January 2016

Ends and New Beginnings

Hello everybody,

Its Graham here, come to say thank you and goodbye with my last blog post as my co-op term at the University of Waterloo Library Special Collections & Archives comes to end. These past 8 months have been an amazing time; I have learned so much, had a fabulous amount of experience, and met some great people along the way. I wanted to publish my last blog post with a short description of the experiences I have had along the way.

Much cheaper in a few years

One of the projects I'm currently working on involves wading through the approximately 13000 letters in the Breithaupt Hewetson Clark collection. Earlier this week, I came across this hard-to-believe letter from Constance Perrin to H. Spencer Clark, in which she discusses her upcoming trip to Europe and the price of long-distance phone calls.

What I did on your summer vacation

Since I started back in February, I have been working on a variety of projects to improve online access to our holdings. Beyond answering research requests and providing digital project(s) support to my colleagues, a lot of my energy is focused on cleaning up and improving descriptive records. The work is important because it impacts how easily we can find material that supports specific research areas and how efficiently we can migrate the related information to different platforms.

Lunch and learn

Hello Readers,

Graham here again, to let you know that today’s blog post may make you squirm but it's bound to provide a little food for thought!

Doris, is that you?

Hi there. My name is Asiya and I am a Special Collections Project Assistant at the Rare Book Room. I am currently in my second year in the Urban Planning program here at the University of Waterloo. Though I am limited in my knowledge of archival practices, I have learned quite a bit over the past couple of months.

40 years on!

Hello! I’m Graham, a University of Toronto archival studies student currently on an 8-month co-op term in Special Collections & Archives. Today, June 2, is the 40th anniversary of the official opening of the Doris Lewis Rare Book Room.

Book traces

Hi, I'm Jessica, the Librarian here in Special Collections & Archives. As you may have guessed from my job title I Love (with a capital L) books. It isn't just the content of the books that I am interested in, but the physical books themselves and what they can tell us about the time during which they were created, who they were owned or read by, and how the written word was transmitted.

Variety is the spice of life

Hi, my name is Sue and I am a Library Associate in Special Collections & Archives. When I started here in November 2015 I knew there would be a lot of variety to my days, but I hadn’t anticipated just how much!

With our blog, we like to profile some of the interesting, curious or one of a kind items from our archival collections and rare books. We also want to show you what we do here day to day to help demystify the archives world.

Outlines of the theory and practice of midwifery, 1796

Alexander Hamilton (1739–1802) was a professor of midwifery at Edinburgh University. He was a successful practitioner and writer on midwifery, and contributed to the establishment of the Lying-in Hospital (later the Edinburgh Royal Maternity Hospital) in 1791. Today we look at his Outlines of the theory and practice of midwifery, from 1796.

Playboy Ultra, 1975

This week, while processing a new collection, we came across this lovely collection of new typefaces from 1975, From Letragraphica Some New Faces. Each typeface is shown, with an accompanying photograph on the facing page of a person presumably embodying its style.

Hi, I’m new here

My name is Danielle.  I started work as Digital Archivist with Special Collections & Archives on February 1st. Part of my role will be thinking through how to share digitized selections from our holdings online. It’s going to take some time, but the upside for you is being able to enjoy the results from the comfort of your home, couch, bed, wherever – it’s completely your call!

Make It Kitchener

One fine morning last November, a gentleman named Eric Rumble walked through our door, looking for pictures for an exhibit he was curating for the City of Kitchener, called Make It Kitchener. The exhibit featured modern images reflecting the city's economic development strategy coupled with similarly themed images from its past (that's where we came in.)

The Great Water Tower Caper

In 1958, 3 students at the then-called Waterloo College Associate Faculties (now the University of Waterloo) climbed the water tower on Lester Street, and painted the word BEER on the side of the tank.

History 250 class visit to Special Collections & Archives

Special Collections & Archives is committed to student success and we support faculties and departments in class or in library instruction using our collections.  One example of this recently took place when we welcomed Professor Ian Milligan’s class (HIST 250) from the department of history to Special Collections & Archives.  The class was divided into 2 groups; one group visited us while the second attended a session led by the library’s history librarian Jane Forgay, about research strategies, tools, and library services.

Fore-edge paintings

A fore-edge painting is one done on the edges of a book's pages, so that the painting is only visible when the pages of the book are fanned.

Red Riding Hood

I hope everyone had lovely holidays! Down in Special Collections & Archives, we are all rested up, and are welcoming in 2016 by featuring a lovely shape book of stories and nursery rhymes, published by Ernest Nister in the 1890s.

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Special Collections & Archives now has limited access to the rare book and archival collections. Please continue to contact us with your research requests but note that there will be a delay in resolving your inquiry. Note that the department remains closed and our materials are not available in person and the Reading Room is closed until further notice.

A selection of items is browsable via the Waterloo Digital Library. We also have over 140,000 items digitized—one might be what you’re looking for.

We apologize for any inconvenience.

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