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Archives at Lakehead

What We Collect

The Archives acquires, preserves, and provides access to records that document the history of Lakehead University; organizations, individuals, and institutions closely affiliated with Lakehead University; and records that document the history of Northwestern Ontario.

These records include:

  • University records, documenting the history, governance, and administration of Lakehead University
  • Faculty research and teaching
  • Student life and the university experience
  • Finns and Finnish-Canadians in the region
  • Natural history, ecology, geology, forestry, and resource industries of Northwestern Ontario
  • Politics and activism
  • Art, performance, and writing

Archival Records

This list of archival records held at Lakehead is incomplete. It will be added to regularly as we acquire and describe new material. Collections for which there are digital finding aids available are listed in the column to the right. 

Access to unprocessed records may be limited.

Visit for a searchable database of all materials available. 

Bill Addison fonds

The records relate to Addison's advocacy work on the development and management of Provincial Parks in Ontario. Includes work with the Save Quetico Committee, the Coalition for Wilderness, and Parks for Tomorrow. These three groups were often in direct correspondence with the Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources, and the records contain many MNR and other government reports.

Dr. Albert E. Allen Fonds, 1921-66 (A0047)

The bird observations and natural history notebooks of Dr. Albert E. Allen, a former pathologist for Fort William, and a past president of the Thunder Bay Field Naturalists.

Amerikan Laulajat (Finnish Male Singers of North America) fonds, 1956-2002 

An umbrella organization for Finnish male choruses in North America. Records cover the organization's administration, including meetings, correspondence, and financial records, and events such as the group's nine performing tours of Finland. 

Dr. James T. Angus Papers

Dr. James T. Angus was the first Dean of Education for Lakehead University. The records include Dr Angus’s copies of correspondence, reports, memos, agenda and minutes, and printed material related to the integration of Lakehead Teachers’ College into Lakehead University; establishment of the Faculty of Education; graduate programs in education; program for training Indigenous teachers for First Nations schools in Northwestern Ontario

Ken Armson Slides, circa 1960-1980

Photographic slides of various archaeological digs from around the world and in Northwestern Ontario. Slides of various forestry field studies in several regions from 1968-1995. Includes images of trees, equipment, erosion, fire damage, forest management audits, land use, geology, and genetics and tree improvement.

Dr Elizabeth Arthur papers

Research notes and correspondence of Dr. Elizabeth Arthur, professor of history at Lakehead University. The papers are not yet processed. 

Barnett-McQueen Construction Company Ltd fonds, 1913 – 1955

A construction company based in Fort William, Ontario. The collection consists of architectural plans and drawings for construction projects (primarily grain elevators) the company worked on locally, and other locations in Canada.

Dr. Melville Bartley fonds, 1892-1984

Mel Bartley was a geologist in Northwestern Ontario. His contribution to the development of the mining sector within the region was influential. He was also the founding Principal of Lakehead University Technical Institute, and was the first chair of the Lakehead University Board of Governors from 1965 to 1969. 

Boreal West Round Table / Lands for Life collection

The Ontario government's planning process for forestry and land management through the 1990s and 2000s, represented in the records of the Boreal West Round Table, Lands for Life, and Living Legacy Trust. The records include meeting materials and presentations, research documents, project reports, and correspondence. 

Canadan Uutiset Collection (MG 4)

The correspondence, receipts, newspaper clippings, and several articles of the Canadan Uutiset, a Finnish newspaper based in Thunder Bay.

Canada Sea-to-Sea: Alexander Mackenzie Bicentennial Expeditions fonds

Records detailing the planning and execution of the Canada Sea-to-Sea Alexander Mackenzie Bicentennial Expeditions, 1989-1993, to celebrate the bicentennial of the voyages of Alexander Mackenzie, who was the first European person to cross Canada and reach the Pacific Ocean.

Canadian Federation of University Women of Thunder Bay Fonds, 1932-2003 (A0024)

Material regarding the activities and operation of the University Women group in Thunder Bay including their establishment of a nursery school for underprivileged children.

Daniel H. Coghlan Fonds, 1945-1966 (A0040)

Correspondence, insurance policies, receipts, cheques, memos, statements, and other papers from D.H. Coghlan, an insurance salesman in Port Arthur.

C.S.J. (Canadan Suomalainen Jarjesto)

Records of the Canadan Suomalainen Jarjesto (Finnish Organizations in Canada.) The records are not yet processed. 

C.T.K.L. (Canadan Teollisuusunionistinen Kannatus Liitto), 1907-1919 (MG 10)

The records of a Finnish Labour Union and related organizations including: The Finnish Building Company, The Hoito Restaurant, One Big Union, Industrial Workers of the World, Lumber Workers Industrial Union #120, and the Canadian News Service.

Marshall Dean Family fonds

Marshall Blanchard Dean was an early physician in Fort William; his son Marshall Macdougall Dean had a career with the Canadian Coast Guard and a lifelong interest in history and genealogy. Collection includes correspondence, photographs, and research materials. The papers are not yet processed.

Ernie Epp collection

Records relate to Ernie Epp's work as a professor at Lakehead University, and as an MP and member of the NDP. Papers are not yet processed. 

Finlandia Club Collection

Includes records of the Hoito restaurant, Port Arthur Workingmen's Association, Canadian Industrial Unions, Canadian News Service, Finlandia Club, Finnish Socialist Local no. 6, Lumber Workers Industrial Union, New Attempt Temperance Society, Finnish Athletic Club, and Finnish Building Company.

Finnish Building Company fonds

The Finnish Building Company was formed in 1909 and raised funds for the construction of the Finnish Labour Temple (Big Finn Hall) at 314 Bay Street. The records are not fully processed. 

Finnish Radio Tapes

Recordings of radio programs produced in Finnish. The tapes are not yet processed. 

Douglas Fisher fonds

Douglas Fisher was a politician and journalist from Northwestern Ontario. He served as Member of Parliament for Port Arthur from 1957 to 1965, representing the CCF and then NDP. These papers largely consist of correspondence from his time as MP, and cover a range of subjects. Of the most prominent topics included in Mr. Fisher’s papers are: shipbuilding, shipbuilding industries and the St. Lawrence Seaway, labour, House of Commons documents, and Canadian Federal Politics in general. 

R.J. Flatt collection, 1874-1897, 1936

Records are of the Wink & Cameron Law Firm, of Port Arthur, and relate to real estate and property law.

Claude Garton fonds

Claude Garton was a teacher and botanist. He amassed a collection of over 10,000 plant specimens, which were donated to form the Herbarium at Lakehead University. These records relate largely to his plant observations and collections, and also contain correspondence, writing, and drawings. 

General Archives collection

Many individual items and small collections have been described as part of the General Archives. An extensive finding aid is available for these. 

Gary Genosko collection

Materials related to the architectural history of Lakehead University, as presented at the Thunder Bay Art Gallery. The materials are not yet processed. 

Harry G. Johnson articles

A set of articles and published works by economist Harry G. Johnson. Papers are not yet processed.

Nigel Juhtund fonds, 1952-1985

Nigel Juhtund was a resident of Schreiber and an avid birdwatcher. The records consist of his bird observation data and summaries. 

Jaro Kotalik fonds, 1940-2000

The records relate to cancer diagnosis and care in Northwestern Ontario, and across Ontario more broadly. Information found in this collection covers a wide variety of material which include, but are not limited to: cancer care prevention, early diagnosis and care, clinical trial notes and lectures, information on screening for cancer and breast cancer. Information regarding the Thunder Bay Regional Hospital (Ethics Committees, Pilot Projects) and the Lakehead University Centre for Health Care can be found within this collection as well. 

Lakehead University fonds

Administrative records of Lakehead University. Includes: Dr. R.A. Ross papers, Dr. H.S. Braun papers, Dr. J. Mothersill papers, President's Office papers, Office of the Dean - Faculty of Science papers, Council of the Faculty of Arts and Science papers, Communications Office papers and photographs, and other collections representing various university departments. Some records are processed and others are not. 

Lakehead University Alumni collection

Records, photographs, ephemera, and objects donated by various alumni through the Alumni Association. Papers are not yet processed. 

Paul McRae fonds, 1974-1984

The correspondence, government employment program material, reports, and minutes for Paul McRae's time as Liberal MP for Thunder Bay-Atikokan.

Dr Walter Momot fonds

Records of fish observations in Northwestern Ontario. Papers are not yet processed.

Einar Nordstrom collection (MG2) 

Pamphlets, photographs, newspapers, magazines, account books, ledgers, membership books, and manuscripts for the Scandinavian Workers Club of Port Arthur.

Northwestern Ontario Development Association fonds (MG6) 

The records of Alexander Phillips, Manager of the Northwestern Ontario Development Association, relating to business and industrial development and policy throughout the region. Some files are restricted access. 

Rev. Toivo Pajala fonds

Records of Rev Toivo Pajala, minister of Saalem Pentecostal Church. Papers are not yet processed.

Port Arthur Shipbuilding Company collection

Engineering drawings of the Port Arthur Shipbuilding Company. Papers are not yet processed. 

Dr. Penny Petrone fonds

Dr. Penny Serafina Petrone's research notes and papers on aboriginal literature in Canada. Papers are not yet processed. 

Dr. Ellie Prepas fonds

Research data and teaching notes related to studies of lakes and water quality. Papers are not yet processed. 

Frederick O. Robinson fonds, 1937-1963 (MG 1)

Frederick O. Robinson was a CCF MLA for Port Arthur from 1943 until 1951, and Mayor of Port Arthur from 1949 – 1951. His papers consist of correspondence, newspaper clippings, pamphlets, and other materials documenting his involvement in local and provincial politics.

Dr. Pradip Sarbadhikari fonds

Teaching and research materials of Dr. Pradip Sarbadhikari, professor of political science at Lakehead University. The papers are not yet processed. 

Dr. Gerd Schroeter fonds

Teaching and research materials of Dr. Gerd Schroeter, professor of sociology at Lakehead University. The papers are not yet processed. 

Oscar Styffe fonds, 1929-1969 (MG 7)

A prominent businessman who operated a timber firm as well as Gravel and Lake Services Ltd in Port Arthur. The collection consists of correspondence, ledgers, scrapbooks, pamphlets and photographs primarily related to the timber industry.

La Television Francaise de Thunder Bay 

Video recordings of local French-language television broadcasts. 

Dr. Douglas Thom papers

Correspondence, diaries, and reports related to the philosophical and social theories of Dr. Douglas J. Thom, professor emeritus of education at Lakehead University. Papers are not yet processed. 

Thunder Bay Field Naturalists Society fonds, 1933-1989 (A0035)

The papers of the Thunder Bay chapter of the Federation of Ontario Naturalists, including environmental education and lobbying activities.

Thunder Bay Finnish Canadian Historical Society collection, 1870-1970 (MG 8)

A collection of historical photographs, oral history interviews, manuscripts, notes and other items documenting the Finnish Canadian peoples in the Thunder Bay area. Includes material on Finnish Athletic Societies, Theatrical Groups, Churches, Businesses, Unions, and Women's Organizations.

United Steelworkers of America District 6 fonds, 1950-1999

Records relate to the United Steelworkers of Amercia's (USWA or U.S.W.A.) District 6, Northwestern Ontario, and industries, sites, and companies where Union members worked. Files include collective agreements between the union and various companies, correspondence between various company and mine representatives, as well as presidents of the local unions and officials at different levels of government. 

“A Vast and Magnificent Land” Project collection

Support material for the production of the book "A Vast and Magnificent Land" by Matt Bray and Ernie Epp. 

Harold Wevers fonds

Musical works by Harold Wevers, Canadian composer and bassoonist.

James Whalen collection, 1903-1929 (A0039)

A prominent businessman and local figure known for “putting the port in Port Arthur” The collection consists of photographs of Whalen, the James Whalen tug, and the construction of the Whalen building, as well as correspondence, and stocks and deeds owned by James Whalen.

Morris Zaslow collection, 1950-1980 (A0021)

The research notes, draft articles, correspondence, and course materials of Dr. Morris Zaslow, a professor of history at the University of Western Ontario and prominent author specializing in the history of Northern Canada. The papers are not yet processed. 

Dr. Ernst Zimmermann fonds

Papers relate to research, teaching, and the union, community, and political activities of Dr. Ernst Zimmermann, professor of history and Dean of Arts at Lakehead University. 

Digital Finding Aids

The finding aids for some archival collections are only available in print format. Please inquire at the Northern Studies Resource Centre.

Below are finding aids which can be viewed online.

What is a finding aid?

Archival records are not currently listed in the Library's online catalogue. It can be found using the listings on this page, and by consulting finding aids. A finding aid is a text document that describes the content and context of a collection of archival records. The finding aids currently available for archives at Lakehead vary in their depth and scope: some contain detailed descriptions, while others are only available as box lists or inventories. 

Finding aids often contain the following elements:

1. Background information

The aid can provide context to the collection by including the official name of the collection, the origin of the collection, and administrative and biographical history.

2. Use information

The finding aid may contain information that affects researchers use of the collection like the physical condition, copyright, or restrictions on access.  It might also describe the size of the collection, given in number of boxes, number of items, or length.

3. Content

The detail describing the contents of a collection can vary significantly. The descriptions can range from a general summation of the contents to a more detailed description of individual files. The finding aid also illustrates how the individual parts of the collection relate to each other.

Other Archive collections

Please note that there are other collections held in the Archives which are not listed here. Please inquire at the Northern Studies Resource Centre.

5th floor, Chancellor Paterson Library,
Room LI 5007
(807) 343-8728