Hamilton Spectator Collection


In June of 1978 John G. Doherty, Executive Editor of the Spectator, arranged with the Special Collections Department [now Local History & Archives] of the Hamilton Public Library to transfer their reference files of photographic negatives and news clippings from January 1955 to December 31, 1973 to the Special Collections Department. It was suggested at that time that it would be a good idea to arrange a yearly transfer of photographic negatives so that the Spectator only had the most recent five years worth of negatives at the paper. This was not done, however, and the negatives from 1974 to 1983 did not arrive completely until the summer of 1988. It was specifically noted by Mr. Doherty that this transfer involved not only custody of the negatives but also ownership of the negatives.

"The Hamilton Public Library...now own these negatives and accept full responsibility for their use."

[Note: This ownership does not include copyright rights which were not included in the original agreement]

The transfer in the summer of 1988 also involved some of the S Files of Special Subject and Event negatives dating back as far as the Royal Visit of 1939.

There was a further transfer in 1990 of negatives from January 1, 1983 to December 31, 1984, books from the Spectator Library, the McCullough Collection, the Murdoch Collection and further S Files.

In January of 1995 the daily negatives from September 5, 1987 to September 28, 1990 as well as some later S files were transferred. Included was a box of miscellaneous negatives from differing dates (some undated and unidentified) as well as some files that had been missed from earlier transfers.

The Regular Files are arranged strictly chronologically. To find a specific negative it is necessary to know the exact date that the photograph appeared in the Spectator. The file for that date can then be pulled and the negatives checked for this photograph. The only negatives contained in these files are those taken specifically by Spectator photographers. Photographs provided by outside sources are not included (i.e.: wire photographs, prints from private photographers, etc.). Also, some negatives are still held by the Spectator in the S Files that they have retained for their own use. The S Files held by Special Collections are arranged according to the titles, etc. that were on the files when they arrived from the Spectator. They have been left as they were originally organized. A detailed index to these files has been prepared and is found at the end of this finding aid.

In 2000 the daily negatives from September 29, 1990 to December 31, 1998 were transferred.

There is no detailed index to the Regular Files.


Transfers of negatives from the Hamilton Spectator to Local History & Archives [then Special Collections] at the Hamilton Public Library.

1978, 1988, 1990, 1995, 2000



Regular File By Date. Black & White negatives, coloured negatives

S File By Date. 1939-1947, 1948-1949, 1950-1953, 1954-1959

S File 1940's - 1950's By Title

S File Baseball. n.d., 1949-1969, 1971-1973

S File By Title. A-Ch, Ci-E, F-K, L-Misc, Miss-P, Q-So, St-Z

S File Football. 1952-1973

S File Grey Cup. 1957-1973

S File Hockey. n.d., 1949-1968, 1971-1973

S File People. By last name

S File Politics.

Federal Politics. n.d., 1968-1982

Municipal Politics. n.d., 1968-1982

Provincial Politics. 1971-1981

S File S-1 1953-May 21, 1956

S File S-2 Aug. 23, 1956-Aug. 1959

S File S-3 1960-1965

S File S-4 1966-1971

S File S-5 n.d.

S File S-6 1956-1973

S File S-7 1974-1981

S File S-8 By Title

S File S-9 By Title

S File Spectator Employees ca 1947-1966

S File Spectator Miscellaneous

Books from Spectator Library

McCullough Collection

Murdoch Collection

Photographs (antiquarian)