Fonds F 0163 - SWODA collection

Title and statement of responsibility area

Title proper

SWODA collection

General material designation

  • Graphic material

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Level of description


Reference code

F 0163

Edition area

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Statement of scale (cartographic)

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Statement of scale (architectural)

Issuing jurisdiction and denomination (philatelic)

Dates of creation area


  • ca. 1900 - 2021 (Creation)

Physical description area

Physical description

378 postcards
19 print photographs, various sizes
• 2 sepia
• 17 b&w

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Archival description area

Name of creator

(2010 - present)

Administrative history

The Southwestern Ontario Digital Archive (SWODA) was created by librarian Katharine M. Ball at the University of Windsor’s Leddy Library in 2010 as a non-custodial web-based archival initiative that showcases digitized records, images, and publications shared by a variety of institutions and individual community members in the Southwestern Ontario municipalities of Windsor/Essex County, Chatham-Kent, and Sarnia/Lambton County. Led by Ball and supported by other Leddy staff, over the ensuing decade-plus the site has grown to encompass tens of thousands of documents and images and has become a popular portal for those researching local history. SWODA has become a one-stop access point for a host of individual digitization projects (including photographs, postcards, maps, ephemera, correspondence, newspapers, directories, local history books, and reports), uniting items traditionally divided between libraries and archives. It serves groups ranging from community organizations, genealogical societies, and local history buffs to scholarly researchers, media outlets, students and teachers.

As of 2021 the SWODA collection is divided into three principal areas: SWODA Newspapers, also known as INK (one of Canada’s largest and most comprehensive digitized newspaper collections, including over 50 regional newspapers for a total of nearly 2 million pages); SWODA Images (containing more than 3,500 historical photographs, postcards, and ephemera, 1860s-1960s); and SWODA Publications (including yearbooks, student newspapers, city directories, and local histories). Beginning in 2017, weekly #ThrowbackThursday images on SWODA’s Twitter account have highlighted the riches SWODA has to offer.

Sources: SWODA annual reports; conversations with Katharine Ball (2020-2021); (accessed 9 November 2021).

Scope and content

This collection contains an eclectic assortment of material – primarily images –relating to the history of Southwestern Ontario and its surrounding areas. The collection has been arranged into series that reflect the types of material received for digitization by SWODA. Series I contains photographs, including a number depicting the work and premises of a Windsor-area construction company, ca. 1920s-1970s; a 1943 group photo from a Windsor factory doing war production; and a Windsor elementary school class photo, ca. 1918; and mausoleums in Windsor Grove Cemetery, 1987-2021. Series II contains several hundred historic postcards in various styles (ca. 1900-2001) depicting landscapes, buildings, attractions, infrastructure, and modes of transportation primarily in Southwestern Ontario (especially Windsor and Essex County) and Detroit, Michigan. Five 1946 postcards depicting other places are all addressed to Miss F. “Rose” Perjul of Windsor, Ontario, mostly from newly demobilized soldier “Frank.” One postcard commemorates a 1959 royal visit. Further series will be added as applicable. Any known details about a specific item are included in the finding aid.

Physical condition

Fair to good. Some damage to older photographs.


Language of material

  • English

Script of material

Location of originals

Availability of other formats

Restrictions on access


Terms governing use, reproduction, and publication

Copyright retained by creator(s) until legal expiry. Copyright law and principles of fair dealing apply.

Finding aids

A PDF finding aid is available.

Uploaded finding aid

Associated materials

F 0161 Mike Skreptak collection
F 0107 Walkerville Publishing Company collection

Leddy Library
University of Windsor

Related materials


Further accruals are expected.

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