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Regional & Early Campus History

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.


Regional and Early Campus History Collections

A list of all Archival & Special Collections Resources
Title Description Dates
Guelph Historical Society Collection Miscellaneous collection of account books, correspondence, legal documents, clippings, maps, photographs, books, other material relating to Guelph families and businesses. 1860-1960
Guelph Photographs Miscellaneous collections of photographs of Guelph and area. ca 1890-
Guelph Presto Music Club Collection 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 House The 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 Papers Collection of copies of legal documents including land transfers, mortgages, quit claims relating to H. Wissler, Barrister, Elora, Ontario. 1870-1940
Howitt Family Collection of photographs relating to the Howitt Family, ca. 1870-1950, scrapbooks and genealogical material. 1653-2001
Jardine Clan Society Collection of photograph albums and some papers relating to the Ontario branch of the Jardine Clan Society. 1978-2001
Jarvis Family Papers Collection of historical documents, genealogical records, books, photographs concerning the Jarvis and related families of Upper Canada. 1800-1980
Jean Little Collection Collection of correspondence, articles, typescripts, diaries, publications and transcriptions of children’s author Jean Little. 1950-1993
John Galt Collection Scottish author and first Superintendent (1826-1829) of the Canada Company. 1785-2013
John MacIntosh Duff Collection Collection 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 Collection Collection of articles, photographs, postcards and newspaper clippings concerning John McCrae and his birthplace in Guelph. 1895-1997, 2015
Journals of James Bowman Collection 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 Collection Collection of correspondence, artwork, reviews, pencil and chalk renderings, ephemera relating to artist Lillian Freiman (born in Guelph). 1904-1986
Lizars Collection Collection 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 Collection Collection 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 Collection Materials related to the Rockwood Academy. 1807-1983