Anniversaries are times to celebrate and to reflect, to consider what has gone before, and what is yet to come. People seek out mementos of their past, and turn to documents that explain what happened, when, and how. In the case of York University, the Clara Thomas Archives and Special Collections provides a rich assortment of university records and personal papers of faculty, administrators and students that provides this collective memory for our community as it approaches its 50th anniversary.

This documentary heritage is particularly rich in photographs. They capture the growth of the university from a desk in a farmer’s field, to a network of campuses throughout the city. The student body has matured along with the physical space, a process that is well illustrated by the transition of John Lennox from number 55 on the 1964-1965 York basketball team into one of York’s esteemed professors.

York has been a vibrant institution from its inception, a university known for encouraging new approaches among students and faculty. Innovation is a hallmark of York, and this tradition is continued in the use of YorkSpace, a collection management software for digital content, to share more than 200 images of the university’s development over more than four decades. An initiative of York University Libraries, YorkSpace offers remote access any time of the day to unique documents that shape our understanding of York’s contemporary environment. The images were scanned from a variety of archival holdings in response to reference requests over the course of the past year, and will be updated with new additions as they become available.

For further information about these photographs or other documents about York University, please contact the Clara Thomas Archives and Special Collections, Room 305 of the Scott Library.

If you have information to add to these descriptions, we would be very pleased to hear from you! We encourage you to send an email to with the URL of the photograph and your comments.

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