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Carl Berger fonds
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Carl Berger fonds

  • UTA 1053
  • Fonds
  • [1952]-2006

This fonds consists of one accession covering the four decades of his career as historian, author, teacher and administrator in the Department of History at the University of Toronto. The fonds is arranged in five series. Series 1 consists of chronologically arranged correspondence of both a personal and professional nature dating from his arrival in Toronto in 1961 to a few years after his retirement in 2003. Prof. Berger was a contemporary of many of Canada’s leading historians. This series of correspondence documents his professional and personal relationship with such notable historians as Ramsay Cook, Donald Creighton, Kenneth McNaught, and Ray Mclean, as well as former students such as Douglas Owram, Gerald Friesen, Bob Rae, Brook Taylor and Michael Gauvreau. Additional correspondence relating to various internal and external professional activities are found in Series 2. Series 3 and 4 document his teaching activities and his relationship with selected graduate students from the early 1970s to the mid 1990s. Records relating to his publication activities in Series 5 are, unfortunately, not as complete since many files do not contain manuscripts. In spite of this, the series provides a fairly complete record of his major publications including files on each of his four books, as well as articles, lectures and other academic works. Also in this series will be found a file containing an annotated version of a typescript of Harold Innis’ autobiography.

Berger, Carl

Publication activities

This series contains records relating to Prof. Berger’s scholarly activities as writer, reviewer, assessor and editor over three decades. Prof. Berger published four books and numerous articles and reviews. This series contains files with correspondence, reviews, and notes on all four books. Unfortunately, only the manuscript for Science, God and nature will be found. His first book, The Sense of Power: studies in the ideas of Canadian imperialism 1867-1914 published in 1970 is still considered an essential work for any student of Canadian history. In 1976 he received the Governor-General’s Award for Non-fiction for The writing of Canadian history: aspects of English Canadian historical writing, 1900-1970. The file containing an original typescript of Harold Innis’ autobiography received through Mary Quayle Innis may have been acquired during the research for this book.

In addition to files on his books, this series also contains files on articles, lectures and chapters in books, as well as reviews for such scholarly journals as the Canadian Historical Review. Records relating to his editorial work on The West and the nation: essays in honour of William L. Morton (1976) with Ramsay Cook, and Literary History of Canada Vol. IV (1990) will also be found. See list below.


This series documents Prof. Berger’s teaching related activities including course instruction and supervision of predominantly PhD graduate students. During his career at the University, Prof. Berger taught five undergraduate courses in Canadian history. Three of his undergraduate courses are documented in this series: HIS 261 “Canada since Confederation”, HIS 464 “The Prairie West since 1850”, and HIS 361 “Twentieth century Canada”. Handwritten lecture notes are included for HIS 361 arranged by topic of each lecture. Graduate course files include 1155Y “Topics in the History of Victorian Canada” and a file on PhD field work examination. Also included are copies of some student papers.

This series also contains files for graduate students Prof. Berger supervised between 1968 and 1997, arranged alphabetically by surname. These files contain correspondence, assessments and progress reports on the thesis and other records. In addition there is a file on theses for students he did not supervise. Finally, there are files documenting his graduate students who did not complete their theses (1970-1982).

Letters of reference

This series contains confidential communications by Prof. Berger in response to requests for references relating to his undergraduate and graduate students who are applying for employment, research grants or other related academic activity. Also included are files of letters of reference for colleagues and former students applying for employment or research grants.

Professional activities

This series contains primarily correspondence files relating to various topics or events. Among the files are his appointment file for the University of Toronto containing personal information relating to salary and promotion (initially as Lecturer in 1964), as well as a copy of his curriculum vitae. Other files document awards and honours, external activities relating participation in conferences and associations, as well as administrative duties with the University of Toronto. In addition to correspondence, files may contain project proposals, reports, manuscripts of papers and some photographs.


This extensive series contains both personal and professional correspondence received by Prof Berger during his academic career. Some of Prof. Berger’s draft replies will be found in later files. The earliest letters document his doctoral education and his appointment to the Department of History at the University of Toronto. Correspondence from the 1970s through the 1990s document his flourishing career as prominent historian, author, teacher and advisor, etc. Later correspondence is dominated by requests from editors and other scholars relating to his publications, requests for review of other manuscripts, as well as his history of the Royal Society (1996)

Correspondents include, among others, prominent academics such as Prof. Ray MacLean, Dept. of History, St. Francis Xavier University (b 1927 d. 2004), Prof. Ramsay Cook, George (now Sir George) S. Bain, a former classmate at the University of Manitoba and member of Board of Bombardier Aerospace, as well as former students such as Doug Owram (professor, University of Alberta 1976-2006), and colleagues at Canadian and foreign universities. Subjects include personal information about family, friends and colleagues, academic correspondence with students and other academics about research progress, requests for letters of reference and support, comments on recent publications, and other academic activities. Two files at the end of this series contain letters to single correspondents: M. Brook Taylor (1986-2006) former student and faculty member in Department of History, Mount St.Vincent University and Sam Waller, amateur historian and founder of the Sam Waller Museum in The Pas, Manitoba.