Victoria College (Toronto, Ont.). Principal’s Office Fonds

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Victoria College (Toronto, Ont.). Principal’s Office Fonds

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Fonds #



Victoria College (Toronto, Ont.). Principal’s Office fonds

Dates of Creation

1932–1992, 2003-2007, predominant 1932–1991


4.04 m of textual records
221 photographs

Administrative History

The Office of Principal was created in 1928, when Victoria College was established to supercede the former Faculty of Arts headed by a Dean. The Principal continued to oversee the arts programme at Victoria and to serve on University of Toronto academic committees, and also acted as chair and chief administrative officer of the newly created Victoria College Council. In 1944, the name of the office was changed to Dean, but it reverted to Principal in 1951. The first men to hold office, R. P. Bowles (1928–1930) and E. W. Wallace (1930–1932), held it in addition to their positions as President and Chancellor of Victoria University. The Principal’s Office became more distinct during the incumbency of W. T. Brown (1932–1944), who also served as President after 1941, and especially during the term of H. Bennett (1944–1959). These two men carried out their duties of office on a part–time basis, while continuing to teach a reduced load of courses. Their successors were: Northrop Frye (1959–1966), J. E. Hodgetts (1967–1971), J. M. Robson (1971–1976), G. L. Keyes (1976–1981), Alexandra F. Johnston (1981–1991), William J. Callahan (1991–2000), David B. Cook (2000-2012) and Angela Esterhammer (2012-present). Although the main functions of office remained the same through all of these terms, the 1960’s saw the first in a series of structural changes to the relationship between the University of Toronto and its federated colleges. These changes, especially the 1974 Memorandum of Agreement, which centralized academic programming in U. of T. Departments, altered the ways in which recent Principals have carried out their official functions.

List of principals:

  • Edward Wilson Wallace 1930-1932
  • Walter T. Brown 1932-1941
  • Harold Bennett 1941-1959
  • H. Northrop Frye 1959-1966
  • John Edwin Hodgetts 1967-1970
  • John Mercel Robson 1971-1976
  • Gordon Lincoln Keyes 1976-1981
  • Alexandra Ferguson Johnston 1981-1991
  • William J. Callahan 1991-2000
  • David B. Cook 2000-2012
  • Angela Esterhammer 2012-

Scope and Content

Records consist of three series of correspondence/subject files created during the period 1932–1991, 2003, 2004, and a fourth series of files relating primarily to faculty, other academic staff and courses, 1944–1992. There are gaps in the fonds for the brief periods when the Principal’s Office was served by the incumbent President: 1928–1932, 1941–1944, and 1966–1967. For records of the Principal’s activities during these periods, consult the President’s Office fonds.

  • Series 1: Correspondence files of Principal Brown, 1932-1941
  • Series 2: Correspondence/Subject files of Principal Bennett, 1935-1959
  • Series 3: Correspondence of Principal Alexandra Johnston, 1984-1991
  • Series 4: Correspondence/Subject files, 1958-2004
  • Series 5: Files on Victoria College Council and its committees
  • Series 6: Files on University of Toronto committees and councils
  • Series 7: Records relating to faculty and other academic staff, 1944-1992


Source of Supplied Title

Title based on the contents of the fonds

Finding aids

Photographs are described in the photograph database. The majority of photographs are under Accession 2016.12.


Further accruals are expected

Related Groups of Records in Different Fonds

See also President's Office (Fonds 2021)

Access points

  • Victoria College (Toronto, Ont.). Principal’s Office
  • Victoria University (Toronto, Ont.)—Principals
  • Brown, Walter Theodore, 1883-1954
  • Bennett, Harold, 1890-1973
  • Frye, Herman Northrop, 1912-1991
  • Hodgetts, John Edwin, 1917-2009
  • Robson, John M., 1927-1995
  • Keyes, Gordon Lincoln, 1920-2005
  • Johnston, Alexandra F., 1939-
  • Callahan, William J.
  • Cook, David B.


  • Universities and colleges—Administration
  • School principals