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. The following day each group attended the session they hadn’t yet seen.

We gave students a brief presentation about our department: who we are, what we do, why we do it, and what we have. Class visits afford a hands-on experience where students can get up close and personal with the items we steward.  Whilst we always tailor each presentation to our audience, there are a number of staff favourites that we simply have to show our visitors. These items include our oldest item from 1493, a book signed by Stephen King, a book of devotion in the Algonquin language, and our double fore-edge painted book

Special Collections & Archives can appear to be an intimidating place to visit. We are behind closed doors (even though we are open to all every weekday) and we are the custodians to some very old, rare, and incredible pieces.  However, there is nothing we like more than to see the looks of amazement and discovery on the faces of our visitors when they get to hold an item that is 400 years old. It is important to us that our visitors are able to make this tactile connection with our collections!

Front cover

An item from GA 176, Theatre playbills collection*. Advertising the 49th Street Theatre, 49th Street, between Broadway and Eighth Ave. Direction of the Messrs Leo and J.J. Shubert.

Grip magazine

Grip was a satirical magazine founded in 1873. The publisher went on to become home to many of Canada's premier designers and painters during the first half of the 20th century.

Front cover

Fear itself : the horror fiction of Stephen King. Introduction by Peter Straub. Foreword by Stephen King. Edited by Tim Underwood and Chuck Miller.

Items from the collections

Left foreground: our Nuremburg Chronicle leaf, 1493 (call number D0373). Right foreground: Donald McKay diary, 1799 (from the Colin Rankin fonds, GA 3). Left background: First English translation of Euclid's elements of geometry, 1570 (call number D0127). Right background: Nehiro-iriniui aiamihe Massinahigan, Shatshegutsh, Mitinekapitsh, Iskuamiskutsh, Netshekatsh, Misht', Assinitsh, Shekutimitsh, Ekuanatsh, Ashuabmushuanitsh, Piakuagamitsh, gaie missi missi nehiro-iriniui Astshitsh ka tatjits, ka kueiasku aiamihatjits ka utshi, Algonquin book of devotion, 1767 (call number B2189).

students in the reading room

Students examining items in the reading room.

*Collection transferred to University of Guelph Archival and Special Collections in 2022.

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