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Robin Sutton Harris fonds
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Robin Sutton Harris fonds

  • UTA 1351
  • Fonds
  • 1939-1990

Most of the records in this fonds document Harris' research in the history of Higher Education, a subject on which he published widely and gave numerous addresses. Some limited documentation provides researchers with some information on his contributions to several administrative posts. There are also early lecture files on English literature which document his early teaching career and some files relating to the researching and writing of the university history although most of those records are in the records of the University Historian. Finally there are original university records collected by Harris regarding the University of Toronto Faculty Association and its predecessors.

Also includes lecture slides on the history of SGS.

Harris, Robin Sutton

Faculty Association

Correspondence, memos, reports, minutes originating from the University of Toronto Faculty Association and its predecessors the Committee Representing Teaching Staff and the Association of Teaching Staff. These records were more than likely collected by Harris to write the history of the association and are interspersed with notes made by Harris.


Consists of two reports on the provincial education system, and a report of the Principal of Innis College.

Bibliographic index

This series contains bibliographies compiled by Harris in the course of his research on the University of Toronto history and the history of higher education generally. Parts of these bibliographies were more than likely used in the publication of academic papers and bibliographies such as A Bibliography of Higher Education in Canada, 1960 (supplements 1971 and 1981), An Annotated List of the Legislative Acts Bearing on Higher Education in Ontario, A History of Higher Education in Canada, 1663-1960.

Research materials

Research notes, clippings, copies of articles, etc relating to finance at University of Toronto, Royal Ontario Museum, history of curriculum development and other topics collected by Prof. Harris in the course of his research relating to the history of higher education in general and the University of Toronto in particular.

Addresses, manuscripts and publications

At convocations, seminars and conferences, Professor Harris spoke on topics relating to university affairs and the study of higher education. This series contains original and copies of his addresses, lectures, notes, and papers that he presented at academic events as well as undated typescripts, correspondence, manuscripts. His research material for the Graduate Studies Lecture Series contain information relating to prominent academic staff, namely, J.C. McLennan, J.P. MacMurrich, A.B. Macallum, Andrew Hunter, Harold Innis, George Sidney Brett and Andrew Gordon.

Articles and reviews written by Professor Harris, programmes of events he attended, and sample invitation cards issued by him as Principal of Innis College form part of a scrapbook, which also has an original photo of Professor Harris with unidentified group.

University of Toronto. Administration

Consists of correspondence, reports, minutes, and research notes which reflect the academic and administrative appointments held by Robin Harris and his involvement in the activities of the Joint University and Toronto Board of Education (1960-1961), the Committee of Presidents, the Committee on Research and Planning (1970-71), the Presidential Advisory Committee on Policy and Planning (1958-1961) the Presidential Advisory Committee on Archives (1970-71), the Library Oral History Project (1973-1987), and the Off-campus colleges committee (1963), and the Committee of the Teaching Staff (1975-1976). Also includes records relating to the Presidential Advisory Committee on the status and future of Scarborough College (1970-1971) originally owned by Prof. E. F. Sheffield, and records of the Curriculum Review and Planning Project for the Faculty of Social Work (1977).

The idea of writing a new university history focusing on higher education was a brainchild of Professor Harris and was set in motion through efforts of members of the Sesquicentennial History Project and its advisory committee. The finished product, a university history book, was to be published during the university's 150th year in 1977. As University Historian, his role is documented in the correspondence and minutes of this committee, as well as reports, proposals, drafts and outlines of an unfinished manuscript.


General incoming and outgoing correspondence, mainly related to Harris' research interests. Included is correspondence documenting his involvement in the Association of Professors of Higher Education as well as files relating to the University Ombudsman, the history of McGill University, the University Archives and others.


This series consists of lecture files used by Harris for teaching mainly undergraduate English courses. There is a file for Course 316 on Higher Education taught in the mid 1960s. Among the files on a course of History and theory of English Studies (1984) is a manuscript of paper entitled “The role of English in general education 1890-1950” written by Harris while as a Ph.D. student in 1951 at the University of Michigan.(B2002-0003/002(09) Files contain hand written and typed notes, some outlines to lectures, clippings and essays related to the lecture topic. These files more than likely began as notes Harris took while a student of English at the University of Toronto during the 1940s and formed the basis of his early lectures. Overtime Harris added to the files and they clearly became his teaching lectures.
Lectures relating to period literature are filed first (19th century poetry, 20th century prose), followed by types of literature (i.e. poetry, tragedies, the novel, the theatre) and finally followed by files on individual authors arranged alphabetically.

Of a more ambiguous nature are files on philosophy, which may or may not have been used for teaching. They are filed after the English Literature files and are followed by the one file on a course in Higher Education mentioned above.

Also includes slides used to illustrate a lecture on the past deans of the School of Graduate Studies, given at the University of Toronto on November 18, 1986; copy of text in case file.