University of Waterloo Library, Special Collections & Archives

Identity area



Authorized form of name

University of Waterloo Library, Special Collections & Archives

Parallel form(s) of name

Other form(s) of name


  • University/College

Contact area



Street address

200 University Ave. West





Country name


Postal code

N2L 3G1


519-888-4567 ext 32619



Description area


The University of Waterloo Library's Special Collections Department is housed in the Doris Lewis Rare Book Room in the Dana Porter Library. Named in honour of Doris Eileen Lewis, the first Chief Librarian of the University of Waterloo, the Doris Lewis Rare Book Room opened in 1976.
The University of Waterloo Archives was formally established in 1977 by then-President Dr. Burt Matthews. At that time, Dr. Paul Cornell was appointed Honourary Archivist and Margaret Steckenreiter was named as Archives Assistant. In 1985, the Archives' operation was transferred to the University Library where it is now part of the Special Collections Department.

Geographical and cultural context

Mandates/Sources of authority

The University of Waterloo Archives operates under the terms of Policy 13, and adheres to the University's Privacy Protection/Freedom of Information Guidelines.

Administrative structure

Records management and collecting policies



Special Collections holds early editions and rare books, collections of archives and manuscripts, and other material that requires special care and handling because of its early publication date, association interest, physical condition, aesthetic value, or unusual format.

Now numbering over 50,000 volumes, the rare book collections have particular subject strengths in the following areas: women's studies, local history, the history of mathematics (especially Euclid's Elements of Geometry), architecture, dance and ballet, fine printing, and urban planning.

Architecture titles from the Rosa Breithaupt Clark Architectural Collection and the William Dendy Library are housed in the Musagetes Architecture Library.

Historical and literary archives are maintained in a variety of subject areas which, for the most part, complement the book collections. The collections are considered working collections which have been developed systematically around subjects that reflect the goals of the University of Waterloo's major teaching and research programmes.

As the institutional archives, the University of Waterloo Archives' official purpose is to preserve administrative, legal, financial or historical information that has long term value for the University of Waterloo and to make that information available in accordance with policies.

The University of Waterloo Archives receives minutes, reports, departmental files, personal and official correspondence, sound and video recordings, films, photographs, and other significant records generated in the University's day-to-day activities. The holdings consist of approximately 1250 linear feet of administrative, legal, financial, and historical records dating from 1956 to the present.

In addition to official university records, the University of Waterloo Archives also preserves campus publications, materials by and about the University of Waterloo, papers of some faculty members, and records of student organizations.

Finding aids, guides and publications

Access area

Opening times

Open Monday-Friday 8:30am-12:00pm, 1:00pm-4:00pm

Access conditions and requirements


Services area

Research services

Reproduction services

Public areas

Control area

Description identifier

Institution identifier

CA ON00351

Rules and/or conventions used


Level of detail

Dates of creation, revision and deletion




Maintenance notes

Access points

Access Points

  • Clipboard

Primary contact

200 University Ave. West
Waterloo, Ontario
CA N2L 3G1