Celebrating the Blacker Wood; A Tribute to Eleanor MacLean

Wednesday, April 27, 2022 16:00to17:00
McLennan Library Building Rare Books and Special Collections, McLennan Library Building 4th floor, 3459 rue McTavish, Montreal, QC, H3A 0C9, CA

Virtual event description:  

The Blacker Wood collection of natural history at the McGill Library is a treasure trove. Join ROAAr for this special tribute and celebration of the Blacker Wood collection and the living legacy of the late Eleanor MacLean, former Blacker Wood Librarian and generous benefactor of the collection.

Hear from current Blacker Wood curator Lauren Williams and from colleagues and researchers who worked with Eleanor and the rich materials in the collection. Take a peek into some of the newly restored jewels of the collection, and join ROAAr in celebrating the wonders and work of the Blacker Wood Collection.

About Eleanor MacLean

Eleanor Anne MacLean (July 31, 1947 - October 2, 2018)

Eleanor spent most of her career as a librarian at McGill University. Beginning in 1978 with the Blacker Wood Library, she worked with various collections until her retirement in 2011. In addition to her librarian duties with McGill, Eleanor was an active member in the Biomedical and Life Sciences Division of The Special Libraries Association for more than 40 years. Eleanor was known for her unwavering dedication and the depth of knowledge related to the libraries she worked in.

She had a special interest in the history of science; she contributed prefaces to exhibition catalogues and monographs featuring the Blacker Wood's historical treasures, and mounted important historical exhibits for display both at McGill and abroad. She passed away peacefully at her home in Montreal in 2018.

The Library’s natural history treasures have a champion in the late Eleanor MacLean

About The Blacker Wood Collection

The Blacker Wood Library of Zoology and Ornithology was originally founded in 1920 by Dr. Casey Wood, an ophthalmologist whose interest in comparative ophthalmology led to research into the eyes of birds, and a broader interest in birds in general. Dr. Wood travelled widely, and from 1920 to his death in 1942, he was principally responsible for acquiring books, manuscripts, paintings and drawings, and artifacts for the Blacker Wood Library.

Some of the collections well-known to scholars include: the Ivanow collection of Persian, Arabic and Urdu manuscripts, the Gurney reprints on crustacea, the archives of the Montreal Natural History Society, manuscripts on zoology, letters from 19th and 20th century naturalists. Also in the collection are over 10,000 drawings and paintings of animals, including: over 900 paintings by Charles Collins, Peter Paillou, Eleazar Albin, George Edwards and Gerhard Ehret, which were commissioned by the naturalist Taylor White; and the only known paintings by Elizabeth Gwillim - a life-sized collection on birds of India.

The Blacker Wood Library of Biology was formed in 1988 with the merger of the Blacker-Wood Library of Zoology and the Botany-Genetics Library. The collections are widely used by students, faculty and non-McGill researchers.

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