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Laurier Archives and Special Collections

archival books on a shelf

TheĀ Laurier Archives and Special Collections holds the Library's research collection of primary documents, and is the repository of historic records of the University. The collections focus on the Lutheran Church in the community; the environmental conservation movement in Canada; the history of Kitchener-Waterloo; and the history of Wilfrid Laurier University.

Julia Hendry Archive Reading Room

The Julia Hendry Archive Reading Room is on theĀ first floorĀ of the Laurier Library. It is where you may access our archives, special collections, and rare books and complete your research. The Reading Room is open to the public and we welcome researchers of all levels.

Many of our research collections and university records are stored offsite. We recommend contacting us prior to your visit so we can prepare your request and bring the material to the Reading Room. Please email libarch@wlu.ca for assistance.

The Reading Room is open Monday to Friday from 10:00am to 4:30pm. Appointments are recommended. Please clickĀ hereĀ to book an appointment.

We would be happy to host your class or community group in the archives. Please contact us to arrange for a tour or instruction session.

Online Services

Some research materials can be digitized and made available. Staff can provide some virtual reference services and answer some questions in support of class content or research.

Please refer to theĀ Research CollectionsĀ andĀ University ArchivesĀ tabs below to research our holdings online.

Please contact the Laurier Archives and Special Collections at libarch@wlu.ca.Ā 

About the Laurier Archives and Special Collections

The Laurier Archives and Special Collections 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.

Learn More

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Research Collections

The Laurier Archives and Special Collections 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 and Special Collections 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 Canadaā€™s north in the 20th and 21st centuries.

Search the Laurier Archives and Special Collections Finding Aid database

Browse the series of relevant website captures on Archive-It

Lutheran Church in the Community

The Laurier Archives and Special Collections 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 and Special Collections 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

University Archives

The Laurier Archives and Special Collections 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 and Special Collections Finding Aid database

Search the Laurier Archives and Special Collections 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.

Search
Search the Laurier Archives and Special Collections finding aid database
A searchable database of archival records. Includes descriptions of University records and research collections.
Search the Laurier Archives and Special CollectionsĀ Digital Collection
Search or browse more than 15,000 images and documents from our research collections and the Laurier Archives.
Search the collection of website captures on Archive-It
Search or browse historic captures of websites related to Wilfrid Laurier University and our special research collections.
Search the Cord student newspaper
Search or browse the student newspaper from its founding in 1926. The Cord digitization project is ongoing. For assistance, pleaseĀ contact us.
Scanning Materials from the Laurier Archives and Special Collections
Staff can help researchers with digital scans from the Laurier Archival and Special Collections. If you would like to request a scan from the Laurier Archival or Special Collections, please emailĀ libarch@wlu.caĀ outlining the details of your research interest and request.
Travel Award

Joan Mitchell Travel Award

The Joan Mitchell Travel Award seeks to promote and support original, scholarly research in the Laurier Archives and Special Collections. The Travel Award supports researchers wishing to travel to the Laurier Archives and Special Collections 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 and Special Collections. Graduate students and established scholars are invited to apply. The Joan Mitchell Travel Award honours Joan Mitchell, Laurierā€™s first Head of Archives and Special Collections.

The collections of the Laurier Archives and Special Collections 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 availableĀ here.

To apply:

Students enrolled in a graduate program at the Mastersā€™ 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 and Special Collections; as well as a curriculum vitae and one letter of reference.

Applicants are encouraged to contact the Laurier Archives and Special Collections to learn more about the collections when preparing their applications. Laurier Archives and Special Collections 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:

libarch@wlu.ca

Application deadline for the 2023 award is January 30, 2023.

Adjudication of applications

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

Conditions of Travel Award

Travel Award winners must begin their research at the Laurier Archives and Special Collections 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 and Special Collections. The Travel Award winner will be requested to submit a short report on their research which may be used in University publications.

Award Winners

2020:Ā Rohini Patel, University of Toronto

2018:Ā Julia Smachylo, Harvard University

2017:Ā Jonathan Luedee, University of British Columbia

2016:Ā Christine Grossutti, Queen's University

2015:Ā Elliot Worsfold, Western University

2014:Ā Jessica DeWitt, University of Saskatchewan

Towards Reparative and Inclusive Descriptive Practice

Introduction

Archives and Special Collections holds historical records and items that may contain problematic and outdated language and images, stereotypes, and cultural references that are no longer used or appropriate. Historical language is found in archival descriptions as previous approaches to this work used the language found in the record to describe the material. This was done to preserve the context in which the material was created.

Archives and Special Collections staff understand the impact language and images have on researchers accessing our collections and on the perpetuation of systemic and cultural bias. Although we cannot change the language or images within records or items themselves, we can provide context for this material, change the problematic and outdated language used to describe them, and name instances of discrimination found in our collections.

Accountability

Archives and Special Collections staff would like to position ourselves in this work and acknowledge that we are able-bodied settlers working at a predominately white institution. We are allies to the misrepresented and underrepresented communities in our collections. Our work toward reparative and inclusive descriptive practice is intended to combat systemic and cultural bias at our institution and in our archival description.

Archives and Special Collections staff are actively working to:

  • Replace problematic and outdated language in legacy archival description.
  • Use language that respects the people and events represented in our collections during description and re-description efforts.
  • Identify forms of discrimination (such as racism, sexism, and ableism) during description or re-description efforts and contextualize records containing discrimination.
  • Work with misrepresented and underrepresented communities to improve the ways they are described in our collections.
  • Inform researchers of the presence of problematic and outdated language and images, stereotypes, and cultural references in our collection.
  • Research best practices and current terminology to work toward reparative and inclusive description.
  • Listen to feedback from misrepresented and underrepresented communities and researchers to improve our work.

These efforts align with Wilfrid Laurier Universityā€™s Strategic Plan for Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion, the Association of Canadian Archivistsā€™ Code of Ethics and Professional Conduct, and the Calls to Action of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada.

Contact Us

Please let us know if you encounter problematic or outdated language and images, stereotypes, or cultural references in our records or archival description by completing this form. We appreciate your feedback as we work towards improving our archival descriptions.

Acknowledgements

This statement draws on the work of many others, including the University of Waterloo Special Collections and Archives and Toronto Metropolitan University Archives and Special Collections.

Additional Resources

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