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.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
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.
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.
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.
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.