Administered by the Bonham Centre for Sexual Diversity Studies, an academic unit within the University of Toronto, the SRC is Canada’s largest collection of sex work history and adult film history. With a particular focus on feminist, queer, trans, and kink sexual cultures, the collection contains roughly 1,500 8mm and 16mm films, 3,000 AIDS-era VHS, 1,000 AIDS-era magazines, hundreds of photographs and negatives, and 300 linear feet of personal papers, reports, art, kink objects, and unique ephemera dating from 1907 to the present. Among its many highlights, the SRC contains Latin American silent-era stag films (1907 – 1920s), 100+ U.S. pre-war hard-core films; hundreds U.S. coin-op peepshow films; hundreds of U.S and Canadian 1950s beefcake photographs; commercially produced VHS tapes from India and Pakistan (1980s-1990s); Japanese-language materials (1970s – 1990s); commercially produced AIDS-era gay male pornography from Mexico, the U.S., and Canada (1980s – 1990s); and the personal papers of journalists, activists, sex workers, adult film producers, adult film studio executives, and sex shop owners related to the global history of sex work and the legal regulation of obscenity in Canada.
Location and Contact Information
The Brian Pronger Reading Room is located on the lower level of University College, 15 King’s College Circle, Room 41. The SRC’s digitization and processing workspace is located next door, Room 43. The Archives Director, Prof. Patrick Keilty, can be reached by email at firstname.lastname@example.org. The SRC is accessible for visitors using wheelchairs or other mobility devices; additional arrangements can also be made on an individual basis.
Researchers are welcome to visit the collection by appointment. Please contact the Archives Director to schedule a suitable time weekdays between 9am – 5pm. 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. Digitization services, including digital research copies, are freely available upon request. Material held by the SRC is open to the public; some collections, including digital copies, may have restrictions based on individuals’ privacy, donor specific restrictions, and the condition of the material. 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 48 hours. However, digital research copies may take longer. The Brian Pronger 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.
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. Please credit “The Sexual Representation Collection, Bonham Centre for Sexual Diversity Studies, University of Toronto.”
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 the sex industries, sex work, and 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 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.
A small collection of materials Sprinkle donated to the collection, including materials on her art projects, sex education, and ecosexuality movement.
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.
A collection of roughly 1,000 commercially produced VHS videocassettes of gay pornography from the United States, Mexico, and Canada from the 1980s – 1990s.
Carey Grey is the founder and owner of Toronto-based leatherware store, Aslan Leather.
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.
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.
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.
David Webb Collection
Erotic Film Archive
Contains 16mm hardcore films from the 1910s – 1950s, 16mm coin-op peepshow films from the 1940s – 1970s, and 8mm stag films from the 1950s – 1970s.
Collection of zines from the 1950s – 1970s focusing on forced feminization and dominatrixes, published by Mutrix Corps, Empathy Press, and Lee’s Mardi Gras Enterprises.
Three hundred issues of Gai Peid from 1983 – 1992, and an assortment of other newsletters, magazines, and ephemera documenting gay activism in Canada and France in the 1980s – 1990s.
Various materials, photographs, and publications of Lord Morpheous, BDSM practitioner and educator, including digital and print copies of his art work, ephemera, and signed copies of his books.
The extensive personal papers, audio recordings, magazines, and 35mm slides 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.
A small collection of Neville Austin’s VHS, book, and magazine collection from 1990 – 2008.
A complete run of high quality digital copies of Playboy from 1953 – 2013. A nearly complete run of Playboy in print from 1963 – 2000.
Approximately 500 pulp novels from 1953 – 1986, many of which focus on sexual taboos, such as fetishism/ BDSM, and group sex.
Contains over 1,000 VHS videocassettes, DVD, magazines from the United States, Canada, and south Asia. These materials were donated by a pornography retail shop in operation in Scarborough (a former municipality within Toronto), which closed in the early 1990s.
A complete run of Screw magazine from 1974 – 1978.
Approximately 700 books, pamphlets, VHS, DVD, magazines, and catalogues donated by the producers of SexTV (2001-08) containing the kinds of information the producers used to create their public programming. The books are available for circulation through the UTL System and contain bookplates and catalog notes about their provenance.
Tom Waugh Collection
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.
A small collection of educational and erotic videos produced by Tristan Taormino, a leading feminist author, activist, and sex educator.