Fonds F2260 - John W. Holmes fonds

Open original Digital object

Identity area

Reference code

CA ON00335 F2260


John W. Holmes fonds


  • [187-]-1991, predominant 1930-1991 (Creation)

Level of description


Extent and medium

12 m of textual records
ca. 200 photographs

Context area

Name of creator


Biographical history

John Wendell Holmes, diplomat, administrator, educator, and writer, was born in London, Ontario, on 18 June 1910 to William Wendell Holmes and Helen Morton. He received his BA from the University of Western Ontario and his MA from the University of Toronto and thereafter pursued graduate studies at the University of London (England). From 1941 to 1943 he was national secretary of the Canadian Institute of International Affairs.

In 1943 Holmes joined Canada’s Department of External Affairs. While in the foreign service he was first secretary in London, England, chargé d’affaires in Moscow, acting Canadian representative to the United Nations in New York, External Affairs member of the directing staff at the National Defence College (Kingston), and assistant under-secretary of state for external affairs supervising the work of the Far Eastern, United Nations, and Commonwealth Divisions.

In 1960 he left the public service to become president (a title later changed to director general) of the Canadian Institute of International Affairs (CIIA). He relinquished that position in 1973 but remained associated with the Institute as counselor until his death.

Holmes was a visiting professor of international relations at the University of Toronto (1966-1988), a professor of international relations at Glendon College, York University (1971-1982), and a visiting professor at the University of Leeds (1979, 1985).

Holmes was the author of numerous articles and book chapters as well as several books: <i>Some Aspects of Mediation </i>(1970), <i>The Better Part of Valour </i>(1970), <i>Canada: A Middle-Aged Power </i>(1976), <i>The Shaping of Peace: Canada and the Search for World Order 1943-1957 </i>(2 vols. 1979 & 1982), <i>Life with Uncle: the Canadian-American Relationship </i>(1981).

In 1969 Holmes was made an officer of the Order Canada. In 1977 he became a Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada and in 1986 received the society’s Tyrrell medal. He was the recipient of eleven honorary degrees, an honorary fellow of Trinity College (1983) and a member of Pickering College’s Class of 1842.

He died on 13 August 1988 in London, Ontario.

Archival history

The papers were stored at Glendon College after Mr. Holme’s death and transferred to the Trinity College Archives in the autumn of 2001.

Immediate source of acquisition or transfer

The fonds was donated by Nancy Skinner, John Holmes' niece.

Content and structure area

Scope and content

The fonds consists of textual material and photographs. Much of the material relates to articles, speeches, books, book chapters, radio/television scripts, and book reviews written by JWH in the areas of Canadian foreign policy and international organization. As well, there is material relating to conferences and seminars in which he participated and organizations with which he was involved, files on his teaching at Glendon College, the University of Toronto, and Leeds University and his doctoral students, files of business and personal correspondence, material collected for his two-volume work, <i>The Shaping of Peace</i>, family and professional memorabilia.

Contains series
1. Articles
2. Speeches
3. Books
4. Book Chapters
5. Radio & Television
6. Book Reviews
7. Conferences, Seminars, Convocations
8. Glendon College, University of Toronto, Leeds University
9. PhD Students
10. Comments on Others’ Papers/Interviews with JWH
11. CIIA Fellowships
12. Centre for International Studies, University of Toronto
13. Other Organizations & Institutions
14. Miscellaneous Correspondence
15. Papers Collected for The Shaping of Peace
16. Personal Correspondence
17. University Activities
18. Miscellany
19. Death/Memorials
20. Photographs

Appraisal, destruction and scheduling


None expected.

System of arrangement

Material was arranged by Gayle Fraser, Mr. Holmes' assistant, and by the archivist.

Conditions of access and use area

Conditions governing access

Some restrictions apply.

Conditions governing reproduction

Various copyright holders. It is the researcher's responsibility to obtain permission to publish any part of the fonds.

Language of material

Script of material

Language and script notes

Physical characteristics and technical requirements

Finding aids

A detailed description and finding aid at the file level is available, see:

Allied materials area

Existence and location of originals

Existence and location of copies

Related units of description

Related descriptions

Notes area



Alternative identifier(s)

Access points

Subject access points

Place access points

Name access points

Genre access points

Rules and/or conventions used


  • English



Digital object (External URI) rights area

Digital object (Reference) rights area

Digital object (Thumbnail) rights area

Accession area

Related subjects

Related people and organizations

Related places