Onsite research appointments
Effective April 5th, the Laurier Archives and Special Collections has suspended onsite research appointments.
Some research materials can be digitized and made available. Staff are working remotely and can provide some virtual reference services and answer some questions in support of class content or research.
Please contact the Laurier archives by email.
About the Laurier Archives and Special Collections
The Laurier Archives and Special Collections is the library's research collection of archival papers, rare books, and historic university records. With collecting emphases on the environmental conservation movement in Canada; the Lutheran Church in Canada; and Canadian music, the Laurier archives holds unique collections of archival records. The Rare Book collection contains volumes dating to the 15th century and includes an unparalleled collection of hymnbooks.
We are also the official repository of historic university records. The holdings include official records of the university; photographs; memorabilia, student publications; records of student clubs and much more.
The Laurier archives reading room is on the first floor of the Laurier library. It is open to the public and we welcome researchers of all levels.
We'd love to host your class or community group in the archives. Please contact us to arrange for a tour or instruction session.
- Archives and Special Collections Collecting Policy
- Rare Books Collecting Policy
- Donation Policy
- Access request form
Scanning Materials from the Laurier Archives and Special Collections
Please note that the Laurier Archives and Special Collections has now re-opened for bookable appointments. As part of the archives modified services, staff can help researchers with digital scans from Archival and Special Collections.
If you would like to request a scan from the archival or special collections please email email@example.com outlining the details of your research interest and request.
The Laurier Archives contains the library's research collection of primary documents and rare books. The collection focuses on: the environmental conservation movement in Canada (with an emphasis on water resources, Canada's North, and biosphere reserves in Canada); the history of Lutheranism in Canada; and the history of Kitchener-Waterloo.
Environmental Conservation Movement in Canada
The Laurier Archives houses a rich collection of archival records and primary resources documenting the environment. The collections have a special emphasis on water resources, parks and protected areas, biosphere reserves, and Canada’s north in the 20th and 21st centuries.
Lutheran Church in the Community
The Laurier Archives is the official repository of the records of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada (Eastern Synod), the historic records of the Waterloo Lutheran Seminary, as well as collections of personal papers, publications and ephemera. In Synod records, and records of individual parishes, the collection documents not only the history of the ELCIC beginning in the nineteenth century, but offers a glimpse into life in communities across Canada in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries.
The rare book collection contains an extensive collection of Lutheran texts, and a growing collection of hymnals used in Canadian churches.
History of Kitchener-Waterloo
The history of Kitchener-Waterloo is represented in a number of records of individuals and organizations including the Kitchener-Waterloo Concert Association, and the Social Planning Council of Kitchener-Waterloo. The records of local parishes are well-represented in the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada records
The Laurier Archives is the official repository for historic records of the university. Our holdings include corporate records of Wilfrid Laurier University and the Waterloo Lutheran Seminary and their predecessors including records of the Board of Governors and Senate; academic faculties and administrative offices. The collection includes official publications of the university including press releases, magazines and newspapers as well as university photographs.
Also included are student publications, photographs, alumni records, campus memorabilia and much more. University Archives materials are described in finding aids. Certain photos and documents are available in the Laurier Archives Digital Collection. For assistance using the University Archives, please contact us.
For information about transferring university records to the Archives, please contact us.
- Search the Laurier Archives finding aid database
- A searchable database of archival records. Includes descriptions of University records and research collections.
- Search the Laurier Archives Digital Collection
- Search or browse more than 15,000 images and documents from our research collections and the Laurier Archives.
- Search the collection of website captures on Archive-It
- Search or browse historic captures of websites related to Wilfrid Laurier University and our special research collections.
- Search the Cord student newspaper
- Search or browse the student newspaper from its founding in 1926. The Cord digitization project is ongoing. For assistance, please contact us.
- Scanning Materials from the Laurier Archives and Special Collections
- Please note that the Laurier Archives and Special Collections has now re-opened for bookable appointments.
- As part of Archives modified services, staff can help researchers with digital scans from Archival and Special Collections. If you would like to request a scan from the Archival or Special Collections please email firstname.lastname@example.org outlining the details of your research interest and request.
Joan Mitchell Travel Award
The Joan Mitchell Travel Award seeks to promote and support original, scholarly research in the Laurier Archives. The Travel Award supports researchers wishing to travel to the Laurier Archives to conduct research in any of the archival collections. The Travel Award of $1000 may be used to offset the cost of travel and lodging in Waterloo for a period of one to four weeks of research in the Laurier Archives. Graduate students and established scholars are invited to apply. The Joan Mitchell Travel Award honours Joan Mitchell, Laurier’s first Head of Archives and Special Collections.
The collections of the Laurier Archives focus on: the Environment (with an emphasis on water resources, Canada's North, and biosphere reserves in Canada); the history of the Lutheran Church in Canada; music in Canada; and the history of Wilfrid Laurier University. A complete list of collections, and detailed finding aids, are available here.
Students enrolled in a graduate program at the Masters’ or doctoral level, as well as established scholars in any discipline are eligible for the Joan Mitchell Travel Award. One award of $1000 will be offered each year. To apply, please forward a letter of application describing the proposed research project, plans for publication, and the collections to be consulted at the Laurier Archives; as well as a curriculum vitae and one letter of reference.
Applicants are encouraged to contact the Laurier Archives to learn more about the collections when preparing their applications. Laurier Archives staff members are not on the Adjudication Committee.
Applications should be submitted to:
Archives and Special Collections Wilfrid Laurier University 75 University Avenue Waterloo ON N2L 3C5
The application deadline for the 2020 award was February 14, 2020.
Adjudication of applications
An interdisciplinary Advisory Committee will review each application based on the applicant’s research topic and the availability of relevant holdings in the Laurier Archives. Preference will be given to applicants whose research proposal makes maximum use collections at the Laurier Archives.
Conditions of Travel Award
Travel Award winners must begin their research at the Laurier Archives within one year of being notified of the award. Award winners are expected to devote full time to their research project while in Waterloo. Funds may be used for travel to Waterloo and lodging in Kitchener-Waterloo. Subsidized accommodation may be available on campus. The Joan Mitchell Travel Award must be acknowledged in works emanating from research conducted at the Laurier Archives. The Travel Award winner will be requested to submit a short report on their research which may be used in University publications.
2018: Julia Smachylo, Harvard University
2017: Jonathan Luedee, University of British Columbia
2016: Christine Grossutti, Queen's University
2015: Elliot Worsfold, Western University
2014: Jessica DeWitt, University of Saskatchewan
Please visit our web exhibit: 'Talkin' 'bout Those Generations': Lutheran Youth Experience in Canada, created by graduate assistant Trevor Stace in 2017.
We are also proud to host web exhibits created by Laurier undergraduate students. These exhibits are not affiliated with the Laurier Archives.
Miss Canadian University Pageant and Protest, 1970 created by Megan Blair under the mentorship of Dr. Tarah Brookfield
One Generation's Experience in Two Pandemics created by Tyler Britz, Lillia Dockree, Delores Maas, and Steve Parr under the mentorship of Dr. Tarah Brookfield