For history of medicine, a good starting point is the personal papers collection. These include the papers of 19th-century Ontario physician William Caniff; early 20th-century Canadian doctors(Frank Norman Walker, R. Norris Wolfdenden); British and Canadian doctors, medics, and nurses who served in the First World War (Jane Abbott, Robert Briffault, Vera Brittain, F.B. Carron, John Robert Colombo, Myers Coplans, Betty Houghton, John William McNee, James Henry Reid, Charles R. Totton, Robert Percy Wright); and British and Canadian doctors, medics, and nurses who served in the Second World War (Ronald Broadbent, A,J. Davies, Russell K. Magee, Nancy Kennedy Reid). The Edwin Howard Stephenson fonds contain medical information from Huron College. TheSpanish Civil War collection contains material on medical bureaus and aid committees. The Claire Culhane fonds document her experience with the Canadian Anti-Tuberculosis Hospital during the Vietnam War. Other fonds which may be of interest to researchers are the papers of the British-born Canadian surgeon Guy Debenham (1954–2005); the papers of Allan Roy Dafoe, doctor to the Dionne quintuplets born in Northern Ontario in 1934; and the Henry George Thode fonds, which contain anoral history on the McMaster Medical School.
Other archival material which may be of interest to researchers are the 18th-century journals, which include medical and scientific commentaries, and the pamphlets collection, including the cigar labels collection (late 19th century–present). The Medieval Manuscript collection holds the Book of Hours, and material on astrology and devotions. Mills also holds 18th-century medical remedies recipes; two early 20th-century recipe books are also held in the Crombie family fonds. Assorted 19th- and 20th-century food and remedy recipes may also be found in a wide number of other personal papers and fonds (Eric Bick, Austin Clarke, Marjorie Harris, Edith Russell, Murray Thompson. See also Anne O’Neill’s 1965 recipe collection in the Clarke, Irwin & Co. Ltd. Fonds.) Genealogical records may be found in the Manuscript Letters collections (1686–1905). The Judaica collection holds a pamphlet onToronto’s Jewish doctors.
The Bertrand Russell Archives contain correspondence and article manuscripts on general welfare and public health (although reference to these topics in the collection is not substantial).
For researchers interested in local history and public health, a good starting point is the Dictionary of Canadian Biography, which is located on the third floor reference section and is available for in-library use only.
The Hamilton history collection consists of essays written about Hamilton by McMaster students for Professor John Weaver of the McMaster University History Department. There is also a number of separate fonds and collections which are related to the history of Hamilton. They include: Mabel Burkholder, Marjorie Freeman Campbell, Ralph Ellis, David A. Robinson, Highland Society of Hamilton, Hamilton watering cart specifications, Hamilton and District Labour Council and other labour holdings, Hamilton social and political organizations, the Hamilton Steel Wheel Company collection, the police register, property documents, the Real Estate Board, and The Hamilton Spectator. TheHamilton Waterworks fonds contains 261 drawings from 1854-1918. These include detailed drawings of floor plans, boilers, and engines. Each of these fonds has its own separate description.
The Margery Freeman Campbell papers are excerpts and digests of the early Hamilton town minutes. Running from 1832 to 1850, they describe the cholera epidemics, and the emergency hospital on the waterfront. It contains material on spring water runoff, pauper graves, animal control, risks to public safety, wild dogs, flooding, orphans, and other social aspects of the epidemics.
Government publications, issued by national, provincial, regional, and local governments, appear in a number of formats and cover many fields which may be relevant to researchers, including history,economics, and geography. Examples of government publications held here include official reports of debates, votes, and proceedings, government business plans, speeches from the Throne, and the journals Municipal World and The Ontario Gazette. The bound periodicals of the Ontario LegislativeSessional Papers contained here, which run 1868–1948, may be of particular interest. (Note that the sessional papers for the period 1948–present may be found at the Archives of Ontario.) The main collection is on the second floor of Mills Library, while business, science and engineering, and health sciences-related publications are housed in the Innis, Thode, and Health Sciences libraries, respectively. This section of the library may be reached at ext. 22533.
For researchers interested in Aboriginal studies, the fonds of residential school survivor and historian, Basil H. Johnston, will be of interest. The Edward E. Seymour fonds contain material on Aboriginal labour, political, and social issues. The W.J. Eccles fonds hold material on Aboriginalland claims. The noted Canadian historian Pierre Berton’s fonds contain his correspondence with theRoyal Commission on Aboriginal Peoples and the Indigenous People’s Support Network.
Finding aids may be found here. Please note that some archival collections are stored off-site and retrieval may take 2–4 days.
Hours: Monday–Friday 9am–5pm
Location: Mills Memorial Library, 1st Floor, Room L102, McMaster University, 1280 Main Street West, Hamilton, ON L8S 4P5
Telephone: 905-525-9140; Maps ext. 24745; Data ext. 23848; GIS ext. 28043
Email: Maps firstname.lastname@example.org; Data email@example.com; GIS firstname.lastname@example.org
Access: Open to all McMaster University students and the general public
Website address: http://library.mcmaster.ca/maps/
The Lloyd Reeds Map Collection contains more than 130,000 paper maps, 18,000 air photos, and 3,000 atlases. The Collection contains historical maps, documenting the development of cities, and sometimes includes names of property owners on lots. The oldest map of the Hamilton area in the Collection is an original survey by the British surveyor, Augustus Jones, dated 1791. Some of the 19thcentury historic maps of Hamilton have been digitized and can be viewed online through the McMaster Digital Archive. The Collection also includes fire insurance plans, which date back to 1898 for Hamilton, and provide a detailed mapping of the city. Each set of fire insurance plans for the city of Hamilton consists of hundreds of pages of maps covering the city at the individual house level, block by block. The 1898 and 1911 sets are available online. The 1947 and 1964 sets are still under copyright and can be viewed in the Map Collection. The Collection also has city directories for Hamilton for every year beginning in 1853, which can be viewed in paper or microfilm format. They list who or what is located at every municipal address. The older ones also include additional information, such as occupation. The city directories are particularly useful when used in conjunction with the fire insurance plans for building a profile of a neighbourhood from a hundred years ago, such as type of housing, density, occupations, ethnicity, etc. The Collection contains thousands of aerial photographs of Hamilton, dating from 1919 to the present. The indexes can be found here. The Collection also has topographic maps of Hamilton for each decade beginning in 1909. These maps illustrate the expansion of industry, road networks, and the growth of the city. The Collection contains neighbourhood land-use maps indicating the breakdown of commercial, industrial, residential and institutional areas within Hamilton dating to the 1970s. The Collection has a variety of atlases on health and disease covering different parts of the world, which can contain epidemiological maps.
The Data centre provides access to statistical information that can be useful for mapping, such as government survey and census data. The majority of the information available online is recent, covering the last 15 years. A useful source for online health statistics is the Canadian Health Institute for Health Information. Older government publications are available on the 2ndfloor of Mills Library.
The McMaster community has access to GIS (Geographic Information System) through the Scholars GeoPortal (off-campus users must log in to the library). The Portal provides online access to a great deal of geospatial data. Students can search or browse for data, view it on a map, and then download parts or entire datasets. Users can browse data by subject, keywords or data provider. For example, the subject category Human Health and Disease has 21 subsections, including Children’s Treatment Centre Locations, Hospital Locations, and Public Health Unit Office Locations, among others, which can be populated onto the map. Examples of keyword categories include water, roads, and census. The GIS team are also available to help create maps and populate statistics onto historical maps.