The arrangement of this archive reflects its handling by Harold Innis' literary executors and subsequently by members of the Rare Book Department and the University Archives. Some records were given to the Rare Book Dept. by M.Q.Innis as early as 1965; following her death in January 1972, her son Hugh Innis donated more records to RBD. These latter records had been collected and arranged by the executors (M.Q,Innis, Donald Innis, Del Clark, Donald Creighton and Tom Easterbrook), with the assistance of Jane Ward. In December 1972, RBD transferred the archives of Harold Innis to the University Archives. Three different attempts to arrange and describe the Innis records were never seen through to completion until the project was made a priority in May 1985, resulting in the present inventory.
Previous manipulation of the Innis archives made discernment of original order very difficult. This inventory bases arrangement and description on the guiding principle of provenance, and follows as accurately as possible the form and the function of the records. While the archives reflect Harold Innis' life and career, some of the series are based on artificial creations by Mary Quayle Innis as her husband's personal secretary and editor. The press clippings and scrapbooks are her creation, as are the bibliographic card file and the editorial records for the Communications manuscripts. The records of Innis' primary research appear before the draft manuscripts and publications. Three voluminous studies - Empire and Communications, The History of Communication, and The Idea File - are supplemented by Innis' reading notes found in Series VII and VIII.
The Innis archives cover the period from 1906 to 1970 and total 4.5 metres in extent; the bulk of the records date between 1920 and 1952. Records dating after Innis' death in 1952 pertain principally to the editorial preparation of several of his books that were reissued. There is also some record of posthumous Innis studies, and some references to Innis College and the Innis Foundation.
Access to the records in this accession has been restricted only in cases where the physical condition is considered fragile. Most of such restricted files are available in another form, such as typed transcripts or photocopies. Permission to use restricted or closed items must be obtained from the University Archivist.
In May 1979, a number of artifacts belonging to the Innis archives were transferred to A.S.Wood on behalf of the Harold Innis Foundation and Innis College. In March, 2010 these were returned to the University Archives and are now designated as /001ART. Researchers studying Innis should also consult B72-0025 for a more extensive record of his correspondence with colleagues and his University activities. The records of the Department of Political Economy will provide further evidence of Innis' administrative role.