Fonds 1774 - Richard Simeon fonds

Identity area

Reference code

UTA 1774


Richard Simeon fonds


  • 1968-2013 (Creation)

Level of description


Extent and medium

4.62 m of textual records (37 boxes)
5,146 digital files (5.34 GB)
73 5.25 inch floppy disks
26 3.5 inch floppy disks
2 photographs

Context area

Name of creator


Biographical history

Richard Simeon (1943-2013) was a professor of political science and law at the University of Toronto and one of Canada’s preeminent political scientists. He was an internationally-recognized scholar of Canadian and comparative federalism, constitutional politics, intergovernmental relations, comparative politics and ethnic diversity.

Prof. Simeon was born in the United Kingdom and raised in Vancouver. He received his BA from UBC and his PhD from Yale. His PhD dissertation, Federal-Provincial Diplomacy (1968) became his first and most important book (Federal-Provincial Diplomacy, published in 1972).

Prof. Simeon taught in the Political Studies Department at Queen’s University from 1968-1991 and became the first Director of its Institute of Intergovernmental Relations (1976-1983). He joined the University of Toronto as a Professor of Political Science and Law in 1991. He was also the visiting William Lyon Mackenzie King Professor of Canadian Studies at Harvard University in 1998 and 2006-2008. He retired in 2010.

Prof. Simeon was deeply involved in Canada’s constitutional issues, especially during the country’s national unity debates in the 1970s and onwards. He served as Research Coordinator for the Royal Commission on the Economic Union and Development Prospects for Canada (Macdonald Commission), sat on the Ontario Advisory Committee on the Confederation, and served as occasional advisor on constitutional matters to Ontario premiers Bill Davis, David Peterson and Bob Rae. He was the first non-lawyer appointed to the Ontario Law Reform Commission and served as its vice-chair from 1989-1995.

Later, Prof. Simeon’s interest in constitutional politics and federalism became more international and comparative in focus, as he worked in Sudan, post-apartheid South Africa, Jordan, Ethiopia and Kenya during key moments of change for those governments.

Prof. Simeon was a prolific scholar, authoring more than 20 books and 100 articles and book chapters. He influenced a generation of young Canadian political scientists who called themselves “Simeon’s people.” He became a Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada in 2004 and was awarded the Daniel J. Elazar Award by the American Political Science Association for “a lifetime of distinguished scholarship on federalism and intergovernmental relations” in 2010.

Prof. Simeon died of cancer on October 11 2013 at the age of 70.

Archival history

Immediate source of acquisition or transfer

Content and structure area

Scope and content

Fonds consists of correspondence, subject files, articles, teaching files, research notes and other records documenting the professional life and work of Prof. Richard Simeon. This includes records relating to Prof. Simeon’s PhD thesis and early career, teaching, departmental and curriculum planning at Queen’s University and the University of Toronto, peer reviews, conference attendance, articles and books, and evaluations of student performance.

The fonds also includes significant coverage of Prof. Simeon’s research projects and advisory work, including work for the Forum of Federations, as the research coordinator for the Macdonald Report on Canada’s future, as adviser to Ontario Premiers, and as participant in the Renewal of Canada conferences. Research files cover issues of ethnicity and democratic governance, Canada-U.S. relations, and bilingualism in voluntary associations. Records also document Prof. Simeon’s work relating to constitutional development in post-apartheid South Africa.

Fonds also contains a significant number of electronic files, some transferred directly from Prof. Simeon’s computer, and some on disks. These files relate the range of activities documented throughout the paper records. Files from his computer have been organized into the same 9 series as the paper files. Disks have been kept in their own series (Series 10).

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Conditions of access and use area

Conditions governing access

All files are open, with the exception of the following:

  • Series 5 (Peer and student evaluations) are restricted until 30 years after the last date of file activity.
  • Series 8 (Research), some records relating to the Patterns of Association project are restricted until 30 years after the last date of file activity.
  • Series 10 (Disks) : Floppy disks are unprocessed and not available for researcher use at this time. Contact the Archives for further information.

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