Photographer Courtney Milne died in 2010. (CBC)

The wife of the late Canadian photographer Courtney Milne has donated his entire personal collection to the University of Saskatchewan archives.

The dean of the university's library says Sherrill Miller's gift includes more than 550,000 original images in slide and digital format.

There are also 2,000 prints, textual records, audio and visual media, Milne's reference library and websites created using his work.

Dean Vicki Williamson says the collection is extremely valuable to the U of S because of its size.

She says it's also special because Milne, who died in 2010, was a University of Saskatchewan alumnus.

Milne, a lifelong resident of Saskatchewan, earned international acclaim for his photography during a more than 30-year career.

A prolific photographer and author or co-author of more than a dozen books, he explored sacred sites and landscapes around the globe.

An entry in the Saskatchewan Encyclopedia says Milne took hundreds of thousands of photos on all seven continents for a series of books called "The Sacred Earth Collection."

His work is part of the permanent collections of over 30 galleries and he was awarded numerous honours, including the Gold Medal for Distinction in Canadian Photography (1993) and a nomination for the Governor General's Awards in visual and media arts (2004).

"We are honoured that Sherrill Miller chose the University of Saskatchewan's library as the recipient of this incredible gift," Williamson said in a release Tuesday.

"This donation is one not only to our library, but to our entire university community. Our faculty and students will have access to the collection in their teaching and research pursuits," added university president Ilene Busch-Vishniac.

Miller said her late husband would be pleased to know his personal collection will remain in his home province and the city of his birth.

"Courtney envisioned his work to be a living legacy, cherished and protected in Saskatchewan by his alma mater," she said. "I am thrilled that the U of S will not only be the caretaker of this bequest, but will find innovative ways to keep his dream alive."