The University of New Brunswick Archives' extensive collection of class composites and group photographs, covering the period 1873-1975, are a significant resource for university staff and alumni, external researchers, and genealogists. But these valuable photos have been under-used and largely inaccessible for a number of reasons:

  • Most are mounted in ornate wooden frames, and are under glass, making them very heavy. This, coupled with the fact that many are oversized (the largest measuring approximately 5 ft x 7 ft) made retrieval cumbersome.
  • Proper photo storage racks were not available which resulted in the photos being stored, by size, in any available nook and cranny within the secure stack area, making retrieval a "guessing game."
  • Access to the photos was limited to a generic entry in the photo card index under "Class Photographs", followed by the year of the photo. It was, therefore, impossible to find an individual's picture using only their name.
  • Provision of high-quality hard copy images of individual graduates involved complex arrangements with Media Services' staff photographers.
  • In some cases, the only available image of a student particularly in the 19th century, may only be found on the class composite photograph (publication of UNB yearbooks was not regularised until the 1940s; a smattering of photos began appearing in the University Monthly / Brunswickan, the student newspaper, only in the early 1900s).

These factors, along with the availability of expertise and technology in the UNB Libraries Digital Imaging Centre, made the Archives' composite photo collection a perfect candidate for a web-based digitisation project. The advantages were obvious: enhanced access, the availability of high quality images, and the option of ordering images on-line. In February 2005, Archives' staff embarked on an imaging/indexing project in collaboration with staff from the Digital Imaging Centre and Library Systems.

Three years on, the end result is a powerful database allowing researchers quick and convenient access to hundreds of digital images, covering over a century of student life at UNB.


  • Class photos i.e. graduating students
  • Encaenia/Encoenia photos i.e. entire student-body and faculty for that year
  • Single photos i.e. head-and-shoulder images from other UNB Archives' photo collections
  • Multiple images of an individual over several years i.e. sophomore year, graduation year, drama society
    NOTE: The UNB Archives collection of composite photographs is not complete, but with various exceptions, covers the years 1873-1975. In some cases, photos of UNB students not available in this database may be found in yearbooks.
  • Group photos of clubs and societies i.e. Debating Society, YMCA Cabinet, Drama Society, University Monthly / Brunswickan editorial board, COTC (Canadian Officers Training Corps), Student Council
    NOTE: For access to UNB sports / team photographs go to:
Additional Notes
  • If known, student accomplishments / awards are noted i.e. Douglas Gold Medal recipients, major scholarship winners, Valedictorians, class executive positions
Name Authority
  • If known, the fullest form of an individual's name was entered into the database. However, searching by initial(s) only in the "Given Name" field is also possible.