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Archives and Special Collections

Access during the COVID-19 pandemic

We are providing access to Archives & Special Collections by appointment only. We will be open for appointments up to 3 hours, on Monday to Thursday from 10am to 4pm. Please submit your appointment requests at least 2 days in advance.

To make an appointment to access material in the University Archives & Special Collections, please complete and submit the Mediated Collections Access Appointment form, being sure to include the Call Numbers of the books or the Reference Codes of the material you would like to access, you can also include the URL to Library Books or Archives and Special Collections Materials. You will receive an email confirming your appointment and providing access information.

Research appointments are designed to meet the needs of researchers who require access to specific equipment, collections, software or space, and for whom this need cannot be met through online resources and services.

At this time, access to the Library remains limited to faculty, students and staff. If a request is made that the Library can meet through virtual services, researchers will be directed appropriately.

Archives & Special Collections


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About the Archives

The Ryerson Archives serves as the institutional memory of the Ryerson community. The Archives acquires, preserves, and makes accessible a broad range of primary source materials which provide an administrative, academic, fiscal, legal, social, and cultural record of Ryerson University.

Founded in 1971 on a recommendation by the Smyth Commission on Ryerson Polytechnic University’s governance and organization, the Ryerson Archives mandate is to acquire, preserve and make available through a comprehensive archival collection, records essential to the understanding of the University’s purposes and operation or having other historical or archival value.

Within its mandate, the Ryerson Archives acts as a resource facility which documents the history of Ryerson University (1948 to the present) and its antecedent institutions at St. James Square, known as the cradle of education in the province of Ontario.

These institutions include primarily the Toronto Normal School (1852-1941), the R.C.A.F. No. 6 Initial Training Centre and Dominion-Provincial War Emergency Training Program (1941-1945) and the Toronto Training and Re-establishment Institute (1945-1948).

The Archives also maintains a collection of records and information on Egerton Ryerson (1803-1882), the University’s namesake and founder of Ontario’s educational system, at St. James Square.

About Special Collections

Special Collections was established to help support the learning and teaching needs and facilitate the scholarly, research and creative activities of the Ryerson community by acquiring and preserving primary source research material and cultural history objects. We have a particular responsibility to help students and staff gain access to objects in niche subject areas and aid them in the interpretation of those objects. Come in and see what we have to offer!

Our subjects of focus include:

  • Photography and film history, format and technology
  • Canadian publishing history
  • Theatre studies
  • Architecture in Canada
  • Soviet propaganda
  • Canadian television production
  • Children's literature
  • 1890's Magazines

Special Collections has many rare, fragile, and unique books, photographic and audiovisual items, as well as artifacts and textual records that relate to specific research fields.

Creative Commons License

This guide has been created by the Ryerson University Library and is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution International 4.0 License unless otherwise marked.

Creative Commons Attribution License