Mark S. Bonham Centre for
Sexual Diversity Studies

Sexual Representation Collection

The Sexual Representation Collection (SRC) is Canada’s largest university-based collection of pornography. The collection contains roughly 2,000 VHS videocassettes and DVDs, 1,000 magazines, 500 pulp novels, hundreds of 35mm slides, floppy discs, 8mm film, 8mm cassette tapes, and 267 linear feet of personal papers, legal documents, reports, art, kink objects, and unique ephemera dating from the 1950s to the present. In addition, it includes a significant collection of materials related to the social and legal regulation of sexual representations in Canada. SRC is administered by the Bonham Centre for Sexual Diversity Studies in the Faculty of Arts & Science at the University of Toronto.  is managed by the archives director Patrick Keilty. We welcome inquiries, which can be directed to p.keilty@utoronto.ca.

Location and Contact Information

The SRC Reading Room is located on the lower level of University College, 15 King’s Circle, Rooms 41 and 43. The Archives Director, Prof. Patrick Keilty, can be reached by email at p.keilty@utoronto.ca.

The SRC is accessible for visitors using wheelchairs or other mobility devices; additional arrangements can also be made on an individual basis.

Research Services

Researchers are welcome to visit the collection by appointment. Please contact the Archives Director to schedule a suitable time weekdays between 9am – 5pm. The SRC requires researchers meet for an initial orientation with the Archives Director before conducting research in the Reading Room.

The Archives Director is happy to assist with any reference questions and to provide additional resources related to your research. Unfortunately, the SRC does not employ any full-time staff and is therefore limited in the kinds of remote assistance it can provide.

The SRC is a non-circulating collection, and most of its materials are stored off site. Before visiting the SRC, please consult our list of finding aids below. Contact the Archives Director with details of the collection and boxes you wish to consult. Most material is made available within 24 hours. Material held by the SRC is open to the public; however some collections may have restrictions based on individuals’ privacy, donor specific restrictions, and the condition of the material.

SRC’s a planned Reading Room contains a shared desktop computer with internet access, a scanner/ printer, a television with VHS and DVD players, an 8mm film projector, and an 8mm-cassette player. Researchers are strongly encouraged to bring their own laptops. For long-term visitors, wifi can be made available through the Centre.

Reproduction Policy

We ask researchers to request permission to publish, exhibit or use records and to determine the appropriate acknowledgement(s), particularly to ensure personal or confidential information is not released. Failure to acquire permissions or to provide adequate acknowledgement is a violation of copyright law.

Researchers can use SRC’s digital scanner in the archive, with the assistance of SRC staff. Researchers are also permitted to use digital cameras, including smart phones.

Mission

The SRC aids in the recovery and preservation of pornography, and materials related to their social and legal regulation, production, circulation, and consumption. Its mission is to acquire, preserve, organize, and give public access to information and materials in any medium about sexual representation, with particular attention paid to feminist, queer, and kink material.

Public Programming and Exhibits

SRC regularly organizes talks, panels, and workshops that provide a public forum for engaging social, cultural, and legal issues related to pornography. These events bring together established and emerging scholars, people who have worked in the sex industry or are sex workers, and members of the community to develop a conversation that extends beyond the archive. In addition, SRC regularly partners with cultural institutions and university courses, particularly MSL4000: Exhibition Project, to exhibit highlights from the collection for a broader public. These exhibits rethink the politics and performance of public display and expand traditional ways of telling stories about archival objects. Support for these events comes from the Bonham Centre for Sexual Diversity Studies and community partners. Please consult the Centre’s website for details about upcoming events and exhibits.

How to Donate Materials

The SRC actively accepts archival donations relating to sexual representation and its social and legal regulation, production, circulation, and consumption, with particular attention paid to feminist, queer, and kink material. Please contact the Archives Director with possible donations. Materials will be assessed according to our mandate, the significance of the materials, and space limitations for long-term storage and preservation.

What, exactly, does the Sexual Representation Collection contain?

The Sexual Representation Collection contains a number of sub-collections, each of which comes from a unique source and has its own particular areas of focus and strength.

Sub-collections include:

Max Allen Collection

The extensive personal papers of Max Allen, former CBC producer and recognized anti-censorship activist who was involved in numerous legal battles to produce sexual representations between the 1970s and 1990s. An extensive finding guide is available for this collection.

SexTV Collection

Approximately 700 books, pamphlets, VHS, DVD, magazines, and catalogues donated by the producers of SexTV after the television channel (previously program) ended production in 2008. The books cover a range of issues related to sexuality and demonstrate the kinds of information producers consulted to create their public programming. A comprehensive list of the books is held within the SRC while the books themselves have been incorporated into the UTL System for regular circulation. Researchers can search specifically for the SexTV books in the UTL catalog, and the books contain a bookplate indicating their connection to SexTV and the SRC.

Book Collection

Over 500 books, including monographs (fiction and non-fiction), reports, journals, art books, comics and zines. The bulk of these materials are erotic fiction, including approximately 230 books published and/or distributed by erotic pulp novel companies from 1953-1986. Pornography and Censorship are the primary themes of the book collection.

Video Collection

This collection is currently being processed, but contains over a thousand pornographic videos on VHS videocassette that were collected for a major research project on pornographic representations of bodies.

Scarborough Collection

Contains over 1,000 VHS videocassettes as well as hundreds of DVDs and numerous pornographic magazines. These materials were donated by a pornography retail shop in operation in Scarborough (a former municipality within Toronto), which closed in the early 1990s.

Lord Morpheous Collection

Various promotional materials, photographs, and publications having to do with Toronto-based, internationally-active, Lord Morpheous and his career as a bondage photography, practitioner, and educator. The collection includes digital and print copies of his art work, as well as ephemera, and signed copies of his 2008 How to be Kinky: a Beginner’s guide to BDSM and his 2012 How to be Kinkier: Your Guide to Safe and Sexy BDSM. An extensive finding guide is available for this collection.

Tristan Taormino Collection

A small collection of educational and erotic videos produced by Tristan Taormino, a leading feminist author, activist, and sex educator.

Annie Sprinkle Collection

A small collection of materials Sprinkle donated to the collection when she gave a talk, including materials on her art projects and ecosexuality movement

Miscellaneous other materials

Such as a collection of box art from 1980s and 90s VHS pornography tapes, signed copies of Buck Angel DVDs, and a complete collection of Playboy magazines from Sept 1965-Dec 1976

Body Politic Collection

A complete run of the Body Politic, one of Canada’s first gay publications, a monthly magazine published from 1971 – 1987. The Body Politic played a significant role in the development of the LGBTQ2+ community and its politics in Canada.

Brian Pronger Collection

A collection of roughly 1,000 commercially produced VHS videocassettes of North American gay pornography from the late 1980s – 1990s.

Carey Gray Collection

Materials from Carey Gray, a Queer FTM Toronto-based pornographer, photographer, BDSM sex educator, the owner of ASLAN Leather and StudioTen Toronto.

Carrie Leigh Collection

A complete run of Nude magazine, a glossy art-photography magazine produced by Carrie Leigh, a former Playboy cover model and official “First Lady” of the Playboy Mansion and photographer.

CCACC Collection

Max Allen donated materials from his time working with the Canadian Committee Against Customs Censorship (CCACC), an activist group in the 1980s and 1990s that influenced changes in Canadian laws and culture. Contains meticulous marginalia in English and French.

Gai Pied Collection

Three hundred issues of Gai Peid from 1983 – 1992, a monthly French gay magazine, founded by Jean Le Bitoux, with articles from prominent French gay activists, including Michel Foucault.

Carlyle Jansen Collection

Materials donated by Carlyle Jansen, a sex educator who owns the Toronto-based sex shop Good for Her. Materials relate to the International Feminist Porn Awards and the Toronto Women & Trans Bathhouse Committee.

Playboy Collection

A nearly complete run of Playboy from 1963 – 2000.

Pulp Fiction Collection

Approximately 230 pulp novels from 1953 – 1986, many of which focus on sexual taboos, such as fetishism/ BDSM and group sex.

Screw Collection

A complete run of Screw magazine from 1974 – 1978.

Trade Magazine Collection

Hundreds of pornography industry trade publications, such as AVN, Adult Gay Video News, The X-Rated Video Tape Star Index, Erotic Video Guide, and Adult Film World Guide Directory of Adult Films.

TRF Collection

Miscellaneous Slides

As part of a series of public lectures, Max Allen displayed hundreds of 35mm slides from the 1970s and 1980s nude images to highlight the homophobic bias of the Canadian Customs and Revenue Agency.

 

For all inquiries regarding the collection, including donations and how to view the artifacts, please contact p.keilty@utoronto.ca.

The SRC would not be possible without the generous donation made by Max Allen, a retired CBC producer who was actively involved in researching and documenting media representations and censorship cases of sexuality throughout the 1980s. The collection has since grown thanks to significant other significant donors as well.