Quick Links

Montreal

Decorated Cloth Bindings

The collection was established in the late 1970s. Books with decorated cloth bindings were gathered from uncatalogued materials, including donations. The collection has been added to subsequently by purchase and donation. The collection is composed of some 1100 volumes significant for their decorated (pictorial or lettered) cloth bindings published between 1850 and 1950. The bulk of the collection falls between approximately 1890 and 1920. The collection is arranged chronologically and access is through card files of main entries and illustrators.

Discovery and Exploration of North America

The strength of the collection is the discovery and exploration of North America. Among the earliest accounts of voyages to North America is Ramusio's Navagationi et Viaggi (Venice, 1556). Maps of discovery include Cornelius Claesz's Nova Francia (Amsterdam, 1594), Willem Barents Deliniatio Cartae trium navagationum (1598) and Hessel Gerritsz's Tabula Nautica (Amsterdam, 1612). Manuscript plans of New France by Jehan Bourdon dated 1635-1642, are also worthy of mention.

Bookplate Collection

The bookplate collection comprises more than 6000 Canadian and non-Canadian bookplates. The bookplate collection of the Montrealer Philippe Masson (1911-1944), including both personal and institutional plates, contains the major portion of the Canadian bookplates, over 3000, and is arranged alphabetically. It was acquired in 1972. There are indexes to the Masson collection including ones for names, designers and mottoes and quotations. The rest of the bookplate collection is divided between armorial and non-armorial plates with the Canadian plates arranged separately.

European Prints

The European section of the Collection, consisting of over 2,000 prints, includes works by some of the most renowned figures in the history of prints, such as Albrecht Dürer, Jacques Callot, Giovanni Battista Piranesi, and Wenceslaus Hollar. Modern European printmaking is represented by works by Stanley Anderson, Seymour Haden, Albert Besnard, Edgar Chahine, Felix Braquemond, and others.

History of the Book

There is a great variety of material—Canadian, English and European—in the collection documenting the history of the book. In addition to a number of single items and small collections including a copy of the will of Thomas Bewick's daughter Isabella (1883), a letter of Jean Baptiste Bodoni (1792), a letter of Fleury Mesplet (1789), and two letters of Brown and Gilmour (1768), there are a number of large archival collections. Of particular interest are the papers of the English book designer Christopher Sandford (c.

European Maps

There are some excellent maps of London and Paris, as well as some regional plans of England and France. Louis Bretez's Plan de Paris (Paris, 1739) is a magnificent bird's-eye view. Joseph Nicolas de L'Isle's Atlas Russicus (St. Petersburg, 1745) exemplifies the French contribution to Russian cartography. Dmitriy Petin's [General map of the Russian Empire] (Moscow, 1785) is an important example of Russian cartography.

Lawrence Lande William Blake Collection

The collection was established in 1953, the nucleus being the two hundred and fifty items donated by Dr. Lawrence Lande. It has been added to regularly. The collection includes first, early and variant editions of William Blake's literary works and his illustrations for books by Blair (The Grave), Young (Night Thoughts) and others. As well, there are facsimiles of Blake's coloured works; original engravings by Blake and his school; and editions of works by his friends and followers such as Fuseli, Palmer and Calvert. There is also modern criticism of Blake.

Claude Prosper Jolyot de Crébillon (fils) Collection

The collection of Crébillon fils (1701-1777) was acquired from a private collector in 1995. To this were added some titles and editions already held by Rare Books. The collection includes over sixty editions of Crébillon's various books, many of which are quite scarce. The collection is particularly rich in variants. For example, Le Sopha is present in three distinct issues of the first edition of 1742 as well as a separate edition of the same year. There is also an unrecorded 1782 edition of Le Sopha.

Sir William Dawson Pamphlet Collection

The Sir William Dawson Pamphlet Collection was acquired in 1901 with the rest of his library. Dawson (1820-1899) was an eminent nineteenth-century geologist and Principal of McGill University (1854-1893). The collection consists of some 1762 items in thirty-one bound volumes and fifty-one pamphlet boxes. It includes off-prints and pamphlets on scientific subjects a substantial number of which bear presentation inscriptions. Sixteen pamphlet boxes contain items by Dawson himself and one box material about him. There are a few letters bound in.

David Hume Collection

The David Hume Collection has its origins in the chance discovery by Professor Raymond Klibansky of Hume's own copy of the Olivetus edition of Cicero's works (Paris, 1740-1741) in a cupboard at the Faculty Club in 1946. (See: Raymond Klibansky, "Hidden Treasures at McGill", Fontanus vol. II (1989), 79.) Professor Klibansky also describes in this article some of the other books from Hume's library held by McGill and some of the manuscript letters in the Hume Collection (79-82). Following this discovery, Professor Klibansky with Professors J.W.A. Hickson and Charles W.

Ralph Gustafson Collection of Canadian Poetry

The collection constitutes part of the personal library of the Canadian poet Ralph Gustafson (1909-1995). He began to collect seriously during the Second World War as part of his work on an anthology, the Penguin Book of Canadian Verse. The collection was acquired in 1991 and has been kept as a unit. It consists of volumes of Canadian poetry covering the century, or so, from roughly 1880 to 1980. It is rich in presentation and association copies and contains most of the rarest books of Canadian verse since the time of the Confederation poets.

Canadian History

The holdings of private papers and archives relevant to Canadian history are extensive. They can be grouped under a number of subjects: the fur trade and early business papers, family papers, politics etc.

Rodolphe Joubert Collection on French Canada

Rodolphe Joubert donated his collection to the library in 1979. It consists of over 3000 books, pamphlets and periodicals, almost entirely in French. The collection documents the history of Quebec mainly from the 1860s to the 1970s and includes material on French Canadian politics, economics and cultural life. There are some eighteenth-century items as well. Of particular note are the Quebec parish histories. Records for the holdings are in the McGill Library on-line catalogue.

Philip Jaffe Communist Pamphlets

This collection was acquired in 1969. The collection comprises some 687 items dating from the 1920s to the 1960s. Much of the material is from the United States including a long run of pamphlets by the American Communist Earl Browder. Other material comes from China, the former Soviet Union (including a series of pamphlets by Joseph Stalin), India and other countries. There are numerous reports of Communist Party meetings from various countries. All of the material is in English.

Canadian Prints

The Print Collection includes approximately 1000 Canadian prints. Historical prints include Hervey Smyth's Six Views of the Most Remarkable Places of the Gulf and Rivers St. Lawrence (published in 1760), Richard Short's Twelve Views of the Principal Buildings in Quebec... (1761), a hand-coloured set of twenty-three lithographs, Sketches in the Canadas, (1840) after drawings by Coke Smyth, and a set of four Montreal street scenes, drawn by John Murray and engraved and published by Adolphus Bourne in the early 1840s.

Canadian Literature

A representative selection of the papers of nineteenth and twentieth century Canadian authors is held among the private papers and archives. This material includes single items, small bodies of private papers and a number of large archives for both major and minor figures. The holdings are particularly strong in poetry.

Roy States Black History Collection

The Roy States collection was donated by his estate in 1981. States, a long-time employee of McGill University, was concerned both with documenting the Black experience and providing a positive image for Black youth. To this end, he gathered together a body of diverse materials concerning Afro-American history. The collection of some 1,200 items includes monographs, newspapers, off-prints, articles and some photographs. While much of the material relates to North America in general, there is material relating to Canada and Montreal.

Redpath Tracts

Established ca 1900, the collection has as its nucleus forty volumes of political pamphlets gathered by Sir John Bramston, M.P. (1611-1700). To this core, acquired by Mrs. Peter Redpath of Montreal in 1901, were added a series of tracts given by her husband, the Montreal businessman and philanthropist, Peter Redpath in 1880 and another series given by Mrs. Redpath in 1903. Extensive additions have been made since.

Arthur Rackham Collection

The Arthur Rackham Collection was acquired in 1955 from the collector Dr. Arthur C. Hill of Sherbrooke, Quebec. Additional items have been added since and the collection now comprises some 200 monographs with illustrations by Rackham, numerous issues of the early magazines to which he contributed illustrations and some ephemera. It is representative of the artwork that Rackham produced throughout his career with examples of most of the different media in which he worked as a book illustrator.

Walter de la Mare Collection

The collection was acquired in 1992 from an American family that had been friends of Walter de la Mare (1873-1956). The collection includes most of Walter de la Mare's published writings, often in multiple editions; in many cases the dust jacket is present. Many of the volumes are author's presentation copies. The collection includes 135 titles, 89 letters from de la Mare, 3 photographic portraits and numerous off-prints.

Records for the holdings are in the McGill Library on-line catalogue.

Map Collection (Exploration and Travel)

The map collection consists of about 6,000 maps and 500 atlases, dating from 1556 to 1940. The collection strengths are discovery and exploration of North America, Montreal and Europe. Early atlases include Claudius Ptolemy's Geografia (Padua, 1620-1621), Thomas Porcacchi's L'Isole piu famuso del Mondo (Padua, 1620), and Andreas Cellarius's Harmonia macrocosmica (Amsterdam: Jansson, 1661). Significant maps in the collection include plates from the atlases of Willem Blaeu, Gerard Mercator and Abraham Ortelius.

Gregor Malantschuk Søren Kierkegaard Collection

The collection was formed by the Danish Kierkegaard scholar Prof. Gregor Malantschuk and acquired in 1980. The collection now numbers some 1553 monographs and includes a complete set of first editions of Søren Kierkegaard's works and a reconstruction of a significant part of his private library. A copy of the sale catalogue of his library is also part of the collection.

Blackader-Lauterman Collection

The Blackader-Lauterman Collection of Rare Books was formed following the First World War from two private endowments and augmented by numerous donations and purchases. Architectural treatises from the Renaissance to the 18th century are at the core of the Blackader-Lauterman Collection. First and early editions of Vitruvius, Alberti, Serlio, Palladio, Scamozzi, Vasari, Vignola, du Cerceau, Blondel, Perrault, and Ledoux are among the most important titles.

Medieval European Manuscripts

There are some two hundred and twenty-five medieval European manuscript books, including complete texts, fragments of texts, single leaves and initials. These date from the late eighth or early ninth centuries to the eighteenth century. Although Italian material of the fifteenth century predominates, there is also French and German material and some English and Spanish.

Napoleon Collection

The Napoleon collection was a particular interest of the University Librarian, Richard Pennington, (1947-1964) and was developed during his tenure. Beginning with a small donation of books and prints from the Canadian publisher Frederick Southam, the collection was assembled with the advice of Paul Fleuriot de Langle, curator of the Musée Marmottan in Paris and a specialist in Napoleon and the art of the Empire, and of the Parisian print dealer Paul Prouté.

Montreal Maps (and the Province of Quebec)

Montreal maps span the years 1556 to 1940. Examples of these are: Gastaldi's La Terra de Hochelaga nella Nova Francia (1556) from Ramusio's Navagationi, John Adams' Map of the city and suburbs of Montreal (1825) and James Cane's Topographical and pictorial map of the city of Montreal (1846). Early maps of Quebec include the manuscript map of Samuel Gale and John B.

William Colgate Printing Collection

The collection was established in 1954 based on the several hundred books of typographical interest given in the 1940s and 1950s to the library by William George Colgate of Toronto. The collection is noted for its extensive holdings on the history and technique of printing; calligraphy and letter forms; design of typefaces and typographical productions; type founding and type founders' specimens and printers' manuals and handbooks, including those for colour printing and paper making.

Napoleon Prints

The approximately 3,750 historical prints concerning Napoleon and his era include numerous portraits of Napoleon, members of his family, and generals and other associates, scenes of military and political events, caricatures, and allegorical representations. Scenes glorifying Napoleon and his soldiers by some of the most important French printmakers of the Napoleonic Era, artists such as Vernet, Charlet, Géricault, and Raffet, are well represented.

F.R. Scott Library

The first accession of the library of the Canadian poet and lawyer F.R. Scott (1899-1985) came in 1988, the gift of Mrs. Marian Scott. The library contains volumes of Canadian (English and French), American and English poetry from the 1920s to the 1980s, and much fiction, belles-lettres, non-Canadian literature, and books on political and social issues. The second accession of books, mainly on English literature and politics, was received in 1994. Included are Marianne Moore's Poems (1921, her first book), many titles by T.S. Eliot, W.H.

Norman Friedman Christopher Morley Collection

The collection was formed by the Montreal book collector Norman H. Friedman and given to McGill in 1946. It includes some 450 first, early, signed and variant editions of books by Morley (1890-1957) and books to which he contributed.

Questions? Ask Us!    Email  •  Chat  •  Phone            Comments/suggestions? Please let us know.