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Dorothy Edith Ryder

b. May 22, 1916, near Hell’s Gate, BC; d. Apr. 6, 2002, Vancouver BC


BA 1950 (British Columbia); BLS 1951 (McGill)


1942-1946 Service in the Armed Forces
1951-1964 Branch Librarian, Calgary Branch, University of Alberta (1961 became University of Calgary)
1964-1966 Deputy Chief Librarian, University of Calgary
1966-1981 Reference Collection Development Specialist, National Library of Canada. Public Service Branch

Selected publications:

Ryder, Dorothy E. (1951). “Bibliography of reference material on Canadian history.” Montreal: McGill University Library School. MS.

Ryder, Dorothy E. (1966). The Library, University of Alberta, Calgary, 1957-1965. Scrapbook. (includes: annual reports, financial reports, newspaper clippings, photographs, announcements and miscellaneous papers held at the University of Calgary).

Ryder, Dorothy E. (1973). Canadian reference sources: a selective guide. Ottawa: Canadian Library Association.

Ryder, Dorothy E. (1973). “Canadian reference works 1972: a selection.” Canadian Library Journal, 30 (July-August): 346-351.

Ryder, Dorothy E. (1974). “Canadian reference works 1973: a selection.” Canadian Library Journal, 31 (August): 367-370, 374.

Ryder, Dorothy E. (1975). “Bruce Braden Peel: a preliminary bibliography.” Papers of the Bibliographical Society of Canada,v.14, p.14-16.

Ryder, Dorothy E. (1975). “Canadian reference works, 1975.” Canadian Library Journal, .32 (August): 295-297.

Ryder, Dorothy E. (1975).  Canadian reference sources: a selective guide: supplement. Ottawa: Canadian Library Association.

Ryder, Dorothy E. (1975). “City directories – Alberta: a preliminary listing.” Library Association of Alberta Bulletin, v.7, p. 130-143.

Ryder, Dorothy E. (1976). “The theatre in Canada.” Reviews of A Bibliography of theatre history, 1583-1975 and A Bibliography of English-Language theatre and drama in Canada, 1800-1914. Papers of the Bibliographical Society of Canada, v 15, p.73-75.

Ryder, Dorothy E. (1977). “Canadian references [sic] sources 1976: a selection.” Canadian Library Journal, 31 (August): 259-262.

Ryder, Dorothy E. (1978). “Canadian reference sources – a ten year overview.” Canadian Library Journal, 35 (August): 289-293.

Ryder, Dorothy E. (1978). Canadian reference sources 1977: a selection.``Canadian Library Journal, 35 (August): 283-285.

Ryder, Dorothy E. (1978). The Canadian West & the North: a bibliographic overview. Toronto: Published for the Bibliographical Society of Canada.

Ryder, Dorothy E. (1978) “State of the art survey of reference sources of Canada.” Reference Services Review, 6 (October): 11-14.

Ryder, Dorothy E. (1979). Checklist of Canadian directories, 1790-1950/ Repêrtoire des annuaires canadiens, 1790-1950 .Ottawa: National Library of Canada/Bibliothèque nationale du Canada.

Ryder, Dorothy E. (!979). “Canadian reference sources 1978: a selection.” Canadian Library Journal, 36 (August):197-199.

Ryder, Dorothy E. (1979) “William Moore.” Dictionary of Canadian biography. Toronto: University of Toronto Press. p. 556-557.

Ryder, Dorothy E. (1980). “Canadian reference sources 1979: a selection.” Canadian Library Journal, 37 (August): 275-280.

Ryder, Dorothy E. (1981).  Canadian reference sources: a selective guide. 2nded. Ottawa: Canadian Library Association

Ryder, Dorothy E. (1981) . “John Bentley” Encyclopedia of music in Canada. Toronto: University of Toronto Press, p 79.

Ryder, Dorothy E. (1983). “The Red River Public Library, June 1822.” Papers of the Bibliographical Society of Canada, v.22, p. 36-55.

Ryder, Dorothy E. (1985). “Alfred Hawkins.” Dictionary of Canadian Biography, 1851-1860. Toronto: University of Toronto Press, v. 8, p. 384-386.

Ryder, Dorothy E. (1994). “A library grows in Calgary, 1906-1966”. Ex Libris News, no. 15, Spring, p. 23-31.

Pace, Helen, comp. (1974).  Indian-Inuit authors: an annotated bibliography=Autheurs indiens et inuit bibliographie annotêe. Compiled by Helen Pace with the assistance of Dorothy Ryder. Edited by Helen Rodgers. Ottawa: National Library of Canada. Information Canada.


Canadian Library Association; Bibliographical Society of Canada; Association for Canadian Theatre Research; Friends of the National Library; Ex Libris Association; University Women`s Club


In March 2003, “ELA received a bequest of $5000 from the estate of Dorothy Ryder, a long time member of the association. This is perhaps the largest individual contribution in our history, and forms a significant fund which the board agreed should be used for special purposes rather than general operating expenses. As well, it was agreed that it would be appropriate to use the fund to support a number of projects over a period of time, rather than one large project.” At a subsequent Board meeting, a number of possible specific projects appropriate to Dorothy’s interests were identified, including: a biography project, the web site, the work of the Library Education Committee, Canadian library history research and sponsorship of meetings of ELA outside of the GTA.


An early legacy of Dorothy’s professional career was the beginning and development, in the early1950s, of a branch library of the University of Alberta which was to become the University of Calgary. Its library opened with 21,000 volumes and had grown to 180,000 volumes by the time Dorothy had moved to the National Library of Canada in 1966. This legacy is fully described in her article entitled “A library grows in Calgary, 1906-1966, published in Ex Libris News. However she is best known for her work as Reference Collection Development Specialist at the National Library of Canada. Peter Grieg has postulated that “this position might have been created specifically for her, given her abiding interest and ability in research. And the uniqueness of the position is suggested in that it did not exist prior to Dorothy’s incumbency and she was not replaced on her retirement.” Her flair for research and her ability to take large quantities of information and reorganize them into a more useful and manageable reference source naturally led to the compilation of Canadian Reference Sources: a Selective Guide which was published in two editions. Ultimately users popularly named it “`Ryder”. As described by Peter Greig, the value of her contribution to Canadian bibliography is immeasurable as is exemplified in the reviews of her works and in the republication of Canadian Reference Sources. Her interest in bibliographical research stretched beyond her working life into retirement and broadened into other interests such as art, architecture and genealogy. “She maintained her interest in Irish history, Canadian political and social history, and continued her thematic perusal of mysteries. Thematic. in that at one point she was reading only mysteries dealing with art treasures, then it was mysteries written by lawyers, and throughout, mysteries by Canadian authors.”


“In Memoriam” Feliciter, no. 4, 2002, p. 200.
University of Toronto Library Catalogue.
Ryder, Dorothy E, “A library grows in Calgary, 1906-1966.” Ex Libris News,Spring 1994, no.15, p. 23-31.
The Dorothy Ryder bequest.” ELAN, no. 34, 2003, p.12.
Greig, Peter E. “Dorothy E Ryder, 22 May 1916-6 April 2002” MS, 8p. unpublished.
“Retirement” National Library News, v. 13, no. 7, July-August 1981, p. 8.

biographies/dorothy-edith-ryder.txt · Last modified: 2023/11/23 19:48