Archives collections policy

Table of contents

Major subjects

History of the University of Victoria Archives

In 1973, the Senate established the Archives in the McPherson Library to preserve the institutional archives of the University of Victoria and its predecessors - Victoria College and the Provincial Normal School - and private archives of individuals and organizations associated with the university and its predecessors. Private archives related to these parent institutions include, primarily, individual faculty and student individuals and organizations. The University of Victoria Archives is dedicated to preserving and making accessible the valuable material in its care.

In 1995, responsibility for private archives relating to British Columbia history was transferred from Special Collections to the University Archives. These private archives primarily consist of the records of individuals and organizations in the Vancouver Island and Pacific coast region. Some material also covers the geographical region of British Columbia, western Canada, central Canada and the United States. Subjects include anarchist studies, environmental studies, the women's movement, labour history, political affairs, the social sciences, transgender history, and arts and culture. For a full listing of our holdings visit The British Columbia Archival Information Network

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Description of acquisitions development guidelines

The University Archives acquires archival material that serves the long-term administrative and legal needs of the University of Victoria; and acquires private archives that supports the research and teaching needs of the University community, within the scope of the Archives Collections Policy. Acquisitions include:

Official University archives of continuing value, acquired through regular transfers from university offices that are governed by retention schedules and a records management programme.

Official University publications of continuing value, including monographs, serials and pamphlets that have been produced by UVic.

Private archives from the university community of individuals and organizations who have had a significant influence upon the university community, particularly documenting the activities of students and faculty. The archives of faculty members document not only their contribution to the university, but also the full range of their teaching and research interests.

Private archives from the broader community of individuals and organizations who have had a significant influence in their fields of study or in the development of their communities, related to the major subject areas noted above.

There will be instances in which the University Archives will take steps to acquire private archives that lie outside its primary areas of acquisition activity because it believes it must act to protect records of historical significance. In all acquisition decisions, the acquisition policies of other archives will be given primary consideration.

Copies of records from established archival repositories will be acquired if of exceptional historical value or potential high reference use.

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Scope of coverage


The predominant language of material is English. Several collections include material in French, German, and Mandarin.


The predominant geographical region is the southern Vancouver Island and Pacific coast region. Some fonds and collections extend to mainland BC, western Canada, central Canada and the United States.

Chronological Coverage

The predominant dates of the material is 1940-1990. The inclusive dates are 1780-2009.

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Type of materials and formats

The UVic Publications Collection includes monographs, serials and pamphlets.

The archival material includes textual records, photographs, videos, audio cassettes, posters, microforms, maps and electronic files.

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Related policies

Access Policy

All material must be accessed in the supervised Reading Room. Users must sign a "Researcher Registration Form," accepting responsibility for returning the material in the same condition as received. Special arrangements can be made to reserve a Library seminar room for teaching with archival material.

Access to University Records

Access to University Records is governed by the B.C. Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act. Records requested will be reviewed for for confidential material before release by the University Archivist or Associate Archivist (Records, Access & Privacy), in consultation with the University Secretary and the appropriate University office. In some cases, a Research Agreement will be required.

Photocopying Policy

Photocopies may be used only for the purposes of research and private study, and must not be used for any other purpose without the express authorization of the copyright owner. Responsibility regarding questions of copyright that may arise in the use of such copies is assumed by the receipient.

Photocopying of material will be done by staff as times permits, on the condition that the material is in good condition, and the binding is sturdy. In exceptional cases, at the discretion of staff, users will be given permission to use the self-serve photocopier.


  • $ 0.10 for a 8x11 page, self-serve photocopying
  • $ 0.25 for a 8x11 page, staff photocopying
  • $ 1.00 for a 14x17 page, staff photocopying

Interlibrary Loan Policy

No material is provided to Interlibrary Loan


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Major subject: Anarchist Studies

The collection of materials related to the anarchist movement is a new initiative for UVic Libraries and Archives, through the assistance of Canada Research Chair Dr. Allan Antliff.

Digitized materials selected from the holdings of UVic Archives and Special Collections relating to the anarchist movement in Canada and around the world are available through the Anarchist Archives on-line collection, which continues to be updated. Monographs and periodicals related to anarchism are available from Special Collections (non-circulating) and the Main Library, and include the gift of published materials from Dr. Allan Antliff : search in Library Search

Private donations of archival materials related to anarchism are currently in process (to be updated when publicly available):

  • David Babarash fonds
  • Jim Campbell fonds

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Major subject: Arts and Culture

The collection of cultural archives is one of the strengths of the University Archives, and includes records relating to art, music and theatre.

Artists and art history of the Vancouver Island region includes:

  • Galerie Dominion fonds, 1951-89, consists of letters from E.J. Hughes to the Galerie discussing his work, and some photographs of sites and paintings;
  • Limners fonds, 1972-2008, consists of correspondence and letters of this influential artists' collective.
  • Frank Nowosad fonds, 1979-88, consists of his research on his biography of Richard Ciccimarra.
  • Jack Wise fonds, 1955-1998, consists of correspondence, photos and emphemera of the artist, calligrapher, poet and teacher.

Music history and performance in British Columbia includes:

  • Bernard James Naylor fonds, 1821-1983, consists of books, scores, correspondence and recordings of his works;
  • Dale McIntosh fonds, 1850-1950, consists of extensive research data collected for his book on music history in Canada and British Columbia, and includes slides of newspaper articles, reviews, biographical data, and some original programmes;
  • Victoria Symphony Society fonds, 1941-84, which consists of administrative files, conductors and guest artists files, and programmes.
  • Other fonds include the archival material of Stanley Bulley, Gerhart Freidmann, Boyce Gaddes, Greater Victoria Music Festival Association, Audrey Johnson, and Winston Lucas

Theatre history in Victoria and the lower mainland includes:

  • Stuart Baker fonds, 1948-1989, consists of clippings, photographs, posters and programs from Totem Theatre and the Bastion Theatre Company.
  • Bastion Theatre Company fonds, 1963-1989, consists of board records, employment records, education records, marketing records, financial records, fundraising records, and production records of the theatre company.
  • Belfry Theatre fonds, 1976-1989, consists of financial records, general files, show files, newsletters, programmes and pamphlets, graphic materials and sound cassettes.
  • Company One Theatre Society fonds, 1971-1975, consists of business files, correspondence, financial records, personnel files, publicity and outreach records, scripts, scrapbooks, posters, and audio/video tapes.
  • Peter Mannering fonds, 1934-1997, consists of scrapbooks, biographical material, programs, posters, photos and audio visual materials related to Mannering's career as a actor, director and producer in Vancouver and Victoria.
  • New Bastion Theatre Company fonds, 1990-1995, consists of board records, production records, prompt scripts, cast files, fundraising records, and marketing records.
  • Wild Horse Summer Theatre Company fonds, 1977, consists of administrative files, photographs and tapes.

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Major subject: Environmental Studies

The collection of environmental studies archives has been a focus of the University Archives collection strategy in recent years, and includes records relating to the study of biology, environmental protection, and the philosophy of human ecology.

Biological research includes:

  • Gordon Fields fonds, 1912-1978, consists of research data and slides on his study of squid and sardines;
  • Hugh Hotson fonds, ca 1940-1988, includes notebooks on forest pathology, and glassplate negatives on diseases of cereals and fruits.

Environmental protection and activism includes:

  • Clayoquot Resource Centre, 1993-1994, consists of message book, trial lists, reasons for sentencing, trial summaries, arrestee information book, defence strategies, and clippings relating to the legal support of individuals arrested in the 1993 Clayoquot blockade.
  • Derek Ellis collection, 1950-1988, consists of rare printed material on international, national and regional environmental issues.
  • Sierra Club fonds, 1969-1992, documents the history and activities of the organization, including issues files, site specific files, minutes, and administrative files.
  • Port Alberni Pollution Campaign collection, 1966-1979, documents an early public protest against the MacMillan Bloedel and Powell River Pulp and Paper Mill, Alberni Division, to force the mill to clean up environmental pollution.
  • Public Advisory Committee to the Forest and Wildlife Ministries fonds, 1982-1986, documents the committee's attempts to monitor programmes of the BC Ministries of Forests and the Environment, and to lobby the government about environmental concerns.
  • Other fonds include the archival material of Pat Fogarty, Clair Heffernan, Emlen Littel, Katy Madsen, and the Public Advisory Committee to the Forest and Wildlife Ministries.

Philosophy of human ecology is documented in one small but unique archives:

  • Alan Drengson fonds, 1987-1993, consists of 3 drafts of manuscripts including, "Reflections on ecosophy," 1987; "Adventures of Flelix," 1993; an unedited version of "Practice of technology," 1995; and 11 prints designed by Jenus Friesen for Drengson's 1993 publication, Doc Forest and Blue Mountain Ecostery.

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Major subject: Literary History and Criticism

Archives relating to literary history and criticism includes faculty research in modern English and French literature, and the administrative records of two literary journals.

  • English Literary Studies Monograph Series fonds, 1987-1990, documents the production of the journal, and includes correspondence, and some manuscripts submitted for publication.
  • Patricia Koster fonds, 1969-1990, includes her teaching files on 18th c women writiers, and research files on Roger Manley and Baptist Noel Turner.
  • Malahat Review fonds, 1965-1983, consists of the administrative records of the journal, and includes correspondence, submissions, proofs and minutes.
  • Shakespeare Music Project fonds, 1979-1988, consists of the research and administrative files of the project, which resulted in the publication, A Shakespeare Music Catalogue, Oxford University Press, 1989.
  • UVic Lexicographical Research Centre fonds, 1962-1983, consists of the research and administrative files of the Centre, which was established to enlarge and revise the Canadian Dictionary, and develop a French translation.
  • Jennifer Waelti-Walters fonds, 1957-1995, consists of manuscripts, correspondence, and research files documenting her extensive research in the study of Michel Butor, and French feminist writings of the belle epoque.

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Major subject: Political and Historical Affairs

Archives relating to the study of political affairs, include the Columbia River Treaty, labour and labouring classes, and politics.

Columbia River Treaty negotiation history includes:

  • Columbia River Treaty briefing books collection, 1961-1964, consist of treaty and protocol documents and correspondence for Paul Martin's use, as Canadian negotiator for the treaty.
  • James Ripley fonds, ca. 1940-1969, consists of correspondence, minutes, notes and reports used in his work as a lobbyist against the Columbia River Treaty.
  • Neil Swainson fonds, 1955-1971, consists of research files relating to his book, Conflict on the Columbia, 1979.
  • Ray Williston fonds, 1926-1984, consists of correspondence, memos, reports, photographs and maps relating to his role in the negotiations for the Columbia River Treaty as BC Minister for Lands and Forests.

Local labour history incldues the following archives:

  • Victoria Labour Council fonds, 1904-1979, consists of the administrative records of the Council, including acount books, correspondence, minutes, photographs, press clippings and roll books.
  • Victoria Shipyard Workers Federal Union, Local 238 fonds, 1898-1956, consists of administrative records of the Union, including minutes and photographs.

British Columbia policial history includes:

  • British Columbia Project fonds, 1928-1987, consists of the research files of the project that attempted to examine the governance and politics of BC from 1969-1982, including articles, statistics, legislation, and reports.
  • Richard Powers fonds, 1931-1992, consists of files documenting his teaching career, and his political involvment in the Faculty Association at the University of Victoria.
  • Other fonds include the archival material of Harold Allen, Cordova Bay CCF Club, Geroge Home, and the Saanich Progressive Conservative Association.

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Major Subject: Transgender Studies

Acquisition of fonds and collections relating to transgender studies and the history of transgender communities is a new initiative for UVic Archives

Monographs and periodicals related to transgenderism, transsexualism, cross dressing, transvestism, gender identity and related subjects are available from Special Collections (non-circulating) and the Main Library, and includes the major gift of published materials from Ms. Rikki Swin: search in Library Search

Private donations of transgender archives are currently in process and descriptions will be updated to when available; archival holdings include approximately 29 metres of material from the following persons and organizations:

  • Stephanie Castle fonds
  • Reed Erickson fonds
  • Rikki Swin Institute (RSI) Collection - now described on

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Major subject: Vancouver Island and West Coast History

The collection of archives includes records of European, Chinese and First Nations persons and communities on the West Coast, as well as material related to the study of these communities:

  • Peggy and Nicholas Abkhazi fonds (1881-1981), documents the lives of Peggy and Nicholas Abkhazi including their experiences during World War II and the design and creation of their internationally renowned rhododendron garden on Fairfield Road in Victoria, now owned by The Land Conservancy of BC (TLC ).
  • Chinese Consolidated Benevolent Association fonds, 1884-1937, documents the activities of the Association, in protesting discrimination, mediating disputes, monitoring medical care, and offering financial assistance to families in other parts of Canada, China and Cuba.
  • Alfred Carmichael manuscript, ca 1950, "Indian legends of the west coast of Vancouver Island," includes maps, musical scores and photographs as well as his transcriptions of legends.
  • Frank Cassidy fonds, 1921-1988, documents Cassidy's research into the history of native self-government, and includes his files about native bands and organizations.
  • Archie Wills fonds (1890-2004), documents the life and writings of Archie H. (Henry Archibald) Wills, including his World War I experiences as a member of the 58th Battery, Canadian Forces Artillery, and editor at the Victoria Times Newspaper, where he created the story of the Cadborosaurus.

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Major subject: Women's Studies

Iincludes archives documenting women's rights, and the social condition of women in the Victoria area. Major archives include:

  • Everywoman's Books fonds, 1975-1995, consists of logbooks, minutes, journals, correspondence, subject files and newspaper clippings.
  • Mona Morley fonds, 1931-1994, consists of personal diaries documenting her life as a student at Victoria College, and her time as "Novice Ruth" at the Convent of the Epiphany in Truro, Cornwall.
  • University Women's Club of Victoria fonds, 1908-1993, consists of constitution and bylaws, minutes, committee records, financial records, newsletters, programmes, and membership records.
  • Victoria Status of Women Action Group fonds, 1972-1995, consists of office logs, posters, pamphlets and newsletters.
  • Victoria Voice of Women fonds,1966-1992, consists of reports, research, clippings, correspondence, and minutes.
  • Other fonds include the archival material of Eileen Kenwood, Lesbianews, Prime Time, Victoria Women Against Pornography, and Women's Building of Victoria Society.

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Major subject: University of Victoria

The formal acquisition of university records is governed by official retention schedules and a records management programme. Holdings include the records of the Board of Governors and Senate; and offices of the President, University Secretary, Administrative Registrar, University Librarian, Ceremonies and Special Events, Continuing Studies, and a variety of academic departments.

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