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Collections

The UTSC Digital Collections Program is a collaboration between the Digital Scholarship and Collections Units of the UTSC Library. 

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.

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UTSC Photographic Services Collection

UTSC’s Photographic Services Collection boasts an impressive array of photographs that illustrate UTSC’s long and diverse history. The collection consists of slides (Series A), negatives (Series B) and photographs (Series C) taken by UTSC’s two campus photographers David Harford (1965-1994) and Ken Jones (1994-Present). This web exhibit is a representative sample meant to highlight the 7000 plus images present in the the collection. The exhibit covers the initial construction of UTSC in 1964 and 1965 to around 2002. 

Due to the wide variety of materials covered in the collection this exhibit is divided into five series; Student Life, Academic Life, Campus, Faculty and Staff and Community. Each is meant as a loose category to represent some of the facets of life at UTSC. Some aspects represented are: student theatre, student events, construction of the buildings on campus, graduation events, lectures, Faculty, staff and student portraits, summer camps and more.

Each photo is accompanied by a description. The information provided is as detailed and accurate as possible given the resources available. The title is meant to provide context for understanding the image as a part of a larger collection. Each photograph was selected because of it’s evidential quality and how it serves as an example of life at UTSC.

The digital collection was curated by Rachel-Ann Pisani with assistance from Vrishti Dutta and Mary-Ellen Brown.

The finding aid for the UTSC Photographic Services Collection is available here. Digital photographs are currently managed by the UTSC Photographic Services Department.

 

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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.

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UTSC Archives Legacy Collection

The UTSC Archives Legacy Collection had been stored in the basement of the Science Wing for nearly a decade before it was dusted off and moved to the UTSC Library in 2011. Many months of archival processing have revealed a collection that dates from the origins of the campus in the 1960s up to the mid-1990s, depicting and describing the evolution of the campus through extensive textual and visual records. The collection, which was compiled as a college archiving project by UTSC librarians throughout the thirty-year collection period, complements the archival holdings at the university's official repository, the University of Toronto Archives and Records Management Services (UTARMS), and is particularly rich in student ephemera such as playbills, posters, and early and unofficial publications.

The collection comprises over 16 meters of textual records, 1700 photographic items and dozens of maps, architectural plans and other artifacts. The archives are held in the UTSC Library and are made available upon request as a resource for researchers interested in student life, the history of the campus and the campus's unique and award-winning architecture, among other things.

The finding aid for the UTSC Archives Legacy Collection is available here. For more information or to schedule a research appointment, please contact Archives & Special Collections.

 

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