Fonds F2260 - John W. Holmes fonds

Identity area

Reference code



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

In 2014 the family transferred to the Archives two sets of material (largely letters). This material is to be found in boxes 88 and 89 and 94 and 95.

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, The Shaping of Peace, 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

In general the material in boxes 1-67 were arranged by Gayle Fraser (GF), John Holmes’s executive assistant from 1968 until his death. The balance of the material (unsorted) arrived in boxes and was put into files by an archives volunteer. In 2002-2008, all the material catalogued by GF was checked, where appropriate hitherto unsorted material was transferred to these files, duplicates in the unsorted material were discarded, and new series/files were created for the remainder of the unsorted material.

Conditions of access and use area

Conditions governing access

Some restrictions apply, as noted in the files descriptions.

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

Uploaded finding aid

Allied materials area

Existence and location of originals

Existence and location of copies

Related units of description

Canadian Institute of International Affairs (CIIA), minutes; National Archives of Canada, files relating to the CIIA’s activities.

Related descriptions

Notes area

Alternative identifier(s)

Access points

Subject access points

Place access points

Name access points

Genre access points

Description control area

Description identifier


Institution identifier

Trinity College Archives

Rules and/or conventions used

Dates of creation revision deletion

14 March 2012


  • English



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