About Us

The Clara Thomas Archives & Special Collections is part of York University Libraries.  We are located in the Scott Library, on the third floor in room 305.


York University archives which includes records of the governing, administrative, academic and student bodies of York which have archival value, e.g. regulations, policies, minutes, correspondence and reports of faculties, departments and administrative offices; and which are preserved for their legal and evidential values.

Private archives: Every archives has an acquisitions mandate for private archives which serves as a guide when deciding whether to accept archival records offered by an individual or organization. At York, the private archives we acquire reflect the following research interests: “Canadian women, Canadian writers, the arts, social reform and the multi-cultural imagination.” As such, York archives houses the papers of Norman Levine, Adele Wiseman, bill bissett, Carol Malyon, Susan Swan, Bruce Powe, Don Coles, Jason Sherman, Stevie Cameron, Rohinton Mistry, and Rick Salutin as well as those of individuals and organizations associated with the dramatic arts and dance in Canada (notably Mavor Moore, Herman Voaden, Donald Davis, Robert A. Lawson, Herbert Whittaker, Danny Grossman Dance Company, Toronto Dance Theatre and the Canadian Association of Professional Dance Organizations).

Special Collections :

The foundation and scope of Special Collections is Canadian studies; its focus is post-confederation Canadiana, concentrating on Ontario subjects. Collections of significance include:

The Canadiana Collection consisting of Canadian imprints, which are out-of-print and/or significant to the Canadiana Collection. Included here is the Gibson Collection acquired in 1995. The focus of the collection is Ontario and Quebec and covers history, biography, the social sciences, and the fine arts. Consideration is given to publications that support, for instance, advanced and specialized research in Canadian studies, historically important and highly influential works, with comprehensiveness applied to York Canadian historians and social scientists.

The Canadian Literature Collection which was originally a representative literature collection was assembled, with an emphasis on British, American and Canadian authors. This focus has been refined and now acquisitions are limited to the works of selected Canadian authors, including first editions with comprehensiveness applied to those Canadian authors, particularly Ontario writers, York faculty and students, whose literary papers have been acquired.

The Canadian Pamphlet Collection which constitutes a major resource for students and scholars working in the field of Canadian studies. Dating from the 18th century to the present, the collection covers a wide variety of subjects that include social and political issues, religion, fine arts, and women’s studies.

York University Archives was named in honour of Dr. Clara Thomas, Professor Emirata of English at York University from 1961 to 1984. The Clara Thomas Archives at York University has been a beneficiary of Dr. Thomas’ extensive literary connections, moral and financial support, and good will for many years.

Our departmental website can be found here and features links to our online finding aids and exhibits.


9 Responses to About Us

  1. FMK says:

    I would like to get a e-copy of a photo from some time in 1943 in the Toronto Telegram. The piece was titled ‘Young Soldier’s Work’ . ( Telegram staff photo) The description follows…
    ” Philip Weiss, 19 years old, now in the army and promising young sculptor, has produced the one piece of sculpture to be included in the Tribute to the People of Leningrad which, on exhibition to the public next week (after Monday) at the Easton Fine Art Galleries is being presented to Feder Gusev, Soviet Minister to Canada on Monday evening. Canadian painting, music and books are included in the collection which will subsequently be sent to Leningrad in recognition of the courageous stand of that city’s people against the Germans. The tribute has been planned and put into execution by (……) Writers’, Broadcasters’ and Artists’ War Council. Weiss was chosen for his subject (pictured above) an authentic (rendering?)-two Russian peasant women hastening but with calmness through Leningrad streets as bombs fall around them.”

    Mr. Weiss is now 94 years old and lives in a long-term care home in Ottawa. Over his long career as a artist and industrial designer, he has amassed a vast collection of works, in various mediums, including the Leningrad sculpture. The only remaining depiction of the sculpture that the artist has, is from the old newspaper clipping.

    As part of the celebration of Canada’s 150 years, volunteers at his LTC home are featuring some of his art in a summertime display, at the Lodge. If there is a photographic record of this work, we would appreciate that you would send us an e- copy so it could be included in our tribute to Philip.

    Unfortunately I am on a very tight time line and cannot travel to Toronto to search any archives or micro fiche that might exist and with this information I have not been successful in accessing anything online. Now, I hope that I have stumbled upon a possible source. Please let me know of any costs associated with a search and retrieval of the photo and I will try to get funding.

    Thank You
    Frances Kane
    Friends and Family Council of Carleton Lodge Ottawa

  2. Peter Davis says:

    I understand Special Collections maintains a collection on Haiti.
    Who would be responsible for this collection?

  3. Marlene Cooper says:

    I am looking for the 1961 headlines for a Birthday present.Can you help me?

  4. Nathan says:

    Hello, I recently had a number of what I believe to be original photographs donated to my store (thrift store). One is a photograph of Jimmy Durante accepting the Eagle Good Samaritan Award in the Aug. 14, 1963 issue of the Telegram. I know it’s from that because the clipping of the picture from the telegram was also donated. The back of the photograph is stamped “Photograph by The Telegram Toronto. Not to be (something indecipherable), rented, loaned, copied, re-photographed, or used for advertising”. Another photograph is from the Globe and Mail, of a politician speaking to a general, another Jimmy Durante with a group, and a picture of a man (likely a politician) over a book. Would you be interested in these photographs, and if not, do you know who would?

  5. STEVE NOOM says:

    i am looking for fish and chip shop image ASC04065 in a hi resolution to print for a 8mtr x 2.5mtr wall.

  6. Lionel says:


    I’ve read with great interest an old post from your website – http://deantiquate.blog.yorku.ca/2011/10/03/arpin_collection_launch/ – announcing that you would archive John Arpin’s scores donated by his wife. I have really tried to use yorku.ca’s search engine but couldn’t actually find any score from the regretted John. Could you help me? For instance by giving some web links to directly access these scores? More specifically, if you have them, I’m looking for the score of its album “Ragtime Beatles”, published in 2002 (Label: Pro Arte/Fanfare Records, ASIN reference: B00000E5T7).

    Thanks in advance for any help!

  7. song says:

    I am looking for the archives of Canada Communist Party . When was the Canada CP fond donated , by who? What is the difference with the fond in LAC ? Is it restricted ?

  8. David Porter says:

    I am trying to locate an news article from 1974 in Sept or Oct. It is about the football team called Hillmen at Emery Collegiate Institute; their football season was cancelled because some players were using drugs. I’m not sure of the year either, it may have been ’73, ’74, or ’75, 1974 is my first estimate. Can you tell me how to search for it, or possibly do it for me 🙂 Please!

    • Anna St.Onge says:

      Hi David:
      Unfortunately the Toronto Telegram stopped publishing in 1971, so the article you seek must be from another publication.
      I would suggest visiting your local public library and searching their online databases. Most libraries have subscriptions to the Globe and Mail and The Toronto Star historical newspaper databases, such as “Pages from the Past: The Toronto Star” and “The Globe & Mail: Canada’s Heritage from 1844”. You can search by keyword and narrow your results based on the year.

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