Hours: Monday to Friday: 9:00 am-4:45 pm (Contact for summer hours).
Location: 50 Wynford Drive, Toronto, Ontario, Canada, M3C 1J7.
Contact: (416) 441-1111
Access: Open to the public. Contact archivist before visiting.
The Presbyterian Church of Canada (PCC) Archives contains material from the early nineteenth century to the present, including over 3,500 cubic feet of textual records, over 15,000 photographs, and thousands of hours of audio-visual recordings. The collection contains records of individuals and church officials, presbyteries, synods, general assembly, women’s missionary societies, and colleges. This archive has strengths in women’s history, aboriginal studies, education of women and children, medical support for women and children, and global studies.
Several large collections discuss topics related to health, social welfare, social justice, women’s history and education. These include the fonds of the Women’s Home Missionary Society (1907-1914) that focuses on medical aid and social support for settlers to Canada and has records on the Atlins Nurse Committee. There are fonds of the Women’s Foreign Missionary Society (1877-1914) that supported missionaries in India, China, Taiwan, the North West of Canada, and British Columbia, and the Montreal Women’s Missionary Society (1864-1914). A larger collection is the Women’s Missionary Society (Western Division) (1885-1999), which amalgamated the three previous organizations. The fonds of this society is 23 metres long with correspondences, publications, and other general records related to mission work in India, Guyana, Japan, and locally among the Chinese immigrants in Vancouver and Victoria as well as in Residential Schools. The finding aid is available online. The Women’s Missionary Society (Eastern Division) (1880-1988) fonds offers 1 metre of annual reports, periodicals, and general history records related to the Maritime provinces as well as mission work in Japan, Korea, Guyana, and India.
Relevant information can also be found in the General Board of Missions/Board of World Mission (1875-1988) fonds that spans 11.5 metres of correspondences, meeting minutes, reports, agendas, flyers, memos, and publications. Within the “Overseas Missions” section of the General Board of Missions, there are relevant records such as those of the American Leprosy Missions (1976), the International Committee of the Red Cross (1968), as well as records related to the search for personnel for the Missionary Health Institute (1969-1974), the Ontario Health Insurance Commission (1971-1972), a pharmacist for Nigeria (1965-1966), and the hiring of doctors and nurses (1955-1962). In the “Home Missions” section of this collection, there are records on Hospital Visitors – Chaplaincy (1964-1976), correspondences with the Ontario Welfare Council (1967), and correspondences with Aboriginal communities in Birtle Reserve (1955-61), Film (1963-1966), Kenora (1956-1959), Lake of the Woods (1957), Mistawsis (1957-1959), Rolling River Reserve (1957), Round Plains (1956-57), Shoal Lake (1957), Sioux Indian Village (1957), and Waywayseecappo Reserve (1957). Information on ethnic studies, missionary education, schools, inter-church dynamics, colonial studies, and global relations can also be garnered from this collection.
Other relevant collections at the PCC Archives include the fonds of the Board of Evangelism and Social Action, first known as the Board of Moral and Social Reform (1907-1973), which was formed to tackle the issue of prostitution and venereal diseases. This collection has publications and study papers related to healing, marriages and divorces, euthanasia, alcohol, poverty, and suicide. The PCC Archives is an obvious but excellent source for cultural studies and the history of religion through fonds like Church Worship (1895-1950) and Christian Education (1867-1970). This archive additionally offers web exhibits of images from the archives’ collections, such as “Spiritual Memories: Images from the Archives,” “Indian Residential Schools: Photographs from The Presbyterian Church in Canada Archives,” and “Reporting the War: Presbyterian Periodicals during World War I.”