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 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 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 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 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 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 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 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 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.
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.