This exhibition, “The University of Toronto: Snapshots of its history”, was mounted in the Thomas Fisher Rare Book Library in 2002 as a part of the University’s 175th anniversary celebrations. It complemented the launch in March, 2002, of Martin Friedland’s The University of Toronto: a history, the first such history to appear in seventy-five years. The exhibition provided a look at certain broad themes at the University over the course of its history, especially some involving students that were not discussed by Professor Friedland. These themes were represented in the eight display cases on the 2nd floor of Fisher, with overflow material displayed in the Maclean Hunter Room. The material used was drawn largely from the holdings of the University Archives, along with some items from the Fisher Library and Trinity College Archives.
This exhibition and its accompanying catalogue are part of the year-long celebrations of the one hundred and seventy-fifth anniversary of the University of Toronto. Professor Martin L. Friedland's acclaimed The University of Toronto: A History was launched in March and it seems most appropriate, as 2002 draws to a close, that an exhibition curated by Harold Averill, who was intimately involved in the history project, should round out the year. Harold has provided evocative "snapshots" of the whole history of the University of Toronto: its buildings, its faculty, staff and students, and the vital role it has played in the evolution of society in Toronto and the rest of the country. We catch glimpses of the political conflict, scientific progress, sports, and the arts and all the other aspects of varsity life that have contributed to our vibrant culture. We wish to acknowledge another instance of generosity of our old friend, Wentworth Walker, and the continued support of the Friends of the Thomas Fisher Rare Book Library. Velut Arbor Aevo.
Richard Landon, Director
It is a great pleasure to write a preface to this volume by Harold Averill. Harold's store of knowledge about the history of the University of Toronto is unique, as the display and this text amply demonstrate. He knows the sources and, moreover, can find them. In writing the history of the University over a five year period, my research assistants and I learned first hand about Harold's expertise. In the prologue to The University of Toronto: A History I state: "I am particularly indebted to archivist Harold Averill, the great font of historical knowledge about the University, who helped me and my research assistants find material and photographs." Anyone who has worked in the U of T Archives would say the same. Now other persons who view the exhibit or read this volume can see for themselves why I called him the 'great font of historical knowledge about the University.' He has captured succinctly in his text 175 years of history and has found pictures, documents and artefacts - most of which have not been shown before - to illuminate that history.
Harold Averill, 2002