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Historical Criminology (Dr. Dan Horner's seminar CRM 406 winter 2021)

TMU Library Catalogue

TMU Library Catalogue searches for books, e-books, dvds, and other resources. It is a good place to look for known books, or when using the keyword search to find some relevant titles for an assignment. When you find a good title, open the catalogue record in order to identify the assigned Library of Congress subject headings that can be used to identify similar works.

Vices: What are they?
In his 1919 pamphlet Wake Up! Montreal!, author E.I. Hart identifies five "master evils."
The Cigarette
The Drug Habit (narcotics or "dope" such as opium and cocaine)
Gambling (including horse-racing, book-keeping, slot machines)
Drink (while acknowledging the legal sale of liquor and beer, also mentions boot-leggers and smuggling) 
The Social Evil (prostitution and "white slavery"--what we today call human trafficking especially as applied to minors)

The author later comments on other matters: reformatories, penal institutions, and redemptive homes; dangers of public dance halls and movies; immodest dress.

The Report of the Social Survey Commission of Toronto (Toronto: Carswell, 1915) refers the the social evil in subcategories such as: houses of ill-fame, houses of assignation, prostitutes, prostitution, street soliciting, and massage parlors.
Other topics noted in the table of contents are: illicit sale of liquor, feeble-mindedness in relation to vice and recreational facilities, specifically dance halls, rinks, parks and summer amusement resorts, moving pictures, and theatres (burlesque houses, vaudeville houses, regular theatres). 

These two publications give some suggestions for search terms that one might use in historic newspapers and other publications. 

Some useful subject headings:

Alcohol--Law and legislation--Canada--History
Bars (Drinking establishments)--Ontario
Canada--Moral conditions
Drinking of alcoholic beverages--Ontario
Drug control--Canada
Drug traffic--Canada
Gambling--Moral and ethical aspects--Canada--History
Liquor laws--Canada 
Obscenity (Law)--Canada
Pornography--Social aspects--Canada
Sex and law--Canada
Sex and law--Ontario--Toronto
Social control--Canada
Social legislation--Canada--History
Toronto (Ont.)--Social conditions


Keyword search for name of a person


Keyword search for topic
illicit drugs canada
moral panic canada
prostitution history canada
vice control canada

TMU Library Search Everything

TMU Library Search Everything This search engine searches for books and audio-visual materials that are also listed in the library's catalogue, as well as journal articles (chiefly those that are available electronically), theses and dissertations, newspaper coverage from some recent and a selection of archival newspapers, and digitized content such as out-of-copyright books and journals that are available from sources such as The Internet Archive and The Hathi Trust.

Refine your search by content type or other criteria including listing in the library catalogue.

Quick Facts

Encyclopedias and dictionaries

remain useful sources of quick information.  In addition to free sources such as Wikipedia, consider some of our licensed electronic content from publishers such as Oxford University Press, as well as printed items. 

Try keyword searches in the main catalogue using subject or topical terms and either dictionaries, or, encyclopedias

Example keyword searches:

drinking encyclopedias
canada biography dictionaries

Research Tip: When searching the online Dictionary of Canadian Biography, use the advanced search. Try searching distillers AND toronto; or, police AND toronto

Research Tip: When searching in the online Canadian Encyclopedia, you can discover articles about treatment of sexual minorities by searching: police raids

Some Free Online Resources

Many books and journals that were published up to 1925 CE are in the public domain (no longer protected by local copyright laws) and available digitally from major sources such as the Internet Archive (, the Hathi Trust, and from individual libraries, museums and archives via their digital collections. 

Here is a sample search using the Internet Archive and keywords: prohibition ontario toronto
Sample search for a known title: The Black Candle by Emily F. Murphy (1922)

Here is a sample search using the Hathi Trust digital library, with parameters Full-text, and, Full view only and the search terms prostitution ontario toronto
The first result is this 1915 publication: Report of the Social survey commission, Toronto, presented to the City council, October 4th, 1915.