Manuscript Collection MS COLL 00068 - Van der Smissen Family Papers

Identity area

Reference code



Van der Smissen Family Papers


  • 1751-1926 (bulk 1751-1875) (Creation)

Level of description

Manuscript Collection

Extent and medium

2 boxes

Context area

Name of creator

Biographical history

The van der Smissens were Germans of Netherlandish origins. One of the family, Henry van der Smisson, emigrated to Canada in 1833. His Toronto-born son, William Henry van der Smisson, was a professor of German at the University of Toronto beginning in 1892, and at the time was regarded as the chief authority of German in Ontario. He also filled the positions of Registrar and Librarian for seventeen years at the university.

Archival history

Immediate source of acquisition or transfer

Gift of Professor W.H. van der Smisson and of Gilbert Michael Henderson.

Content and structure area

Scope and content

The collection consists of letters and documents concerning the van der Smissen family in Germany and Canada. The correspondence includes letters to Jacob Gysbert van der Smissen from Johann Lavator, a Reformed minister in Zurich, from Johann Heinrich Jung-Stilling, an eminent theological writer, and from Carl Heinrich von Bogatzky, an influential and prolific Lutheran writer in Germany. The remaining letters are primarily family correspondence, along with a family history, a travel journal, and the sermons of Wilhelm Leendert. It also includes W.H. van der Smisson's English translation, in the original metres, of Goethe's Faust.

Appraisal, destruction and scheduling


System of arrangement

Conditions of access and use area

Conditions governing access

Material may be requested in person at the Fisher Library Reference Desk, or in advance using our online stack retrieval request form:

Conditions governing reproduction

Language of material

  • English
  • German

Script of material

Language and script notes

Physical characteristics and technical requirements

Finding aids

Uploaded finding aid

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Existence and location of copies

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Notes area

Alternative identifier(s)

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Description identifier

Institution identifier

Thomas Fisher Rare Book Library, University of Toronto

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