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 tens of thousands of photographs and negatives, thousands of 8mm and 16mm films, thousands of AIDS-era VHS, thousands of magazines, and more than 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 silent era stag films, pre-war hardcore films, coin-op peepshow films, beefcake photographs, and commercially produced VHS tapes from East Asia, South Asia, Latin America, the United States, and Canada. In addition, it contains 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. These materials are stored at an off-site location.
- On our Internet Archive profile, you’ll be able to find a select digitization of our collection.
- On our Archeion profile, you’ll be able to check out similar finding aids like the one you see below.
- Check out our Instagram to stay up to date on what’s new with the collection!
The Sexual Representation Collection was made possible with the assistance of:
The SRC’s reading room, digitization stations, and processing workspaces are located on the lower level of University College, 15 King’s College Circle, Rooms 41 and 43. The Project Manager, Atticus Hawk, 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 Project Manager by email at email@example.com to schedule a suitable time weekdays between 9am – 5pm. The Project Manager 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 Project Manager 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 scanners 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.”
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 Events page on the Centre’s website for details about upcoming events and exhibits. While you're there, check out our Sexual Representation Collection Annual Speaker Series too!
The SRC actively accepts archival donations relating to adult film history, the history of sex work, and the history of sex education, including its social and legal regulation, production, circulation, and consumption. We prioritize feminist, queer, trans, and kink material. Please contact the Project Manager by email at firstname.lastname@example.org 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.
Digitization for scholarly or preservation purposes falls under the terms of the "Libraries, Archives, and Museums" exceptions in section 30.1 of Canada's Copyright Act. Unlike the United States, Canada lacks an orphan works regime. When determining whether to disseminate third-party copyrighted material without restrictions, we rely on Simon Fraser University's "Risk Management Copyright Policy Framework for SFU Library Digitization Projects" (2016), the standard copyright guideline for library and archival digitization projects in Canada. Beyond copyright law, in cases where materials are not part of the public domain, we have an ethical obligation to obtain creator and performer consent, if possible, before making materials openly accessible online. This is critical for maintaining trust and faith with members of the sex industries and for honouring sex work as work. In cases where we are unable to determine copyright and where we are unable to obtain creator and performer consent, we make materials accessible through SharePoint, a University-administered storage platform with a secure firewall.
Finding Aids are documents that lists metadata about material that is part of a collection or archive. In this section you will be able to access the finding aids of our different collections. These finding aids contain descriptions, notes, and different attributes of each individual material or item within that collection. If anything interests you, please don’t hesitate to reach out to our Project Manager at email@example.com!
Annie Sprinkle Collection
A small collection of materials Sprinkle donated to the collection, including materials on her art projects, sex education, and ecosexuality movement.
Body Politic Collection
A complete run of the Body Politic, one of Canada’s first gay publications, a monthly magazine published from 1971 – 1987.
Brian Pronger Collection
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 Gray Collection
Carey Gray is the founder and owner of Toronto-based leatherware store, Aslan Leather.
Carlyle Jansen Collection
Materials donated by Carlyle Jansen, a sex educator who owns the Toronto-based sex shop Good for Her.
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.
The the Canadian Committee Against Customs Censorship (CCACC), an activist group in the 1980s and 1990s that influenced changes in Canadian laws and culture.
Chuck Kleinhans Collection
Personal papers of film historian Chuck Kleinhans, including film and video, electronic records, books, periodicals, and writings.
David Webb Collection
A small collection of VHS, DVD, and Super8 reels.
Erotic Film Collection
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.
Forced Feminization and Dominatrix Zines
Collection of zines from the 1950s – 1970s focusing on forced feminization and dominatrixes.
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.
Lord Morpheous Collection
Various materials, photographs, and publications of Lord Morpheous, BDSM practitioner and educator, including digital and print copies of his art work, ephemera, etc.
Max Allen Collection
The extensive materials of Max Allen, former CBC producer and recognized anti-censorship activist who was involved in numerous legal battles to produce sexual representations.
Neville Austin Collection
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.
Pulp Fiction Collection
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.
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).
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, etc.
Tristan Taormino Collection
A small collection of educational and erotic videos produced by Tristan Taormino, a leading feminist author, activist, and sex educator.