Series consists of correspondence created and received by Sylva Gelber while she was administrative officer with the Department of National Health and Welfare (1950-1968), and Director of the Women's Bureau, Department of Labour (1968-1975), a consultant to the Deputy Minister of Labour (1975-1978) and briefly Vice-President of the Canadian Human Rights Foundation (1978). The general correspondence (1988-2001) with family members, friends, business acquaintances, and with various institutions and universities documents both her personal relationships and her social activities. Also found are semi-official letters to and from politicians and well-known figures.
Files on the Gelber and Morris families relate to Sylva's family history project. There is an accumulation of background information on the various family members, including notes, genealogy charts, correspondence, and her written recollections and anecdotes. Amongst these files is Gelber's correspondence to her mother and brothers while in Palestine and England, mostly dating between 1946 and 1948. Files on the Gelber family also contain material relating to Sylva's brothers Lionel, Marvin, Arthur and Michael.
Gelber's close connection to the Jewish community and her support of the arts and academia are well represented in this series through files on the Canada Council (1957-2001); the Canada-Israel Cultural Foundation (C.I.C.F.) (1963-1997), the Jewish Affairs files (1963-2001); the Jerusalem Rubin Academy of Music and Dance (1987-2001); the Music Competitions and Organizations files (1988-1998); the Lionel Gelber Foundation (1987-2001) and Prize (1989-1997); The Royal Conservatory of Music, including Sara Gelber Scholarship award recipients (1956-2001); and the like. Correspondence regarding the Marvin Gelber Prize, awarded to scholars writing in the area of international affairs and foreign policy are included in this series.
Series also includes certificates and other materials relating to awards received by Gelber such as the Order of Canada, honorary doctorates from various Canadian universities and awards granted to her during her professional career as a public servant (1954-1997). As well, there are report cards and other miscellaneous documents from high school and university days (1923-1949).
Series includes other miscellaneous materials such as Gelber's travel documents, permits and other official papers; correspondence about Gelber's vocal recordings sent to family members and friends (1959-1995); a broadside from a 1931 production of the play "The Dybbuk", in which Gelber performed the lead role; a tribute book prepared by the Canada Council (2000); and 1 postal cover (first day cover) and 1 pane of the Order of Canada issued on 30 June 1977.
Series also includes photographic material that depicts Gelber's family members, acquaintances and social activities which correspond to the textual records. These include photographs of Gelber at receptions with the Ambassador of Israel to Canada David Sultan and his wife (1998-2000); the Canadian Institute of International Affairs Middle East Study Trip group photo at Camp Ziouani, Golan Heights (1979); a tribute to Gelber by the Canada Israel Cultural Foundation (1996); Gelber receiving honourary doctorate degrees by prominent Canadian universities (1976); depictions of her circle of friends and acquaintances such as Japanese MP Mayumi Moriyama, musician Jon Kimura Parker; and photos of her family and relatives such as the Alexandor, Charney, Eisen, Haber, Hermant and Rigal families (ca. 1947-2001).
Some photographs are identified as created by Bruno Schlumberger, the Ottawa Citizien, Max Sauer and Dr. Norman Brwin.
Series also includes a recording of an interview by host Lou Corbin with Lionel Gelber dating to 1967 on the radio show "Issues in the Air" (WFBR Baltimore) regarding his book "The Alliance of Necessity".