Fonds 00615 - Royal Hamilton College of Music fonds

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Title and statement of responsibility area

Title proper

Royal Hamilton College of Music fonds

General material designation

Parallel title

Hamilton Conservatory of Music

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Reference code

CA ON00131 00615

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Issuing jurisdiction and denomination (philatelic)

Dates of creation area


  • 1904 - 1970 (Creation)

Physical description area

Physical description

66 cm of textual material and other materials.

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Administrative history

Founded in 1897 by C.L.M. Harris as the Hamilton Conservatory of Music (HCM), the conservatory provided higher education in music with focus in piano, strings, winds, organ and guitar, as well as art, physical culture, dance, musical kindergarten and elocution. The conservatory was originally located in the former home of Robert Steele, and in 1899, the conservatory moved to Main and Charles Streets. In 1904, the conservatory moved to its permanent home on James Street South with studio space on the first floor, a recital hall on the second floor, and a meeting room in the basement.

Under Harris' directorship, the conservatory was incorporated by the province of Ontario in 1902, and two years later was affiliated with the University of Toronto as a means to prepare students for the Bachelor in Music from the university. The affiliation ended in 1918, when the HCM began to offer a competing system of examinations. Harris was succeeded by J.E.P. Aldous, W.H. Hewlett, and Bruce Carey who oversaw the administrative functions of the conservatory and presented internationally known artists in the recital hall. After Carey resigned, Hewlett began the first principal of the conservatory.

On May 15, 1965, the conservatory received a royal charter and changed its name to the Royal Hamilton College of Music. During this process, the conservatory renamed its associate diploma (AHCM) in piano, violin, voice, speech arts and drama to ARHCM, and expanded to offer a licentiate diploma (LRHCM) and an honorary fellow's degree (FRHCM).

The conservatory expanded its program to include courses in Suzuki string method, jazz, theatre, and the visual arts. The conservatory also physically grew to offer five branches in the Hamilton area and maintained branches in Windsor, Leamington and Oakville, Ontario.

The college closed in 1980 due to financial problems.

Custodial history

The custodial history of this donation is unknown.

Scope and content

The donation consists of letters patent incorporating the Hamilton Conservatory of Music, by-laws and minutes, financial records and statements, insurance, mortgage statements, invoices, quotes for maintenance work, applications, syllabi, reunion lists, appreciation and honorary fellowship certificates, and correspondence.

The fonds consists of records of the Royal Hamilton College of Music and includes the following series: governance, administrative records, education, financial records, minutes, correspondence and publicity. ᅠ

Notes area

Physical condition

Good. The minute book is in poor condition with the leather broken in parts. The by-law ledger spine is torn at the top and bottom and the end pages has come away from the binding.

Immediate source of acquisition

The source of acquisition for this accession is unknown.


Accessions #01099 and #01100 were consolidated into accession #00615.

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Restrictions on access

Restrictions on access:
The collection is open to researchers. There are restrictions on patron lists, financial campaign materials and teacher lists due to the inclusion of personal information. Permission to be granted by the Manager, Local History & Archives.

Terms governing use, reproduction, and publication

Finding aids

File list available.

Associated materials

The following material can be found in the Local History and Archives (LH&A) department at Hamilton Public Library pertaining to the Royal Hamilton College of Music:

Clipping File – Hamilton – Rewards, prizes etc. Excellence in the Arts Award

Microfilm #273 - Valley Journal
September 1, 1976, pg. 6 (College of Music is old institution with French approach)

Microfilm #338 – Hamilton Journal West
April 30, 1980, pg. 13 (RHCM insolvent, no government funds)
May 21, 1980, pg. 3 (Hamilton Piano dealer wants College of Music)
June 18, 1980, pg. 1 (Apology to Jon Watts)

Microfilm #400 – Journal West
January 18, 1978, pg. 8 (80th birthday party)

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