Queen's University Archives

Queen's University


site header

2006 News

New Acquisition - The William Sawyer fonds

Sawyer fonds - Ivory Book, open

Sawyer fonds - Ivory Book, top

19th Century Palm Pilot
This lovely ivory pocketbook is but one of the many wonderful items recently donated in the William Sawyer fonds. In the 1800's, this type of notebook, or aide memoire, was used to keep track of appointments and visits. Each sheet of the notebook has the day of the week stencilled at the top (excluding Sunday, of course), and could be erased with the swipe of a finger. Although this particular example is missing its pencil, there is a neatly engineered slot for it, tucked down one side of the book.

New Acquisition - The Helen Humphreys fonds

Queen's University Archives is pleased to announce the acquisition of the Helen Humphreys fonds. Humphreys is an award-winning writer who has distinguished herself as both a poet and a novelist. She currently resides in Kingston, Ontario.

Humphreys' four poetry collections, all published by Brick Press, include Gods and Other Mortals (1986), Nuns Looking Anxious, Listening to Radio (1990), The Perils of Geography (1995) and Anthem (2000). Anthem was shortlisted for the Pat Lowther Award for best book of poetry and was the winner of the 2000 Canadian Authors Association Award for Poetry.

Prior to publishing her first literary novel, Helen Humphreys wrote two young adult fiction books for the Women’s Press, Things Just Aren’t The Same (1987) and S.P. likes A.D. (1989) under the pseudonym of Catherine Brett. Humphreys’ first foray into adult fiction was with the novella Ethel on Fire, published by Black Moss Press in 1991. This was followed by the novel Leaving Earth (1997), which was a New York Times Notable Book and won the City of Toronto Book Award. Her next novel, Afterimage, earned a second New York Times Notable Book mention, was nominated for the Commonwealth Writers’ Prize and won the Rogers Writers’ Trust Fiction Prize in 2001. Both books have been published internationally and optioned for film. The Lost Garden (2002) was published to great acclaim and was a 2003 Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC) Canada Reads selection. In 2004 her novel, Wild Dogs, was published and named one of Now Magazine’s Top Ten Fiction books for the year. Her poetry, short stories and articles have appeared in numerous magazines, including The Malahat Review, Quarry, Event, Poetry Canada Review, The Fiddlehead Review, Grain, Arc and The New Quarterly.

Helen Humphreys has taught creative writing across Canada at numerous schools and institutions including the Maritime Writer’s Workshop, the University of Toronto, George Brown College and the Banff Centre for the Arts. She has also worked as a car wash and gas station attendant, factory worker, and alarm station monitor.

For more information contact:

Heather Home
Private Records Archivist
Queen’s University Archives
(613) 533-2000 ext 74456

New Acquisition - The Vera Frenkel fonds

The acquisition of the archival material of the multidisciplinary artist Vera Frenkel is an exciting and major addition to Queens University Archives. Vera Frenkel is one of Canadas foremost living artists with an international reputation for her projects which explore the ideas of displacement and loss, cultural memory and the bureaucratization of everyday life. She has received numerous awards and prizes which reflect the calibre of her work. Additionally, she has been nominated for a Governor Generals Award in Media and Visual Arts for distinguished career achievement in the field. As a senior artist her records go beyond merely documenting her life and practice, but reflect an entire generation of artists that were involved in the first major Canadian media art projects making use of new technologies such as video transmission, computer generation, and performance art.

This purchase and donation complement not only Queens Archives' collections of material from Canadian artists, but also works held in the Agnes Etherington Art Centre Her Room in Paris from The Secret Life of Cornelia Lumsden, the Department of Film Studies and the Fine Arts Department, where the artist will be the Koerner Visiting Lecturer for 2006.

This current acquisition of material will form the basis for the Frenkel fonds and is only the first of many donations which will be coming from the artist. It has been made possible by the generous assistance of the Chancellor Richardson Memorial Fund Committee, which has been supporting purchases of Canadian material, for teaching and research at Queens University, for over 25 years.

For more information contact:

Heather Home
Private Records Archivist
Queen’s University Archives
(613) 533-2000 ext 74456


Dr. Brian Osborne
Chair, Chancellor Richardson Memorial Fund Advisory Committee
Queen’s University
(613) 533-2000 ext 36042


Queen's University Archives is proud to be a partner in the Documentation and Conservation of the Media Arts initiative. The following announcement has been issued by DOCAM for public release:



L’Alliance de recherche DOCAM annonce la mise en ligne de son nouveau site Web. Initiée par la fondation Daniel Langlois pour l’art, la science et la technologie, l’Alliance de recherche DOCAM a comme objectif principal le développement de nouvelles méthodologies ainsi que d’outils adaptés aux problématiques de conservation et de documentation engendrées par les pratiques artistiques reposant sur l’emploi de technologies.

Le site Web de DOCAM permet de découvrir les principaux enjeux de recherche de l’alliance :

  • Conservation d’œuvres d’art à composantes technologiques
  • Stratégies et structures de documentation adaptées aux œuvres d’art à composantes technologiques
  • Typologie et histoire des technologies utilisées par les artistes
  • Structures et méthodes de catalogage d’œuvres à composantes technologiques
  • Outils et structures terminologiques pour les arts technologiques

Le site Web de DOCAM propose également une liste des comités de recherche et de leurs membres, des informations sur les événements produits par DOCAM et des listes de ressources dans les domaines de la conservation et de la documentation des arts médiatiques et technologiques. Des rapports de recherche et des articles portant sur les études de cas effectuées par DOCAM s’ajouteront régulièrement au contenu du site. Enfin, une veille thématique portant sur les principaux axes de recherche de DOCAM est accessible depuis le site Web.



The DOCAM research alliance announces the launch of its new Web site. Initiated by the Daniel Langlois Foundation for Art, Science and Technology, DOCAM’s primary objective is to develop new methodologies and tools to address the problems of preserving and documenting technological and electronic works of art.

The DOCAM Web site allows visitors to explore the research alliance’s key areas of focus:

  • The conservation of works of art featuring technological components
  • Documentation strategies and structures adapted to these works of art
  • A typology and historical listing of the technologies deployed by the artists
  • Catalogue structures and methods for works featuring technological components
  • Terminological tools and structures for the electronic arts

The DOCAM Web site also offers a list of related research committees and their members, information on DOCAM events, and electronic and media art conservation and documentation resource directories. Research reports and articles on case studies conducted by DOCAM will also be added regularly to the site. And finally, a thematic scan of the key research areas targeted by DOCAM is accessible from the site.

Paul Banfield Appointed University Archivist

Paul Banfield

Queen's University Archives is very pleased to release the following announcement from the Office of the Vice-Principal (Academic):

Principal Karen R. Hitchcock, on the strong recommendation of the Advisory Committee, is pleased to announce the appointment of Paul Banfield as Queen's University Archivist effective January 1, 2006 until June 30, 2011.

Mr. Banfield obtained a B.A. (Honours) in History from the University of Alberta, and an M.A. in History from Queen's. Following four years as the archivist for the Religious Hospitallers of St. Joseph (Hotel Dieu Sisters), he joined Queen's University Archives in the position of Assistant Archivist (Records). In 1994, he was promoted to Associate University Archivist, a post he held until February 2004. Since that time, he has been serving in the capacity of Acting University Archivist.

In 2001, Mr. Banfield was the recipient of the Alexander Fraser Award, presented by the Archives Association of Ontario, honouring "individuals who have contributed in a significant way to the advancement of the archival community in Ontario". He has been actively involved in a variety of University, community and professional activities and is former president of the Archives Association of Ontario.

In making this announcement, Principal Hitchcock wishes to extend her thanks to the members of the Advisory Committee.

Please join us in congratulating Paul on his appointment.