Royal Victoria College


The origin of Royal Victoria College can be traced back to the Montreal Ladies' Educational Association (see M.G. 1053) which had offered its members university-level lectures in various subjects between 1881 and 1884. Various McGill staff members such as John Clark Murray gave lectures in the arts and sciences, including philosophy and geology. In 1884, Donald A. Smith (later Lord Strathcona) started providing for women students to attend separate classes at McGill. Due to the same benefactor, Royal Victoria College opened in 1899 as a residential college for women at McGill. In honour of Donald A. Smith, female students were known as "Donaldas" from 1884 to about 1914. Royal Victoria College admitted both resident and non-resident women. Until the 1970s all female undergraduates at McGill were also members of R.V.C. The College's chief function is now that of a residence and much of the original building on Sherbrooke and University Streets is occupied by the Faculty of Music.

Contained in this record group is the relatively small amount of records created by the Warden as head of R.V.C. Some important documentation on Royal Victoria College is also contained among the records of the Board of Governors; including minutes of the Board of Governors of the Royal Victoria College, 1922-1935 (R.G. 4, c.291) and papers relating to the charter of R.V.C. (R.G. 4, c.189) Much information about the daily administration and life of R.V.C. will be found in the Susan Cameron Vaughan Papers (M.G. 4014) which contain a mixture of personal and professional material. There are several historical works dealing with R.V.C. The most detailed are: Muriel V. Roscoe, The Royal Victoria College, 1899-1962 (Multilith, 1964; Margaret Gillett, We Walked Very Warily (Montreal, 1981) and Stanley B. Frost, McGill University (Montreal, 1980, 1984).


1899-1905 Hilda Diana Oakeley

1906-1907 Susan Cameron, Acting

1906-1929 Ethel Hurlbatt

1924-1925 C.G. Hardy Garside, Acting

1929-1932 Susan Cameron Vaughan

1937-1940 Maude Parkin Grant

1940-1962 Muriel V. Roscoe

1962-1970 Helen Reynolds

1970-1971 Mary Robertson

1972-1979 Donna Runnals

1979-1980 Florence Tracy, Acting

1980 Florence Tracy


Administrative Records of the Warden, ca 1910-1960, 1.5 m (c.2-c.6) PARTS RESTRICTED

These files reflect various aspects of the administration of the College and its building and contain correspondence, memoranda and reports on such subjects as discipline, rules and regulations, women students and war, scholarships, furniture and furnishings, use of the building, and the building of the West Wing. There are also books containing the signatures of visitors. Access to the nominative files is restricted.

Student Registers, 1891-1912, 2 vols, 5 cm (c.1)

The registers cover the students in the "Donalda" McGill Arts programme before the creation of Royal Victoria College. They give the student's name, Montreal address and in the cases of R.V.C. residents, home address and a student number. In the back of the registers are lists of boarding houses, sometimes with rates and addresses of various teachers. The registers may have been those of Helen S. Gairdner who was "Lady Superintendent" of the Donaldas and Secretary of R.V.C.

Annual Reports, 1923-1933, 2 cm (c.1)

These reports to the Principal were prepared by the Warden and provide the College's documentation on events, policies, staff appointments and changes, student statistics and the use of the College building (typed, carbon copies).