Fonds LA.SC089 - Helen Sanderson Sewell fonds

Identity area

Reference code



Helen Sanderson Sewell fonds


  • 1920-1950 (Creation)

Level of description


Extent and medium

47 cm of textual records and graphic material Researchers must be accompanied by a staff member when using the scrapbook due to its fragile condition.

Context area

Name of creator


Biographical history

Helen Sanderson Sewell (1905-2001) was a Toronto artist and teacher. She attended the Ontario College of Art, graduating in 1928 with the Governor General’s Gold Medal. After graduation, she taught for six years with Arthur Lismer at the Art Gallery of Ontario and in Barrie, London, and her Toronto studio. She traveled to northern Ontario to paint with members of the Group of Seven. In 1934 she married William Sewell and interrupted her career to raise four children, including former Toronto mayor John Sewell. She resumed painting when her children were in high school, specializing in portraiture, and was active in the Toronto Heliconian Club.

Archival history

Immediate source of acquisition or transfer

Fonds was acquired from the Sewell family July 11, 2002.

Content and structure area

Scope and content

The fonds includes correspondence, newspaper and magazine clippings, photographs, drawings, poems, notes and memorabilia relating to Helen Sanderson’s student days at the Ontario College of Art and subsequent teaching career. Many of these were pasted into a scrapbook, entitled ‘Art School Days’, forming a distinctive memoir of student life in the 1920’s and 1930’s. The fonds is arranged in a single series.

Appraisal, destruction and scheduling


No further accruals are expected.

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Conditions of access and use area

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Conditions governing reproduction

Copyright has been transferred to the Art Gallery of Ontario. Copyright belonging to other parties, such as that of photographs, may still rest with the creator of these items. It is the researcher’s responsibility to obtain permission to publish any part of the fonds.

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Archivist's note

Uploaded and adapted by Nirvana Chainani, 2019.
Prepared by Sylvia Lassam, 2003

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