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The Founding College of the University of Toronto
Twelve men in suits and academic robes

UC History in Pictures: 1870s & 1880s

Images from the 1870s and 1880s at University College (and the University of Toronto), compiled by the UC Librarian.

Drawing of cricket players and an agricultural worker in front of University College with caption "The Barley Field - 1870"
Cricket anyone? Front Campus and University College in the early days, as C.W. Jefferys later imagined them.
Drawing of University College, with people on the grounds in front
A nineteenth-century depiction of University College and Front Campus.
Drawing of University College with horse-drawn carriage in front
Another nineteenth-century rendition of UC (view from the southeast).
Twelve men in suits and academic robes
The 1870-71 General Committee of the "UC Lit," Canada's oldest democratically elected student government. Originally called the UC Literary and Scientific Society, it was later renamed the Literary and Athletic Society.
Moss Hall, fields and trees in foreground, distant buildings in background
A 19th-century photo taken from the University College tower, showing Moss Hall (built 1850, torn down 1888), near the present-day Medical Sciences Building.
Group of 11 men, most wearing academic robes
The Metaphysical Class of 1877. The older, bearded man is Professor George Paxton Young.
Eight children on grass with University College in background
Children enjoying Front Campus in 1880, with University College in the background.
Eliza Balmer
Eliza Balmer (UC 1886) was described by her classmate Nellie Spence as "the leader in the prolonged agitation" for women to be allowed to attend classes. (Photo circa 1880, courtesy of U of T Archives)
A man with a beard, wearing an academic robe
Émile Pernet taught all the French courses at University College from 1866 until 1883.
Gates with men and boys standing in entrance, with tree-lined street behind
There used to be gates to the U of T campus on the west side of Yonge Street, at the corner of College and Yonge (photo circa 1880).
Ramsay Wright with a microscope and pen
The Ramsay Wright Building at U of T is named after this University College professor of Natural History, who lived from 1852 to 1933.
painting of an older, bearded man in a chemistry lab
A. Dickson Patterson, Henry Holmes Croft, 1881, oil, 122.2 x 86 cm. University College Collection UC418, Art Museum University of Toronto. (Croft Chapter House at UC -- originally a chemistry lab -- is named after Professor Croft.)
Maurice Hutton in a woman's dress and jewellery
Maurice Hutton, then a 26-year-old professor of Classics, organized a UC student production of "Antigone" by Sophocles (in the original Greek) and himself played Antigone in the all-male cast. Prof. Hutton later became principal of UC from 1901 to 1928.
Three women (head and shoulders)
Margaret Langley, May Bell Bald and Ella Gardiner graduated in 1885. Theirs was the first graduating class at University College to include women. (Photo courtesy of U of T Archives.)
Museum including display cases and windows
The museum in University College's West Hall in 1885, five years before the museum was destroyed by fire.
Cover page of essay which says "The Influence of Ancient Greek Literature on Modern English Thought, by D.J. MacMurchy, B.A. Prize Essay, Toronto University, 1886"
The study of Classics was far more widespread in the nineteenth century than it is today. Here's a prize-winning essay from 1886.
nine men in baseball uniforms and two men in suits
Varsity Base Ball Club, University of Toronto, 1887
Man with white hair and beard, wearing academic robe
George Paxton Young (1818-1889), a professor of Logic, Metaphysics & Ethics at University College.
Two near-identical photos showing a tower, rooftops, and windows
Stereoscopic view of the UC quadrangle (east side), as it looked before the fire of 1890.
drawing of college with two horse-drawn carriages and pedestrians, with caption "UNIVERSITY COLLEGE"
1889 drawing of University College, viewed from the southeast.
Programme cover illustrated with leaves, with these handwritten words: "THE FIRST ANNUAL BANQUET OF THE LADY UNDERGRADUATES UNIVERSITY COLLEGE TORONTO 16 FEB. '89"
The First Annual Banquet of the Lady Undergraduates, University College, was held in 1889 and had the formal program pictured here.
Two-page programme listing music, speeches, toasts, etc.
Looking inside the program, we can see that the banquet opened with a toast to Queen Victoria.
Library including book-lined alcoves and mezzanine
The library in University College's East Hall, before the fire of Feb. 14, 1890 destroyed it.
Printed invitation or program for the University College Annual Conversazione, February 15th, 1889
The social and cultural event of the year for the UC Literary and Scientific Society (UC Lit) was the Annual Conversazione. Just one year after this 1889 Conversazione, a fire broke out during preparations for the 1890 Conversazione.
Montage of photos of 86 students and 18 professors
The University of Toronto's Class of 1889, including eighty men and six women (identified here as "Miss Stewart, Miss Scott, Miss Robson, Miss Robertson, Miss Clayton, and Miss Curzon").