Opened in 1976 and named in honor of the university's first Chief Librarian, the Doris Lewis Rare Book Room houses the library's special collections comprising some 60,000 books as well as 1,600 linear meters of archival materials. Nationally known for its holdings on the history of Canadian women as well as Canada's only collection of rare books on dance and ballet, the department houses significant treatises in architecture, fine printing, and urban planning as well as aspects of the unique development of the German, Pennsylvania Dutch, and Mennonite heritage of the Waterloo area. Mirroring the university's specialization in developing and making available the most up-to-date innovative technology, special collections maintains collections that document the history of society's developing need and use of mechanical, and finally electronic, devices to aid statistical analysis and calculation.
Developed by purchase and by generous gifts and grants, the Rare Book Room has been able to acquire primary source collections that have been developed systematically around subjects that reflect the goals of the University of Waterloo's major teaching and research programs. Paramount among the research materials used are the family and business papers of prominent local families such as Breithaupt, Dare, Schneider, Motz, and Seagram. Equally as important as their documentary function regarding the Waterloo region, these archives have been viewed as "labs" in which undergraduate and graduate students explore and experience the delights and challenges presented by primary resources.
The University of Waterloo Archives is also part of the special collections and houses the university's official records including correspondence, reports, minutes, publications, architectural and building plans, photographs, and ephemera. These records have been used in a most celebratory manner of recent date as the university observes its 50th anniversary in 2007.
University of Waterloo Library
Doris Lewis Rare Book Room
200 University Avenue
(519) 888-4567 x33122 (t)
(519) 888-4322 (f)