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TRL Clearance Book Sale September 19 & 20, 2014

September 18, 2014 | Katherine | Comments (0) Facebook Twitter More...

Clearance Books

Friends of the Toronto Public Library South Chapter


Clearance Book Sale

All items 10 cents to 1 dollar


Friday September 19, 2014 (9:30 AM to 8 PM)

Saturday September 20, 2014 (9 AM to 4 PM)


Toronto Reference Library

Elizabeth Beeton Auditorium (1st Floor)

789 Yonge Street


All proceeds benefit library programs

For more info and volunteer opportunities, call 416-397-5948 or email

friendssouthchapter @

Some Friends South Chapter Volunteers

Performing Arts Manuscript and Archival Collections at the Toronto Reference Library, letters H-L

September 10, 2014 | Bill V. | Comments (0) Facebook Twitter More...

The Toronto Reference Library has rich and varied archival collections of theatre and performing arts manuscripts, photographs and ephemera with an emphasis on Canadian content. These can be found in the Marilyn and Charles Baillie Special Collections Centre.

Marilyn & Charles Baillie Special Collections Centre

We will be writing six blog posts listing all the collections by alphabetically by name and providing a pdf link to a detailed inventory of each fond describing the contents.

See here for the blog post covering A-C.

See here for the blog post covering D-G.

We welcome questions about the collection to

      • Amelia Hall Collection Photographs, prompt scripts and acting exercises donated by the estate of Canadian actress Amelia Hall (1915-1984).  Includes material from the Canadian Repertory Theatre, Ottawa Drama League, Montreal Repertory Theatre, Stratford Festival and Shaw Festival.  The photographs are copies made from originals in her personal collection, now in the Public Archives of Canada.  Many had been planned for use as illustrations in the book she was writing on the Canadian Repertory Theatre.  Also available in the Performing Arts Centre is a microfilm copy of the Amelia Hall Scrapbooks (the originals now in the National Archives). 2 boxes; 64 envelopes and 1 framed photograph; .8 linear metres. Download Hall, Amelia Collection

      • Guy Claude Hamel Collection Mimeographed playscripts and materials relating to Hamel Theatre Productions, an amateur theatre group producing plays with varying religious content in Toronto in the early 1970s. Download Hamel, Guy Claude Collection
      • Barbara Hamilton Collection (1952-1996) Correspondence, newspaper clippings, photographs, programs, publicity material, scrapbooks, tape recordings and video tapes relating to the stage and television career of Canadian actress and comedienne Barbara Hamilton (1926-1996). Among her many roles, Miss Hamilton acted in Spring Thaw, the Crest Theatre, and created the role of Marilla in the first Charlottetown Festival production of Anne of Green Gables. 4 boxes: .87 linear metres + 1 pkg. oversize material Download Hamilton, Barbara Collection
      • Cara Hartwell Collection (1914-1983) Correspondence, autographs collected by Miss Cara Hartwell of Toronto.  Includes letters from many famous personalities in the arts world, actors, playwrights, authors, opera singers, dancers and film directors.  Also includes photographs, many autographed, of music personalities, a series of autograph books, and a collection of autographed cards.  Among the letters are letters from W. Somerset Maugham from 1935 to 1955, several mentioning his tastes in literature and commenting on some of his own books and plans for books.  There is also a series of letters from dancer Ted Shawn relating interesting anecdotes about his experiences with motion pictures and with astrology.  Especially informative is correspondence from other film fans describing visits to retired movie stars and giving biographical details and “what ever happened to” information on stars of the silent film era.

        Over the years, Miss Hartwell has made many generous gifts to the Theatre Department. Her donation of photographs and film stills formed the basis of the department’s photograph collection.  The photos of actors and dancers from this most recent gift have been interfiled with this larger collection.  Her gifts of books, recordings and such film fan periodicals as Photoplay have also been added to the general collection. 2 boxes; 52 envelopes + box of cards; 71 linear metres Download Hartwell, Cara Collection

      • Sir John Martin Harvey Collection (1884-1944) Material relating to the career of the English actor-manager Sir John Martin Harvey (1863-1944), including portrait photographs and photo postcards, production photographs, programs, souvenir booklets, several signed letters, and six watercolour and drawings by John Martin Harvey on his 1884 Canadian tour with Henry Irving. 2 boxes; 51 envelopes, 2 packages, .66 linear metres Download Harvey, Sir John Martin Collection

      • Ralph Hicklin Collection He was an arts critic for both the Toronto Telegram and the Globe & Mail during the 1960s.  The collection consists of 28 scrapbooks (27 boxed + 1 loose oversize item) along with reviews, talks, scripts, drafts, photos, slides, correspondence and tapes. As indicated, many photos have been transferred to the Theatre Photographs collection. 2 boxes + 1 scrapbook Download Hicklin, Ralph Collection

      • Winifred Hicks-Lyne Photograph Album 423 postcard size photographs of English stage personalities of the late-nineteenth and early-twentieth century.   Download Hicks-Lyne, Winifred Photograph Album
      • H.E. Hitchman Collection (1922-1931) Photographs and programs documenting the stage appearance of Canadian actor H. E. Hitchman, mainly from productions at Hart House Theatre, and including a tour to Banff in the summer of 1931 with the Alfred Heather Light Opera Company.  The collection also includes an original sketch of Hitchman by Arthur Lismer. 1 box; 26 envelopes, .065 linear metres Download Hitchman, HE Collection
      • Pam Hyatt Collection (1958-1990) Clippings, programs and photographs documenting the career of actress/singer/comedienne Pam Hyatt (born in Garden City, Long Island, but who had made her career in Canada).  Her acting credits include roles at the Stratford Festival, Young Peoples Theatre, Sudbury Theatre Centre, Muskoka Festival, Mountain Playhouse, and CBC radio and TV. 1 box; 13 files/envelopes, .065 linear metres Download Hyatt, Pam Collection


      • Sir Henry Irving Collection (1874-1905) Programs, photographs, drawings and engravings relating to the career of the English actor-manager, Sir Henry Irving (1838-1905). 1 box and 1 package; 1 linear metre Download Irving, Sir Henry Collection
      • Nella Jefferis Collection (1915-1944) Scrapbook describing the career of Canadian actress Nella Jefferis, (d.1944), active in Toronto, New York, and touring in Ottawa and western Canada.  Includes programs, clippings and several photographs documenting her work at the Hart House Theatre, The Arts and Letters Club, and with the Cameron Matthews English Players, among others. 1 scrapbook, 58 pgs. (in box); .10 linear metres Download Jefferis, Nella Collection
      • Sydney Johnson Collection Articles by Montreal theatre critic Sydney Johnson (d. 1988), that appeared in the Montreal Star from 1961 to 1968. 139 articles; .102 linear metres Download Johnson, Sydney Collection
      • Jupiter Theatre Collection 23 annotated play copies (acting and stage manager’s copies, 1951-1953). Download Jupiter Theatre Collection
      • Jack Karr Collection (1938-1979) Scrapbooks and papers of Toronto columnist and public relations man Jack Kerr, film and drama critic for the Toronto Star (1938-1959), publicity head for the Stratford Festival (1959-1965) and later the O’Keefe Centre (1965-1976). 7 boxes; 3.46 linear metres Download Karr, Jack Collection
      • Karsh Photographs Collection (1940s) Photographs by Canadian photographer Yousuf Karsh (1908-2002) of personalities active in theatre and opera. See also:  Dominion Drama Festival Collection. Download Karsh Photographs Collection
      • Melville and Arden Keay Collection (1926-1951) Press clippings, programs, correspondence and photographs documenting the careers of actress Arden Fortner Keay and her husband Melville Keay; director, costume designer, head of Hart House Theatre department and founder of the Toronto Repertory Theatre. Scrapbook (Photocopied facsimile) – 227 pages. 1 box containing 1 binder & 7 envelopes (+ interfiled photos); .45 metres  Download Keay, Melville and Arden Collection
      • Geoffrey Keighley Collection (1922-1930) Photographs, programs, scrapbooks and posters documenting productions at the Hart House Theatre, various college of the University of Toronto, the Players’ Club and the Margaret Eaton School during the 1920s.  Mr. Keighley handled props or worked in stage management in various of these productions, especially those under Mr. Bertram Forsyth.  The collection includes several rough set sketches and some stage plots, prop lists, invoices for stage flats, and a note from Mr. Forsyth, together with a number of autographed programs. 1 box; 11 envelopes and scrapbook; 2 posters*; .065 linear metres Download Keighley, Geoffrey Collection
      • Mary Kerr Collection (1960s–1991) Stage designs, notebooks, correspondence, photographs, slides, programs, articles and reviews documenting the career of Canadian designer Mary Kerr.  The collection includes material on her work in ballet, opera, television, theatre, film and exhibition design, with articles, lectures and commentary on her theories of design.  The scope of the collection begins with her work on student productions, and traces her development as an artist through productions for such major companies as the Royal Winnipeg Ballet, the Shaw Festival, Stratford Festival, Vancouver Playhouse and Canadian Stage Company, and alternative companies like Studio Lab Theatre and Buddies in Bad Times.11 boxes + stage designs, posters, slides; 2.48 linear metres Download Kerr, Mary Collection

      • Charmion King Collection (1931-1983) Correspondence, photographs, programs, clippings and scrapbooks relating to the career of Toronto actress Charmion King (1925-    ).  Material includes her student acting at Hart House Theatre, early career in summer stock at the Woodstock Playhouse, Straw Hat Players, Niagara Falls Summer Theatre, and Bermudiana Repertory Theatre, in addition to the Garden Centre Theatre, tours with The Drunkard and There Goes Yesterday and work with the Crest Theatre and Stratford.  The majority of the items in the collection deal with her work before her marriage to actor/writer Gordon Pinsent, when she retired temporarily from the stage.  For information on her later career, see the clippings and fiche in the Performing Arts Centre. 1 box; 10 envelopes (1 oversize) and 3 scrapbooks (1 oversize); .63 linear metres Download King, Charmion Collection


      • Lillie Langtry Collection (1864-1918) Photographs, programs, and engravings. 1 box; .07 metre; 39 items Download Langtry, Lillie Collection
      • Cosette Lee Collection (1911; 1920-1976) Includes programs, press clippings, photographs, correspondence, scripts, elocution materials, business papers, documents from professional organizations, and miscellaneous memorabilia of the well known Canadian character actress (Toronto, 1910-1976) whose career on the stage, radio, television, and film extended over more than 50 years.3 boxes; 121 cm.; 812 items Download Lee, Cosette Collection
      • Michael Levine Collection Photographs showing the work of Canadian stage designer Michel Levine for the Citizens Theatre, Glasgow; Hornchurch Theatre, London; English National Opera; Shaw Festival; National Ballet of Canada; CentreStage, Toronto; Canadian Opera Company; Royal Shakespeare Company; Geneva Opera; Théâtre Répère at the DuMaurier World Stage, Toronto, from 1982 through 1990. These production photographs compliment, in some instances, original stage designs held in the collection of the Performing Arts Centre. 16 envelopes; .065 linear metres Download Levine, Michael Collection

      • Gweneth Lloyd Collection (1939-1977) Material relating to choreographer and dance teacher Gweneth Lloyd (1901-    ) and her years with the Winnipeg Ballet (later known as the Royal Winnipeg Ballet), the company she founded in 1939.  Includes correspondence, photographs, programs, clippings, scrapbooks, and miscellaneous items. 2 boxes; .63 linear metres 
      • London Theatre Company Collection Part 1 (1947-48; 1951-1957) Weekly accounts, financial statements, posters, programs, press clippings and set designs of the London Theatre company, which presented six seasons of repertory theatre in St. John’s, Newfoundland from 1951 to 1957, including there tours through the Maritime provinces and Ontario from 1953 to 1956. Also includes box office returns (1947/48) of the Alexandra Theatre Company of Birmingham, England, the London Theatre Company’s immediate predecessor in St. John’s, Newfoundland. 2 boxes: 25 files; .26 metres. (+ interfiled items as noted). Download London Theatre Company Collection Part 1
      • London Theatre Company Collection, Part 2 “First typed draft, before any cuts or edits” of  A Thousand and One First Nights, the story of the London Theatre Company, written by its founder Leslie Yeo, published by Mosaic Press, Oakville Ontario 1998. The final published work is in the Performing Ars Centre catalogued as 792.02309 Y25 Y25. Approximately 50 pages of material were cut from the published text. 1 box: 4 folders; .075 metres Download London Theatre Company Collection, Part 2

The A. Norman Sands Collection of Local History

September 8, 2014 | Richard | Comments (1) Facebook Twitter More...

The bookplate belonging to A.N. Sands is affixed to many of the items in the collection


A. Norman Sands (1894-1979) was a veteran of WWI (48th Highlanders, Naval Air Service, and Corps Cyclist Battalion), a Director at T. Eaton Co. Ltd, and an avid collector of local history. With 50 Years of service at T. Eaton, he amassed a considerable collection of pamphlets, booklets, and ephemera from all across Ontario and Canada.

IMG_1512In March 1971, Edith G. Firth then Associate Head of the Metropolitan Toronto Central Library, contacted Norman Sands to express interest in his collection. The A. Norman Sands materials were subsequently donated to the library. The collection is housed and available for research in the Humanities and Social Sciences Department on the second floor.


Here are some things to know:


A. Norman Sands collected Canadian church histories, local history pamphlets, travel brochures, souvenir booklets, and postcards, printed between 1890 and 1970.  The collection emphazes Ontario church history and histories of Ontario counties, towns, townships and tourist attractions.  Churches, cities, and rural communities celebrating 100 year anniversaries trace their early roots, identify founding families, and comment on origins and changes in place names and district boundaries. Many items were produced as part of our centennial celebrations.

The files contain travel brochures from the early part of the 20th century, but primarily issued in the 1950's and 1960's, souvenir postcards are available for some large cities and popular tourist destination.

The Toronto files were expanded by including pamphlets for the period 1970-1999.

Geographic Arrangement

The Ontario files are organized alphabetically by country or district and then by town or township.  Files for other Canadian provinces and territories are arranged from west to east coast, and then alphabetically by town or township. Large communities with more than 3 pamphlets have their own file folder. Topical files on churches, history, tourism, etc. are interfiled alphabetically with the corresponding province/territory or county/district.

Access to the Collection

The Sand's Collection is located on the 2nd Floor of the Humanities and Social Sciences Department.  Please ask a librarian for assistance in browsing and retrieving the items you want to see. The Sands collection is in locked filing cabinets for security reasons. You will be required to fill out a retrieval slip in order to view materials in the library.

Items in the Sands collection are uncatalogued. However, a significant portion of the collection is duplicated in our regular collection and does appear on the TPL website. For example, the Souvenir Book authored by St. Patrick's Church (Phelpston, Ont.) in 1965, is in the Sand's collection and is also at the North York Central Library. Whereas, Women in the Church, compiled by the Local Woman's Associations of Simcoe Presbytery in 1957, is only located in the Simcoe folder in the Sand's collection and is not in our regular collection or on our website. 

Finding Aids

You can view a county list of Ontario coverage by downloading the Sands Ontario County Index.  If you know the town name but need the county name download the Sands Ontario Towns Index. For a listing of files outside of Ontario for the rest of Canada download Sands Index of Other Provinces.

Size of the Collection

There are over 500 place names listed for Ontario alone, and over 200 place names listed for the rest of Canada. While some folders may contain only few pieces, other folders contain over a dozen. A sampling of two of the drawers would suggest that the collection exceeds 2,700 items, in roughly 25 linear feet or 7.5 metres of storage.


One dozen examples . . .




CoronationA special service at Toronto's St. James cathedral was held to commemorate the coronation of George V and Queen Mary in June of 1911.

The Internet Archive has digitized The form and order of the service  of the actual coronation in Westminster, on Thursday, the 22nd day of June, 1911, which includes the Oath taken by George V.















TTC Visitors' GuideThis map brochure, printed by the TTC in the late 20's, before Toronto had Subways, shows Routes and Rates of Fare for Street Cars, Buses, and Coaches.

The back page notes, "The Commission is required to collect a self-sustaining fare. No taxes have been or may be collected for the support of the system. . . .  In addition to the city transit system, the Commission owns the Gray Coach Lines, with interurban bus routes radiating from Toronto to Buffalo, London, Owen Sound, Alliston, North Bay, Beaverton, Uxbridge and Oshawa . . . (and) also owns the suburban electric line to Long Branch and the Scarboro and Port Credit bus routes".























TDKingYongeThis pamphlet (no date) details the construction of the Dominion Bank Building at 1 King Street West at Yonge in 1913 in an area of the city that "was considered at the time to be the busiest corner in America outside of New York City".

The building includes a great vault "which, when constructed, was the largest and best equipped in Canada".

To enter the Safety Deposit Vault, "it is necessary to pass through one of the largest and heaviest doors ever built.  It is circular in shape, four and one-half feet thick and has an opening of seven feet six inches. Although the complete door assembly weighs in excess of forty tons, the precision is so fine that a paper clip accidentally dropped in the opening will halt the door from closing".

The building is presently part of One King Street West - A hotel and condominium development (2005).







OfficialguideThis Official Guide (46 pages), published in 1899, describes Toronto in classic Victorian style, and includes a Historical Sketch, a section on Municipal Progress and Government, Public Buildings and Institutions, etc.

The Guide boasts of the recently built City Hall . . . the "total cost (not yet definitely settled) is estimated at about $2,500,000, for which one of the finest buildings on the continent has been secured . . . It is in the Romanesque style and is of magnificent proportions'.

The Guide also highlights many of our other accomplishments: "The water supplied to the City is of excellent quality, and is taken from the depths of Lake Ontario by a steel conduit, through which it is forced by pumping engines having a capacity for pumping more than 40,000,000 gallons daily. The supply is stored in Rosehill Reservoir, which covers a bottom area of more that 40,000 square yards, one-third of which is laid with concrete, and around the banks of which is one of the loveliest of Toronto's many lovely parks."




SecordA real piece of ephemera, this little booklet outlines: the purpose of the Secord Secretarial School for Girls; the course offerings - 'Secretarial - Stenographic - Business Machines'; the time required for each type of course (12 weeks to 10 months); the Tuition fees ($5/wk or $18/mn) School Hours; description of subjects; and employment prospects.

















This CNR fold-out four page brochure, with no date, was possibly printed in the 1910's. It includes a listing of over 90 hotels in the area along with accommodation capacities. Rates on the "American Plan" range between $2 and $4 per day or $12 to $31.50 per week. Listed are famous hotels that went up in flames: the Beaumaris Hotel (1945), Royal Muskoka Hotel (1952), and the Windermere House (1996).


Women In the Church "In the following pages", this 47 page booklet begins, "may be found the History of some fifty-five local Woman's Associations of Simcoe Presbytery compiled by ladies searching through old minute books and any other source they could find available." The economic contribution of these Associations is one of the recurring themes of these accounts e.g. the "Treasurers' Reports since 1891 show a total amount raised during those 66 years of $113,995.90" - St. Paul's United Church Woman's Association, Orillia.














ParkdaleOttawaOne of the many Church Histories in the collection.


"The pages which follow are intended to indicate the trends and high points which sketch, in briefest outline, the story of "These Sixty Years".  The publication of this brochure is timely, if only as a record of facts of historical value, though it is more than that.  It is a story of Vision; of devotion to God and the fruits of the investment of love and labour."


"Ours the task sublime
To build Eternity in Time!"











Memorial ChapelThis Chapel in Vancouver was constructed as a memorial to those who died in WWI. 

REV (Lt-COL) G. O. Fallis, CBE, B.D. is identified as the "Man with a Vision", who was responsible for raising the money for the building. He served as the minister until 1933.

The booklet describes the beautiful 10-stained-glass windows representing the provinces and one territory . . . "Keep in mind the thought that the soldier went overseas dreaming of a peaceful world to be.  Think of him as he was in that strange environment, and remember the suffering of those who remained behind".  Note that Sir Robert Borden, our eighth Prime Minister, is listed as the Chapel's first patron.








Cathedral ChurchAnother example of one of the many church histories in the collection; this one is for a church in Calgary.

The church pictured here replaced an earlier wooden church built in 1884. The replacement of church buildings is a common recurring theme in these sorts of church histories.

"The cornerstone of the present Church was laid by His Excellency, the Earl of Minto on September 9th, 1904".







Quebec Tourist GuideThis guide with a beautiful cover, published by the Québec Tourist Bureau in 1940, includes a formal looking Invitation "to Our Friends from the United States of America".

"Your President, Mr. Roosevelt, declared in a recent official statement that no deterrent to travel exists among the friendly nations of the Western hemisphere, and he then proclaimed 1940 Travel America Year."

The invitation is signed by, "Adelard Godbout, Prime minister of la Province de Québec".














 IrvingIrving Oil expanded across the Maritimes in the 1930's.

"This booklet is one of a series, developed by the Irving Oil Company Limited, for your information and pleasure, covering all principal cities, main routes and points of interest throughout the three Maritime Provinces. Ask for these and for the Irving Road Map of Eastern Canada at any station identified by the Irving Sign".




















As the above examples illustrate, the A.N. Sands collection is a treasure trove of documents of potential interest to a wide range of researchers across many disciplines.


Performing Arts Manuscript and Archival Collections at the Toronto Reference Library, letters D-G

September 6, 2014 | Bill V. | Comments (0) Facebook Twitter More...

The Toronto Reference Library has rich and varied archival collections of theatre and performing arts manuscripts, photographs and ephemera with an emphasis on Canadian content. These can be found in the Marilyn and Charles Baillie Special Collections Centre

Marilyn & Charles Baillie Special Collections Centre

We will be writing six blog posts listing all the collections alphabetically by name and providing a pdf link to a detailed inventory of each fond describing the contents.

See here for the blog post covering A-C.

See here for the blog post covering H-L.

We welcome questions about the collection to

  • Dominion Drama Festival Collection One scrapbook of 24 photographs taken by Yousuf Karsh during performances at the Dominion Drama Festival Final Competition, April 26 to May 1, 1948.  The cover reads: “Presented to Dorothy White by Competitors and Visitors at the Final Competition Dominion Drama Festival Ottawa May 2nd 1948 in grateful recognition and appreciation of her work as Festival Director.” Download Dominion Drama Festival
  • The Dumbells Collection (1917-1976) Includes programs, press clippings, photographs, sheet music, correspondence, scripts, route books and World War 1 memorabilia of the famous all-soldier troupe of Canadian entertainers which originated in France in 1917, and later toured Canada and the United States until 1933. 1 box and 1 package; 603 items; .85 metres. (Also includes non-Dumbell material (1906-1975), relating to Ivor E. (Jack) Ayre.) (Materials acquired by the library in Nov. 1978, from the estate of Jack Ayre is designated (J.A.)) Download Dumbells Collection. See  also the Jack Ayre Collection Download Ayre, Ivor E. (Jack) Collection.
  • Harriet Ball Edey Collection   Photographs and publicity items compiled by Harriet Ball Edey, Canadian press rep for the Maurice Colbourne Company which toured Canada in the seasons from 1929 to 1931 performing the works of George Bernard Shaw. 1 box; .085 linear metres Download Edey, Harriet Ball Collection
  • Mae Edwards Collection (1923-1967) 1 box; .4 metres; 163 items Download Edwards, Mae Collection
  • Judith Evelyn Collection (1913-1967) Scrapbooks, photographs, scripts and programs pertaining to the career of Canadian actress Judith Evelyn, concentrating on her years on the Broadway stage.  Material on her early years in student productions at University of Manitoba and at Hart House Theatre is included in the Nancy Pyper Collection.  3 boxes; 185 items; 1.3 linear metres Download Evelyn, Judith Collection


  • Rica Farquharson Memorial Award (1955 – 1970) 2 envelopes, .47 metres Download Farquharson, Rica Memorial Award
  • Film Advertising Cards and Programs Collection  1 box; 6 envelopes; 252 items; .125 metres Download Film Advertising Cards and Programs Collection
  • Film Pressbooks Collection Public relations information on 175 films, including 32 pressbooks for films produced by the J.A. Rank organization between 1940 and 1952. Download Film Pressbooks
  • E.W.M. Flock Papers (1919-1924) Papers relating to the disappearance of Ambrose Small, and the subsequent disposal of his theatrical assets to Trans-Canada Theatres Ltd. 4 envelopes; 144 items .06 metres Download Flock, E.W.M. Papers
  • Sir Johnston Forbes-Robertson Collection (1879-1915) Includes photographs, programs and engravings. 1 box; .07 metres; 108 items Download Forbes-Robertson, Sir Johnston Collection
  • Bertram Forsyth Collection (1902-1927) Material relating to the career of English actor and dramatist Bertram Forsyth 1887-1927), the second director of the Hart House Theatre, from 1921 through 1925. Includes a scrapbook, photographs and a sketchbook of original costume designs by his brother Gerald Forsyth. Download Forsyth, Bertram Collection
  • John Fraser Collection Correspondence (1967–1977)  John Fraser’s correspondence in the collection includes some items written during the time he worked in St. John’s and in Toronto for the Telegram, and a large collection of letters covering the period of his work first as a dance critic and features writer and later as a drama critic for the Globe & Mail.  These items represent letters from performers, producers, directors, government officials, press agents, students, friends, other journalists, and general readers of his newspaper articles, as well as some copies of his own letters. 625 items Download Fraser, John Collection
  • Herbert Austin Fricker Collection (1884-1952) Correspondence, notebooks, programs and music manuscripts by the British-born choral conductor, organist and composer Herbert A. Fricker (1868-1943), who conducted the Toronto Mendelssohn Choir from 1918 to 1942 as founder A.S. Vogt’s chosen successor. 5 boxes; .65 linear metres Download Fricker, Herbert Austin Collection


  • A Gaiety Girl Photograph Album souvenir leatherette album (accordion style) issued “with Mr. George Edwardes’ compliments” as a souvenir of his popular musical comedy A Gaiety Girl which opened Oct. 14, 1893 at the Prince of Wales’s, London, Eng. until Sept. 8, 1894, then transferred to Daly’s, where it continued through December 15, 1894 for a total of 397 performances. Covers are stamped in gold with Dudley Hardy’s poster design. Download Gaiety Girl Souvenir Album
  • Greta Garbo Collection (1924-1941) Portraits and film stills of Greta Garbo, including many original photographs from a scrapbook compiled and donated by Estelle Patterson Fox, together with the scrapbook pages.  The scrapbook includes newspaper and magazine articles on the life and career of Garbo, together with magazine and newsprint photos, and a number of coloured covers of Garbo from the film magazines of the 1920’s and 1930’s.  While many of the sources and dates are not noted, and articles are not always arranged in chronological order, the scrapbook is a wealth of material from the fan magazines of the period. 2 boxes (23 envelopes and 14 file folders); .26 linear metres. Download Garbo, Greta Collection
  • Keith Garebian Collection 2nd Accession Programs and Press Kits. Download Garebian, Keith Collection
  • Trevor Tremaine-Garstang Collection (1926-1957) Trevor Tremaine-Garstang (1892-1972), British actor and designer, came to Canada in 1920. He was stage manager and designer at Hart House Theatre 1926 through March 1928, designed sets and costumes for Jack Arthur at the Uptown Theatre on Yonge Street, Toronto, and toured Canada as stage manager and designer with the Maurice Colbourne Company. He acted in films and on the British stage under the name of Launce Maraschal, also writing radio and television scripts. The collection includes production photographs, publicity photographs, theatre designs, scripts, clippings, programmes and items of correspondence. It was donated by his son, Peter Garstang. Also included is a brief taped interview from 1957, courtesy of the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation. 1 box; .06 linear metres + 4 oversize playbills. Download Garstang, Trevor Tremaine Collection
  • Bill Glassco Collection (1966-1988) Material from the career of theatre director and translator Bill Glassco, founder of Toronto’s Tarragon Theatre. The collection includes scripts (sometimes several drafts) for productions he directed at the Tarragon Theatre, CentreStage, and other theatres with extensive titles by David Freeman, David French and Michel Tremblay. There are also translations of plays by Tremblay, Simon Fortin et al done by Glassco (who frequently directed the English productions).  There are three binders of correspondence from his years as Artistic Director of the CentreStage Company at the St. Lawrence Festival. 14 boxes; 2.93 linear metres Download Glassco, Bill Collection and Download Glassco, Bill supplemenatry papers
  • Guelph Theatre Collection and Walter Tyson Scrapbook (1910-1931) Scrapbook compiled by Walter Tyson of Guelph, Ontario consisting of press clippings, advertisements, programs and flyers for performances principally at the Capitol Theatre (formerly Griffin’s Opera House) in Guelph. Also included are an assortment of music programs and clippings, programs, greeting cards and flyers for various magicians active in the 1920’s. Among the magicians are Joe Green, the manager of the Capitol Theatre during this period, and “Wright the Magician”, the stage name of Walter Tyson. The material dates from 1910 to 1931, with the majority in the 1920s. Download Guelph Theatre Collection


Dumbells WW1 Canadian theatre vaudeville troup at Piano
The Dumbells, Third Canadian Divisional Concert Party, rehearsing in the field in France 1917. Source the Dumbells Collection.



Performing Arts Manuscript and Archival Collections at the Toronto Reference Library, letters A-C

September 2, 2014 | Bill V. | Comments (0) Facebook Twitter More...

The Toronto Reference Library has rich and varied archival collections of theatre and performing arts manuscripts, photographs and ephemera with an emphasis on Canadian content. These can be found in the Marilyn and Charles Baillie Special Collections Centre.  

Marilyn & Charles Baillie Special Collections Centre

We will be writing six blog posts listing all the collections alphabetically by name and providing a PDF link (that will open in a new window) to a detailed inventory of each fond describing the contents.

See here for the blog post covering letters D-G.

See here for the blog post covering letters H-L.

We welcome questions about the collection to

      • Margaret Anglin Collection (1903–1949) Photographs, programs and several items of correspondence relating to the career of Canadian actress Margaret Anglin (1876-1958).  There is additional clipping material in the vertical files and on microfiche, both biographical and reviews of her performances. 4 envelopes; 2 posters and large photo. Download Anglin, Margaret Collection PDF
      • Julia Arthur Collection  (1899–1921) Photographs and programs relating to the career of Canadian actress Julia Arthur (1869-1950), who acted with Henry Irving’s company and toured in the United States. 27 items. Download Arthur, Julia Collection PDF

      • Ivor E. (Jack) Ayre Collection (1906-1975) Correspondence, press clippings, programs, diplomas, citations and photographs relating to Jack Ayre (1895? – 1977), one of the original Dumbells.  The collection contains non-Dumbells material only. Download Ayre, Ivor E. (Jack) Collection. See also the Download Dumbells Collection.

      • Janet Baldwin Collection (1912-1990)  Material relating to the life and career of Canadian dancer and teacher Janet Baldwin, wife of dancer, teacher and choreographer Boris Volkoff, and a member of the Baldwin family of Toronto. Download Baldwin, Janet Collection PDF

      • Bass Collection (1870-1903) Copies of photographs from a photograph album owned by Mr. and Mrs. Bass of London, Ontario, dating from 1870 to 1903.  Primarily of theatrical personalities, some with autographs, approximately twenty percent taken by Canadian photographers.  Includes notes by the late Mary Brown of the University of Western  Ontario on the persons portrayed and on the photographers.  Photographs are arranged in order of their positions in the album. 11 envelopes. Download Bass Collection PDF

      • Beth Tikvah Drama Guild 1 box and 1 oversize folder. Download Beth Tikvah Drama Guild Archive PDF

      • Boston Theatres Collection (1868-1919) A selection of late 19th and early 20th century theatre programs from Boston theatres, together with a scrapbook of programs from 1870-1881. 1 scrapbook; 8 files of loose programs;  .08 linear metres.  Download Boston Theatres Collection PDF

      • Anthony Buckley Collection  Out-outsize photographs by British photographer Anthony Buckley of British and Canadian theatre entertainers taken circa 1930’s (?). See also the Crest Theatre Collection, Box 29 for outsize production photographs of The Glass Cage taken in London, England, 1957. 1 box; 34 photographs. Download Buckley, Anthony Collection PDF
      • R.B. Butland Collection (1858-1871) Scrapbook compiled by Toronto music store owner and amateur thespian R.B. Butland (1830-1886) together with notes on Butland’s background and career, and genealogical charts prepared by the donor, A.M. Kennedy of Warkworth, Ontario. The collection includes several photographs copied from originals in the possession of Mr. Kennedy. 1 box; 3 envelopes and scrapbook; .075 linear metres.  Download Butland, R.B. Collection PDF
      • Bettina Byers Collection (1922-1963; 1975-1984) Scrapbook, programs, press clippings, photographs and original stage designs relating to the career of Bettina Byers (1909-    ), Toronto dance teacher and founder of the Academy of Ballet.  Also included are programs, clippings and photographs reflecting her musical interests and earlier performances as a pianist, and the singing career of her sister, Rhoda Byers . 2 boxes: 19 envelopes plus scrapbook; .13 metres Download Byers, Bettina Collection PDF and also the Bettina Byers Collection, Part 2 1 box; 10 envelopes; .08 linear meters. Download Byers, Bettina Collection, Part 2 PDF
      • Cameron Matthews English Players Collection Scrapbook of press clippings compiled by Harriett Ball, press rep for the Cameron Matthews English Players, for their 1932 fall season at the Victoria Theatre, Toronto. 1 scrapbook. Download Cameron Matthews English Players PDF
      • Canadian Armed Forces Tattoo (1967)  Press clippings on the Centennial Year Tattoo, taken from Canadian newspapers and arranged in a scrapbook, together with program and souvenir book. Library also has costume design by Robert Rosewarne, and production photographs filed under Montreal Worlds Fair. 1 v. in 1 package, .45 linear metres. Download Canadian Armed Forces Tattoo PDF
      • Canadian Drama League Collection (1919-1958) Material relating to the Canadian Drama League, its forerunners the St. Barnabas and Chester Players, and the theatrical activity of Brownlow, Raymond and Patricia Card.  Include correspondence, programs, photographs, newspaper clippings and scrapbook pages, published and unpublished typescripts of plays etc. by Raymond Card. 1 box, 33 envelopes; .125 linear metres + 11 posters. Download Canadian Drama League Collection PDF
      • Canadian Broadcasting Corporation CBC Television Scripts Collection. Download Canadian Broadcasting Corporation CBC TV Scripts PDF
      • Chilcott-Davis Collection 10 items in one envelope. Download Chilcott-Davis Collection PDF

      • Nathan Cohen Papers (Microfilm) 8 reels, positive, 35 mm. (Special Collections, FILM C6785). Download Cohen, Nathan Papers (Microfilm) PDF

      • Edward Gordon Craig Collection (Craig-Terry-Hildesheim Home) (1868-1935) Photographs (1903-1935), sketch (1868) and correspondence (1901-1904) to Paul Hildesheim (Home) from Edward Gordon Craig, Ellen Terry and Ludwig von Hofmann. 2 boxes; 58 items; .13 metres.  (plus 3 interfiled items). Download Craig, Edward Gordon Collection PDF

      • CRBC Canadian Radio Broadcasting Commission/CBC Collection (1933-1945) Photographs, notes and miscellaneous items relating to the early days of the CBC and its predecessor CRBC, the Canadian Radio Broadcasting Commission.  The notes are those of the donor, Harriet Ball Edey, press representative for CRBC from 1933 to 1936, and the CBC from 1936-1949. 2 envelopes. Download CRBC and CBC collection PDF

      • Crest Theatre Collection (1953-1966) One of Toronto's and Canada's first homegrown commerical theatre companies. Founded in the early 1950s and located in a renovated cinema on Mount Pleasant Road in Toronto. Active for 13 seasons with a sophisticated repertoire including many original Canadian plays. 33 boxes and 13 scrapbooks. Download Crest Theatre Collection PDF

      • Grace Cunard Collection (1914-1967) A collection of items relating to the careers of Grace Cunard (born Harriet Mildred Jeffries) (1894-1967) and Francis Ford (1882-1953) popular silent film actors and directors. Ford was an older brother of director John Ford.  This collection consists of photographs, letters, and a scrapbook compiled by fan Miss Cara Hartwell of Toronto. 1 box; 9 envelopes; .07 linear metres. Download Cunard, Grace Collection PDF

      • Walter Curtin Collection (1911-2007) Theatrical photographs by Walter Curtin , copied from negatives in the Walter Curtin Collection at the Public Archives of Canada. 4 envelopes; .07 linear metres. Download Curtin, Walter Collection PDF

      • Autograph Collection, Mrs. J. Cuyler British Music Hall (1910-1924) Autograph book belonging to the father of Mrs. Cuyler, an orchestra leader with various theatres, etc. including Winter Garden Theatre (London), Belfast Opera House and Shepherd's Hotel (Cairo).  Her mother collected the autographs. Download Cuyler Autograph Book PDF


Ellen Terry self portrait pen and ink sketch with inscription and autograph
Ellen Terry self portrait ink with autograph from the Edward Gordon Craig Collection.






TRL Program Calendar September 2014

August 29, 2014 | Katherine | Comments (0) Facebook Twitter More...

See and hear authors Sylvia Fraser, Linwood Barclay, Thomas King, Naomi Klein, Caitlin Moran and Bernard Cornwell.  Discover Being Happy and how to use Photoshop.  And don't miss the Friends of the Toronto Public Library Giant Clearance Book Sale on September 19th and 20th.

Click on each image to enlarge or Download The September 2014 @ TRL as a pdf file.

For a full list of programs to browse or search, check out our Programs, Classes and Exhibits page.


September Programs 1 September Programs 2 September Program 3 September Programs 4

Treasures from the Stacks--The Great War Begins, August 1914

August 21, 2014 | Katherine | Comments (0) Facebook Twitter More...

The Great War in the Stacks of TRL
Among the treasures of the Toronto Reference Library, some of the most affecting are the many shelves of regimental histories of the world wars that rent the twentieth century.  One hundred years ago this month, troops from all over the world were mobilizing for a war in Europe that would last five years and shatter a generation.

Those fragile volumes--regimental histories, memoirs, diaries--are the raw material for many other books—general histories, analyses, commentaries, explanations--that tell us about the past, and perhaps, guide us into the future.  Lest we forget…..

2nd Battalion Canadian Expeditionary Force Bulletin Story of the Sixty-Sixth CFA  War Record 16th Battery Canadian Field Artillery







The Western Scot


Britain declared war on Germany on August 4, 1914, one day after Germany had declared war on France and invaded Belgium.  This meant, automatically, that Canada was also now at war, but in fact the Canadian government had promised Britain overseas troops several days before war was officially declared.


The first Canadian volunteers began arriving at Valcartier Camp in Quebec on August 19.  In October, the first contingent of the Canadian Expeditionary Force sailed for England. That same month, German and the Allied armies were fighting the first battle of Ypres, the Belgium town that was vital to both sides. Canadian troops would first see action in Europe the next April, at the second battle of Ypres.

The Times War Atlas, published in 1914, shows the world as it existed that summer. On this map from the Atlas, the town of Ypres does not even appear—its name would become infamous only later the next year, when the Germans deployed the first gas attacks against French and Canadian forces.

France & Belgium

Click on the map to enlarge.  Ypres (not named) is located directly south of Ostend and directly east of the small town of Poperinghe in northwest Belgium.

The Canadian response to Britain’s involvement in the war was swift and full of patriotic fervour. Perhaps the most striking difference from anything we might consider today, is the constant refrain of duty.  Not a phrase or a sentiment considered of much consequence in the world of 2014.

The war call to all Canadians Why Britain is at war














Click to enlarge. The War Call of Sir James Whitney, from One Hundred Years of Conflict between the Nations of Europe: The causes and issues of the Great War (1914). Whitney was Premier of Ontario in 1914. Why Britain is at War from 2nd Battalion Bulletin: Canadian Expeditionary Force. (1914)

But within months the heavy price exacted from Canada began to come clear. Scan the lists in the War Record from the 16th Battery Canadian Field Artillery, to take only one, and find a sad litany: Killed, Gassed, Sick, Wounded, Died Illness, Sick, Wounded, Sick, Killed, Sick, Sick, Wounded……

Lest we forget.

Don't Toss it, Fix it! at the Repair Cafe

August 7, 2014 | Dawn | Comments (0) Facebook Twitter More...

Those amazing folks at the Repair Cafe return to the Toronto Reference Library this weekend:

Saturday August 9, 10 am - 2 pm., Beeton Auditorium

Don't throw it away, fix it! Bring a broken household item to the Repair Cafe where you can get help fixing it.

Volunteers fix household items, ranging from small household appliances such as toasters, to clothes, to lamps, to computers to jewellery. We’ll even have a bike repair booth right outside the library’s front doors.

  Repair cafe

Check out this video for more information.

Learn a new skill, meet your neighbours, learn more about sharing your skills and volunteering, save the planet.


Beaver Drops Tree on Car--Truth and the Urban Legend

August 5, 2014 | Katherine | Comments (1) Facebook Twitter More...

BeaverLast week there were reports of a car being hit by a falling tree on a highway in Prince Edward Island. The tree was downed by a beaver. Now, this story has names, a date, a place, and no serious injuries. And the beaver—well he’d done his work sometime earlier and was long gone. The tree just happened to give way as the car came along. An unusual story, and a true one.


Still, it has all the makings of an urban legend, and someday—I guarantee it—you’ll l hear that story again, and the beaver will be right there pushing the tree over as the car goes by, and all the people will be killed. Or all the people but a poor orphaned little child will be killed. Or the beaver will be captured, and put on display in a museum in Charlottetown, Toronto, or Poughkeepsie.


That’s one of the ways urban legends evolve. Something real but unusual, becomes something unreal but compelling—or funny, or spooky, or enraging, or just plain strange. What’s more, it’s something that maybe did happen once, but in a rather more prosaic and unflamboyant way. Whatever the source, there's some kernel that captures our imagination and our gullibility.

The Completely and Totally True Book of Urban LegendsHeard the story of the cat in the microwave? The phantom hitchhiker? The diner from the 1950s on the backroad to Kenora...or was it Highway 69? Or maybe it was in Spokane...

While these stories have been passed down for decades, the internet has given them a whole new life, not to mention reach. While some are ridiculous, many have a certain strange plausibility. Some grow out of real incidents, but are wildly and fantastically embellished. Others are created out of whole cloth. But all of them shed light on the tensions, stresses, uncertainties, longings, nostalgias, confusions, and fears that live in our modern minds. Like the myths and fairy tales they’re akin to, they tell us about ourselves, not about “what happened.”

That's the scholarly side to urban legends. Folklorists call them contemporary or modern legends and there are courses, encyclopedias and academic articles devoted to them. Then there’s the entertainment side--scary movies, television shows and Mythbusters.

A couple of years ago I received an online petition from a good friend. She’d passed it on from another friend (the classic urban legend pattern) who called it “One of the few things worth responding to on the internet”. It claimed famed atheist Madalyn Murray O’Hair had petitioned the Federal Communications Commission to ban all religious programming. Now was the time for all good Christians to fight this depravity.  


Madalyn Murray O'HairOnly problem is, O’Hair died—actually, she was murdered—in 1995. She never petitioned the FCC about programming, although there was a petition from someone else in 1974 about religious educational stations. (Their request was dismissed.) The FCC has denied this legend for years, but still receives so many letters yearly that they’ve received permission from the US Postal Service to discard all envelopes that refer to it. Before her death, O’Hair, who did know of the legend, was quoted as saying “I think it’s fabulous. This craziness seems to have life everlasting.” Now the internet has given it (and her) a whole new life everlasting.


Then there’s the kidney heist. A friend visited Chicago recently (or maybe it was Vancouver). He met a young woman at the bar in his hotel, and well, he’s unattached, so he invited her up to his room. Next morning he woke with a headache, blood on the sheets, and a neatly stitched incision in his side. He called the desk for help, and they called an ambulance. At the hospital he was told his kidney had been removed very expertly, and was probably now headed for the black market.

Or maybe it was my brother-in law’s friend’s cousin that happened to.

I told this story to my 22 year old son, and he said, “But, that has really happened, right?” Well, it was an episode of Law & Order,(season 1,episode 21) and has been told in Canada, the US, Sweden and Holland in varying versions. According to medical sociologist Robert Dingwall, the story provides “useful insights into lay thinking about professional work and its strategies for the informal social control of medicine.” (!!)


Urban Legends-Strange stories behind modern myths Urban Legends-The truth about those deliciously entertaining myths  Phantom Hitchhikers & other ubran legends  The Exploding Toilet-modern urban legends







Toronto Reference LibraryMy professional favourite though, is the “sinking library”. You see, because of an architect’s mistake, the weight of the books was not factored into the design, and so, the library building is slowly sinking into the earth.  That story has been told for, among others, Yale, Syracuse and Brown University libraries, the University of Toronto and the University of Waterloo. So far, Toronto Reference Library, with its 4 million items, hasn’t turned up on the list (or sagged one bit).

So, whether you’re afraid of beavers, atheists, organ thieves or losing your library, you could do worse with your summer than explore the urban legends of our fractured and endlessly fascinating modern world.

Encyclopedia of Urban Legends.aspxAnd don’t miss the 1998 movie Urban Legend, where a beautiful folklore student finds the answer to recent murders in the library copy of The Encyclopedia of Urban Legends. Such a book didn’t exist in 1998, but was actually in the works, and published in 2001. You can find the latest update (2012) at the (not sinking) Toronto Reference Library and the (also not sinking) North York Central Library.

Heritage Toronto : Legacies Gained, Legacies Lost?

July 31, 2014 | Cynthia | Comments (0) Facebook Twitter More...


Photo credit: Olena Sullivan, Heritage Toronto

Come celebrate Heritage Toronto 's 40th anniversary of the Heritage Toronto Awards. To mark this occasion, a symposium at the Toronto Reference Library will look at the challenges, successes and failures in the preservation and conservation of our heritage and historic sites. 

Sean Fraser, Director of Heritage Programs and Operations for Ontario Heritage Trust will moderate the discussion with panelists Cathy Nasmith, President, Toronto chapter of the Architectural Conservancy of Ontario, George Baird, former Dean of the John H. Daniels Faculty of Architecture, Landscape and Design, University of Toronto & partner at Baird Sampson Neuert Architects; Harold Madi, Director of Urban Design for the City of Toronto, Alex Spiegel from Windmill Developments and Mike York, President, Carpenters' Union Local 27. 

The Toronto Reference Library and North York Central Library have built up a remarkable collection of Toronto heritage materials. Be it the Reference Library's Toronto Collection and Local History materials and maps (2nd floor), the new Marilyn and Charles Baillie Special Collections Centre (5th floor), or North York's Canadiana Department, the Toronto Public Library is a wonderful resource to research Toronto's built heritage.

Check out the Find Your Way section on Toronto's History & Genealogy. This will lead you to all kinds of online sources to research Toronto's built heritage.


Come to the Toronto Reference Library Atrium,

Wednesday, August 6, 2014 from 7-8:30 pm.

To pre-register, go to the Heritage Toronto webpage.



Lost Toronto Old Toronto Houses  Making Toronto Modern Recollections of a Neighbourhood   






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