Library history

Graham library east entrance

The John W. Graham Library embodies nearly two centuries of vision, energy, and commitment to the academic enterprise of Trinity College. 

Today the Graham Library is located in the Munk School of Global Affairs (formerly Devonshire House), and occupies a heritage building renewed for the 21st-century,

The Library serves Trinity's undergraduate Arts and Science students, the graduate Divinity students and faculty of Trinity and Wycliffe Colleges, Trinity and Wycliffe alumni/ae, and the greater University of Toronto and Anglican Church communities who seek our resources.

Key Facts


Old Trinity College Gates Queen Street West

  • In 1827 John Strachan, the first Bishop of Toronto, secured 400 books from the Society for Promoting Christian Knowledge, now held in Graham Library's Special Collections (See the SPCK Collection for more information). The collection was to be the foundation for the future library of King's College.
  • John Strachan went on to found the University of Trinity College in 1851, after King's College became the University of Toronto. The University of Trinity College was located in what is today known as Trinity Bellwoods Park, on Queen Street West and included a library.

Old Trinity College Library

  • Trinity College moved to the main University of Toronto Campus in 1925, where the new library was to be located in Seeley Hall. However, the library remained in the basement level of Trinity College until 2000 when the John W. Graham Library opened in the renovated Munk School of Global Affairs building.
  • The year 2000 also marked the official merger of Trinity College and Wycliffe College's theological collections. John W. Graham Library continues to provide library services and theological study resources to both Trinity and Wycliffe College theology students today.

The Munk School of Global Affairs Building

  • The Munk School of Global Affairs building houses both Graham Library, and also the Munk School of Global Affairs at Trinity College.
  • Architect Eden Smith, 1906-7 designed the building in Arts & Crafts tradition, and it was a student residence, Devonshire House, until 1997.
  • The shared building opened in 2000 after a major renovation designed by Tom Payne of Kuwabara, Payne, McKenna, Blumberg Architects. The entire interior of the building was gutted and modernized, with the exception of the central fireplace stack.

John Webb Graham

Relief sculpture John W. Graham's face Sculpture of John W. Graham Library by Dorothy de Pedéry-Hunt, image: John W. Graham Library


  • Graham Library's namesake is John Webb Graham.
  • John W. Graham married Velma Rogers in 1941 and became stepfather to Edward S. (Ted ) Rogers.
  • In 1997 Ted Rogers (Class of 5T7) donated $2.5 million to Trinity College for a new library named in honour of his stepfather.

Education & Career

  • Graduated from Osgoode Hall Law School, was called to the Bar in 1936, and was appointed Queen's Counsel in 1956.
  • Was a member of the Governor General's Body Guard and Horse Guard and later served with the Royal Canadian Armoured Corps in the Second World War and was awarded the Efficiency Decoration.  
  • Had a distinguished law career, becoming a partner with the law firm Payton, Biggs & Graham, and later with Cassels, Brock & Blackwell where he continued to provide legal counsel until the time of his death.

Contributions to the Community

John W. Graham and Ted Rogers at the groundbreaking ceremony for the John W. Graham Library John W. Graham and Ted Rogers at groundbreaking ceremony for the John W. Graham Library, image: Trinity College Archives

  • Active member of the Anglican Church and was presented with the Anglican Award of Merit (1990) and appointed lay Canon of St. James Cathedral by the Bishop of Toronto (1994).
  • At Trinity College, he was a longtime member of Corporation and Chairman of the Executive Committee for many years.
  • It was John Graham's foresight that led to the acquisition of the Devonshire House property, now the Munk School of Global Affairs building and site of the John W. Graham Library.
  • John W. Graham died on 9 January 1998 in Toronto, Ontario.
  • The bronze bas-relief in the entrance of Graham Library was made by Dora de Pédery-Hunt.