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The UTSC Digital Collections Program is a collaboration between the Digital Scholarship and Collections Units of the UTSC Library. If you are interested in collections development with the UTSC Library, contact Archives & Special Collections. 

Doris McCarthy fonds

The Doris McCarthy fonds was donated to the University of Toronto Scarborough in 2011 by the estate of Doris McCarthy (1910-2010), celebrated Canadian artist, author, teacher, and UTSC alumna. The fonds was donated along with 213 pieces of McCarthy's artwork, which are held by the Doris McCarthy Gallery at UTSC.

The Doris McCarthy fonds was arranged and described in 2011. The collection contains over 9 meters of textual records, over 15,000 photographic items, and numerous other primary documents such as artifacts, architectural drawings, postcards, and an annotated personal library. There are many treasures within the fonds that speak to her influence as a pioneer for women in Canadian art and as a national cultural icon. Biographical highlights in the fonds include over five decades of correspondence between McCarthy and her best friend, Marjorie Beer (née Wood); diaries written by McCarthy between the ages of 12 and 90; personal artifacts and keepsakes; photographs of her family, life and travels dating back to the late 19th Century; and draft manuscripts of McCarthy's autobiographical publications. The fonds provides insight into her process as an artist and also includes hand-drawn architectural plans for Fool's Paradise, the home McCarthy designed and built on the Scarborough Bluffs.


Menus Collection

UTSC's collection of menus collected by Harley Spiller.

Harley Spiller (1960- ) moved to New York after college in 1981 to pursue a career in the museum field. A native of Buffalo, NY and a graduate of Northwestern University, the self-described “meat and potatoes” Spiller was promptly introduced to the diverse cuisine of New York City. He received a job as an administrative assistant for the curatorial department of the Jewish Museum, and with his tight annual salary, found himself going to Chinatown to buy inexpensive food. According to Guinness World Records, he now holds the largest menu collection in private hands.

Spiller first began collecting Chinese menus on his nightly walks up and down the streets of the Upper West Side, where he lived. At the time, the phenomenon of “menuing”—in which restaurants mass-printed take-out menus for delivery—was beginning in the city and Spiller, an English major, took advantage of this surplus of menus as free and easily accessible reading materials. When Spiller moved to a new apartment on New York Avenue, Manhattan, he continued his walks and collecting at what he called “bullet-proof” restaurants, eventually amassing a substantial stack of take-out menus. As people heard about his collection, they gifted menus from their travels to him. The biggest single donor of his collection is Dr. Jacqueline M. Newman, Queens College professor and lifetime collector of Chinese cookbooks who donated her collection to Stony Brook University. Spiller has also grown his collection through purchases on eBay, particularly acquiring dine-in menus. Prompted by inquiries from museums wishing to borrow items, he also started to collect artifacts and ephemera relating to Chinese restaurants and cookery.