Dr. Casey Albert Wood, a McGill graduate, had a very successful career in the United States as an ophthalmologist. His interest in the differences in the eyes of birds and humans eventually led to a broader interest in ornithology and it was he who in 1920 founded the Blacker-Wood Collection as an ornithology library with a supporting collection in vertebrate zoology. The focus of the library gradually came to incorporate all aspects of zoology except entomology.
From 1920 until his death in 1942, Dr. Wood had the principal responsibility for acquiring materials for the library. Under his guidance, Blacker-Wood became one of North America's principal research collections in zoology. Among the special collections are: the Ivanow collection of Persian, Arabic and Urdu manuscripts, the Gurney reprints on crustacea, the archives of the Montreal Natural History Society, 300 manuscripts on zoology, over 3,000 folders of letters from 19th and 20th century naturalists and over 10,000 paintings and drawings of animals. Records for the holdings are in the McGill Library on-line catalogue. The collection also includes the Feather Book of Dionisio Minaggio, which is made entirely from the skins and feathers of birds. The McGill Library's Digital Collections include images of the book available online.