April 5, 2020Print | PDF
Julia Hendry, Head of Archives and Special Collections at the Wilfrid Laurier University Library, passed away April 3 at her home after a courageous battle with cancer.
She leaves behind her husband, Tom Perrin, and sons Benjamin, 13, and Elliott, 10, as well as her extended family and many friends and colleagues at Laurier and in the broader library and archives community.
A service will be held Monday, April 6 at 1 p.m. Due to current pandemic restrictions, attendance will be for Julia’s immediate family only, but friends and colleagues are invited to join them via live-stream at henrywalser.com/live-streaming.
Julia was an accomplished archivist, librarian, researcher and teacher. She was also a cherished co-worker who fostered strong relationships across the Laurier community.
“Julia was a beloved colleague, a bright light, talented, excellent and always forward looking, truly one of those people who touched so many lives at the university in such a meaningful and profound way,” said Gohar Ashoughian, Laurier’s University Librarian. “Her leadership of the Laurier archives was always focused on making strong connections with donors, faculty, students, administrators and community to highlight and celebrate Laurier.”
Julia earned an Honours BA in history from Queen’s University in 1996. Her passion for archives began with a co-op placement in the Rare Books Division of the National Library of Canada (now Library and Archives Canada) while doing a master’s degree in library and information science at Western University.
Upon graduation, she was hired by the University of Illinois at Chicago as an assistant special collections librarian and rose to the position of University Archivist. She also worked with the records of social support organizations such as Hull House and the Chicago Urban League. Engaging with this type of material was rewarding to Julia, who throughout her career and life engaged with issues of social justice, and was drawn to documenting people and issues under-represented in archives. At Laurier, for example, Julia was actively engaged with decolonizing the academy, which she viewed as essential work, and was instrumental in organizing the “The Land We Are” initiative that explored local indigenous history.
In 2010, she and Tom moved to Waterloo where Julia had accepted the position of Head, Archives and Special Collections at Laurier. She hit the ground running and made the university archives a key resource for Laurier’s centennial celebrations in 2011.
In the years that followed, Julia demonstrated leadership and vision. She helped expand the scope of the archives collections; enhanced collection-management and access systems; furthered the digitization of the archive collections; and sought funding and built partnerships internally and externally. Examples include the strong relationship she developed with the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada to make Laurier the home of its National and Eastern Synod Archives; her role in acquiring the records of the Royal Canadian College of Organists, composer Alfred Kunz, map publisher Ward Kaiser, environmentalist Louisette Langteigne, and the Oak Ridges Moraine Foundation; and her work to expand access to the national polling data donated to the university by Ipsos Canada.
During her time at Laurier, Julia was active in the life of the university community, serving on numerous committees and as a member of Senate. Externally, she was involved with a variety of local organizations, including the Waterloo Regional Heritage Foundation. She was also an active member of the Association of Canadian Archivists, the Archives Association of Ontario, and other professional organizations.
Throughout her career, however, Julia especially cherished the time she spent inspiring students and researchers to work with primary sources.
Julia's memorial can be viewed on the Henry Walser website.
*Due to safety precautions related to the COVID-19 pandemic, the university will not be asking staff to lower flags to half-mast at this time. The university will celebrate Julia’s life and contributions to the Laurier community when it is safe to do so.
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