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 Norman Friedman collection of the Polish Jewish artist Arthur Szyk (1894-1951) was acquired in 1976. The collection comprises 55 titles including the Haggadah (1939, one of 125 copies) and a presentation copy in wrappers of Le juif qui rit (1926); 13 drawings and six boxes of illustrations, ephemera and various other material relating to Szyk.
The collection was given to the library in 1946 by the Montreal book collector Norman H. Friedman. The some 150 volumes in the collection include first and early edition of Stevenson's works and books about Stevenson. Records for the holdings are in the McGill Library on-line catalogue.
The collection was purchased in 1972. The 413 volumes in the collection comprise the majority of the books of the American publishers Stone & Kimball (1893-1897) of Cambridge, Chicago and New York, and Herbert S. Stone & Company (1896-1905) of Chicago and New York. There are many variants in the collection. The work of these publishers is particularly important in terms of book design and the authors they published. Their work is an epitome of late 19th century American literature and book culture.
The Print Collection in the Rare Books and Special Collections comprises more than 11,000 original prints representing a wide range of subject matter, styles, and techniques. The major strengths of the Collection are prints on Napoleon and the Napoleonic era, old master and other European prints, and Canadian prints, both historical and contemporary. There are also significant holdings of late eighteenth- and early-nineteenth-century caricatures, Japanese woodblock prints, optical views, religious chromolithographs, and American historical prints.
In 1997 the Rare Books and Special Collections acquired the Canadian Olympic Collection, after the closing of the Information and Resource Centre located in Olympic House, Montreal. The collection, consisting of copies of publications of the Organizing Committees, Canadian Olympic Association (COA) and the National Olympic Committee, provides a very complete historical record of the modern Olympic Games including the following: Olympic Games, Olympic Winter Games, Pan American Games and the Commonwealth Games.
Between 1874 and 1881, approximately forty county atlases were published in Canada, covering counties in the Maritimes, Ontario and Quebec. Thirty-two of these atlases were produced for Ontario by the following five companies: H. Belden & Co. (17); H.R. Page & Co. (8); Walker & Miles (5); J.H. Meacham & Co. (1); H. Parsell (1). Two types of county atlases exist for Ontario, those that covered a single county or multiple adjacent counties, and those that were published as supplements to Dominion of Canada atlases.
The original part of the Lande Canadiana Collection, named after its benefactor, Dr. Lawrence Lande, was acquired in 1965, and comprised some 2300 items. To this original donation several additions were made between 1965 and 1975, both by gift and purchase. The Lande Collection now consists of some 6,800 items, including pamphlets, maps, prints (among them over fifty early views of Montreal), periodicals, government documents and broadsides, as well as books.
The nucleus of the collection was given to the library in 1946 by the Montreal book collector Norman H. Friedman. To this was added the library's holdings of Kipling and subsequent purchases. The collection of some 1541 items includes first, early, variant and collected editions of Kipling's works. As well, single issues of periodicals containing articles and stories by Kipling are in the collection.
The John Bland Canadian Architecture Collection holds drawings, photographs, architectural models and textual records dating from the 19th century that document the evolution of the McGill campus, the City of Montreal, architectural education and the architectural heritage of Quebec and Canada. For more details, please consult the website of the John Bland Canadian Architecture Collection.