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Newly added: Dance in Video: Volume II

York University Libraries recently added Volume II of Alexander Street Press’ Dance in Video.


The second volume of expands upon the foundation built in Volume I, providing 400 hours of video that showcase a new catalogue of dancers and partners including the Joffrey Ballet, John Jasperse Company, Cloud Gate Dance Theatre, Bavarian State Ballet, Royal Ballet of Cambodia, Kirov Ballet, and Compañía Nacional de Danza.

Students seeking to fine-tune specific techniques can explore instructional materials from the George Balanchine Foundation covering basic and advanced ballet techniques, including jumps, turns, pirouettes, barre work, pointe technique, and more.

New Private Company Resource: PrivCo

York University Libraries recently added a new online business resource for private company info: PrivCo


PrivCo contains business and financial research on non-publicly traded corporations, including family-owned, private equity-owned, venture-backed and international unlisted companies. Content includes private company reports, mergers & acquisitions, private market investors, venture capital funding and more.



Archives the new home for memoir on race relations

A Struggle to Walk with DignityWhen asked about his overarching goal for writing his autobiography, A Struggle to Walk with Dignity – The True Story of a Jamaican- born Canadian, Gerald A. Archambeau responds, “To inspire youth to never give up on the goodness of human beings regardless of race.”  With this aspiration in mind Archambeau has donated a collection of his works – him memoir and three scrapbooks – to Clara Thomas Archives and Special Collections.

The scrapbooks narrate Archambeau’s life through a series of photographs, postcards, and newspaper clippings pertaining to race relations and his employers the Canadian National Railway (CN), Canadian Pacific Railway (CPR), and Air Canada. The scrapbooks refer to the collective fight for human rights equality and Archambeau’s quotes written throughout add personal reflections of his own struggle. These scrapbooks, chronicling his life, served as the catalyst for writing the book A Struggle to Walk with Dignity – The True Story of a Jamaican-born Canadian.

Catherine Davidson, associate university librarian of collections, believes that Archambeau’s donation will be a valuable instructional resource for undergraduate humanities programs, specifically courses in Canadian history and race relations. “Archambeau’s memoir and scrapbooks shine a light on the racial segregation and inequality that were prevalent in Canada at the time. Archambeau’s scrapbooks in particular are a fascinating read; they bring the issues to life for the reader.”

About Gerald A. Archambeau

Gerald ArchambeauArchambeau was born in Jamaica B.W.I. to a Panamanian father of African, French, and Aboriginal ancestry and mother of Caucasian and African ancestry – although he was raised by his grandmother and three aunts.

As a teenager Archambeau was forced to immigrate to Canada by his mother and stepfather, a Barbadian who fought for the Canadian army in WWII and for that reason was granted Canadian citizenship. Archambeau moved to Canada so the three could qualify for veteran housing in Montreal.

Because of his love for trains Archambeau was employed as a porter for CN and CPR for over 15 years.  He writes next to a newspaper clipping about the porters in one of his scrapbooks, “The true gentlemen of the rails – service with a smile even though we were insulted at times.” Despite racial clauses in some union contracts, Archambeau’s time on the rails was quite happy. “We served Canada’s wealthy who could afford to ride in sleeping cars, club cars, parlour cars, and eat in the dining cars. Porters who provided good service were tipped and always had money in their pockets.  Very few incidences of open racism occurred on the railways and if there were any problems (the porters) could report it to the train conductor who would handle it according to railway rules.”

In the 1960s the railway business started to decline in popularity and in 1967 Archambeau began working for Air Canada as a station attendant, later being promoted to lead ramp foreman. It was at this point that Archambeau had to fight for equality because of improper workplace practices and behaviours.  

When Archambeau retired in 1993 his wife Marion encouraged him to write his autobiography.  A Struggle to Walk with Dignity –The True Story of a Jamaican- born Canadian was published in 2008 by Dr. J. Patrick Boyer, President of Blue Butterfly Publishing. His book can be summed up best by Archambeau himself, “The most important thing to me in life is my integrity as a human being – not as a race or a colour, but as a person. My book is a very humanistic story about interactions between people of the human race.”

For more information about Gerald Archambeau’s donation or how to integrate it into coursework and research, please contact: Anna St.Onge, Archivist of Digital Projects and Outreach, Clara Thomas Archives & Special Collections, Room 305, Scott Library,


18th century Bible and typography masterpiece acquired by Clara Thomas Archives and Special Collections

18th century John Baskerville Bible placed in the care of York University Libraries

Two hundred years after its printing a copy of John Baskerville’s folio edition of the Holy Bible – one of only 1,250 printed in Cambridge, England in 1763 – made its way to Canada. That same rare Bible was transferred by Richard Tottenham to York University Libraries’ (YUL) Clara Thomas Archives and Special Collections, making it one of only two copies in a Canadian academic library.

 John Baskerville’s folio edition of the Holy Bible was printed by Cambridge University Press in 1763. Baskerville was recognized as a type-setting trailblazer and Random House notes that this edition of the Holy Bible is, “a Baskerville masterpiece, regarded as the finest and most important work from Baskerville’s Cambridge Press.” The Bible was printed in Baskerville’s Great Primer type which is slender and delicate, combining elegance with readability – important traits since the book was intended to be read aloud from church pulpits. T.B. Reed describes the Bible in A History of the Old English Letter Foundries as Baskerville’s “magnum opus… his most magnificent as well as most characteristic specimen.” 

Michael Moir, university archivist and head of Clara Thomas Archives and Special Collections, notes the scholarly value that this Bible can bring to coursework and research at York. “At first glance one may think a Bible would be an excellent teaching aid for humanities courses, but I think it could seamlessly be integrated into fine arts curriculums and research – specifically book design courses,” says Moir. “John Baskerville is known as a typographic expert and this folio edition of the Holy Bible can be a valuable resource for fine arts undergraduate students studying the evolution of the printing process and typography.”

Second Marquess of Ely

Speaking to the authenticity and longevity of this 250-year-old Bible are hand-scribed records of birth and baptismal dates within Tottenham’s family, dating back to the year 1810. These recordings trace Tottenham’s lineage and suggest the year in which the Bible was originally purchased by the second Marquess of Ely (Tottenham’s ancestor.) Preserving these familial references was important to Tottenham and part of the reason that he decided to bestow the Bible to Clara Thomas Archives and Special Collections. “My siblings and I wanted the Bible to be housed at York so it could be studied and used to enhance scholarship and research,” Tottenham explains. “But I also knew it would be well preserved which was important to me because the Bible contains references to my ancestry.”

This Bible has been entrusted to the archives due, in large part, to a coincidental conversation between Tottenham and York University LA&PS professor, John Lennox. “Richard (Tottenham) and I have been friends and neighbours for many years and in a recent conversation he serendipitously mentioned that he inherited an 18th century Bible,” Lennox explains. “I thought it would be of great interest to scholars and researchers and a marvelous addition to our rare books collection. I mentioned to Richard that Clara Thomas Archives and Special Collections would be able to conserve the Bible’s historical value while making it accessible to the public. I’m delighted about the whole thing and tremendously grateful to Richard for placing the Bible in York University Libraries’ (YUL) care and to Michael Moir for making it happen.”

For more information about John Baskerville’s edition of the Bible or how to integrate it into coursework and research, please contact:

Anna St.Onge
Archivist, Digital Projects and Outreach

 Clara Thomas Archives & Special Collections, Room 305, Scott Library



Photograph and painting:

1)  (From left to right) Professor John Lennox, with friend Richard Tottenham, present John Baskerville’s 18th century Holy Bible to university librarian, Cynthia Archer.

2)  A painting of the second Marquess of Ely,  Richard Tottenham’s ancestor and purchaser of the John Baskerville Bible in the year 1810.

Finnish-Canadian “memories” donated to Clara Thomas Archives and Special Collections

Varpu LindströmYork University professor Varpu Lindström is known as a “memory keeper” in Finnish-Canadian communities. What’s extraordinary about the “memories” that Lindström keeps is that they aren’t just hers – they are reminiscences of many Finns who immigrated to Canada in the 1880s to early 1900s as a result of economic depression and war in Finland. Lindström has donated her retrospective collection of professional and scholarly research to York University Libraries’ (YUL) Clara Thomas Archives and Special Collections with the intent of preserving these historical documents for future generations.

Varpu Lindström was born in Helsinki, Finland in 1948 and immigrated to Canada in 1963. She pursued a distinguished career as a professor and scholar at York University, specializing in North American social history, immigration, and women’s studies. Lindström is recognized both nationally and internationally as an expert in Canadian immigration history, particularly that of Finnish-Canadians. Her research has manifested itself into several publications such as Defiant Sisters : A Social History of Finnish Immigrant Women in Canada, 1890-1930 and From Heroes to Enemies : Finns in Canada, 1937-1947. Lindström was also a researcher and historical consultant for the National Film Board’s 2004 critically acclaimed documentary, Letters from Karelia.

Several decades of Finnish-Canadian research has resulted in Lindström creating, acquiring, and now donating to Clara Thomas Archives and Special Collections over 7.2 metres of textual records. These records include diaries, family correspondences, financial ledgers, war-relief funding and other organizational records, sound recordings of oral histories, folk music, documentary films, and over 1,000 books, almanacs, and plays published by Finnish authors in North America.

“I think it would be great to have Lindström’s collection integrated into undergraduate coursework and research here at York University,” says digital projects and outreach archivist for Clara Thomas Archives and Special Collections, Anna St. Onge.  “Documents from Lindström’s collection give researchers a sense of the immediacy of history and could certainly add realism to Canadian history coursework that focuses on North American immigration and settlement.”

 In addition to primary source material, Lindström acquired photocopies of rare documents such as two volumes of a Soviet register of Finnish war crimes, a list of persons found in the mass grave at Karhumaki, and Soviet lists of North American Finns who journeyed to Karelia to help build a socialist utopia.

Pertti Kaski collectionAlso a part of Lindström’s donation is the Pertti Kaski photograph collection which has been digitized and uploaded to Yorkspace.

Chronicling the immigration experience from the perspective of a teenage girl, Lindström has given Clara Thomas Archives and Special Collections a collection of correspondences between herself and her best friend back in Finland, Kaisa Lindberg, written from 1963 to 1965. Many of these letters were published in the 2012 book, Letters from an Immigrant Teenager. Lindström’s generous donation to Clara Thomas Archives and Special Collections has helped to position York as a leader in Finnish-Canadian research in North America, advancing new efforts to preserve the records of the Finnish community in collaboration with the archives of Lakehead University and the Finnish Canadian Association.

For more information about Varpu Lindström’s donated documents or how to integrate this special collection into coursework and research, please contact:

St. Onge, Anna
Archivist, Digital Projects and Outreach

Clara Thomas Archives & Special Collections, Scott Library 3rd Floor

 To see the finding aid for this collection, see:

 *Images from the Pertti Kaski collection, showing a group of Finnish family and remnants of a postcard from Helsinki, 25 June 1918. YUL, Clara Thomas Archives, ASC08114