Military Museums Library and Archives
Military collections at the University of Calgary are international in scope and encompass a broad swath of European and North American military history. The primary repository for our book and archival holdings is The Military Museums Library and Archives (TMMLA), the largest non-governmental military library in Canada. TMMLA was established in 2000 in a partnership agreement between the University and the Department of National Defence. Embedded within The Military Museums complex about 10 km south of campus, it is unique within the University of Calgary's Libraries and Cultural Resources department.
Holdings in monographs range in date from the mid 17th century through to modern times and include large selections of French and German material. There are more than 40,000 circulating volumes and an additional 70,000 volumes in special collections that do not circulate but that can be consulted in the TMMLA reading room.
The University also maintains more than 1 kilometre of archival material related to the military history of Alberta. These materials attest to major military and policing personalities, events and issues that have helped shape the evolution of the Canadian West.
Highlights and Area Strengths
The Chicksands Collection
The backbone of the University’s military holdings is the Chicksands collection, housed at TMMLA. Named for an ancient monastery and cold-war “listening post” where the books were held prior to coming to Calgary, this material comprises the bulk of the former UK War Office library. Collected by British military attaché between 1650 through the cold war, the library was a closed resource and a primary point of access for grey intelligence on the enemies and allies of the British Crown.
- The Chicksands collection is catalogued and searchable through the main library catalogue for the University of Calgary: https://library.ucalgary.ca/.
Western Canadian Experience: Boer War, WWI, WWII
Archival collections are comprised of many small, intimate, fonds of soldiers who experienced life in the field during Canada’s involvement in major international conflicts. These include the fonds of important officers such as Major General David Watson, who led the Canadian 4th Division at Vimy Ridge, and Brigadier William Smith Ziegler, who led on the Allied Control Council in post-WWII Germany. The archives also include the fonds of many non-career military service members whose records shed light on less well-examined aspects of military history. Notable examples include the fonds of WWII nurse Norma Stowe, who served primarily in South Africa, and the fonds of James Reid, logger and soldier in the 50th Battalion during WWI.
- Major General David Watson fonds: https://searcharchives.ucalgary.ca/david-watson-fonds
- Brigadier William Smith Ziegler fonds: https://searcharchives.ucalgary.ca/william-ziegler-fonds
- Norma Stowe fonds: https://searcharchives.ucalgary.ca/norma-stowe-fonds
- James Reid fonds: https://searcharchives.ucalgary.ca/james-reid-wwi-papers
North-West Mounted Police
Military collections include a significant amount of material related to the formation and activities of the North-West Mounted Police (NWMP) from the time of its inception in 1873 through to 1920 when the force was amalgamated into the Royal Canadian Mounted Police. NWMP members were active and instrumental in domestic conflicts and were later absorbed into important and early western military regiments such as the Lord Strathcona’s Horse and the Canadian Mounted Rifles.
- Fred Bagley fonds: https://searcharchives.ucalgary.ca/fred-bagley-fonds
- William Parker fonds: https://searcharchives.ucalgary.ca/william-parker-fonds
TMMLA is open to the public and free to visit. It is located within the Military Museums on Crowchild Trail in Calgary. For a map and directions for bus, car and by foot click here: https://themilitarymuseums.ca/visit/travel-directions. Collections pertaining to the NWMP, are available at the Glenbow Western Research Centre on the second floor of the Taylor Family Digital Library.
Viewing of either archival or rare book materials requires an appointment, which can be made by contacting us at least 24 hours in advance of your visit:
- Last Updated: Sep 11, 2023 3:09 PM
- URL: https://libguides.ucalgary.ca/military
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