Laurier Archives

Laurier Archives
Research collections
University Archives
Travel award

Notice of service disruption

The Laurier Archives are now closed due to the Provincial emergency and stay at home order.

Some research materials can be digitized and made available. Staff are working remotely and can provide some virtual reference services and answer questions about supports for classes and research.

Please refer to the Laurier Archives Research collections tab and University Archives tab to research our holdings online

Please contact the Laurier Archives by email.A group of people studying in a Library

About the Laurier Archives

The Laurier Archives is the Library's research collection of archival papers, rare books, and historic university records. With collecting emphases on the environmental conservation movement in Canada; the Lutheran Church in Canada; and Canadian music, the Laurier Archives holds unique collections of archival records. The Rare Book collection contains volumes dating to the 15th century and includes an unparalleled collection of hymnbooks.

We are also the official repository of historic university records. The holdings include official records of the university; photographs; memorabilia, student publications; records of student clubs and much more.

Please visit our web exhibit: 'Talkin' 'bout Those Generations': Lutheran Youth Experience in Canada

We are also proud to host a web exhibit on the Miss Canadian University Pageant created by undergraduate student Megan Blair, who is unaffiliated with the Laurier Archives.

The Laurier Archives Reading Room is on the first floor of the Laurier Library. It is open to the public and we welcome researchers of all levels.

We'd love to host your class or community group in the Archives. Please contact us to arrange for a tour or instruction session.

Learn More

Scanning Materials from the Laurier Archives and Special Collections

Please note that the Laurier Archives and Special Collections has now re-opened for bookable appointments As part of Archives modified services, staff can help researchers with digital scans from Archival and Special Collections.

If you would like to request a scan from the Archival or Special Collections please email outlining the details of your research interest and request.

A group of three moose in an open fieldThe Laurier Archives contains the library's research collection of primary documents and rare books. The collection focuses on: the environmental conservation movement in Canada (with an emphasis on water resources, Canada's North, and biosphere reserves in Canada); the history of Lutheranism in Canada; and the history of Kitchener-Waterloo.

Environmental Conservation Movement in Canada

The Laurier Archives houses a rich collection of archival records and primary resources documenting the environment. The collections have a special emphasis on water resources, parks and protected areas, biosphere reserves, and Canada’s north in the 20th and 21st centuries.

Search the Laurier Archives Finding Aid database

Browse the series of relevant website captures on Archive-It

Lutheran Church in the Community

The Laurier Archives is the official repository of the records of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada (Eastern Synod), the historic records of the Waterloo Lutheran Seminary, as well as collections of personal papers, publications and ephemera. In Synod records, and records of individual parishes, the collection documents not only the history of the ELCIC beginning in the nineteenth century, but offers a glimpse into life in communities across Canada in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries.

The rare book collection contains an extensive collection of Lutheran texts, and a growing collection of hymnals used in Canadian churches.

Search the Laurier Archives Finding Aid database

Browse the series of relevant website captures on Archive-It

History of Kitchener-Waterloo

The history of Kitchener-Waterloo is represented in a number of records of individuals and organizations including the Kitchener-Waterloo Concert Association, and the Social Planning Council of Kitchener-Waterloo. The records of local parishes are well-represented in the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada records

Search the Laurier Archives Finding Aid database

Wilfrid Laurier Universtity crestThe Laurier Archives is the official repository for historic records of the university. Our holdings include corporate records of Wilfrid Laurier University and the Waterloo Lutheran Seminary and their predecessors including records of the Board of Governors and Senate; academic faculties and administrative offices. The collection includes official publications of the university including press releases, magazines and newspapers as well as university photographs.

Also included are student publications, photographs, alumni records, campus memorabilia and much more. University Archives materials are described in finding aids. Certain photos and documents are available in the Laurier Archives Digital Collection. For assistance using the University Archives, please contact us.

Search the Laurier Archives Finding Aid database

Search the Laurier Archives Digital Collection

Search the collection of WLU website captures

Search the Cord student newspaper

For information about transferring university records to the Archives, please contact us.

Joan Mitchell Travel Award

The Joan Mitchell Travel Award seeks to promote and support original, scholarly research in the Laurier Archives. The Travel Award supports researchers wishing to travel to the Laurier Archives to conduct research in any of the archival collections. The Travel Award of $1000 may be used to offset the cost of travel and lodging in Waterloo for a period of one to four weeks of research in the Laurier Archives. Graduate students and established scholars are invited to apply. The Joan Mitchell Travel Award honours Joan Mitchell, Laurier’s first Head of Archives and Special Collections.

The collections of the Laurier Archives focus on: the Environment (with an emphasis on water resources, Canada's North, and biosphere reserves in Canada); the history of the Lutheran Church in Canada; music in Canada; and the history of Wilfrid Laurier University. A complete list of collections, and detailed finding aids, are available here.

To apply:

Students enrolled in a graduate program at the Masters’ or doctoral level, as well as established scholars in any discipline are eligible for the Joan Mitchell Travel Award. One award of $1000 will be offered each year. To apply, please forward a letter of application describing the proposed research project, plans for publication, and the collections to be consulted at the Laurier Archives; as well as a curriculum vitae and one letter of reference.

Applicants are encouraged to contact the Laurier Archives to learn more about the collections when preparing their applications. Laurier Archives staff members are not on the Adjudication Committee.

Applications should be submitted to:

Archives and Special Collections
Wilfrid Laurier University
75 University Avenue
Waterloo ON
N2L 3C5

Or to:

The application deadline for the 2020 award is February 14, 2020.

Adjudication of applications

An interdisciplinary Advisory Committee will review each application based on the applicant’s research topic and the availability of relevant holdings in the Laurier Archives. Preference will be given to applicants whose research proposal makes maximum use collections at the Laurier Archives.

Conditions of Travel Award

Travel Award winners must begin their research at the Laurier Archives within one year of being notified of the award. Award winners are expected to devote full time to their research project while in Waterloo. Funds may be used for travel to Waterloo and lodging in Kitchener-Waterloo. Subsidized accommodation may be available on campus. The Joan Mitchell Travel Award must be acknowledged in works emanating from research conducted at the Laurier Archives. The Travel Award winner will be requested to submit a short report on their research which may be used in University publications.

Award Winners

2018: Julia Smachylo, Harvard University

2017: Jonathan Luedee, University of British Columbia

2016: Christine Grossutti, Queen's University

2015: Elliot Worsfold, Western University

2014: Jessica DeWitt, University of Saskatchewan