Unsupported Browser

Your Browser is out of date and is not supported by this website.
Please upgrade to Firefox, Chrome, or Microsoft Edge.

The Founding College of the University of Toronto
Men and women dancing in front of the main entrance of University College

UC History in Pictures: 1930s & 1940s

Images from the 1930s and 1940s at University College (and the University of Toronto), compiled by the UC Librarian.

Aerial view of many people crossing front campus, with Convocation Hall in the background
Crossing Front Campus on a snowy day in the 1930s.
John Cunningham McLennan in suit and hat
Sir John Cunningham McLennan (1867-1935) graduated from UC in 1892 and became a famous U of T physics professor. U of T's McLennan Physics Building is named after him. (Year unknown.)
Mossie May Waddington Kirkwood
Mossie May (Waddington) Kirkwood (1890-1985) was hired as a sessional lecturer in English at University College in 1920 and became UC's dean of women. From 1936 to 1953 she was principal of St. Hilda's College at Trinity College. (Year unknown.)
Men dressed in white, playing cricket, with University College in background
Cricket match on Back Campus, with University College in the background, before the Laidlaw Wing on UC's north side existed. (Year unknown.)
About twenty older men in suits, with names handwritten under the heading "University College Graduating Class of 1887"
A reunion (year unknown) of the Class of 1887, including Prof. William Lash Miller (UC 1887), after whom U of T's Lash Miller Chemical Laboratories are named. (Note the photo on the wall of Prof. Maurice Hutton in the 1882 UC production of "Antigone.")
Mary Craig Needler dressed in academic robe
The daughter of G.H. Needler (a professor of German at UC), Mary Craig Needler studied Classics at U of T (UC 1922), got a PhD from the University of Chicago and returned home to UC, where she became assistant professor of Ancient History. (Year unknown.)
snow-covered trees with University College in background
Front Campus and University College as a winter wonderland (year unknown).
Twelve men in suits and academic robes
The 1932-33 Executive of the UC Lit, including Bora Laskin (UC 1933) -- seated, second from right -- who was Chief Justice of Canada from 1973 to 1984.
Aerial view of buildings, trees, and lawns
Aerial shot taken in 1933. You can see Queen's Park, Hart House, University College and Convocation Hall.
Document showing schedule for "Senior-Freshman House Party, Whitney Hall, 85 St. George St., September 22nd - 24th, 1934"
In 1934, a weekend-long House Party at Whitney Hall (UC women's residence) included a Musicale, a Miner's Ball and lots of tea.
yearbook entry for "William Leslie Mackay, Tamsui, Formosa"
Over 1,000 U of T students, alumni, and faculty were killed in the First and Second World Wars. This accomplished student, William Leslie MacKay (UC 1936), was from Taiwan, the grandson of a Canadian missionary. He died in 1942 as an RCAF Pilot Officer.
Eight men and one woman in academic robes
In 1936 UC's Undergraduate Magazine included William Leslie MacKay (see above); Editor-in-Chief and future U of T president Claude T. Bissell (UC 1936, seated, centre); and future National Gallery director Alan Jarvis (UC 1938, seated, right).
Thirteen young women in academic robes with two older women
The Women's Undergraduate Association at UC was formed in 1912 and continued until 1959, when it merged with the UC "Lit" (Literary and Athletic Society).
Twelve men in academic robes, with the caption "University College Literary and Athletic Society Executive 1935-36"
The 1935-36 UC Lit president was Saul Rae (seated, second from left), who became a diplomat and Canada's ambassador to the UN. He was also the father of another very accomplished UC alumnus, former Ontario premier Bob Rae (UC 1969).
room with chairs, large windows, and a large table
This photo of Croft Chapter House, from the 1937 UC Bulletin, shows that at the time it served as UC's Senior Common Room.
room with tables, chairs, a fireplace, and large windows
This is how UC's Junior Common Room (JCR) looked in 1937.
room with tables, chairs, and sofas
The Women's Common Room at UC in 1937 (at that time the JCR was only for men).
Seven actors on stage in period costumes
University College Players Guild production of The Importance of Being Earnest, by Oscar Wilde. This 1937 production was directed by Constance Lailey (UC 1938).
distant view of University College through trees, with cars in foreground
Looking north towards University College, from College Street, 1937.
room containing tables, chairs, and bookshelves
The Fine Art Library, at University College, in 1937. This library was part of U of T's Department of Art History (founded in 1935), which was located at UC until 1957.
Yearbook photo and caption for Miriam Dworkin
This charming yearbook entry for poet and essayist Miriam Waddington, née Dworkin (UC 1939), shows that at age 21 she already had literary ambitions.
four men and two women around a desk with caption "University College Players' Guild Executive"
In 1938-39 the UC Players' Guild put on more than ten plays. Seated on the left is Francess Halpenny (UC 1940), who went on to become dean of the Faculty of Library Science at U of T and editor of the Dictionary of Canadian Biography.
two young women in coats, with Whitney Hall behind them
Whitney Hall was built in 1931 as a residence for women students at University College. Here are two smiling residents in the late 1930s or early '40s.
Two young women and two young men
The permanent executive of UC's class of 1940 included president Helen Gardiner (second from left), after whom UC's Helen Gardiner Phelan Playhouse is named. She was also the president of UC's Undergraduate Women's Association.
Three couples dancing under a handwritten sign that says "Rug Cutting Dept. Enter at your own risk"
A student dance in 1941.
Men and women dancing in front of the main entrance of University College
Dancing in front of UC's grand main entrance in 1941.
Sixteen young women kneeling on floor to form the letters "UC"
Women members of the UC Follies in the 1940s, spelling "UC."
Isabelle Balthazard
Isabelle Balthazard (UC 1928), president of UC's 1927-28 French Society, returned to UC in the 1930s as a French lecturer (known as "Miss I.G. Balthazard"). In 1966, four years before she retired, she was promoted to assistant professor. (Year unknown.)
Six young women working, two of whom are on the telephone.
The 1943 UC Bulletin was largely focused on the war effort. This photo appeared with the caption "University College women gain experience at the university ARP headquarters." ARP stood for Air Raid Precautions.
four young men looking out the window of a train, smiling and waving
The address referred to in the above caption (which appeared in the 1943 UC Bulletin) was that of a UC residence which housed about thirty men.
Six men with boxes of books and magazines, with a sign that says "U.C. Book Harvest for the Armed Services"
Collecting books and magazines to give to the armed services (photo from 1943 UC Bulletin).
Group portrait of seven men and two women.
Nobel Prize-winning physicist Walter Kohn (UC 1945) appears in this 1944 photo of U of T's Mathematical and Physical Society (back row, on the right).
yearbook photo and limerick for Cathleen Synge
Cathleen (Synge) Morawetz (UC 1945), an eminent mathematician, received a (U.S.) National Medal of Science and an American Mathematical Society lifetime achievement award. Judging by the limerick accompanying her 1945 yearbook photo, she was also modest.
dozens of performers on stage, with musicians and conductor in the foreground
This UC Follies set appears to have been designed to look like the University College "cloisters." The annual UC Follies variety / sketch comedy show began in 1924.
two women on stage holding placards that say "U.C. unfair to women" and "Co-education or bust" with several men in the background.
A UC Follies skit (perhaps about feminism on campus?).
Yearbook page with more than 20 names and descriptions of graduating students
U of T yearbooks reflected the significant contribution of Jewish students at non-sectarian University College. This page of 1946 UC grads (and the photos below) include Henry Kreisel (#125), a Jewish refugee who became an important novelist and scholar.
Yearbook page with more than 20 photos of graduating students
Yearbook photos corresponding to the descriptions of graduates above (Torontonensis, 1946), including Henry Kreisel (#125).
fourteen women wearing academic robes
The UC Women's Undergraduate Association of 1945-46. Standing third from the right is Sheila (MacQueen) Eastman, Debates Director, who went on to become an economics professor at U of T and a University College faculty member.
In 1947, this card would get you into a Christmas party at the University College Women's Union (the building at 79 St. George Street now known as the "UC Union").
head shot of Jim Hackshaw in graduation robe
Many World War II veterans attended university after the war. This is the 1947 UC graduation photo of veteran James O. (Jim) Hackshaw (1922-2018), who went on to become an esteemed professor of Social Work at Columbia, teaching community organizing.
professor sitting at desk, with map and typewriter in background
UC Classics professor Gilbert Bagnani (1900-1985) at his desk, circa 1947. Prof. Bagnani taught Ancient History.
five men in academic robes with caption "Law Club Executive, 1946-47" and names
The 1946-47 president of U of T's Law Club, Telford Georges (1923-2005, UC 1947), went on to be Chief Justice of Tanzania, Dean of the Faculty of Law at the University of the West Indies, Chief Justice of Zimbabwe and Chief Justice of The Bahamas.
Gilbert Norwood wearing a three-piece suit
Gilbert Norwood (1880-1954), Professor of Classics at UC, whose lectures "were occasions for vibrant wit and uproarious laughter, for scholarly gibes and deep emotion, for erudition on parade and inspired teaching" —Database of Classical Scholars.
Frances M.H. Norwood
Dr. Frances M. H. Norwood, née Ould (1912-1969), was a lecturer -- and eventually an assistant professor -- in Classics at University College in the 1940s and '50s. She was also a UC alumna (BA in Classics, 1934).
Nine young women in coats on steps outside Whitney Hall
On the steps of Whitney Hall (UC women's residence), in 1947 or 1948.
Two women on stage
A 1948 University College Players Guild production of "Antigone" by Sophocles, at the Hart House Theatre.
A woman placing a crown on a man's head, with sign in background that says "UNIVERSITY COLLEGE ARTS BALL"
A student being crowned at a UC Arts Ball (1940s or '50s?).
Aerial photo of campus with Queen's Park in distance
A view of Hart House on a winter day, seen from above University College. The domed building was the Magnetic & Meteorological Observatory, which later became the home of the U of T Students' Union.