Regional & Early Campus History

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Regional history has been an important collecting area for the library for many years. The founding of the Ontario Agricultural College in 1874 links the college with one of Guelph's leading citizens, F.W. Stone, whose property provided the original site and building for OAC. The regional archival resources began in earnest after 1969 with the acquisition of the Hoodless Family Papers and other locally based families and community groups -- especially Scottish -- that had established a relationship with the University or complemented its areas of teaching and research.

Some collections are of provincial and national interest such as:

The regional collection also includes some documents from the era of the War of 1812.

This section also holds a variety of regional family, cultural, and business papers, such as:

It provides perspectives on the history of the region that are diverse, ranging from items of national significance to small, personal collections.

Early campus history

These collections are of academic, historic interest and highlight the relationship between "town-and-gown." For many years, after the Massey Library opened in 1903, the library has collected information about the founding colleges prior to the formation of the University in 1964: OAC, OVC, the Macdonald Institute, and the Federated colleges. Although the library houses a significant collection of archival and printed materials relating to the history of the campus, there is no official institutional university archive for the subsequent period after 1964.

Campus collections contain information on many Guelph graduates and their activities in student groups.


The Alumni-In-Action Oral Histories Collection contains audio recordings of interviews with past Guelph Alumni.

  • Ontario Agriculture College (OAC) records date from 1874 and cover many alumni and student groups.
  • Ontario Veterinary College (OVC) records date from 1862 and include the history of veterinary science as it was practised in Ontario.
  • Macdonald Institute records begin in 1903 and are closely related to the records of Adelaide Hoodless.

The OAC, OVC, and Macdonald Institute records do not extend beyond the late-1960s.


A list of Archival & Special Collections Resources
Adelaide Hoodless Family PapersCollection of correspondence, addresses, booklets, newspaper clippings, photographs and family scrapbook relating to Adelaide Hoodless.1890-1972
Alexander MacGregor PapersShip seating plans, certificates, insurance company information, receipts, marriage licenses, day journal belonging to Alexander MacGregor Galt.1859-1907
Allan-Higinbotham PapersCollection of journals, scrapbooks, accounts, mortgages, legal documents, correspondence of David Allan, and Nathaniel Higinbotham families of Guelph.1834-1955
Brink-Whitelaw CollectionCollection of family material, correspondence, genealogy, memorabilia and photographs relating to Whitelaw, Brink, Cuthbert, Johnston and Gunn families of Woodstock, includes the Whitelaw Machinery Co1828-2007
Business and Professional Women's Clubs of OntarioMinutes, newspaper clippings, copies of articles for the Business and Professional Women's Clubs of Ontario, kept by Roberta Gilbank.1904-1968
Canada Company PapersCollection of charters, photographs, correspondence, minutes, legal papers relating to the Canada Company, founded by John Galt.1827-1857, 1926
Connon CollectionCollection of photographs, glass slides, negatives, papers and correspondence of Thomas and John R. Connon, Elora, Ontario.1850-1920
Davidson-Kennedy CollectionScrapbook and photograph album belonging to the Davidson and Kennedy families of Sunnyside (16 Arthur Street), Guelph. 1864-1890
Edward Johnson CollectionCollection of correspondence, photographs both operatic roles and family photographs, broadsides, theatre programs, speeches, postcards, diaries, slides, postcards, certificates, artifacts, etc.1887-1959
F. W. Stone Family CollectionCollection of F. W. Stone Family material, property photographs, articles on herefords, livestock, and articles on Morton Lodge (Johnston Hall).1852-1960
Federated Women's Institute Ontario CollectionRecords of the Federated Women’s Institutes. 1901-1994
Fiorenza Johnson Drew CollectionMaterials related to career and life of George Drew.1872-1969
Goble FamilyThis is a collection of materials relating to the Goble family of Woodstock, ON from 1777-1950.1777-1950
Goodal-Moyer-Comfort Family CollectionMemoirs of the Moyer and Comfort families, Mennonite immigrants from Pennsylvania to Niagara Peninsula, Saskatoon and Puslinch Township.1880-1986
Goodwin-Haines CollectionA diverse collection of Canadiana including material relating to Niagara region, assembled by a private collector. 1774-1930
Gordon Couling CollectionCollection of materials relating to Guelph painter, stained glass artist and local art historian, Gordon Couling. 1920-1983
Guelph Centre for the Performing ArtsArchitectural proposals, newspaper clippings, season brochures for the renamed River Run Centre, Guelph. 1989-
Guelph Historical Society CollectionMiscellaneous collection of account books, correspondence, legal documents, clippings, maps, photographs, books, other material relating to Guelph families and businesses.1860-1960
Guelph PhotographsMiscellaneous collections of photographs of Guelph and 1890-
Guelph Presto Music ClubCollection of program booklets (some are autographed by the performers and artists), minute books, financial statements, newspaper clippings.1898-1960, 1982
Guelph Regional Project Map Collection Collection of maps, summary entries for registered subdivision plans from Guelph Registry Office.1800-1900s
Guelph Royal Opera HouseThe Guelph Royal Opera House was a theatre that featured live performances before being turned into a movie theatre. It has since ceased operation. 1873-1926
Guelph Trail Club Archives Minutes, newsletters, handbooks, posters, scrapbooks, financial statements, correspondence relating to the Guelph Hiking Trail Club.1970-
H. B. Timothy Collection Photographs, pamphlets, correspondence, research notes relating to the literary and historical aspects of John Galt and his descendants in Britain, Canada, & United States.1820-1980
Hales Family War Correspondence Collection of letters exchanged between Captain John Playford Hales (1893-1918) and his brother Ernest Alfred Hales (1884-1959) during World War I.1916-1918
Hanna Family Collection Collection of photographs of various Guelph Sports Teams, including hockey, baseball and information on the Hanna Family.1900-1971
Henry Wissler PapersCollection of copies of legal documents including land transfers, mortgages, quit claims relating to H. Wissler, Barrister, Elora, Ontario.1870-1940
Howitt FamilyCollection of photographs relating to the Howitt Family, ca. 1870-1950, scrapbooks and genealogical material.1653-2001
Jarvis Family PapersCollection of historical documents, genealogical records, books, photographs concerning the Jarvis and related families of Upper Canada.1800-1980
Jean Little CollectionCollection of correspondence, articles, typescripts, diaries, publications and transcriptions of children’s author Jean Little. 1950-1993
John MacIntosh Duff CollectionCollection of correspondence, diaries, receipts, photographs, newspaper clippings, legal documents and books relating to the Loyalists Samuel Peters and William Jarvis and their descendants.1792-1910
John McCrae CollectionCollection of articles, photographs, postcards and newspaper clippings concerning John McCrae and his birthplace in Guelph. 1895-1997, 2015
Journals of James BowmanCollection of handwritten journals of James Bowman.October 31, 1866 - January, 1944
Ken Danby fonds Materials related to the life and career of Ken Danby, artist.1864-2011
Lillian Freiman CollectionCollection of correspondence, artwork, reviews, pencil and chalk renderings, ephemera relating to artist Lillian Freiman (born in Guelph). 1904-1986
Lizars CollectionCollection consists of documents which include John Galt correspondence, ledger dealing with agricultural and settlement matters, possibly the start of information for Canada Company settlers.1785-1887
Marston-Archibald CollectionCollection of correspondence, financial records, diaries, photographs, clippings related to Elora families - Marston, Archibald, Snyder, Anderson, Mills, Godfrey and Cole. 1757-1977
Merton Home and School Club fonds This collection consists of records, minute books, photographs, correspondence and other material related to S.S. #15 Trafalgar (Merton School) Home and School Club, as well as a few family histories.1910-1979
Mickle Family Collection Collection of correspondence, legal documents, accounts, and photographs relating to 6 generations of the Mickle Family.1710-1950
Rockwood Academy CollectionMaterials related to the Rockwood Academy.1807-1983
Ruby Mercer CollectionCollection of manuscript, interviews, correspondence, reviews, research notes, newspaper clippings for publication, "The Tenor of His Time : Edward Johnson of the of Met," by Ruby Mercer. 1900-1976
Sleeman Family CollectionMaterials relating to the Sleeman Family and Brewery in Guelph, Ontario.1832-2008
Stewart Lumber LimitedCollection of correspondence and financial records of Stewart Lumber Limited (Guelph), and a newspaper supplement on Stewart Lumber. 1913-1951
Thompson-Christie CollectionCollection of correspondence, business ledgers, newspaper clippings, books, church records and family papers.1808-1967
Walter J. Pasmore PapersCollection of ledgers, memoranda, business letters, family photographs of Walter J. Pasmore.1869-1930
Wellington County ProjectThe collection of minutes and tapes of project meetings, grant applications, bibliographies, lists of local library resources.1841-1977
Wilkinson Family PapersCollection of letters and documents relating to various members of the Wilkinson Family, early Huron Tract settlers in Sandwich, Upper Canada, including correspondence with T. Talbot.1790-1910, 1989
Anderson Family PapersLetters to Thomas Anderson, settler near Guelph, from family and friends in Kennoway and Edinburgh and later from Paisley Block to Toronto.1833-1870
Burton Noble Gates CollectionMaterials related to the study of apiculture.Pre-1930
Clarke E. Leverette CollectionCollection of stereographic cards that depict a wide variety of subjects, including views of the University of Guelph, portraits, and travel views from across the globe, including Scotland.1873-1980
Conn Smythe Collection Equine breeding and training records of Conn Smythe Horse Racing Stables, Caledon, Ontario1956-1980
Developing Countries Farm Radio Network Records of the Developing Countries Farm Radio Network. 1982-2004
Edna Staebler CollectionPublished works and manuscripts belonging to Mennonite cook Edna Staebler.1900-1996
Entomological Society of Ontario Collection Records of the Entomological Society of Ontario1863-
Fasken Family CollectionFamily papers including correspondence, legal documents, business and genealogical records of William Fasken and Margaret Mitchell.1784-1887
Jardine Clan SocietyCollection of photograph albums and some papers relating to the Ontario branch of the Jardine Clan Society.1978-2001
Jardine Family of Lockerbie, Dumfriesshire, Scotland FondsJardine Family of Lockerbie, Dumfriesshire, Scotland Fonds1799-1973
John Galt CollectionScottish author and first Superintendent (1826-1829) of the Canada Company.1785-2013
Scottish Studies FoundationVarious materials relating to the Scottish Studies Foundation.1983-1992
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