Services and Collections

Western Archives – Archives Services and Collections Team

The Archives Services and Collections (ASC) team at Western Archives is responsible for maintaining and developing its holdings of primarily university and locally related archival records and special library collections. The team members will also provide related reference and instruction services. For general inquiries, e-mail or call 519-661-4046 (or ext. 84046).

Archival Records

ASC uses portfolios to provide a unified thematic focus for most of its archival holdings.  Each portfolio consolidates all related archival fonds (including both university and private records, but not rare books, monographs, and certain non-textual media collections – see “Special Collections”, below). Each portfolio includes the records of individuals who write about the given topic.

Portfolios are established where the volume and significance of archival holdings on a particular subject or from particular types of record creators merit special focus.

The team will handle materials not assigned to portfolios on a case-by-case basis. As the portfolios evolve, archivists will increasingly work with other Western Libraries staff and faculty members to increase awareness and use of research materials in relevant subject areas.

The number and scope of portfolios are not fixed; new ones can be set up and existing ones redefined as needed.  The following portfolios have been identified to date; the archivist currently responsible for each is noted in brackets.

  • Architectural Records: Includes collections of drawings, floor plans, and related records of architects. (Amanda Jamieson)
  • Arts: Includes records of performing and visual artists, creative writers, and musicians and related organizations and administrators. (Amanda Jamieson)
  • Business: Includes records of corporations and businesses, and papers of families and individuals involved in commercial activity, where the primary focus of the contents is on business. 
  • Cartographic Records: Includes collections of maps, plans, and related cartographic records. (Anne Daniel)
  • Faculty Papers: Includes personal papers of Western faculty members whose records do not fall within the scope of a particular thematic portfolio. (Tom Belton)
  • Families and Individuals: Includes records of families and individuals whose records do not fall within the scope of a particular thematic portfolio. (Leslie Thomas-Smith)
  • Health and Medicine: Includes records of hospitals and related health, medical and dental institutions and organizations and papers of individual practitioners and others associated with the health professions, where the primary focus of the contents is on health or medicine. (Anne Daniel)
  • Library and Information Management: Includes records of organizations and papers of individuals involved in any aspect of library or related information management activities, including publishing, where the primary focus of the contents is on these topics. (Anne Daniel)
  • Local Organizations:  Includes records of public (e.g. municipal) or private organizations of local scope or significance. (Leslie Thomas-Smith)
  • Photographic Records: Includes collections of photographic images created predominantly by local and university photographers. (Tom Belton)
  • Sports and Recreation: Includes records of local and university sports and recreation organizations as well as individual athletes. (Leslie Thomas-Smith)
  • University: Includes university records of governance and central administration or the broad university community (e.g. records of student bodies) that do not fall within the scope of another portfolio. (Tom Belton)

Each archivist is responsible for all aspects of archival practice for the fonds within his or her assigned portfolio: acquisition and appraisal, arrangement and description, preservation, detailed reference service and research consultations, and outreach.

Archives assistants Theresa Regnier and Connie Sutherland will provide collections management assistance and additional specialized services.

For more information about a specific portfolio, please contact the responsible archivist.

Special Collections

The James Alexander and Ellen Rea Benson Special Collections include rare books, monographs, and serials with a particular emphasis on the history of southwestern Ontario, particularly London and Middlesex County, the history of science and medicine, Canadian literature and history, Ontario private and small presses, Canadian travel and voyages, Ontario textbooks, the history of aviation, and Milton and Miltoniana. Major collections include:

  • The G. William Stuart Jr. Collection of Milton and Miltoniana
  • The Hannah Collection on the History of Science and Medicine
  • The Beatrice Hitchins Memorial Collection of Aviation History
  • The J.J. Talman Regional Collection
  • The H.G. Wells Collection
  • Canadian Voyages and Travel Collection to 1900
  • The Alexander Norman Collection of Comic Books
  • The Dr. Eddy Smet Collection of Comic Books

As noted above, archives assistants Theresa Regnier and Connie Sutherland will provide collections management assistance and additional specialized services.

Acquisition and Appraisal

Archivists at Western Archives appraise University records based on their enduring historical, legal, fiscal, and administrative values. This is generally done as part of the development and application of approved Records Retention and Disposal Schedules. Consequently, University records with enduring value are routinely added to the Archives’ holdings.

In addition, Western Archives encourages donations to its holdings. Donations may be accepted from affiliated institutions and campus organizations, faculty members, as well as local organizations, individuals, and families. Archivists work with donors to appraise their records, to identify material of potential archival value and to assist in the preparation and transfer of materials.

Donors must sign a deed of gift-in-kind, which transfers title and copyright (where applicable) to The University of Western Ontario (Western University). The deed specifies terms governing access and use of the donated materials identifying specific restriction where merited. Donations of private or personal papers may be eligible for a tax receipt issued through Western’s Advancement Services.

If you are interested in donating archival materials to Western Archives please contact us by mail (see address below), telephone (519 661-4046) or email. For a detailed listing of thematic portfolios and archivists, see the Archives Services and Collections page.

Research and Instructional Support

Western Archives provides a variety of research and reference services to faculty, staff, students, alumni, researchers and the public. Most are available from the Reading Room of the ARCC during regular hours of opening. Faculty members can also arrange to have Western Archives' staff assist them to prepare and conduct classes or assignments using archival materials.


Unless otherwise specified below, Western Archives' holdings are available for research and reference use. Restrictions on access are as follows:

  1. Records of the University: Access is open to all authorized staff from the originating unit. For all other users, both internal and external, access is determined by the unit head in accordance with the University Guidelines to Access to Information and Protection of Privacy, applicable legislation, and any other relevant internal agreements and documents.
  2. Records of Affiliated Institutions: Access is subject to any restrictions negotiated with the originating institution.
  3. Records of Campus Institutions: Access is subject to any restrictions negotiated with the creator and/ or donor of the records.
  4. Papers of Individuals: Access is subject to any restrictions negotiated with the creator and/ or donor of the papers.
  5. Collections: Access is subject to any restrictions negotiated with the creator and/or donor of the collection.
  6. Unprocessed Material: Access to any unprocessed official University records, records of affiliated institutions or campus organizations, personal papers or collections may be restricted at the discretion of Western Archives, pending a review to ensure that no personal or confidential information is contained in the documents and to ensure that access is otherwise permitted in accordance with (A) to (E) above.
  7. Fragile, Valuable or Rare Material: Access to originals may be restricted at the discretion of Western Archives in order to protect them from damage or loss, in which case copies will be substituted for reference purposes.

It should be noted that University records transferred to semi-active storage as part of the records centre service have not been accessioned by Western Archives and therefore do not form part of its archival holdings. They are the property of the originating unit and all access requests are referred to the unit head.