Life on Campus / Winter 2016
Bringing History to Light

Alumna Joan Randall helps bring historically important documents to U of T

Photo of Joan Randall

Photo by Lisa Sakulensky

Joan Randall (BA 1949 UC) has created an endowment – the Joan Walwyn Randall Fund – to help the Thomas Fisher Rare Book Library bring historically important documents to U of T. This year, with money from the fund, the library acquired more than 100 letters from Josef Stalin’s daughter, Svetlana Alliluyeva Peters, to a close friend in England. The correspondence sheds light on one of the 20th century’s most important political figures and reveals insights into one woman’s incredibly difficult life.

Joan: Even in my student days, when I used the main Sigmund Samuel Library, I thought it was important for students to have a place on campus to study. Now, I walk into Robarts Library and see all the students in front of computers, which is amazing. It’s incredible, too, how quickly technology is moving ahead. It’s a challenge for libraries to keep pace, but we’re very fortunate to have the third-best library system in North America. That’s very impressive, and shows why U of T’s libraries are worth supporting. I think it’s important, too, that libraries continue to acquire materials such as letters and other original documents, because this is not something you can get online. It’s why the Fisher Library is so important to U of T scholars.

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