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.
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.
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 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
The Rousseau Collection was formed in the early 1950s from material already in the McGill library and from new acquisitions. It was created as a complement to the David Hume Collection. The collection now comprises some 254 first, early and variant editions of Rousseau's works and contemporary criticism and responses before 1801. As well, there many early nineteenth-century collected editions and other works and there later editions and criticisms and responses.
The Hannah More collection includes many early and later editions of this English religious writer's more important works on education and morals as well as many of the minor items such as plays and poetry. There is a run of thirty-five of the first printing of Cheap Repository Tracts, sixteen of which are by More (1745-1833) as well as a prospectus for the Tracts and later printings of the Tracts.
The Rilke collection was formed in the late 1950s. The collection comprises some 300 titles and includes fiction, drama, poetry, letters and other prose pieces by the Austrian poet (1875-1926). There are many first and limited editions, as well as later and collected editions. Many of Rilke's works appear in translations, primarily in English and French, although there are Italian, Japanese and Chinese translations of some of the works. A number of bilingual editions (German/English; German/French) are also present.
The William Butler Yeats collection is composed of first, early and variant editions of most his writings, some eighty-six volumes in all. There is some criticism and a few books by his son Jack Butler Yeats. The Yeats material is complemented by a selection of material in the Colgate History of Printing Collection published by the Cuala Press.
The Norman Friedman Boy Scout Collection was given to the library by its creator in 1946. Norman H. Friedman was not only a Montreal book collector but also was very active as an adult leader in the scouting movement. The collection contains some 341 titles in 830 volumes including short runs of serials. The material is almost exclusively British and Canadian and dates before 1950. Many of the items are of an ephemeral or pamphlet nature, but there is a copy of the first edition, in parts, of Scouting for Boys (1908) as well as later editions.
The C.P. Snow collection was given to the library in 1987 by its creator Brian Coleman of Vancouver. The collection of some sixty-seven volumes includes both first and later editions of Snow, both fiction and non-fiction. There is an uncorrected proof copy of The Malcontents and a number of autographed copies. Eighty percent have their dust jackets.
Records for the holdings are in the McGill Library on-line catalogue.
This collection, purchased in 1976 by the Comparative Literature programme at McGill, comprises some 1083 volumes of twentieth century western and cowboy fiction. The collection includes runs of the works of B.M. Bower (Bertha Muzzy Sinclair), Max Brand (Frederick Faust), Zane Grey and William MacLeod Raine. Most of the titles are early editions, but a few are later printings by such firms as Grosset & Dunlap. All but two of the volumes are cloth bound and more that sixty percent have their dust-jackets.
Rare Books has extensive holdings of eighteenth, nineteenth and twenty-century English language theatre. The seventy-seven volumes assembled by Sir John C. Hobhouse (1786-1869), the friend of Byron, contain some 480 play scripts, 1711-1818. The collection was assembled by Adam de Cardonnel-Lawson (d. 1820) antiquary or possibly by his son of the same name (d. 1838) whose name is inscribed on many title pages. Many of the volumes have contemporary clippings inserted. These volumes were acquired in 1921.
The identity of the eighteenth-century polemicist who was responsible for the series of letters to the London Public Advertiser, from 21 January 1769 to 21 January 1772 has long been a subject of debate and speculation. These letters were republished in 1772 as the Letters of Junius. The letters themselves remain after more than two hundred years a most startling example of political polemic and invective. The main part of the Junius collection was acquired in 1999; it had once been in the collection of the Mercantile Library Company of Philadelphia.