These personal records consist mainly of records documenting Clara Benson’s non-professional activities such as work with the Women’s Athletic Association of the University of Toronto, the YWCA and her relationship with family members and friends. The personal correspondence in Series 2 provides the most detailed information about her relationship with family, friends and activities. Letters from her parents and siblings provide an insight into her activities and progress at the University of Toronto during her undergraduate years. A few letters, however, will be found from colleagues at the university such as Prof. A.B. Macallum, Prof. Annie Laird and others.
Unfortunately documentation relating to her academic activities is limited to some correspondence and notes found in Series 5 relating to her efforts from 1920s onwards to have the Women’s Athletic Building built. Her early education in Port Hope is documented in the school books, essays and other records in Series 4. Series 4 also contains her framed diplomas for B.A. and Ph.D. No manuscripts of her publications, including her Ph D. thesis appear to have survived. The lecture notes in Series 7 do provide some indication of the content of her courses in food chemistry, and were probably used repeatedly, year after year.
Dr. Benson also recorded her travel and sightseeing activities both abroad and in Canada on film. Series 10 contains 50 rolls of 16mm film documenting her trips to Egypt (1926), England (1937 and late 1940’s and early 1950’s), South America (1939) and the United States (1939, 1948). Some of her leisure time, both while at the University of Toronto and after her retirement, was spent filming events and scenery in Toronto in general, and the University in particular, as well as her family at home in Port Hope.