Columns / Uncategorized

Treasures of the Inforum

By Stephanie Abba

As far as I know, our beloved Inforum doesn’t hold any actual treasures – unless you count the amazing staff – but there IS a secret tunnel under the building that leads to Robarts and Fisher? (I’m hoping this means that there are more secret tunnels and hidden doorways all over campus that I’ll discover someday in a National Treasure-esque adventure! But I digress…)

The treasures of the Inforum I’m planning to talk about in this column are some of the holdings of the Inforum that you may not run into on any syllabus, but that I’ve encountered while browsing the stacks and found interesting, entertaining, or just fun.

First up:
Fashion Victims: The Pleasures and Perils of Dress in the 19th Century by Alison Matthews David and Elizabeth Semmelhack. This small volume – just over 60 pages long – is the catalogue of an exhibition currently showing at the Bata Shoe Museum, just up the street from our faculty, at St. George and Bloor.

The catalogue relates the stories told in the exhibition: the experiences of the designers and wearers of various types of fashions and the dangers of both manufacturing and wearing items such as corsets, hats, shoes, dresses. Don’t miss the exposé on “arsenic green” on pages 14-15! Do you know how the so-called “Mad Hatter” in Alice in Wonderland got his name? Check out page 36!

Originally scheduled to end in the summer of 2016, the Museum’s website now says Fashion Victims will be on display until April 2018! (

Other exhibits currently* on at the Bata Shoe Museum are:

  • Art and Innovation: Traditional Arctic Footwear from the Bata Shoe Museum Collection
  • Standing Tall: The Curious History of Men in Heels
  • All About Shoes: Footwear Through the Ages (semi-permanent)

*subject to change, reflects information on the Bata Shoe Museum website as of January 30 2017

If you’ve seen the exhibition, re-visit it with the catalogue! And if you haven’t, why not swing by? Admission on Thursday evenings from 5-8pm is Pay-What-You-Can (suggested $5 donation).

See you in the stacks!


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