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Local History Room Collections & Formats

  • Books
  • Directories
  • Scrapbooks & Photo Albums
  • Newspapers
  • Periodicals
  • Photographs
  • Documents
  • picture of a scrapbook


    All books in the Local History collection are listed in the main catalogue.
    They are identified by the letters LH in the call number.
    Note that Local History books, like all other items in the Local History Room collection, can not be borrowed but must be used in the Local History Room.

    The Local History Room has hard copies of the Henderson's Directory back to 1908, as well as microfiche printouts of previous editions back to 1904. We also have microfiche copies of other early directories from the Peel Collection.

    Scrapbooks & Photo Albums
    Scrapbooks and photo albums have been donated by history-conscious Saskatonians over the years. Some lack dates and sources, but are still useful. Local History has more than 30 scrapbooks. The contents of some of them can be searched by subject in a database or a printed index. Ask for the Pilot Project Index. The scrapbooks include:
    • The Saskatoon Firemen’s Scrapbook
    • Twenty scrapbooks containing the "Remember When" series of photographs with lengthy captions, prepared by Wilbur Lepp, first Local HIstory Room Librarian, published in the Saskatoon Commentator
    • the Altrusa Club scrapbook
    • the Canadian Women’s Press Club scrapbook
    • Zoe Dallas’s StarPhoenix columns
    • the Saskatoon & District Safety Council scrapbook
    • Wilf Gilby’s personal album
    • a scrapbook on deaths and funerals
    • scrapbooks on weddings, retirements and anniversaries
    • Saskatoon Community Players 1952-1956 (a scrapbook containing photos)
    • two scrapbooks on sports

    Others contain articles and photos on an assortment of people and events in Saskatoon history, usually focused on a specific year, decade or decades.

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    The Local History Room has certain special editions of newspapers that are bound for preservation. Many of them have been indexed in the Super Index.

    They include:
    • two hand-written 1884 copies of the Saskatoon Sentinel, our city’s first newspaper, one a photocopy, the other original.
    • Saskatoon Phenix Illustrated Supplement, 1903
    • Saskatoon Capital Anniversary Number, 1909
    • Saskatoon Phenix Exhibition Harvest Edition, 1914
    • bound copies of the Illustrated War News, which contains drawings documenting the Riel Rebellion

    SOUVENIR EDITIONS (actual copies)
    Local History has nine map drawers of preservation copies of special editions of newspapers, or sections of newspapers, from Saskatoon and other Saskatchewan communities. There are also two drawers of bound editions. They commemorate special events, such as

    • Confederation
    • The Riel Rebellion
    • arrival of the Barr Colonists
    • World War II
    • royal visits
    • Saskatchewan celebrities
    • major sports events such as the Canada Games
    • major anniversary celebrations (such as Celebrate Saskatchewan)
    • the building of the Bessborough Hotel
    • the Gardiner Dam project

    Ask for the Newspapers in Local History room binder, which includes a subject index.


    • For 20th Century newspapers from other cities and towns in Saskatchewan, check with libraries in the communities themselves or with Saskatchewan Archives Board.


    photo of the Sentinel in 1884

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    • The StarPhoenix and its predecessors back to 1902, are on microfilm. Microfilms for the last 20 years are kept in the Information Services Department in the Frances Morrison Branch Library. All previous issues are in the Local History Room. If you are contemplating a weekend trip to Saskatoon to use these microfilms, remember that the Local History Room is not open on Saturdays and only open Sundays during the fall and winter.
    • Certain pre-1900 publications are also available on microfilm:

      Moose Jaw Times, North West Territories Gazette, Prince Albert Times, Qu’Appelle Progress, Qu’Appelle Vidette, Regina Standard, Saskatchewan Herald


    • There is an index to the StarPhoenix from 1980 on, and an index to the Saskatoon Commentator 1969 - 1983.
    • An index to the Saskatoon Phenix (later the Phoenix) Oct. 1902 to Dec. 1908, prepared by the Saskatchewan Archives Board, is available in the Local History Room.
    • Newspaper clippings binders are classified by subject, and some also have their own indexes

    There are two sets of newspaper clippings binders.

    1. Local History Room clippings

    An ongoing set covering the period beginning in the late 1960s when the Local History Room was established. After 1980, when the StarPhoenix index was begun, subjects clipped are mostly limited to:

    • Streets, parks, bridges, subdivisions
    • Buildings and businesses
    • Biographical information
    • Historical articles
    • Articles from publications other than the StarPhoenix
    • Information on high profile murders and other crimes

    Subject access: these binders are classified according to a detailed thesaurus, and are stored in the Local History Room.

    2. Information Services Department clippings
    An older set of binders was compiled by Information Services staff. The clippings go back in some cases to the 1930s, and continue to 1980 when the newspaper index was begun. These binders are stored in the Local History workroom and are available on request.

    Subject access:
    They are grouped under broad subject classifications such as "buildings and businesses", "schools" and so on. Most of the binders also have their own detailed index.

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    The Library subscribes to many magazines of interest to Local History. Some are kept in the periodical stacks, others in Local History storage. Many are indexed. Staff can direct you to our periodicals database (or printout) which tell where each publication is kept.

    Many periodicals housed in the Local History Room and Local History storage were received as donations, and not by subscription. The periodicals are mostly local in origin, and include school and college yearbooks and club newsletters. They are listed in a separate database, which has a printout. Ask for it in the Local History Room.

    Some of our most-used periodicals are:

    Prairie Forum
    Saskatchewan History
    Saskatoon History Review

    Periodicals of note in our storage area:
    Grain Growers' Guide
    Farmers Advocate
    Nor'West Farmer
    Western Woman
    Western Producer

    PERIODICAL SUBSCRIPTIONS & NEWSLETTERS are included in the Library's on-line Reference Database under Serials (periodicals).

    Many periodicals housed in the Local History Room and Local History Room storage were received as donations. (We welcome more.) They are mostly local in origin. They are listed in a separate database, which has a printout. Ask for it in the Local History Room.

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    - in the Local History Room's Database.

    Historical photographs sometimes are the only reference to a person's existence. Our visual image collection is indexed in detail, leading to a wealth of portraits, group photos and other visual documentation about Saskatoon and area people. Click here to view some sample photos in our collection.

    As of 2000 there were over 60,000 visual images in the Local History Room. They include photographs in positive or negative form, slides, illustrations, a few paintings, woodcuts and other art media. Most of the photos are indexed in a computer database which will soon be available on our website. Currently it is available in the Local History Room. It can be searched by photographer, date, subject, donor, format, classification, and physical location in various combinations.

    Subject indexing is very detailed. The collection is strong in architectural heritage, people pictures, city scenes, agriculture, social and cultural history.


    To order a reproduction there are several options:

    (You will need a copy of Acrobat Reader to read the forms available here in PDF format only. You can download a free copy of Acrobat Reader by going to

    • Photographic reprint from a negative
    If there is no negative in existence you will be required to pay to have a negative made which will be retained by the Local History room after your print has been made. If there is a negative you will only be charged for the print. (See form for costs). Click here for a copy of page 1 of the photo reproduction form that you can print out. Click here for a copy of page 2.
    • Print-to-print
    This option (with the trade name "Pictrostat") eliminates the necessity to have a negative made, and saves you money. These reproductions are often clearer than those made from copy negatives, but their longevity has not been proven. Check the print-to-print option on the order form. Like a photocopy, they do not allow for accurate cropping. Desired sizes are indicated as percentages of the original (100, 150, 200). (See form for costs).Click here for a copy of page 1 of the photo reproduction form that you can print out. Click here for a copy of page 2.
    • Laser photocopies
    At $5 for any size, up to 11" x 17", this is your cheapest option. Laser photocopies are often good enough for display purposes, with the advantage that you can have colour (often intensified) and a larger size at low cost. But the image may be somewhat "posterized" with flat areas of one tone or colour instead of gradual toning. Click here for a copy of the Laser photocopy form that you can print out.

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    Local History's documents can be found in the Local History Room's Database. This database comprises several hundred records pertaining to mostly unpublished papers and commemorative artefacts housed in a basement storage area. They include correspondence and other personal papers of well-known citizens, some business and organizational papers, pioneer reminiscences, family histories, legal documents, and records of certain special events such as athletic competitions. The artefacts include pins, buttons, pennants, plaques, hats, ribbons, mugs and framed paintings.

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