By / par Randall Rosenfeld (Archivist, RASC and CASCA)
(Cassiopeia – Spring / printemps 2020)
CASCA was founded nearly fifty years ago (1971) as a much needed organized voice for the professional astronomical community in Canada. Through representing the community in the present, and attempting to shape its future, the Society generates the raw stuff of history—the course of organized astronomy in Canada, and the history of a significant sector of science in Canada, and abroad. Despite gaps in the documentary record, CASCA’s holdings of its history are reasonably impressive, and a testament to the foresight of successive Society Secretaries, and colleagues.
At present the CASCA Archives consist of 6.5 linear metres of material, chiefly in the form of documents in print, or manuscript. They are housed in the RASC Archives in Toronto.
These include the original artwork and conceptual documents for the CASCA logo, the pre-CASCA assessment, planning, and contact documents, documents chronicling the earliest Society meetings, office holders’ correspondence with other scientific bodies, members, and various governments, Society circulars for internal distribution and media releases for public distribution, the financial records of the Society, AGM planning documents, minutes and programs, Cassiopeia, membership lists, various decadal plans, and committee reports, and institutional “gray literature” (all the more interesting for its limited distribution, and survival). Amongst the subjects represented are CASCA’s role in various international astronomical cooperative projects, programs of aid to astronomical communities in war-ravaged or disaster-stricken areas, the development of next-generation instrumentation and facilities, and the repurposing and refurbishment of no longer current facilities, and campaigns to protect installations, or improve funding prospects.
The Archives contain fundamental resources for charting the changing nature and make up of CASCA demographics, the evolving research interests of the community, Canadian involvement in the opening up of different wavelength regimes, the Society’s relations with government bodies, the development of space-based astronomy, and the changing nature of its involvement with Canadian society at large. This material is largely underexplored and underutilized, and the history of CASCA and organized professional astronomy in Canada has yet to be written in any full, or meaningful way. When it is, the CASCA Archives will be a prime source.
The Archives are open to any Society member by appointment, and a certain amount of searching can be undertaken by the Archivist for members at no charge. A finding aid to the CASCA Archives is in preparation.
If any CASCA member has material which they believe might beneficially be accessioned into the Archives, the Archivist would be delighted to hear from them.
For any inquiries, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
203-4920 Dundas Street West
Toronto ON M9A 1B7