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Archival description
University of Toronto Archives and Records Management Services Betty I. Roots fonds
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Biographical and early education

The series consists of Dr. Roots’ biographical and personal records. The biographical record consists of the drafting of her CV, a biographical entry for a zoology graduate brochure, annual activity reports and employment and career-related correspondence. Her personal records are rather limited and solely consist of her educational records dating from high school. This material reflects Dr. Root’s personal background and a summary of her academic professional career.


This sub-series consists of files related to attaining funding through grants. The material contains records such as grant applications, correspondence, budgets, and research proposals. This sub-series reflects the process through which Dr. Roots applied for and obtained funding for her research. The majority of the material focuses on applications for the National Multiple Sclerosis Society and Natural Science and Engineering Research council (NSERC).

Betty I. Roots fonds

  • UTA 1719
  • Fonds
  • 1941-2015

This fonds contains records related to the teaching, researching and publishing activities of Dr. Betty I. Roots, biologist and professor at the University of Toronto. The series documenting Dr. Roots’ research is by far the largest, with smaller series documenting her involvement with professional associations and committees, her roles as a peer editor and reviewer, as well as a supervisor of her graduate students, her addresses, the courses she taught, her correspondence and her early education. There is also a relatively large amount of material documenting her administrative activities within the University of Toronto.

Records include correspondence, notebooks, research data, manuscripts, lecture notes, prints, and reports.

The material covers almost exclusively her professional roles with very little personal material of any kind. Of this material, most of it documents her researching and publishing pursuits.

Roots, Betty I.


This subseries reflects the administrative records of managing Dr. Roots’ research projects. The material of this series consists of forms permits, equipment, proposals, protocols, safety, correspondence, references, and ordering information.


Series contains letters written to and from Dr. Roots. The correspondence is professional in nature and pertains to her years at the University of Toronto. The letters primarily reflect on the subject of research, publications, addresses, and appraisal and references for students, colleagues, and journals.

Correspondence can also be found throughout the other series of this fonds, filed with the material about which the correspondence pertains.

Experiment Notes and Data

This sub-series consists of the findings or primary data gathered from Dr. Roots’ research projects by herself, her colleagues, and her students on subjects such as goldfish, capillaries, rat diet data, brain composition, trout, and freeze fracture. The material labelled “research notes” is most likely Dr. Roots’ personal research notebooks marking data from laboratory experiments. The material labelled “data and notebooks” contains a mixture of her notebooks in addition to her colleagues’ and students’ data. The notes and data found within this series contain handwritten notes, print out graphs, and hand drawn graphs, also contains prints, and drawings.

Teaching material

The series of Dr. Roots’ teaching material consists of course material (handouts, exams, lecture notes, references, schedules, syllabi, micrograph prints, teaching evaluations, exercises, and lab material) and graduate student records (correspondence, notes, and grant and scholarship applications). The material reflects how Dr. Roots prepared, delivered, and modified her courses over the course of her academic career from her early teaching years in 1961 at University College, London to her present role as Professor Emeritus at the University of Toronto.

Her work within academia (ex: committee work and departmental involvement) can be found in the administration series and her appraisals and references in the correspondence series. Material related to her research in addresses and publications is located in the address series and manuscripts and publication series. Material related to her involvement in professional associations can be found in the professional association series. Material related to peer-reviewing and editing can be found in the peer reviewing and editing series and material related to supervising Ph.D. students can be found in the supervising series.

Research Background

The series reflects the development of a discussion surrounding the findings of Dr. Roots’ research data and notes. The material primarily consists of prints and notes but also contains drafts, papers, figures, correspondence, plate and photographic records, negatives, and notebooks.


This series reflects Dr. Roots’ research interests that were expressed through addresses. Related material such as notes, manuscripts, abstracts, correspondence, and promotional material are filed with the corresponding address. The vast majority of the addresses in this series were given at meetings and conferences to fellow scientific researchers and pertained to Dr. Roots’ own research. Of the small number of remaining addresses, most were given at public lectures and also pertained to Dr. Roots’ research. Other address topics include a memorial speech for a professor, a presidential address and a talk on women in neurochemistry.


The series documents Dr. Roots’ publishing activities in academic journals. The material in this series includes prints, notes, correspondence, drafts, figures and proofs. A large section of this series is dedicated to the drafts, proofs, and additional material related to the publication of her nerve membrane book “Nerve membranes. A study of the biological and chemical aspects of
neuron-glia relationships”. There is also a large section of material related to Roots’ Royal Canadian Institute book “Special Places: The Changing Ecosystems of the Toronto Region”.

Peer Reviewing and Editing

This series contains records related to Roots’ role as a peer-reviewer and editor. The material includes notes, correspondence and drafts related to the work of others that Dr. Roots has reviewed and/or edited.


The series contains records related to the processes of Dr. Roots’ research experiments starting with funding applications and ending with publications. The material reflects Dr. Root’s research interests, her experimental findings, the interpretation of these findings, and the development of drafting these interpretations into academic articles and addresses.

Professional Associations and Societies

This series reflects Professor Roots’ involvement in professional associations and societies. Material included in this series is correspondence, organizational documents (constitutions, financial records, etc.), newsletters, meeting minutes, financial statements, membership applications, and notes. Nearly half of the material consists of Dr. Roots’ involvement with the Young Naturalist Foundation.


This series reflects Professor Roots’ involvement with academic administration and academic committees within the Zoology Department as well as the larger University of Toronto. This series includes notes, correspondence, reports and documents related Roots’ role as chair of the zoology department, promotions Roots was involved in, the organization of symposiums and retreats, departmental reviews, budgeting, staffing and re-organizing the zoology department, and handling cases of academic misconduct.

Supervising Graduate Students and Research

This series contains records related to the work of students Professor Roots was supervising. The material includes correspondence, notes, drafts, grant applications and reports on student work.

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