. A white second page with information on the play 'Come From Away'.
2021.12.62.27 – A program for the original production of the soon-to-be-classic Canadian musical Come From Away by David Hein and Irene Sankoff, presented by Theatre Sheridan at the Panasonic Theatre on March 18, 2013.

His collection spans the rise and fall of many of Toronto’s most legendary theatres, including the Crest Theatre, Theatre in the Dell, Centre Stage, and Melody Fair. He attended the first ever production at the O’Keefe Centre—Camelot featuring Julie Andrews and Richard Burton in 1960—and remained a patron of that venue as it evolved from the Hummingbird Centre to the Sony Centre to Meridian Hall. Paul’s theatregoing spanned the birth of Theatre Passe Muraille, the Factory Theatre, Soulpepper, and Buddies in Bad Times. He was a champion of the Toronto Fringe, and often attended a dozen shows in a single week to support new and emerging artists, evidenced by the intricate and specific notes he jotted in the margins. Paul was there when TIFF was still called the Festival of Festivals. He had his finger on the pulse of the next big thing: he saw world premieres of Hosanna at Tarragon, Kim’s Convenience at the Fringe and Come From Away at Sheridan College, all destined to become Canadian classics.

Paul briefly dabbled in the theatre himself, and several of his souvenir programmes note his involvement as playwright and actor with the Dickens Fellowship of Toronto. He played Herbert Pocket in his own adaptation of Great Expectations entitled The Benefactor, and later took on A Midsummer Night’s Dream’s Bottom in the Shakespeare Society of Toronto’s 1960 Twelfth Night Revels cabaret. While it was clear that the theatre was a crucial element in Paul’s life, he eventually left the stage to the professionals, and settled into his greatest role: audience member.

  • A white program for a play called 'The Benefactor' at the Dickens Fellowship Players, featuring information about the production.
  • A telegram with a bright banner header and the message: "MR PAUL CHRISTIE "CAST" OF GREAT EXPECTATIONS= HARTHOUSE THEATRE UNIVERSITY OF TORONTO TOR= GOOD LUCK TO YOU BLANCH ERNIE AND EVERYONE= RITA AND ALAN=(
  • A white program for a play called 'The Benefactor' at the Dickens Fellowship Players, featuring information about the production.

Paul was a globetrotting theatregoer, with almost annual trips to New York City to enjoy what Broadway had to offer. He saw the original production of West Side Story three times (and kept three programmes as proof), saw Barbra Streisand’s breakout role in Funny Girl, and was there for the rise of the megamusicals in the 1980’s (Cats, Phantom, and Les Mis were regular repeat watches). Paul’s time in London afforded him opportunities to soak up British theatre, which included works at the Royal Shakespeare Company, Theatre Royal Covent Garden, and the Royal Opera. He also took advantage of the proximity to the continent, taking in opera in Germany and Moliere in Paris. He travelled regularly around Canada, with theatre programmes marking stops in Vancouver, Charlottetown, Halifax, and, most often, Stratford and Niagara-on-the-Lake. The Shaw and Stratford Festivals held a place of great joy in Paul’s artistic pursuits, and he was a loyal patron for nearly seven decades.

  • A white programme for a play called The Firstborn at the Royal Alexandra Theatre, with a caricature of the theatre on the front.
  • An advertising clipping in dark blue with images of Katherine Cornell and Anthony Quayle and information about the show.
  • A newspaper clipping from The Firstborn, featuring commentary on the play and a cast photograph.
  • A newspaper clipping from The Firstborn, featuring a cast photograph.
  • A newspaper clipping from The Firstborn, featuring commentary on the play and a cast photograph.

The remarkable thing about the Paul Christie Theatre Programme collection lies not in the rarity of the items or the fame of its collector. Rather, it is a snapshot of a part of one man’s life that brought such great joy, in attending performances across an extraordinary range of genres.  To read through the collection of more than four thousand theatre items is to get to know Paul. As an Elgin and Winter Garden employee, he witnessed many hundreds of performances of all types at both theatres, from touring musicals to high school rentals to the Dora Mavor Moore Awards. He attended Christmas Eve services each year at Roy Thomson Hall with the Metropolitan Community Church of Toronto, and carefully filed those programmes alongside the theatre ones. He was a proud ally of Toronto’s 2SLGBTQ+ community, and was an avid supporter of queer-themed plays, cabarets, and fundraisers, especially through the dark days of the 1980s AIDS epidemic and beyond. In this, it was clear just how much Paul valued community and the power of the arts. Paul loved to rub shoulders with celebrities, and sought autographs from his favourite performers (including Maureen Stapleton, Gwen Verdon, Martin Short, and Paul’s favourite, Grant Tilly), who often left him with autographs which made clear how much his support was appreciated. 

  • A cream-coloured programme from a performance by Judy Garland at Kleinhans Music Hall, featuring information about the performance.
  • A magazine clipping entitled 'That's Entertainment' with information about the Judy Garland performance and a picture.
  • A newspaper clipping of Judy Garland, singing and wearing a suit.
  • A white document with a cartoon image of Judy Garland inside a circle with the words 'The Judy Garland Memorial Bowling League'.

Most incredibly, Paul used his theatre programme collection as a journal of sorts: each item is a treasure trove of annotations, opinions (where he would note his favourites in each show, and occasionally even those he did not care for), and clippings. From the earliest days in the collection, Paul collected newspaper articles and advertisements for the plays he had seen, and built intricate scrapbook pages to memorialise each performance. Sometimes he even returned to past entries to claim an autograph on a long-ago object or to supplement with new details. For the shows that did not offer a programme, Paul would make his own, on a napkin, or the back of an envelope.

  • A pink programme from a cabaret performance called Ridgeway's Late Joys, and which features signatures from various members of the cast.
  • A white programme from a musical called 'Bounce' with red lettering, and a silver autograph by actor Gavin Creel. Also includes a post-it note with information relating to the autograph.
  • Letter from Paul to the chair of Ryerson Theatre School, with opinions on the production.

In his latter years, Paul’s collecting intensified, and it is clear that live performance was an overriding preoccupation, particularly with the advent of cheap, convenient screenings of live opera, ballet and theatre in movie theatres. Even these movie ticket stubs, for events which usually do not provide a programme, were carefully annotated. Often, Paul would attend up to three or four films a week to see performances from the Metropolitan Opera, National Theatre of Great Britain, and Stratford Festival. Later entries even included developed photographs of the marquees and posters outside of theatres and cinemas, carefully placed to preserve a moment in time.

  • A hand-written note listing the cast members of a play.
  • A hand-written note listing the cast members of a play.
  • A black and white program with a signature in blue ink and a post-it note.

The final binders of Paul’s collection are heartbreaking in retrospect, because we know the world is about to change. In the first two months of 2020, Paul attended 21 performances, finishing with the National Ballet of Canada’s Romeo and Juliet at the Four Seasons Centre on March 12, 2020. After a lifetime of theatregoing, however, the COVID-19 pandemic abruptly shuttered the theatres and all at once closed the book on a lifetime in the audience. It is telling that Paul was so prolific until there were no more shows to see, and it must have been a devastating blow to lose this outlet. 

When Paul passed away in October 2021, his love of the theatre proved central to how he was remembered by his many friends and family. We are honoured to preserve his lifetime in the theatre at the TMU Archives and Special Collections. After several months cataloguing this incredible collection, I feel as though I knew him.

  • A picture of two dancers who portray Romeo and Juliet in front of the ballet's title, against a purple gradient background.
  • A ticket stub and two clippings from Romeo and Juliet.

Grant Collingwood Fonds

If you’re looking for photographs from the 1940s to 1990s taken in Ontario, there is a wonderful collection at the Archives and Special Collections waiting for you!

The Collingwood collection was donated to the Archives & Special Collections in 2021 by a relative of the photographer. The collection consists of 35 mm and  2 ¼ negatives, prints, and textual records. The volume of the collection is high and it is being processed and it will be added to our database. A part of the collection consists of  acetate based negatives suffering from vinegar syndrome. Vinegar syndrome is a term that refers to the odor of vinegar that is emitted due to hydrolysis of the acetate base of the negatives. The deteriorated negatives require special care and handling practices and due to their condition are not accessible for viewing in the reading room. The Archives and Special Collections is in the process of digitizing the deteriorated negatives before moving them to cold storage to increase accessibility to the collection. 

Harold Grant Collingwood was born on August 4, 1909, in Exeter, South Huron, Huron, Ontario and died at the age of 87 in May 1996. As an avid photographer, he photographed well-known jazz musicians, street views, buildings, events and venues. He was a commissioned photographer who took photographs for numerous companies namely the Mclean Hunter newsletter and Chatelaine magazine. In his portfolio, there are photographs depicting the office culture of the 40s to 90s in Canada. You will be able to find photographs of important events like the Eaton’s main store demolition and buildings like the old City Hall and the new City Hall. As a result of the variety of subjects that Collingwood photographed, this collection can be used for researchers who are interested in Toronto street views, events and even fashion between the years 1940 and 1990. Additionally, since Collingwood was commissioned to photograph events for companies and businesses, it can also be an excellent resource for researching the existing industries and businesses in Canada during that time period. 

Drop by the Archives and Special Collections Department on the 4th floor of the library to see the current exhibition of the Collingwood collection. If you are interested in learning more about this collection you can check our database.

Kodak Canada Archives at The 2023 Scotiabank CONTACT Photography Festival 

Photographs from TMU Libraries’ Special Collections are currently on view at Mount Dennis Library as part of Robert Burley’s exhibition The Last Day of Work. The CONTACT Photography Festival exhibit includes historical records from the Kodak Canada Corporate Archives and Heritage Collection, including a 2004 letter announcing the closure of Kodak Heights, the company’s former manufacturing plant in Toronto’s Mount Dennis neighbourhood. The 48-acre lot was the home of Kodak Canada from 1912 until its closure in 2005.

At this time, we are looking to expand our collection of oral history recordings of past employees. If you are a former Kodak Heights employee or family member with ties to Kodak Canada and are interested in participating, please email us at asc@torontomu.ca.

  • A collage of photographs of employees from Kodak's sheet film department
  • Hot air balloon with red, yellow and blue stripes with the Kodak logo
  • Group of individuals from Kodak's Business Imaging Systems (B.I.S.) team holding a banner that says "B.I.S. Delivers Quality"

The Kodak Canada Archives has extensive photographs, publications, and memorabilia related to employees and corporate life at Kodak. Here are some highlights, including a 16mm film about the history of Kodak Canada, pages from a scrapbook with postcards and photographs taken during employee baby showers and retirement parties, and a souvenir brochure used in tours of the Kodak Heights’ facilities.

Excerpt from 2005.001.01.2.003 “The Kodak Album” 16mm promotional film about Kodak Canada.

To learn more about Kodak’s history in Toronto, visit the online exhibition Kodak Canada: The Early Years (1899-1939) by TMU’s Film + Photography Preservation and Collections Management program .

Fraggle Rock in Special Collections

Three fraggles hanging out.
2012.005.02.055                                    
Images from the set of Fraggle Rock, 1983-1987
by Robert Hackborn

This week the nostalgia machine has churned out never before seen images of everyone’s favourite puppet cartoon show, Fraggle Rock! Yes, you heard that right, Muppets.

Green Fraggle puppet perched on a rock.
2012.005.02.055
Image from the Fraggle Rock set, 1983-1987
by Robert Hackborn

Our collection includes nearly 600, full colour vintage negatives of everything from the backdrop, to the set, props, and of course the stars of the show; otherwise known as the supreme rulers of the universe, the Gorgs! Oh, and some Fraggles and Doozers as well. You can also see the amazing production team behind our beloved creatures, but rest assured the magic is still there once the illusion is shattered.

The three members of the grog family engaged in dialogue in the forest
2012.005.02.055                              
Image from the set of Fraggle Rock, 1983- 1987
by Robert Hackborn

 These images provide a once in a unique intimate opportunity to see the innerworkings of how the internationally acclaimed TV show was produced.  The collection was graciously donated by the Canadian production designer Robert Arthur Hackborn who workers for the CBC. His work as a set designer and a film director have greatly influenced the trajectory of the creative vision of multiple productions, not just Fraggle Rock. Make sure to check out the rest of his donated works of audio visual, photography, published materials, textual records, objects, and graphic materials!

 

Archives A to Z 2022 Week 1

We’re joining the Archives of Ontario in their #ArchivesAtoZ month-long campaign. The aim is to increase the public’s awareness of archives and their collections. We’ll be sharing four blog posts throughout the month showcasing items from our holdings and demystifying archival concepts related to each letter of the alphabet.

  • April 4: A to F
  • April 11: G to M
  • April 18: N to S
  • April 25: T to Z

Artifacts (oversized!)

Archives and Special Collections often go beyond papers, books, and photographs in their collections. Many will have objects and artifacts as well. Our Archives and Special Collections is home to a robust collection of artifacts in all shapes and sizes, including many oversized and heavy ones that make storage tricky. Here are a few examples from the collections. (tap on the photographs to learn more about the objects)

Books

Our collection contains a large variety of published materials including books and journals. The Archives previously collected the published works of faculty. Special Collections houses rare books with a photographic focus, children’s books and History of Toronto books. They also have a large collection of photography related journals. Unlike the rest of the library – these books are not out on open shelving for viewing – they need to be pulled by Archives and Special Collections staff, and they are not available to take home. The books can be searched using the library catalogue and narrowing the location to either Archives or Special Collections

books on shelves
Books and catalogues on the shelves in Archives and Special Collections.

Campus Maps

Campus maps are an important part of our collection. They show the evolution and growth of the campus starting with its creation in 1948. They highlight not just the growth of the campus, but also show movement within the campus by the programs and schools that make up the University. For example the School of Architecture is currently located at 325 Church Street. But in the 1960s it was located at 44 Gerrard Street (former School of Performance building), in the early 1970’s it was housed at in the City Hall annex building at 465 Bay Street and after a fire in that building Architecture was housed at 720 King St. (near Bathurst).

Doozers

The Doozers, a favourite of the Archives and Special Collections staff, were part of the Jim Henson Television show “Fraggle Rock”. These tiny creatures were forever building structures only to have them eaten by the Fraggles. The photograph and the book are part of the Robert Hackborn Fonds. This collection contains extensive documentation of the creative processes for television show including on-set images, sketches of set designs and correspondence. Robert Hackborn was a Canadian set designer and art director. He started working at the CBC in 1955 as a scenic paint artist and later progressed to the Set Design Department where he would produce versatile special visual effects incorporated in years of Canadian film and television programming. (Tap on the photographs to learn more about the records)

Exhibition publications

Special Collections has a selection of pamphlets, press releases and publications for exhibitions in museums, galleries, festivals and universities across Canada, the United States and abroad. The collections is continuously growing, but the original acquisition was donated by Alison Nordström, the Curator of Photographs at George Eastman House International Museum of Photography and Film, who collected the material between 1986 and 2011.

Frank Sommers interviews

The Frank G. Sommers Fonds contains text and audio records of interviews he conducted with European and Canadian film directors Marianne Ahrne, Walerian Browczyk, Bert Haanstra, Claude Jutra, Ettore Scola, and Alain Tanner between 1978 and 1979. The goals of the interviews were to review converging trends in international cinema through director’s perspectives and gain a deeper understanding of the works.

Promotional material accompanying the Ettore Scola interview (2018.019.05)

Next week we’ll highlight items and archival concepts for the letters G to M!

Celebrating Black History with Photography Books & Catalogues

Special Collections has a variety of books related to the history, production and exhibition of photography. In honour of Black History Month, we are featuring exhibition catalogues and books centering Black photographers, artists and curators. Although this is a small sample from the collection, all of these works highlight the importance of self-documentation in photography as a way to celebrate communities and counter the historical misrepresentation of Black people.

In the 1948 book “Camera Portraits : the techniques and principles of documentary portraiture” Gordon Parks shares insight into how he photographed 40 individuals with his unique style of photography. He recounts his interactions with the subjects and analyses his overall approach to the portrait. Parks also includes valuable technical elements for each photograph, such as the camera model, exposure, film stock and light source.

Cover of the book Imagining Families: Images and Voices. Two photographs are shown, one depicts a while family with a young Black boy, the other is a similar portrait but heavily scratched out.

“Imagining Families : Images and Voices” is the catalogue for the 1994 inaugural exhibition at the National African American Museum at the Smithsonian Institute. It was shown at the Anacostia Community Museum, years before the Smithsonian established a permanent building for the National Museum of African American History and Culture in 2016. 

Deborah Willis and Claudine Brown curated the works of 15 artists who examine roles played within families and communities. The catalogue recounts how the exhibition was created when the Smithsonian was contemplating the need for a dedicated museum to preserve African American history. They were unsure if they would receive enough donations to build a museum collection and some believed that African American material culture was already preserved in other museum branches.

The exhibition served as an inspiration for underrepresented communities to self-document their stories and validated personal narratives as a key part of history.

Front book cover with the title "A Portland Family album: Self-portrait of African American Community" with a black and white photograph depicting two Black women in front of a house

The 1995 exhibition “A Portland Family Album : self-portrait of an African-American community.” was developed using archival photographs. The images were donated by several local families and new prints were created for exhibition purposes. The works were shown at Blue Sky Gallery in Portland.

Cover of book with the text "Contact Sheet" and "Embracing Eatonville". The cover has a black and white image of a house with a large tree in front.

The 2003-2004 exhibition “Embracing Eatonville : a photographic survey” presented works by Dawoud Bey, Lonnie Graham, Carrie Mae Weems and Deborah Willis. Eatonville, Florida is one of the oldest Black towns to be incorporated in the United States. In 2002, the four artists were tasked to capture the spirit of this historical city through documentary photography. Each photographer brought their unique approach to this exhibition to provide a snapshot of the community and its landscape. The exhibition was shown at Light Work in New York and the Robert B. Menschel Media Center in Eatonville.

Special Collections books can be searched through the Library’s catalogue. The Library also has access to fantastic documentaries on the topic, including Through a Lens Darkly which is based on the book “Reflections in Black : a history of Black photographers, 1840 to the present” by Deborah Willis. The documentary explores the significance of family photo albums and examines the depiction of Black subjects throughout history.

Our book collection is constantly growing! Keep an eye for the announcement of the winners of this year’s First Edition Book Award.

Winter in the Collections

Love it or hate it – snow in the winter is inevitable in most of Canada. Going along with this theme – let’s take a look at some images and items from the collections showcasing winter and snow. So put on a warm sweater and pour yourself a mug of something hot and take a look.

This beautiful scene is a painting done on plexiglass, which was then mounted in a wooden frame. We have back lit it for this image to give you an idea of what they might have done when using it for filming. It is from the Robert Hackborn collection. Robert Hackborn had a long and important career in the design and production of sets and special visual effects for television – working on shows like Mr. Roger’s Neighbourhood, Mr. Dressup and Fraggle Rock.

“A Christmas Fantasy”
2012.005.05.12

These five images below of the University Campus in winter (RG 395.121.01.216) were taken by then staff photograph Dave Upham. The photographs taken between 1992-1999 were used in campus publications like the now defunct Forum newsletter. They are part of a larger collection of images used by the University for promotional purposes and news stories.

The next two images are part of the Lorne Shields Historical Photograph collection. The collection consists studio portraits, cabinet cards, photograph albums, dageurreotypes, tin types and other photographic formats donated to Special Collections in 2008 by Lorne Shields.

Portrait of a child in winter coat with snowshoes (2008.001.1408)
Notman Winter Scenes (2008.001.919)

For many years the University had a winter carnival sponsored by the Students’ Union. It had many different activities such as ice carving, a broom ball tournament on Lake Devo, various food eating contests, concerts, pub nights, and skiing day trips.

Calendar of Events from the 1979 Winter Carnival (RG 79.009)
“Stopped Cold? – Broomball games on the ice rink on Devonian Square were part of the winter festival activities in January” Forum Newsletter January 31, 1992 (RG 76.14.438)

Lastly lets take a look at some Kodak advertising around winter and Christmas. The Kodak Canada collection contains records and artifacts from the Kodak Heights manufacturing facility in Toronto, as well as the historical collection belonging to the Kodak Heritage Collection Museum.

“Kodak Welcomes Winter” (2005.001.03.2.001.01.162), Kodak Canada Ad Ledger, 1922-1923
“For so many lucky ones…this is sure to be a Ciné-Kodak Christmas” (2005.001.03.2.001.07.172), Kodak Canada Ad Ledger 1936-1937
“Give a Kodak” (2005.001.03.2.001.07.102), Kodak Canada Ad Ledger 1936-1937