Special Collections & Archives preserves archival collections, books, and periodicals that support research in women’s, gender, and family studies. Archival collections include papers of individual women and women’s organizations that support the study of women’s history in Canada from the mid-nineteenth century to the late twentieth century. The book and periodical collections have a wide historical and geographical focus, including works on the role and place of women in society from the sixteenth to the twentieth century. In general, the collections fall into the following broad categories: birth control and eugenics, broadcasting and journalism, domestic arts, education, medicine and science, organizations, politics, women’s rights and suffrage, and writers.
The first of the women’s studies collections were acquired in the mid-1960s due to the combined interests of Doris Lewis, then university librarian, and the National Council of Women of Canada. The National Council had assembled a library on the history of women and donated it to the fledgling University of Waterloo Library as a centennial project in 1967. Council members were, in turn, encouraged to donate their personal papers to Waterloo.