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From Hospital hallways to Campus classrooms: the 50th anniversary of amalgamation, part 2

In 1973 the face of nursing education would change in Ontario with the move of Hospital Schools of Nursing into collegiate settings. In celebration of the 50th anniversary of the amalgamation of the Ryerson School of Nursing (now the Daphne Cockwell School of Nursing – DCSN) with the nursing schools from the Hospital for Sick Children, Women’s College Hospital, and The Wellesley Hospital, The TMU Archives, The Wellesley Hospital School of Nursing Alumnae Association (WHSNAA) and The DSCN partnered to create an anniversary exhibition. The physical display, housed in the DCSN administrative offices, features artifacts and photographs that give you a window into the history of the Wellesley Hospital School of Nursing, the WHSNAA, and the DSCN. The online component of the exhibit, consisting of two blogs, will take an in-depth look at the topics introduced in the physical exhibit.

This second blog looks at The Wellesley Hospital School of Nursing Alumnae Association, the Ryerson School of Nursing (1964-2007), Amalgamation: the end of hospital schools of nursing, the Last graduation(s), and the Daphne Cockwell School of Nursing (2008-2024). To view the first blog, visit https://library.torontomu.ca/asc/2024/05/from-hospital-hallways-to-campus-classrooms-the-50th-anniversary-of-amalgamation-part-1/

The Wellesley Hospital School of Nursing Alumnae Association

Wellesley Hospital Alumnae Association metal printing die (RG 946.01.01.06)

The Wellesley Hospital School of Nursing Alumnae Association, originally the Wellesley Hospital Alumnae Association (WHAA), was formed with the guidance of Director of Nursing Elisabeth Flaws in 1915 with the first graduating class of 10 nurses. Its purpose, according to the 1975 constitution, is the promotion of friendship amongst members, upholding the highest standards of the nursing profession, and assisting with nursing education.  Shortly after its formation the group became involved in volunteer work in support of Canada in the WWI. Graduates and students made medical dressings including “fluffs” (an iodoform infused cotton gauze roll with adhesive straps to cushion the wound) to send overseas. 

Final report from the Navy Knitters charity to all contributors to the cause (RG 946.01.03.01.76)

In 1926 after the death of Elisabeth Flaws, her brother started a scholarship in her name for Wellesley students. The Association oversaw this fund, as well as two others used to assist graduates in furthering their education and to aid current students. They also donated equipment to the hospital and participated in fundraising for the new 1947 wing of the hospital, donating furnishings to the cause. During WWII the Alumnae Association became an auxiliary Red Cross Unit. Members knitted goods, sewed ditty bags, mailed gift boxes to Wellesley Alumnae serving overseas, and supplied boxes of food, toys, and clothing for schools in England, a tradition that lasted until the 1950s. By the end of WWII the association became more of a social organization.

Wellesley Hospital Alumnae Association report on nursery boxes sent to schools in England, 1949 (RG 946.01.03.02.77)

The WHSNAA continued its role of giving and supporting nursing education even after the hospital schools of Nursing were moved to the Ministry of Colleges & Universities in 1973. Two scholarships began being awarded to active members of the Association who wanted to continue their education at the university level. As of 1987 there were 6 awards handed out – the Elisabeth Flaws Memorial Scholarship, the Elsie K. Jones Scholarship, the A. Joyce Bailey Scholarship, the Elsie K. Jones LaVenture memorial bursary, the President’s Bursary, and the Mrs. Herbert A. Bruce Memorial award. Until the hospital closed in 1998, several scholarships and awards were also offered on a rotating basis to registered nurses employed at The Wellesley. The Alumnae Association established an endowment in 2007 for an undergraduate nursing award for students enrolled in the Daphne Cockwell School of Nursing. In 2011 The Wellesley Hospital School of Nursing Alumnae Association gifted its archival collection to the University Archives and established an endowment to support its ongoing care and conservation.

Selection of items from the Wellesley Hospital School of Nursing Alumnae Association collection. Included are uniforms, silver tea set, Limoges china, and portrait of long time Nursing School director Elsie. K. Jones.

In 2021 they funded The Wellesley Hospital School of Nursing Alumnae Association Forum through DCSN. The forum’s objective is the support of on-going learning, scholarship and professional practice of Faculty and students in the school by providing them with an outlet to highlight their work and research. The first forum was held virtually in December 2021 with Dr. Maher El-Masri as the first speaker.

Photo from the DCSN Wellesley Forum held September 27, 2022. From l-r: Daria Romaniuk, Associate Professor & Associate Director Collaborative Nursing degree program; Maher M. El-Masri, Director DCSN; Linda Cooper, Wellesley class of 1968 & Professor Emerita DCSN; Sue Williams, Wellesley class of 1970 & Professor Emerita DCSN. Photograph courtesy of the DSCN.

To learn more about The Alumnae Association visit this website https://www.torontomu.ca/nursing/undergraduate/student-resources/nursing-alumni-associations/

Ryerson School of Nursing (1964-2007)

The Ryerson School of Nursing started as an experiment. In 1963 “The Ryerson Project” was undertaken by the Registered Nurses Association of Ontario (RNAO), Ryerson Institute of Technology, and the Department of Education to develop a nursing program at Ryerson. The project proposed a five year trial period with the aim that similar courses would be offered at other colleges at the end. Provisional approval was given by the College of Nurses of Ontario and the 3 year diploma course started in the Fall of 1964 with 21 students.

A large classroom was converted into a nursing laboratory with 12 hospital beds and equipment for instruction and practice. Clinical experience was attained at the Doctor’s Hospital and the Queensway General Hospital. In 1968 one semester post-diploma courses began being offered. The first was Psychiatric Nursing (1968-1976), followed by Pediatric Nursing (Fall 1969-1976), and Intensive Care Nursing (Fall 1970-1997).

Story about first graduation from RIT nursing program. Ryerson Rambler magazine, summer 1968 (RG 151.01)

In 1971 The Ryerson Report “Learning to Nurse: The First Five Years of the Ryerson Nursing Program”, authored by Dr. Moyra Allen and Mary Reidy was published by the RNAO. The report looked at the first 5 years of the program, following students through their schooling, graduation, and into the workforce. Also in 1971, Ryerson was given degree granting status which led the School of Nursing to begin planning for a degree program. The amalgamation of hospital school’s of nursing in 1973 resulted in the introduction of a new consolidated curriculum being introduced in the Fall of 1974.

Learning to Nurse by Moyra Allen and Mary Reidy (RG 6.23)
Excerpt from 1974-1975 RPI Full Time Undergraduate course calendar (RG 184.001.001.001)

In Fall 1980, the first class of post-diploma graduate nurses were admitted into the new 2 year degree completion program – earning a Bachelor of Applied Arts – Nursing. The degree had three areas of specialization – psychiatric, medical-surgical, and pediatric and like its diploma predecessor, it was the first of its kind in Canada. In 1983 a part-time option was introduced through Continuing Education. Nursing courses were held at 8 off-campus locations – Scarborough, Newmarket, Mississauga, Toronto West, University Avenue, Durham, Kitchener-Waterloo, and Hamilton.

Student nurses taking notes on catheterization, 1973 (RG 122.10.39.01)
Student nurses looking at x-rays during hospital training (RG 122.10.39.02)

In 1985 a Critical Care Nursing certificate was introduced in partnership with Toronto General Hospital, and it was announced the Diploma program would be phased out – replaced by a 4 year degree. In 1987, in conjunction with Continuing Education, the School of Nursing began offering a certificate in Nursing Management. The program won an award of distinction from the Canadian Association of University Continuing Education. The first class in the new 4 year degree program started in the Fall of 1988 and the final class of diploma students graduated in 1989.

Student nurse working at a patient’s bedside, 1988 (RG 76.14.447)

Through the 1990’s the program continued to evolve. It achieved the highest level of accreditation for a Canadian Nursing School from the Canadian Association of University Schools of Nursing (CAUSN) in 1993. In 1994 the Bachelor of Applied Arts – Nursing was changed to Bachelor of Science – Nursing (BScN). In September 1995 Ryerson’s School of Nursing, along with 9 other universities, partnered with the Provincial Ministry of Health to offer a Nurse Practitioner programme. The course ran 12 months for registered nurses, and 24 months for diploma nurses and was fully funded by the Ministry for its first 5 years.

Special Announcement – CAUSN accreditation (RG 6.37)

The next major addition to the school was in 2001 when it was announced that, in collaboration with George Brown and Centennial Colleges, Ryerson would offer a 4-year collaborative nursing degree. This was the result of government legislation requiring that, as of 2005, a baccalaureate degree requirement for all nurses that wanted to become Registered Nurses. The new program had 3 points of enrollment – Ryerson, George Brown, and Centennial. Ryerson students would spend all four years on campus. George Brown and Centennial students would complete the first 2 years of the program on their campuses, last 2 years at Ryerson and all their practical requirements would be supervised by their College faculty.

Special Announcement – Collaborative Nursing degree program (RG 6.37)

In 2005 the Masters of Nursing degree was introduced and in 2006 a post-Master’s Primary Health Care Nurse Practitioner certificate, an intensive program to prepare nursing professionals to write the Canadian Nurse Practitioner Examination. In 2007 the post-degree programme changed its name to Post-diploma degree programme to allow admission of students from international bridging programmes at Centennial and George Brown Colleges.

Amalgamation: the end of hospital schools of nursing

There had been talk of and suggestions to move schools of nursing out of the hospitals since the early 20th century but it was not actualized until 1973. On January 11, 1973, a joint letter, accompanied by a booklet of guidelines for the transition, from the Minister of Health and the Minister of Colleges and Universities was sent to the Hospital Nursing Schools, Ryerson Polytechnical Institute (RPI) and the Colleges of Applied Arts and Technology (CAAT) in Ontario.  As a result, RPI’s school of nursing would amalgamate with the Women’s College Hospital’s, the Hospital for Sick Children’s and the Wellesley Hospital’s schools of nursing.

Joint letter announcing the move of hospital school’s of nursing into Colleges of Applied Arts and Technology (RG 6.30)

The guidelines for amalgamation mandated the establishment of transition task forces to plan the transition – with members representing all affected schools. The RPI taskforce established 3 main committees with each one addressing different parts of the amalgamation process that would see an additional 375 students, 75 faculty and 18 staff people being added into the RPI nursing program.

The Curriculum and Clinical facilities committee planned the continuity of the existing nursing programs for 1973-1975, and the planning of a new curricular model for the future program that included admission and clinical requirements.   The committee’s outcomes included the maintenance of the 4 separate campuses until the end of the 1974-1975 school year (where Ryerson would pay rent to the respective hospitals for the space) and the adoption of the current RPI diploma structure (6 semester program) be adopted as the basic model for future curricular changes.

Campus map showing the 4 campuses of the RPI Nursing program – Main Campus (RPI), the Gerrard Campus (Hospital for Sick Children), Grosvenor Campus (Women’s College Hospital) and the Wellesley Campus (Wellesley Hospital) (RG 6.30)

The Teacher Student affairs and Internal resources committee was divided into sub-committees because of the wide scope of their terms of reference. They included the student affairs, teacher affairs, internal resources and student services sub-committees. Some of the outcomes from these committees included: the design of a new uniform for 1975-1976 school year; the responsibility for securing housing fall to the students themselves; graduation planning being undertaken by RPI for the 1975 graduating year; the establishment of the hospital school of nursing department heads as assistant chairpersons in the RPI school for the 1973-1975 period; the transfer and relocation of the school of nursing libraries to RPI’s library by 1975; and the transfer of all student records to RPI’s student records department.

Invitation to carol tea hosted at the Wellesley Campus (RG 6.50)

The Administrative and Finance Committee was also divided into subcommittees. The finance and budget subcommittee looked at financial matters including budget estimates for funding and payroll. The organization subcommittee addressed organization and administrative structuring, support service requirements and space facilities. The personnel subcommittee looked at the transfer of personnel records to RPI’s HR department and other issues related to payroll, pensions, and benefits.

The final report was published in January 1974.

Front cover of final taskforce report (RG 6.30)

Quick facts about The Hospital for Sick Children and Women’s College Hospital Schools of Nursing

Hospital for Sick Children School of Nursing

The oldest school of the three, Sick Children’s Hospital, graduated its first “class” of nurses in 1888 – with one graduate, Josephine Hamilton, receiving her certificate. You can learn more about the Hospital for Sick Children’s School of Nursing Alumnae Association by visiting their website https://hscnursingalumnae.org/

Women’s College Hospital School of Nursing

Women’s College Hospital School of Nursing graduated its first class of 2 nurses in 1918. Their Alumnae Association disbanded in 2019. You can learn more about the school and the alumnae association in on online exhibit titled “Welcome to Our School – The history of the Women’s College Hospital School of Nursing as told by its students” https://www.communitystories.ca/v2/womens-college-nursing_ecole-infirmieres-womens-college/.

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The last graduation(s)

Article on Wellesley graduation 1973, last one to be held before the amalgamation of the nursing schools in Fall 1973. Story published in the “Wellesley World” magazine – a publication of the Wellesley Hospital, August 1973 (RG 946.02.02.03.02)

The last graduation ceremony organized by the individual hospitals was in 1974, with responsibility for the ceremony moving to Ryerson Polytechnical Institute for the 1975 ceremony.

Article authored by Charlotte Broome, Women’s College Hospital Nursing School class of 1969 graduate and former TMU library technician for over 40 years. She was the acting librarian at the WCH School of Nursing library when it transferred to RPI in 1975. Published in the hospital’s “House Call” staff newsletter, Fall 1974. Article Courtesy of the Miss Margaret Robins Archives of Women’s College Hospital https://www.womenscollegehospital.ca/our-history/the-miss-margaret-robins-archives-of-womens-college-hospital/
Hospital for Sick Children “What’s New” staff newsletter, Vol. 7 No. 7 1974. Newsletter courtesy of the SickKids Archives https://www.sickkids.ca/en/learning/support-services/archives/

The final graduation for the Wellesley Hospital’s, Women’s College Hospital’s (WCH) and Hospital for Sick Children’s schools of Nursing was held June 2, 1975 at 7:30 pm at the Ryerson Theatre. 

Invitation to the Wellesley Division graduation (RG 6.50)

The 160 graduating nurses received a specially worded diploma highlighting their hospital affiliation and graduation pins featuring the Ryerson crest with a small hospital crest or logo attached with a small chain.

Wellesley Hospital School of Nursing class of 1975 graduation pin (RG 946.03.04.02.22)

Each school had its own valedictorian speaker – Sheena Elliot for Wellesley, Catherine Messenger for SKH, and Veronica Gee for WCH. Platform guests included the assistant chairmen from each program and members of the Hospital’s Board of Governors.

Nursing student receiving diploma on stage during the June 2, 1975 graduation ceremony (RG 6.46)

The Daphne Cockwell School of Nursing (2008-2024)

The next major change to the Ryerson School of Nursing came in 2008. Jack Cockwell, at the time a member of the University’s Board of Governors, donated $5 million towards the construction of a new building for the Nursing program. The Ryerson School of Nursing became the Daphne Cockwell School of Nursing (DCSN) after the donor’s mother who was a nurse. It would be another first for the school – the first to be named after an actual nurse.

Jack Cockwell next to plaque dedicated to his mother, the Daphne Cockwell Health Science Complex, November 28, 2019. l to r: Tony Staffieri, vice-chair of TMU’s board of governors; Nancy Walton, director of the Daphne Cockwell School of Nursing; Jack Cockwell, director and former President and CEO of Brookfield Asset Management Inc. and member of TMU Board of Governors; Mohamed Lachemi, president and vice-chancellor of TMU; Lisa Barnoff, dean of the Faculty of Community Services. Photo by Gary Beechey. Photograph courtesy of University Advancement – TMU

Also in 2008, the school hosted its first Annual research day – with the theme of “Partnering of Knowledge Exchange”. The conference was open to faculty and students at DCSN and other institutions. The annual research day was held until 2015.

In 2014 the School of Nursing celebrated its 50th anniversary.

50th anniversary pin (RG 6.71)

In the Fall of 2019, the Daphne Cockwell Health Sciences Complex was opened (https://www.torontomu.ca/news-events/news/2019/12/full-house-at-grand-opening-of-the-daphne-cockwell-health-sciences-complex/). The building is home to the DCSN, School of Nutrition, Midwifery program, and School of Occupational and Public Health. It has 8 stories of classroom and administrative space plus an additional 18 story residence for students.

Daphne Cockwell Health Sciences Complex ribbon cutting. l to r: Deborah Brown, VP, administration and operations; Jen McMillen, vice-provost, students; Michael Benarroch, provost and VP, academic; Charles Falzon, dean of the Faculty of Communication and Design; Ross Romano, Minister of Colleges and Universities; Mohamed Lachemi, president and vice-chancellor; Steven Liss, VP, research and innovation; Lisa Barnoff, dean of the Faculty of Community Services; Bryan Arnold, president and CEO, Eastern Construction; Andrew Frontini, design director, Perkins and Will. Photographer: Alyssa Katherine Faoro. Photograph courtesy of Publications unit – Central Communications, TMU
Students provided tours of the DCC’s key sites, including simulated hospital wards. Photographer: Alyssa Katherine Faoro. Photograph courtesy of Publications unit – Central Communications, TMU

In 2021 the Urban Health Doctoral program was launched (https://www.torontomu.ca/graduate/programs/urban-health-phd/). The interdisciplinary degree is open to applicant’s with a master’s degree in nursing, social work, urban development, early childhood studies, occupational and public health, disability studies, midwifery, youth and child care, nutrition, medicine, pharmacy, or dentistry and is administered by DCSN.

From its start as a government experiment in diploma nursing to a school offering 2 undergraduate degrees, 1 professional certificate, and 2 graduate level degrees, the Daphne Cockwell School of Nursing has come a long way and we can’t wait to see what it’s future holds.

To view the first part of this blog visit https://library.torontomu.ca/asc/2024/05/from-hospital-hallways-to-campus-classrooms-the-50th-anniversary-of-amalgamation-part-1/

From Hospital hallways to Campus classrooms: the 50th anniversary of amalgamation, part 1

In 1973 the face of nursing education would change in Ontario with the move of hospital schools of nursing into collegiate settings. The Ryerson School of Nursing (now the Daphne Cockwell School of Nursing DCSN) would merge with the schools from the Hospital for Sick Children, Women’s College Hospital, and the The Wellesley Hospital. This was the start of a close relationship between the DCSN and the Wellesley Hospital School of Nursing Alumnae Association (WHSNAA) that continues today.

In 2011, 13 years after the hospital’s closure, the WHSNAA gifted their expansive archival collection to TMU Archives. Along with the physical collection, the Alumnae association established an endowment to help offset the cost for the preservation and care of the materials.

On the left is Linda Cooper, Wellesley ’68 and Professor Emerita, Daphne Cockwell School of Nursing and on the right is Shirley Heard, Wellesley ’62 – Alumnae Association President. Also in the picture is a small part of the collection now housed in the Toronto Metropolitan University Archives. Photo courtesy of University Advancement.

In recognition of the 50th anniversary of the amalgamation and in celebration of the continuing relationship, the three groups, the WHSNAA, the DSCN and the University Archives, have partnered to create an anniversary exhibition. The physical display, housed in the DCSN administrative offices, features artifacts and photographs that give you a window into the history of the Wellesley Hospital School of Nursing, the WHSNAA, and the DSCN. The online component of the exhibit, consisting of two blogs, will take an in-depth look at the topics introduced in the physical exhibit.

This first blog looks at the opening of the Wellesley Hospital, the birth of a nursing school, early nurse training, the evolution of the uniform, and convocation at the Wellesley Hospital School of Nursing.

The opening of the Wellesley Hospital, 1911

Side view portrait of Dr. Herbert Bruce

Founded by Dr. Herbert Bruce (pictured above), the Wellesley Hospital was located in a private home purchased by Bruce from Frederick Nicholls for $65,000. The hospital, located on 4.5 acres of land on the north corner of Homewood and Wellesley Avenues in Toronto, officially opened in June 1911. Bruce began renovations, utilizing architects Stevens and Lee, on the building that included major additions to the structure. Renovations were still being completed when the first patients were admitted in the Fall of 1912 and by December of that year the hospital was operating at 90% capacity. The renovations were completed in early 1913.

Photograph of a large group of people seated and standing in front of a building
Front entrance of hospital at opening ceremony June 1911. In the photograph are (from l-r) Dr. Herbert Bruce; Senator James K. Kerr; Sir Edmund Osler; Dr. J. E. Elliott; Lady Zoe Laurier; Mrs. R. J. MacMillan; Sir Wilfrid Laurier; Dr. R. J. MacMillan; Miss Powell; Dr. F. W. Marlow; Mrs. Anne M. Kerr; Miss Elisabeth Flaws; Sir William Mulock; and Mr. A. E. Dyment (RG 946.01.03.03.03)
  • Wood printing block with hospital floor plan
  • Wood printing block with hospital floor plan
  • wood printing blocks with hospital floor plans

Designed to attract wealthy patients and their surgeons, The Wellesley had 60 private beds (for $3.00 and up per day) and 12 semi-private rooms ($2.00-$2.50 per day). They were open for patients of doctors and surgeons in good standing in Toronto and beyond. There were also 2 house surgeons on staff. Patients were served their meals on Limoges china and ate with silver cutlery and tea service imported from England. $69,000 dollars was spent in the first year alone on furnishings and equipment. 

Limoges china used to serve patients in the early days of the hospital (RG 946.02.12.01.01)

Over the next several decades the Hospital grew and evolved. It moved out of its “hospital for the wealthy” persona and would became best known for its role as a community hospital. It became a refuge and support for the St. Jamestown area where it was located. In 1968 the hospital opened its Social Service department and in 1973 the department of Family and Community Medicine moved out into the community with the opening of the St. Jamestown Community Health Clinic. A second location was opened in 1975.

Front entrance of the original hospital circa 1947 (RG 946.01.03.03.06)

The hospital went through various money and operational crises through its 86 year history – with a variety of proposed and actualized amalgamations with other hospitals: Toronto General Hospital 1948-1969; Toronto Central Hospital (1996-1998). The Wellesley Hospital was closed by the Ontario Government at the recommendation of the Ontario Health Services Restructuring Commission in 1998. Its remaining services were taken over by Sunnybrook and St. Michael’s Hospitals. 

Significant events in the hospital’s history:

1911 – Hospital opened by then Prime Minister Wilfrid Laurier

1912 – Founding of School of Nursing; First new hospital wing opens in August with first hospital patients admitted in September

1917 – Received designation a public hospital under Ontario Hospital and Charitable Institutions Act

1942 – Officially becomes a public general hospital

1948 – Amalgamation with Toronto General Hospital – becomes Wellesley Division

1959 – Hospital attains independent status once more

1973 – School of Nursing moved from hospital to Ryerson Polytechnical Institute (now Toronto Metropolitan University)

1996 – Merger with Toronto Central Hospital – becoming Wellesley Central Hospital (#7 on map https://www.heritagetoronto.org/explore/st-james-town-history/)

1997 – Proposed merger with Women’s College Hospital

1998 – Wellesley Central Hospital’s operation taken over by St. Michael’s Hospital. The Wellesley Central Hospital closes.

2000 – Former Board members of Wellesley Central Hospital and community activists form Wellesley Central Health Corporation (WCHC). (https://www.wellesleyinstitute.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/10/Our-History-Flip-Sheet.pdf)

2006 – WCHC renamed Wellesley Institute – a non-profit, non-partisan research and policy Institute focused on problems related to population health

The Birth of a Nursing School, 1912

Elisabeth Flaws, first Hospital superintendent and director of the Nursing School (RG 946.03.01.01.07.01)

The Wellesley Hospital School of Nursing was founded in 1912 with Elisabeth Flaws in a dual role – Director of the Nursing School and Hospital Superintendent. The three year program was designed to have Nurse trainees available for service in The Wellesley Hospital after 6 months, this was later changed to 4 months. Dr. Bruce’s goal was to have the 26 paid nursing staff members reduced to 8 by the end of the second year of the school’s existence. The first class of 10 nurses graduated in 1915.

The student nurses were required to live in residence. The first four residences were in converted homes. The first was located at 496 Sherbourne St, and the second at 176 Wellesley Street.

Second nurses residence at 176 Wellesley Street. Hospital Building Bruce Wing is visible in the background (RG946.02.03.08.07)
Second nurses residence located at 176 Wellesley Street. Hospital Bruce wing visible in the background (RG 946.02.03.08.07)

The first purpose built residence was constructed and opened in 1953. The new space had classrooms, a library, a snack bar, and recreation facilities. In 1971 the building was named the “Elsie K. Jones Building” after the long time Nursing Director. 

Over the next  58 years The Wellesley would graduate 2235 nurses, with the last class graduating  in 1975.

Wellesley Hospital School of Nursing crest

Early Nurse Training

When The Wellesley Hospital School of Nursing opened in 1912, The nursing program was a 3 year diploma.

Nurse in surgical scrubs, circa 1920 (RG 946.03.01.08.29)

In the beginning the hospital was not equipped to handle all the training necessary for its nursing students. Starting in 1915 obstetrical training was completed at the Manhattan Maternity Hospital in New York with student nurses being sent in 3 month training rotations. By 1919 this training was completed in-house. The Wellesley contacted Sick Children’s Hospital regarding training in paediatric nursing in 1916 but were denied because of The Wellesley’s status as a private hospital. By 1919 there was an agreement between Sick Children’s and The Wellesley for this training.  Starting in 1925 Public Health training was completed in 3 month rotations at the Ottawa Civic Hospital. This training switched to Toronto General Hospital in 1928. Tuberculosis nursing training was completed at the Toronto Hospital for Consumptives, and Psychiatric nursing training was completed at the now defunct Toronto Psychiatric Hospital and the Ontario Hospital (now CAMH) until 1949 when The Wellesley opened its own psychiatric care unit. Nursing students continued to do rotations at CAMH as part of their training.

1912-1961 Nursing Students Day

Day Duty (7:00am – 7:00pm)

Roll call was at 6:25am with 12 hour shift starting at 7 am. Day duty nurses were allocated 2 hours off per day, usually spent attending lectures and ½ hour each for lunch and supper.

Night Duty (7:00pm – 7:00am)

Night duty nurses received ½ hour off for dinner. They were expected to attend day lectures. When switching from day to night duty, nurses worked until noon and then reported for duty at 7pm.

 Each student nurse got a ½ week day off and 5 hours on Sunday. In 1944 the 12 hour shift changed to 8 hour shifts, 6 days per week. In 1958 the work week was changed to 44 hours per week and to 40 hours per week in 1961

Nurse conduct reporting form (RG 946.03.03.04)

In 1923 the Ontario Government registered The Wellesley School of Nursing, making its graduates eligible for Registered Nursing qualification. There were 3 major changes the school’s curriculum. In 1942 theory and practice were correlated; in 1956 the 3 year course was split into a 2 year academic program with a 1 year internship; and in the 1970s the course was cut back to 2 years total schooling and internship – aligning it with the Colleges who offered Nursing programs. 

Wellesley Hospital School of Nursing open house poster, 1972 (RG 946.03.13.02)

The Evolution of the Uniform (1912-1973)

The first uniforms worn by student nurses at The Wellesley consisted of a long sleeved and long skirted blue and white striped cotton dress with a detachable clerical style collar (starched upright collar), detachable long cuffs, a bib and an apron. The cap had a drawstring back (this eventually changed to a button closure). The uniform was accompanied by black stockings and black boots or shoes. The collar switched to the Eton style (fold-over collar with front closure) in the early 1920’s and the length of the dresses would slowly shorten over time. 

Student nurse Frances Clarke, class of 1919 (RG 946.03.01.08.01)

The first major change to The Wellesley’s student uniform occurred in 1941 when a short-sleeved option was introduced. The uniform changed again with the amalgamation of The Wellesley with Toronto General Hospital (TGH) in 1948, switching from the traditional blue and white striped cotton to a plain white dress. They also switched to the TGH cap and wore the detachable collar, cuffs, and bib. The uniform was accompanied by white stockings and shoes. Capes at this time also changed – switching from a blue lining to a red lining. 

Student uniform worn during training at Wellesley Division – Toronto General Hospital (1948-1959). Cape (1953-1956) from same period (RG 946.03.05.01.06); RG 946.03.05.01.10)

In 1960 after The Wellesley was an independent hospital again the student nurses voted to return to wearing the blue and white striped dresses. A new Wellesley style cap was designed to accompany the uniform. They were still wearing the detachable Eton style collar, cuffs, and bib. The uniform was accompanied by white stockings and shoes. In second year, a Wellesley badge was added to the left sleeve of the uniforms and in third year students would wear year pins on their collars. The students requested permission to wear short sleeved white dresses for their third or intern year. They were granted permission to do so in 1964.

Year pin, Class of 1935 (RG 946.03.04.02.03)
Members of the Wellesley Alumnae Association wearing uniforms From 1912, 1938, and 1962 (RG 946.03.01.08.08)

The final student uniform Wellesley students wore was very different from its predecessors. Introduced in 1970 – the uniform was one piece with no detachable collar, cuffs, or bib. It had a mandarin collar and zipper closure. The skirt was also much shorter than previous uniforms. First and Second year students continued to wear the blue and white striped version, with intern year students wearing an all white version. The uniform was accompanied by the Wellesley cap, white stockings and shoes. A male version of the student uniform, white jacket and pants, was introduced the same year along with the introduction of a pants and jacket option for all nurses on staff at the Hospital. 

Convocation at the Wellesley Hospital School of Nursing (1915-1974)

Class of 1933 graduation ceremony on the hospital grounds (RG 946.03.04.01.17.01)

The first graduation ceremony for the Wellesley Hospital School of Nursing was held in the Fall of 1915. The ceremonies would move back and forth between fall and spring, with one class graduating per year with the exception of 1940, 1941, 1943, 1944, and 1972 when there were 2 graduating classes – one in spring and one in fall. The first ceremony and the following reception were held on the grounds of the hospital. Ceremonies would continue to be held on the grounds until 1947.

Class of 1954 graduation ceremony at Sherbourne Street Methodist Church (Later St. Luke’s United Church). Graduates are wearing red rose corsages that were a tradition of Toronto General Hospital Nursing School (RG 946.03.04.01.36.02)

Starting in 1948, the ceremonies were held at Sherbourne, later St. Luke’s United Church located at 353 Sherbourne Street and in 1962 the ceremonies moved to St. Paul’s Anglican Church at 227 Bloor Street East. The graduates would walk from Wellesley Hospital to the ceremony and in the event of rain the graduates were ferried to the church by TTC bus. The after ceremony receptions remained on the grounds of the hospital. In 1964 the demolition of the old hospital and construction of a new 9 story hospital addition necessitated the move of the reception to Branksome Hall, the all girls school located at 10 Elm Avenue. The reception returned to the hospital grounds in 1968 and would remain there until 1974. 

Class of 1972A entering St. Paul’s Anglican Church Photographer: Roy Nicholls (RG 946.03.04.01.54.09)

Graduation involved many different traditions for the nursing students. A mother daughter tea was hosted by the Wellesley Hospital School of Nursing Alumnae Association. The morning of graduation the 2nd year students would serve the graduating nurses breakfast in the cafeteria.

Class of 1925 graduation breakfast (RG 946.03.04.01.09.01)

The nursing graduates would also walk through the halls of the hospital singing. The graduation pin was presented to each nurse at the graduation ceremony. The Wellesley pin remained the same between 1915-1974, each one personalized on the back with the name and graduating class of each person.

Plastic replica of corsage given to graduates. White gardenia surrounded by blue cornflowers and stephanotis (RG 946.03.05.06)

You can continue your journey through this nursing history by continuing on to the 2nd blog (https://library.torontomu.ca/asc/2024/06/from-hospital-hallways-to-campus-classrooms-the-50th-anniversary-of-amalgamation-part-2/) where we look at The Wellesley Hospital School of Nursing Alumnae Association, the Ryerson School of Nursing (1964-2007), Amalgamation and the end of hospital schools of nursing, the last graduation(s), and the Daphne Cockwell School of Nursing (2008-2024).

Archives A to Z 2022 Week 4

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 and collections from our holdings or 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

Theatre Programs

Did you know we have more than 2700 theatre programs in our collection, including 638 published by Toronto companies between 1959 and 2012? Some of the programs have the original ticket stubs and paper inserts from the attended performance. Here are a few examples from local theatres & acting groups:

Uniforms

We are lucky enough to be home to a large selection of textiles/clothing – everything from nylons to rally caps. A large part of these collections are uniforms of different types. We have school uniforms, athletic uniforms, nursing uniforms, and even old mascot costumes in uniform. Here is just a sample of what we have.

Vinegar Syndrome

Vinegar Syndrome – this is something that most Archives and Special Collections have to deal with especially those that house large collections of film and photography. Acetate film bases were first introduced in the early 1900s as an alternative to the highly combustible nitrate film and was in use between the 1930s and the 1990s.

One of the major preservation concerns with acetate film, both in motion picture and still photography, is vinegar syndrome. As the film base starts to degrade (usually caused by levels of high temperature and humidity) there is a build up of acetic acid (the vinegar smell!). As the syndrome progresses the film begins to suffer from shrinkage, embrittlement, and buckling of the gelatin emulsion eventually making the film unplayable and the photographs illegible.

The Northeast Document Conservation Centre has information on the identification and care of film negatives . The Glenbow Library and Archives has information on Vinegar Syndrome and Acetate motion picture film

William Notman

Willian Notman immigrated to Montreal from Scotland in 1856 and founded what would become an internationally known photography studio. Notman photographed mostly prominent politicians and notable families but he was also well known across local athletic clubs and social groups.

He became known for his large composite group portraits and innovative portraiture techniques.  The composites were made by assembling multiple individual portraits through a collage. Notman also hired artists to paint realistic backdrops for his portraits in order to re-create outdoor settings in his studio.

His photography business expanded quickly and by 1872 Notman had 26 studios across North America. The company was renamed William Notman & Son in 1882 when his eldest son William McFarlane Notman, became a partner.

X-Rays

x-ray image of a hand

This image is copy of the x-ray Wilhelm Conrad Rontgen took of his wife’s hand in 1895. Kodak reproduced the image in 1970 to celebrate the 75th anniversary of Rontgen’s discovery of x-ray imaging. This copy was made using their KODAK RP/D X-OMAT Radiograph Duplicating Film.

Yellow Book

The Yellow Book is a Victorian magazine that published 13 quarterly editions between 1894 and 1897. The book’s bright yellow cover was a nod to the illicit French fiction novels of this era. The Yellow Book distinguished itself from other fin-du-siècle magazines through its division of literary and art content (treating each as standalone piece) and its avant-garde and lavish aesthetic (minimalist layouts and spacious margins). This magazine didn’t include advertisements and focused on the book itself being a piece of art rather than a vessel for information. Aubrey Beardsley was the magazine’s first art editor. The magazine published several of his extravagant Japanese-woodcut inspired black ink illustrations (as seen on the book cover below).

The Centre for Digital Humanities has a website dedicated to the time period, which became known as the Yellow Nineties. Issues of The Yellow Book have been digitized and can be viewed online.

Zebras

The Men’s soccer team in the early days of the School were called the Zebras for their bright gold and blue jerseys. The team debuted in 1951. They were intermediate champs in 1956-1957 and Intermediate Ontario-Quebec Conference Champions in 1958-1959. In 1964 they switched to the Ontario Intercollegiate Athletic Association and in 1965 changed to a bright orange/yellow jersey from the striped jersey that gave them their name. The Zebras continued under that name until the 1973-1974 school year when they became Rams.

We hope you have enjoyed our Archives A to Z blog post series. Explore the hashtag #ArchivesAtoZ to see what other repositories have shared online!

Archives A to Z 2022 Week 3

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 and collections from our holdings or 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

Names on Campus

Have you wondered about names around campus? Let’s take a peek at two individuals connected with two campus buildings.

Jorgenson Hall was named after Fred Jorgenson, who, in 1966, took over as principal from retiring and founding principal, Howard H. Kerr. An extensive campus expansion being planned included the construction of a consolidating administrative building. Ten days before the turning of the sod, Jorgenson announced his unexpected resignation, effective July 1969, due to family illness. The building received its name in his honour. Jorgenson Hall officially opened in late 1971.

Fun facts about Fred Jorgenson :

  • Highly unusual at the time, he asked faculty to call him by his first name.
  • His title changed from principal to president in 1967.
  • The family pet was a monkey named George.
  • Believing in a tight-knit community, he went to a hospital to confer a diploma on a graduating, ill student.
  • The student body referred to him as “Uncle Fred”.
  • He worked diligently for Ryerson’s authority to grant degrees (first degree granted 1971).
  • He sent Christmas greetings to the Ryerson community every year into the 1980s.
  • Fred Jorgenson died at 93 in June 2016.
Fred Jorgenson with George, 1966

Oakham House, the original structure facing Church Street, was designed and named by its architect, William Thomas. Born in 1799 to Welsh parents in England, Thomas arrived in Canada in 1844. Little is known of the Thomas family life in Toronto other than he was married to Martha and had 10 children, three of whom died young, aged 2 months, 14 and 17 years, and two others who joined him in business. He was prolific in his building designs in both England and Ontario.

Besides Oakham House, Thomas is noted for :

Sadly, many of his buildings have been destroyed or only the façade remains, such as :

Original Order

One of the two fundamental principles used when arranging Archival records. The idea behind this principle is that it is not just the records and the information within them that is important. It is the context in which the records were originally used and organized that is equally important – adding to the history of those records. Once the records have been donated to an Archive, the records’ organization will be maintained and no other order will be imposed (alphabetical, numerical, chronological).

That being said – if there is NO obvious original order – an Archives will arrange the materials in a way that makes the most sense in relation to the nature of the records.

Box of slides – no organization and no obvious sign of original order

Polaroid

Our Polaroid collection has over 200 instant cameras! The collection was donated by a former Polaroid employee and includes some unique publications, camera manuals and promotional material from the company. The Polaroid Corporation was a leader in instant cameras and film, but the company’s initial research focus was on polarizers. The company developed polarized lenses and filters for various uses, which led to the creation of instant photography in 1947.

A purple polaroid camera stacked on top of a box of polaroid film and a box with a Polaroid remote control
2018.10.01.05.93 – Polaroid Impulse Camera (in Burgundy!)

Questions?

Questions about Archives? Not sure what is a Special Collection?

We’re here to help answer those questions and support patrons navigate the world of archival research! If you want to know more about what collections are available at Archives & Special Collections (or A&SC) and how to search them, a great place to start is our Research Guide.

Some of the most common questions we get are:

  • Do I have to wear gloves?

In most cases you don’t! The use of white cotton gloves are a common misconceptions in libraries and archives (see this fun blog by the Smithsonian on the topic!) Cotton gloves can actually damage material by getting caught on the edge of an object or a torn piece of paper. We prefer that researchers arrive with clean hands before handling the material. The only instance when gloves need to be used is when handling prints or negatives that are not in protective housing.

  • Can I copy or take photos of the material?

Yes, you are welcome to take reference photos of the material for research or private study during an appointment. There are some cases when it is not possible, if there are privacy concerns for instance, but our staff will let you know beforehand.

  • Can I check out this book?

Unfortunately not. We love patrons to use our collections, but items in Archives & Special Collections must be kept in our reading room. Books and records in our holdings can be unique, fragile or may require special handling. We don’t want to limit access to our collections, but by keeping them in the reading room we can ensure that future generations will have access to them!

Robert MacIntosh Collection

The Robert Macintosh City of Toronto Book Collection contains historical and contemporary publications on the history of Toronto. Macintosh donated this collection to Special Collections in 2013 (he is also the author of one of the books titled Earliest Toronto). The collection includes 141 books on the history of Toronto, featuring tourist guides and souvenirs about the city from the late 19th and early 20th centuries.

You can see the full list of books from this collection in the library catalogue.

Storage

Storage can mean two things – What we re-house the materials in and where we store them once they have been re-housed.

One of the last steps in preparing new donations for entry in our collections is re-housing them. When records and objects are delivered to us they are usually in their original file folders, boxes, and housing that, in the long run, can be harmful to the materials. For example, file folders may be replaced with acid free folders and placed in special archival boxes that help protect the records and prolong their life. Photographs are often placed in neutral see-through sleeves that enable the photographs to be seen, but protect the print from the damage that handling can cause. Because of the varied make up of most Archives and Special Collections, there is a wide variety of materials, cases, and boxes that are available for re-housing from a small case to house a coin to an 8ft long box made to house gowns and dresses. The Canadian Conservation Institute has published “CCI Notes” – guides for the care, handling, and storage of a wide variety of materials – you can access them at Canadian Conservation Notes

Storage also means the shelving and room(s) where the collections are stored. The one universal truth across Archives and Special Collections is that, with collections constantly expanding, there never seems to be enough room! Storage can range from a small closet to a state of the art climate controlled vault. At our Archives and Special Collections we are lucky enough to have compact storage – which greatly increased our storage footprint.

Next week, in our final April post, we’ll highlight items and archival concepts for the letters T to Z!

Archives A to Z 2022 Week 2

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 collections 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

Graphic Materials

According to the Canadian Council of Archives graphic materials are “…are defined as documents in the form of pictures, photographs, drawings, watercolours, prints, and other forms of two-dimensional pictorial representations.” This definition includes a diverse range of materials and processes that often make up the bulk of an Archives or Special Collections holdings. While conducting research last year – we came across these amazing hand painted and hand drawn theatrical posters created by students to advertise Ryerson Opera Workshop productions. The Ryerson Opera Workshop, or ROW, was established in 1951 by Jack McAllister, at the time faculty in the English Department and would later be one on the founding faculty in the School of Performance. The workshop was an institute-wide, student endeavour from production crew to cast members.

Hot Docs

The Hot Docs Fonds includes physical and digital material produced for the annual Hot Docs Canadian International Documentary Festival. Digital copies of the programs from 1994 to 2001 festivals can be viewed on our database by clicking on the program’s cover images. We’re looking forward to this year’s festival, which begin on April 28th !

Imaging

Imaging, also known as digital imaging, reformatting, scanning or digitizing, refers to creating an electronic representation of an analogue object. The are several standards for imaging cultural heritage material, such as the Federal Agencies Digital Guidelines Initiative (FADGI) and the Canadian Heritage Information Network (CHIN).

We generally use a flatbed scanner for graphic material, and an overhead copy stand for large prints and 3-D objects. We also digitize audiovisual formats such as VHS tapes and audio-cassettes, since they tend to deteriorate quickly and the playback equipment required for reformatting is becoming less readily available (a tape deck or a VCR for instance.)

We often get asked why libraries and archives can’t digitize all of our collections for online access! The Peel Art Gallery Museum + Archive has a blog post with great answers to this question, but it generally is tied to the amount of resources required for mass digitization (staff time, technical equipment, digital storage, copyright clearance, etc.) Take a look at what we’ve digitized so far through our online database!

An example of imaging using a copy stand. We use colour bars to identify the scale of the object and to have reference for tone and colour balancing.

Jorgenson Hall Model

The Jorgenson Hall/Podium/Library Building architectural model is one of three campus building models in our collections (the other two being Pitman Hall and the RAC). This one was created by Webb Zerafa Menkes Housden Architects Engineers and shows the three buildings plus the west side of Kerr Hall which attaches to the complex via footbridges at either end.

Keyword Searching

Keyword searching can be hit and miss when it comes to looking for archival records – especially if you are starting your research in an internet search engine. Every search comes back with hundreds of thousands of returns – so how do you improve your chances of finding what you are looking for?

Having a plan of action that includes an initial list of keywords is a good way to start. When thinking of what keywords you want to use there are several things to keep in mind:

  • 1) The age of the records you are looking for and the time period of their creation – terminology is ever evolving and you may find your search returns include offensive and outdated terminology that is no longer in use, but would have been at the time of the records creation
  • 2) Word spelling – countries may spell words differently so include all the potential spellings of your keywords when you are searching.
  • 3) Alternate/previous names – this is especially important if you are researching a geographic location – has it always been called what it is named now?

Finally – consider adding some of these terms to the end of your keywords: papers, photographs, collections, exhibition, primary source, archives, special collections, library, museum, curriculum. Any or all of these terms may help narrow down your search and help you find what you are looking for. Robin M. Katz’s “How to Google for Primary Sources” has some other suggestions to help you with your search.

Word cloud of search terms

Lorne Shields

Lorne Shields has been an avid collector of bicycles and bicycle ephemera since 1967. His passion for bicycles led him to collect photographs on the subject as well as books, magazines, and bicycle memorabilia.

Shields donated his collection of photographs unrelated to bicycles to Special Collections in 2008. This includes studio portraits and carte-de-visites as well as landscape and industrial imagery from the Victorian era to the 1960s. The collection also comprises many vernacular photographic albums, good examples of glass and metal photographic processes including cased daguerreotypes, ambrotypes and tintypes. Explore our database for more information on the Lorne Shields Historical Photograph Collection.

2008.001.1872 – [Portrait of three women]

Miniature Cameras

 Did you know we have several miniature and sub-miniature cameras in the collection? These mini photo devices are designed to take photographs on film sized smaller than 135 format (24mm x 36mm). The Minolta-16 camera seen below takes 10×14 mm exposures on 16 mm film.

Miniature cameras gained a reputation as “spy” cameras, and while some of the higher quality ones (including the Minox) were used by government agencies, most were simply for amateur use.

Next week we’ll highlight items and archival concepts for the letters N to S!

2021 Archives and Special Collections Virtual Alumni Open House

With our doors closed to visitors for a second COVID year, let’s go back and visit anniversary years close to 70, 60, 50, 40, 30, 25, and 10 years ago.

 

We are located within the Library (Library Building), 4th floor, opposite the elevators :

 

First, a peek into the Reading Room with tables and chairs spaced out for physical distancing :

 

Student newspapers are available to peruse on-site.  However, there are no digitized copies. 
Bound copies of The Ryersonian and The Eyeopener are seen here :

 

Fortunately, we have this Victorian stained glass window from a Church Street residence Ryerson briefly used for offices in the early to mid 1970s.  The house, with other buildings, was demolished for the Architecture Building in the late 1970s :

 

A behind-the-scenes look into the vault – storage for some of our collections :

 

Many of the collections are held in archival boxes, such as these grey Hollingers :

 

Our extensive clipping files are an excellent source of information, including subjects on campus, faculties and programmes, sports, students, faculty members, events, and many more :

 

Inside an artifact box :

 

A sample of what might be displayed for Alumni Weekend.  Did you use one of these calendars :

…or maybe you wore one of these…

 

However, it’s been 70 plus years since these adding machines were used in Business courses :

 

Students started the year in September 1961 with a campus still in transition from the old (Ryerson Hall, now demolished, behind the magnificent tree and its out buildings), to the new with Kerr Hall, here under construction.  KHE  is in the background…

The photograph above shows the south and west facades of Ryerson Hall, while the photo below (October 1961) you can see the north and west facades of Ryerson Hall.  KHE and its radio tower are visible behind and in the foreground, the trench for KHW :

 

Shot glasses were student union graduating gifts.  Clearly visible is 1971 :

 

For those of you who started your final year in 1971, you might be in this 1972 graduating class :

 

Did you skate on the rink in 1981 :

 

A 1995 procession of graduands reflects all graduates’ experience whose ceremonies were in the Ryerson Theatre :

 

If you graduated in 2001, you might have been at this ceremony when Nelson Mandela and Graca Machel received Honorary Degrees :

 

And, finally, what was the tuition in each of the feature years?
Annual tuition includes ancillary fees (not course fees) :

1951/1952 = $62

1961/1962 = $246 – $256

1971/1972 = $318 – $328

1981/1982 = $756

1991/1992 = $2,042

1996/1997 = $3,365

2011/2012 = not available

and currently (2021/2022) = $7,053 – $11,140

 

Thank you for joining us for our second virtual alumni event.

We hope we see in you person in 2022!

Re-visit the 2020 Virtual Alumni Open House blog

 

COVID-19 Community Archive Contest Winners

Thank you all for participating in our COVID-19 Community Archive submission contest!

The COVID-19 Community Archive seeks to preserve and make accessible content that was captured and created by students, faculty, staff and alumni about their lived experiences during the pandemic. Our goal in developing this digital portal is to serve as a repository for those of us who may be documenting this historic moment.

We received incredible submissions throughout the summer contest. Here are the three randomly selected winning submissions:

Although the contest is closed, you can still submit your work to the University’s COVID-19 Digital Community Archive Project by using our online submission form. We accept all types of works: photographs, audiovisual recordings, artworks and written content reflecting your experience of the COVID-19 pandemic. Join us in this collaborative project to document these unprecedent times!

Archives A to Z: Part 4

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 and collections from our holdings or archival concepts related to each letter of the alphabet.

  • March 1: A to F
  • March 8: G to M
  • March 15: N to S
  • March 22: T to Z

Truth and Reconciliation

In its final report in 2015, the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada called on museums, archives and educational institutions, among other groups, to respond to 94 Calls to Action. These calls provide a path for Canadians and institutions to begin to “redress the legacy of residential schools and advance the process of Canadian reconciliation.”

Although our holdings do not have extensive material that can supports these Calls to Action, the team at Archives & Special Collections has compiled a list of internal and external resources related to Egerton Ryerson, Residential Schools and Indigenous Peoples. Toronto Metropolitan University’s Aboriginal Educational Council has also created a document focused on Egerton Ryerson, the Residential School System and Truth and Reconciliation with detailed sources on the topic.

University Status

Opened in 1948 as the Ryerson Institute of Technology, Ryerson has been granting degrees for 49 years – the first of which were handed out on May 26, 1972 to graduates in Interior Design, Business Management, and Geodetic Sciences. Nineteen years later, almost to the day, on May 27, 1991 the Ryerson Board of Governors and Academic Council (Senate) gave their support to the proposal the the school seek full university status. Two years later on June 1, 1993 the dream was realized when Ryerson Polytechnic University was recognized by Royal Assent. The oversized letter and the T-shirt in this picture are housed in Archives and Special Collections (RG 122.12)

Photograph of Terry Grier stands beside the oversized letter announcing Ryerson’s full University Status (RG 76.14.723). Click on the photo above to read the announcements published in the University’s Forum Newsletter.

View-Masters

The Bass Stereoscopic Photography Collection has 162 pieces of stereo viewing equipment, including 44 View-Masters. These stereoscopic viewers first appeared at the 1939 New York World Fair. View-Masters, a name trademarked by Sawyer’s Inc, use circular “reels” with seven stereoscopic images made from 16mm Kodachrome transparencies. Unlike the original wooden stereoscope viewers, View-Masters are usually made of plastic or metal.

Our collection has a variety of different types of viewers, such as the GAF Talking View-Master, which incorporated an audio record that synchronized sound with the stereoscopic slides. The Big Bird camera-shaped 3D viewer, a staff favourite, has a built-in reel of 7 diametrical, 16 mm colour transparencies of Sesame Street characters teaching the alphabet.

World War II

Did you know Toronto Metropolitan University had a connection to World War II? The original building on campus Ryerson Hall, whose façade is the entrance to the Ryerson Athletic Centre in the Kerr Hall Quad, housed both the Royal Canadian Air Force Initial Training School No. 6 and the Dominion-Provincial War Emergency Training Program between 1941-1945. To learn more about the Royal Canadian Air Force’s training facilities visit their web page At the end of World War II, the building would house the Training and Re-establishment Institute (TRIT), a place for veterans to learn a trade. TRIT ran between 1945-1948, and Ryerson Institute of Technology, which opened in September 1948,  evolved out of that organization – offering the same courses in the first couple of years of our existence. Take a look at RG 58 Vocational Training Schools and Training and Re-establisment Institutes, F 183 James A. Moore fonds and F 858 Michael Zabinsky fonds to see more records we have related to the Training and Re-establishment Institute.

Interior view of the Electronics Department of the Training and Re-establishment Institute (RG 58.18)

XV Winter Olympic Ceremony

The Paddy Sampson Fonds consists of textual records and audiovisual material related to television shows and specials intended for broadcast on the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation’s (CBC). Sampson joined the CBC as a stage hand in 1952, and later became a producer and director for the broadcaster. Some of the notable programs he worked on include “Program X” and the renowned hour long 1966 music special, “The Blues”. The Fonds also contains research material related to Sampson’s independent productions, such as the 1988 opening and closing ceremonies for the XV Winter Olympics in Calgary.

Young Readers

Special Collections’ book holdings include the Children’s Literature Archive. The collection was established through the Centre for Digital Humanities in 2009 and was transferred to Special Collections in 2017. It contains over 2200 books published between 1701 and 1940 and continues to grow. Its particular strengths are adventure stories, fairy tales, and Canadiana, but also includes strong holdings in poetry, picture books, and pedagogical works such as science texts and primers, along with biographies of notable authors and other scholarly studies. Explore the collection through the Centre for Digital Humanities’ exhibition website or through the Library catalogue.

3 book covers from the Children's Literature Archive
3 book covers from the Children’s Literature Archive

Zeiss Ikon

Our Heritage Camera Collection has over 677 pieces of photographic equipment, including several cameras by the company Zeiss Ikon. Zeiss was initially an optical workshop in Germany during the mid-1800s, and started building camera lenses in the 1890s. Zeiss Ikon was created in 1926 by the merger of four camera manufacturers: Contessa-Nettel, Ernemann, Goerz and Ica. The newly founded partnership combined thousands of cameras patents held by the individual companies. Explore the Zeiss website for more information on the history of the camera company.

We hope you have enjoyed our Archives A to Z blog post series. Explore the hashtag #ArchivesAtoZ to see what other repositories have shared online!

Archives A to Z: Part 3

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 and collections from our holdings or archival concepts related to each letter of the alphabet.

  • March 1: A to F
  • March 8: G to M
  • March 15: N to S
  • March 22: T to Z

News on campus

For the past 73 years, Toronto Metropolitan University Media and Ryerson Student Media outlets have been telling the University’s stories, and stories about the larger community to which the school belongs. Before the age of social media and online streaming – Ryerson got its stories out there in printed newspapers, newsletters, and magazines. Archives and Special Collections houses the archives for many of the campus media publications including Ryerson’s student newspapers – The Ryersonian and The Eyeopener, and University publications like the Forum Newsletter and Ryerson Magazine. We also have a robust collection of publications created by different student groups, faculties, and programs. You can read more about Ryerson’s news publications in the blog “All the news that’s fit to print

First edition of the Forum Newsletter (RG 4.10). It was published in hard copy between 1975 – 2005 and in an online format between 2006-2009 when it was replaced by Ryerson Today

Octagonal Houses of Maine

Archive and Special Collections houses a wide selection Artists books in its stacks. The smallest of these is “The Octagonal Houses of Maine” by Carol-Lynn Rössel Waugh and illustrated by Patrick H. Higgins. It measures just 2 cm by 2.5 cm, but the text and images are fully legible.

Peter Di Gangi Papers

The Peter Di Gangi Papers contain records on historical, legal and cultural research related to Indigenous governance in Canada. Di Gangi has been working with Indigenous communities across Canada for ever 35 years and has worked extensively with Anishnaabe communities on the North Shore of Lake Huron and Manitoulin Island, and with the Algonquin communities of the Ottawa Valley. The collection includes published and unpublished materials, created by Di Gangi and his research firm Sicani Research & Advisory Services, such as policy papers on Indigenous laws, government reports and statistics and research documents prepared for the Royal Commission on Aboriginal Peoples and Assembly of First Nations.

Image of a paper report by Peter Di Gangi titled "AFN - Aboriginal Strategic Initiative: Comprehensive Research Proposal Jurisdiction"
2018.008.006.008 – Assembly of First Nations Aboriginal Strategic Initiative Research Report

Quadrangle

Hidden from view in the Centre of Ryerson’s campus is the Kerr Hall Quadrangle or Quad. Surrounded on four sides by Howard Kerr Hall, the quadrangle is a welcome green space on campus, and a favourite lunch and relaxation spot for the Ryerson students and staff. When originally constructed, the quad was home to campus parking around the perimeter with a fountain in the centre. Spring graduates would convocate through the door of the Toronto Normal School building facade. Now the quad features the Ryerson Athletic Centre below its grass covered centre and is bordered by gardens and mature trees. The photograph of convocation is just one of thousands of photographs that we house in Archives and Special Collections that show the evolution of the Quad and Ryerson’s campus as a whole.

Convocation, circa 1979, in the Kerr Hall Quadrangle (RG 76.06.01)

Ram

Ram or the Rams is the name of Toronto Metropolitan University’s Varsity Athletic teams. Our textile collection contains numerous hockey, volleyball, soccer, and basketball uniforms that were donated to us as the materials and cuts of the uniforms changed over the years. We also have a programs, photographs, team rosters, and a wide variety of other memorabilia tied to Ryerson’s 73 year history of Athletics and Recreation. Want to know more? Read our blog “Ryerson 7025 – Athletics and Intramurals“.

Variety of Rams Athletics memorabilia on display during Alumni Weekend, 2013

Stereographs

Stereographs, also known as stereocards or stereoscopic photographs, are an early form of 3D photographs. The two almost identical images mounted on a rectangular card or piece of glass create the illusion of a three-dimensional photograph when used with a stereoscope viewer (see our next post under V for more information on the viewing devices). Our Bass Stereoscopic Photography Collection contains approximatively 8000 stereoscopic photographs depicting various geographic locations, activities and people. Stereographs were created in the early 1850s, and gained popularity when a stereoscopic viewer was displayed at the London International Exhibition (Crystal Palace) in 1851. A decade later, stereocards were mass-produced and widely distributed by publishers and amateur photographers. They were often sold as boxsets on a certain topic, for entertainment or educational purposes, or as a souvenir while visiting a tourist destination.

Image of a stereograph (two similar images side by side on a rectangular card stock) with Yosemite Valley
2018.09.04.07.35 – Underwood & Underwood (Yosemite Valley, 1902)

Next week, in our final March post, we’ll highlight items and archival concepts for the letters T to Z!

Archives A to Z: Part 2

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 collections and demystifying archival concepts related to each letter of the alphabet.

  • March 1: A to F
  • March 8: G to M
  • March 15: N to S
  • March 22: T to Z

Green Roof

Ryerson’s first unofficial green roof was created over the Ryerson Athletic Centre (RAC), which opened in 1987. The RAC was constructed underneath the Kerr Hall Quadrangle, it’s roof covered by just 15 cm of top soil, sodded over and trees planted around the perimeter. Ryerson’s first official green roof was constructed a top the George Vari Engineering and Computer Centre in 2004. To learn more about Ryerson’s Green Roof initiatives read more here – How the Ryerson Community is shaping Urban Culture.

Forum newsletter (RG 122.04) Click on the photograph to read the whole story.

How-to

Archives and Special Collections staff embarked on a project this past year to create a series of “how-to” videos. The project was initiated in response to our move to online research help and working from home. The videos are a digital version of what we would normally relate in person to our researchers. You can view the videos, including “Searching the Ryerson Archives and Special Collections Database“, “Archives 101: How Archival Records are Organized and Why“, and “Archives 101: Archival Records Descriptions and what to look for when you research“, on the Ryerson Library Youtube channel. Staff is currently working on more videos to add to this collection.

Opening shot from Introduction to Archives and Special Collections video – click on the image to watch the whole video, Olivia Wong, 2020

Instruments

The Toronto Metropolitan University Archives was founded in 1971 with the idea that it could also reflect the polytechnic roots of the school and the “hands-on” emphasis of the school’s curriculum at the time – a kind of hybrid Archives and Museum of Technology. A large percentage of our early donations were objects as opposed to the traditional textual and photographic nature of Archival materials. As a result we have a wide selection instruments and equipment in the collection that were used by Ryerson students in early Science and Technology (Engineering) courses.

Microscope with case and instruction manual (RG 0.04.11)

Jorgenson Hall

Jorgenson Hall, named for Ryerson’s first President Fred Jorgenson (1966-1969), was completed in 1971. The 14 story tower anchors the north end of a building complex, which includes the Podium Building and the Library building, on the west side of Nelson Mandela Walk. The brutalist building was designed by WZMH Architects and constructed by EllisDon Corporation. The photograph is one of thousands that are housed in Archives and Special Collections that document the evolution of the campus. We also have the architectural model of the building complex in our collections.

Construction of Jorgenson Hall (RG 122.10.98)