Trinity College was founded in 1850 by Toronto’s first Anglican Bishop, John Strachan, in response to the secularization of King’s College, precursor to the University of Toronto. The new College incorporated the Theological Institution, Cobourg, as the basis of its Faculty of Divinity in 1851. In 1852 the College received its Royal Charter and opened its doors on Queen Street West, now the site of Trinity Bellwood’s Park. In 1904 Trinity College federated with the University of Toronto and in 1924 moved to its present location on Hoskin Avenue. Dr. George W. Spragge, retired Provincial Archivist of Ontario and a Trinity College graduate, was asked by Provost D.R.G. Owen in 1963 to report on "the historical material in the vaults and storage rooms in Trinity College." Dr. Spragge, a noted researcher and writer on the early history of education in Upper Canada, continued as Archivist until 1969. In 2008 the position of Archivist was endowed by Dr. Ruth M. Bell in honour of her first husband, Professor William Rolph (4T0) and his uncle, Dr. Frederick Rolph, a graduate of the Trinity Medical College.
Geographical and cultural context
Trinity College is the smallest of the federated Colleges at the University of Toronto with about 1800 students. Degrees are granted to graduate students in Divinity, conjointly with the University of Toronto. Since 1974, undergraduate education has been fully integrated with the Faculty of Arts and Science, through which Trinity sponsors three interdisciplinary programs: International Relations, Immunology, and Ethics, Society and Law.
Mandates/Sources of authority
As expressed in the Statutes of Trinity College, passed by the Executive Committee of the Corporation of Trinity College in 1996, the Archivist is directed to "advise on the management and disposition of College records and to acquire, preserve, and make available for use those College and other records of archival importance to the College"
The Rolph-Bell Archivist reports to the Director of the John W. Graham Library, who reports to the Provost of Trinity College
Records management and collecting policies
The Trinity College Archives is responsible for advising on the management and disposition of all the corporate records of Trinity College, regardless of format, that are created, received, used and accumulated by the academic and administrative offices of the College, and by the various governing bodies of the College.
The Trinity College Archives may also acquire by gift, bequest, loan, trade or purchase any records of persons and organizations of importance to Trinity College.
The Trinity College Archives is housed in a purpose-built repository in the basement of 6 Hoskin Avenue. The Archives is fully accessible and has an accessible washroom. A reading room, study carrels and exhibit space is open to the public from 9-5, Monday through Friday, by appointment or chance. The climate-controlled storage vault has a 2800 linear foot capacity on compact shelving. Photocopying and digitization is available at $0.50 a copy at the discretion of the archivist. We answer short reference questions via email and phone in a timely manner but we do not provide a reference service. Food is available at the student café in an adjacent building.
The Archives contains the records of College administrative offices, student organizations and the papers of individuals associated with the College. Earlier records reflect Trinity’s roots in the Anglican Church tradition. Later records reflect the academic interests of the faculty, which has changed over time from the traditional liberal arts to our present emphasis on international relations. Current holdings consists of approximately 2000 linear feet of textual, audiovisual, digital and some artefactual records. We do not collect published material with the exception of our in-house student and alumni publications. The Archivist is also responsible for the College art collection, which is particularly strong in the area of mid-20th century Canadian art.
Finding aids, guides and publications