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Clara Thomas Archives and Special Collections > Toronto Telegram (cont’d)

Toronto Telegram (cont’d)

2 .York University Archives Chronicle

4 January 2001


The Telegram Collection functioned as a working collection for reporters covering the news of the day, special features and selected historical images that, in one way or another, ended up as part of the collection. Organization and access is through assigned headings used by the Telegram staff, the result being a practical but sometimes inconsistent list of subject headings handwritten on envelopes and folders. Annotations or “captions” often include information about why the photo was taken and whether or not it was used in the paper. In addition, ASC has thoroughly indexed the collection through name and subject access.

African groups: South African students arrive to attend universities.

Toronto Telegram fonds, image no. ASC02624

Arab Groups: Blankets donated to Arab refugees in Gaza strip.

Toronto Telegram fonds, image no. ASC02637

For the pilot project, it was decided to select about 1000 photographs since this seemed to be a number that could be handled by a student during the course of a summer. The images were selected based on four themes: Ethnic Groups in Toronto, Toronto Streets and Architecture, Labour, Ships and Shipping.

These subjects were all easily accessed through both the headings assigned originally by the newspaper and those in the finding aids devised by ASC.


Access the Telegram photographs in YorkSpace.

Read Rob van der Bliek’s “Report on an Investigation to Digitize a Selection from the Toronto Telegram Photograph Collection”.

The idea was to select photographs that would be of local interest or at least have some social or geographic component. As it turned out, these large general subjects turned up some remarkable subsets. In the Toronto Streets and Architecture series, for example, it became clear that there was a need to focus on pictures that were recognizably Toronto, with some bias towards pictures that document Toronto’s growth and development. As a result, the student ended up selecting a fair number of aerials. The headings also covered unanticipated aspects or dimensions of the subjects, exposing the weaknesses of the classification system. For example, under Streets and Architecture, the scenes of several murder cases form the foreground while the street itself plays a minor role. Luckily, these “access points” are augmented by item captions and notes, giving more meaningful descriptions. There was also an emphasis on selecting pictures that were framed properly.