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United Church of Canada Archives - Announcement from Save the Archives Coalition

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    ... From: Forrest D Pass To: Sent: Monday, October 01, 2007 5:16 AM Subject: United Church of Canada Archives -
    Message 1 of 1 , Oct 1, 2007
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      ----- Original Message -----
      From: "Forrest D Pass" <fpass@...>
      To: <H-CANADA@...>
      Sent: Monday, October 01, 2007 5:16 AM
      Subject: United Church of Canada Archives - Announcement from Save the
      Archives Coalition

      From: Scott Goodine [Scott.Goodine@...]

      The United Church of Canada/Victoria University Archives
      is Scheduled to be Closed

      Save the Archives

      Archives are repositories of our past, reservoirs for learning about
      what our forebears did and why they did it. The United Church of
      Canada/Victoria University Archives at Victoria University on the University
      of Toronto campus is one of the most important in Canada. It must be kept
      open. Here's why:

      * This is a unique research centre, containing the national records
      of the United Church of Canada and its Protestant predecessors, as well as
      the records of its Ontario Conferences and local congregations, some dating
      far back into the nineteenth century. These invaluable records speak to
      many aspects of the religious, social, intellectual, and political history
      of Canada, as well as the experience of many parts of the Third World,
      especially Asia, where so many missionaries worked.

      * It is a collection used by a wide variety of researchers - more
      than 3000 annually. Some of these people have used the records to write
      books and articles in Canadian history and literature, anthropology,
      demography, environmental studies, architecture, theology, and other areas
      of scholarly inquiry, as well as to make films and draft legal briefs.
      Others have delved into the detailed records of baptisms, marriages, and
      burials for genealogical information.

      * Often the research carried out in this archives has contributed in
      important ways to questions of public policy, including immigration and
      ethnicity, urban renewal, education, public health, foreign relations, and
      aboriginal-white relations, especially the controversial history of
      residential schooling.

      * The records are maintained by an experienced, professional staff
      whose skills and knowledge of the collection enable them to process new
      acquisitions and to deal quickly with a wide range of requests for
      assistance from researchers. Within the archival community, the United
      Church/Victoria University Archives is a respected institution with high
      professional standards and indeed has been a leader in mentoring archival
      students and welcoming archivists from around the world.

      * The archives have had a historic relationship with the U of T
      campus, as a result of an agreement between the church and Victoria
      University dating back to 1899. It is now one of the most important
      research centres at the University of Toronto. In the public mind, Victoria
      has had significant stewardship role in maintaining and managing this
      collection. The archives are also a vital resource for the educational and
      research programs of Victoria's theological institution, Emmanuel College.
      Indeed the archives have been an important contributor to Victoria's
      identity for more than a century.

      We are deeply concerned that the future of this collection is now uncertain.
      The reading room will close at the end of the year, and the staff will leave
      in the spring. At the moment, the United Church has designated no new
      location for the collection, nor any plans for assuring continuing
      professional help with accessing it. Many researchers will find their
      research projects (and perhaps their careers) disrupted. The promised
      access to records relating to residential schools for Canada's First Nations
      is unrealistic without proper staff.

      On behalf of the Save the Archives Coalition, we therefore call on:

      * The United Church of Canada to recognize its obligation to the
      public that holding such a significant set of records entails,

      * Victoria University to recognize its historic mandate to renew and
      continue its partnership with the United Church in keeping this valuable
      research centre open,

      * The United Church of Canada and Victoria University to re-open
      negotiations for a new agreement to continue their partnership in the

      * The University of Toronto to assist in any way possible the effort
      to keep this valuable research centre on its campus, and

      * All individuals and groups who share our concerns, especially users
      of the Archives, to participate in the Coalition's lettering writing
      campaign and to add their names to the Save the Archives petition at

      Scott Goodine Craig Heron
      President President
      Association of Canadian Archivists Canadian Historical

      Karolyn Smardz Frost Fraser Dunford
      Executive Director Executive Director
      Ontario Historical Society Ontario Genealogical
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