Series 3 - Correspondence.

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  • Source of title proper: Title provided by creator.

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Physical description area

Physical description

1.06 m of textual records
25 photographs : col. ; 9 x 17 cm or smaller
1 photograph : b&w ; 9 x 12 cm
2 coins : nickel, steel, and copper ; 2.5 cm diam. or smaller

Publisher's series area

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Archival description area

Name of creator


Biographical history

Robert Jon Meyer Shipley was born in Toronto on February 26, 1948, the youngest of three children to Miriam Irene (Smith) and Captain Vernon Meyer Shipley (captain in the Pay Corps and served as paymaster at the Royal Military College). Shortly after his birth, the family moved to Kingston (1952) and later to London (1959).

Robert J. M. Shipley got an Honours BA from the University of Western Ontario in History and Philosophy in 1972. Between 1972 and 1976 he was an officer of the Canadian Armed Forces serving in Calgary, Chilliwack, Halifax, Atlantic Canada, the Caribbean, Europe, and London (Ontario). In 1976, Shipley was released from the Armed Forces and became a freelance writer, publishing articles in different media (sometimes under the pseudonym Jon Meyer) and receiving several research grants for his work on Canadian history and heritage. During this time, Robert Shipley also worked as an editor, wrote and published poetry and theatre plays, taught courses on writing in schools throughout Ontario, and illustrated many of his own articles and publications. In the late 1970s and early 1980s, Shipley’s work focused on corporate and community histories, political speeches, planning studies, and tourist promotions, and publishing history and fiction books.

Shipley’s paintings were selected in the Western Ontario Jury Show; were displayed in galleries in Halifax, Toronto, and London; and appeared regularly in Perception Magazine. In 1978, he travelled to Cyprus to illustrate a book about Canadian soldiers on UN peacekeeping duty titled The 8th Hussar: Cyprus 1978-1979.
Between 1984 and 1987, Robert Shipley worked as the administrator at the Welland Canals Preservation Association (WCPA) and, in 1987, he became the senior developer consultant for the Welland Canals Society. In the late 1980s, Shipley’s work focused on cultural heritage, heritage-based tourism, and community development.

In 1990, Shipley began his Ph.D. studies at the University of Waterloo, becoming an active associate of the University’s Heritage Resources Centre (HRC). Shipley received his doctorate in 1997 with his dissertation Visioning in strategic planning : theory, practice and evaluation, and joined the University of Waterloo's Faculty of Environment as Professor and Associate Director of the School of Planning. While at the University of Waterloo, Shipley conducted international research on cultural heritage issues and published dozens of articles, book chapters and consulting reports. In 2003, he became the director at the HRC. As an academic, Shipley was a guest lecturer at Michigan State University, the University of Western Ontario, Brock University and Niagara College.

Robert Shipley retired in 2016 and, in 2018, he received the National Trust for Canada’s Governors’’ Award.

In 1983, Shipley married Pamela Fielding. The couple had a son, Ceilidh Jamieson Meyer, in 1985. The couple divorced in the 1990s. In the 1990s, Shipley met who would become his second wife, Dana Švihlová.

During his professional years, Robert Shipley published numerous books, including, among others:

  • Relation ships (1984),
  • To mark our place : a history of Canadian war memorials (1987),
  • St. Catharines, garden on the canal : an illustrated history (1987),
  • The girl who got stuck in the… mud (1987),
  • Written with Fred A. Addis and part of the Great Lakes Album series: Paddle wheelers (1990), Schooners (1990), Propellers (1992), and Wrecks and disasters (1992),
  • Exploring the value of heritage properties (1992),
  • On leaving Bai Di Cheng : the culture of China’s Yangzi Gorges with Caroline Walker, Ruth Lor Malloy, and Fu Kailin (1993),
  • Editor of The first 50 years by the Faculty of Environment at the University of Waterloo (2019).

Custodial history

Scope and content

Personal and administrative correspondence sent and received by Robert Shipley to and from different persons and institutions. Includes correspondence related to the University of Waterloo, his work and different positions he held, submissions of his writings, applications for grants and jobs, letters of acceptance and rejection, invitations to events, letters thanking him for participating in events, invoices and payments, letters congratulating him for his work, correspondence related to the Canadian Armed Forces, correspondence received from politicians, and personal correspondence.

Notes area

Physical condition

Immediate source of acquisition

Donated by Robert Shipley in 2022.


Original order was preserved.

Although some files in Series 4 contain records with correspondence, a decision was made by archivist to maintain original order and not move the noted items to Series 3. Further information about the files in question can be found in the general note of this series.

Language of material

  • English

Script of material

Location of originals

Availability of other formats

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Associated materials


General note

For additional materials with correspondence, please refer to the following files and series:

  • File 76: Notes.
  • File 78: Notes.
  • File 79: Notes.
  • File 80: Notes.
  • File 81: Notes.
  • File 84: Notes.
  • File 86: Personal notes.
  • File 87: Personal notes.

General note

Files 22 to 37 were grouped by creator as "Correspondence personal."
Files 38 to 52 were grouped by creator as "Correspondence general."
Files 53 to 74 were grouped by creator as "Correspondence business."

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Dates of creation, revision and deletion

Described by CGD in 2022.

Language of description

  • English

Script of description


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