The University of Guelph's Archival and Special Collections house significant primary source materials that support research in its library's major subject collecting areas. Formed as a separate section in the late 1970s to combine existing, older resources from previous campus libraries, it offers materials that are gathered together separately because of value, uniqueness, condition, or format. Although the unit has been in existence for less than 30 years, it has developed a number of collecting areas that have emerged as important local, regional, national, and international resources.
Guelph's present holdings—25,000 rare books and more than 250 special and archival collections—support university research activities in diverse areas such as Scottish history, Canadian agricultural and rural history, landscape architecture, Canadian theater, culinary studies, and campus and regional history. The Scottish holdings are particularly noteworthy, featuring chapbooks; family, clan, and local histories; emigration; Jacobite rebellions; and church and religious history, especially the Disruption period. The oldest document is a Scottish charter dating to 1332. The basis of agricultural and rural history collections dates to the establishment of the Ontario Agricultural College in 1874 and features the history of Massey-Harris-Ferguson and other agricultural producers such as International Harvester and Cockshutt Plow Co.
A few individual holdings are nationally significant, such as the Dan H. Laurence Collection of Shaviana, Shaw Festival Fonds, Foulis Press Collection, and Una Abrahamson Canadian Cookbook Collection. Rare book holdings contain many publications in disciplines such as horticulture, natural history, veterinary medicine, and Canadian history prior to 1900. Catalog access to all resources is provided by an online catalog and most archival items are searchable at the file level.
University of Guelph Library
Archival and Special Collections
University of Guelph
50 Stone Road E.
(519) 824-4120-53413 (t)
(519) 824-6931 (f)