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100 Years of Canadian Children’s Books: 1830 to 1930 (July - September 2010)
What were Canadian children reading in their homes and schools? This exhibition helps answer this question by providing a sampling of the books being read in eastern Canadian towns and villages during a one hundred year period, beginning in the 1830s. Items on display include a selection of children’s literature, school primers and textbooks written by Canadian authors or published in Canada. There are delights for the eye and puzzles for the mind and something for everyone! McLennan Library Building, Lande Reading Room, Fourth floor. July 6 until September 30th, 2010.
L'amour, toujours l'amour (February 2007)
Historical and contemporary works on the themes of love and romance from various collections in the McGill Library's Rare Books and Special Collections.
Items range from books and prints from the 18th and 19th centuries, including Manuel des boudoirs, ou, Essais érotiques, 1787, to a deluxe limited edition of poems by Leonard Cohen titled "You do not have to love me," published in Outremont in 1996.
Are We There Yet? (July - August 2009)
"Are we there yet?" is an almost universal cry that provides the title for this summer exhibition of powerful visual images centered on Canadian leisure held by Rare Books and Special Collections. The exhibition features promotional and informational paraphernalia from hotels and restaurants; trains, ships and cars. Highlights include Montreal's Mount Royal Hotel’s $1 breakfast menu, publicity materials from Beautiful Vancouver and the Beaches of Atlantic Canada campaigns as well as brochures and maps that call for travel through the Rockies and the promise of romantic adventure at Kakabeka Falls, Ontario. Relax and refresh yourself with 150 years of Canadian Summer holidays! McLennan Library Building fourth floor lobby. July 6 until August 20th, 2010
Art Deco lives on! (May 2009)
In celebration of the 10th World Congress on Art Deco, the McGill Library is hosting exhibitions in several locations, uncovering treasures from the holdings of McGill Library’s Rare Books and Special Collections and Blackader-Lauterman Library of Architecture and Art. These will explore lithographs alive with the energy and excitement of the twenties, uncover the unique fashion and accessories of the period in the pages of the Gazette du bon ton: art, modes et frivolities, highlight the distinctive book design infused by the colourful and energetic spirit of the times, walk us through life in Montreal in the period and offer insight into the ongoing influence on modern design with a display of recent publications on all aspects of Art Deco.
The Art of Translation in the Eighteenth Century (2008)
"Traduttori, traditori" is an old Italian proverb: "translators, traitors". Are translators really traitors? Does translation undo the confusion of tongues wrought by the destruction of the Tower of Babel or only add to the confusion? What role does translation play in the dissemination of ideas and of the results of the voyages of discovery? Does translation aid or impede understanding among societies and cultures? What is the role of women in translation? The current exhibition tries to address these and other interesting and sometimes perplexing questions about the practice of translation in the eighteenth century.
The exhibition is divided into a number of sections based on the following large themes: Literature, Women as Translators, the Tools of Translation, Architecture and Art, Science and Exploration, Religion, and Politics. Within these sections, a variety of materials have been chosen to illustrate both translations of particular works or authors into different languages and the interplay among authors, translators, translations and illustrators.
The eighteenth century saw the translation and widespread distribution of works from a number of disciplines including literature, science, architecture, politics and religion. The movement of texts from one language to another frequently implied their negotiation through cultural barriers and more often than not reflected a movement of meaning (sensum de sensu) rather than a literal conversion (verbum pro verbo). Translators were often amateurs who only produced a few works, however some were employed in related professions such as teaching languages or interpreting. Translations could also be financially rewarding, especially for new versions of classical favourites. Alexander Pope received £4500 in 1726 for his English version of Homer’s Odyssey, while Elizabeth Carter earned 1000 guineas for translating Epictetus in 1758. A significant number of eighteenth-century translators were women and included several, such as Mary Wollstonecraft and Elizabeth Elstob who were also writers and scholars. Popular authors of the period such as Fanny Burney were also widely translated and by her death in 1840 her literary works could be found in English, French, German, Danish, Dutch, Swedish, and Russian. Although many of the examples shown here depict a straightforward translation from one language to another, there are also examples of bilingual or parallel editions and three examples of a rarer interlinear approach.
The exhibition was organized in conjunction with the conference "The Eighteenth Century: Influence of the Past, Presence of the Future" of the Canadian Society for Eighteenth-Century Studies, 15-18 October 2008. Guest Curator: James Wallace, PhD Candidate, Department of History, McGill University.
- Bibliotheca Canadiana: A Historical Survey of Canadian Bibliography (1997)
Casey Wood: The Birdman of McGill (September 2009)
Great library collections are enriched by donations from great individual collectors. McGill Library’s extraordinary strengths in its ornithological collections, palm leaf manuscripts, Kashmiri lacquer and bible boxes are largely the result of the personal collecting of Casey Wood. Come join us as we uncover the gems of an avid collector with a particular passion for birds. Born in Wellington, Ontario in 1856, Casey Wood was educated in Ottawa, at Bishop's and McGill Universities, with further studies in Berlin, Vienna, Paris and London. He was a widely known ophthalmologist, ornithologist, prolific author, translator, editor, bibliophile, and traveller. The Library was fortunate to have this magnanimous donor as a friend. Casey Wood maintained his ties to McGill and bestowed his magnificent collections on the University.
The treasures on display are drawn from the holdings of Rare Books and Special Collections, the Osler Library of the History of Medicine, the Redpath Museum and the Faculty of Medicine. McLennan Library Building, Entry floor and fourth floor lobby.
Celebrating the Winter Olympics 1924-2006 (March 2010)
To commemorate the Winter Olympic Games being held at Vancouver in February 2010, this exhibition presented a short history of Canadians’ participation at the Winter Olympics from 1924 to 2004.
It showed unusual material from the three Olympic Collections housed in the McGill Library’s Rare Books and Special Collections: the Canadian Olympic Association Collection, the Fernand Landry Olympic Collection and the Richard W. Pound Collection. Among the items on display were five Winter Olympic Games Torches from Calgary 1988, Lillehammer 1994, Nagano 1998, Salt Lake City 2002 and Torino 2006.
Each collection reflected the interests of the former owner and covered different aspects and timeframes. The collections complemented each other, offering a wealth of information for researchers: official publications, ephemeral material, manuscripts, posters, prints and realia.
Celebrating Scribes, Scholars, and Conservators (September 2005)
An exhibition of rare Islamic manuscripts including bound Arabic, Persian and Turkish manuscripts, some of which reveal the finest examples of book illustration and illumination. In addition, the exhibition features early fragments of the Qur'an on parchment, wooden writing tablets, a miniature scroll, lacquer pen boxes, and beautiful calligraphic pieces. The exhibition items are drawn from the rare collections of the Islamic Studies Library and from the Rare Books and Special Collections of the McGill Library.
The McGill Library wishes to acknowledge not only the members of ARA but the generous contributions of the donors who allowed for this collaborative community endeavour to be a success, especially the Ismaili Community of Quebec, Canadian National Railway, IBM Canada, Scotiabank, Woolfits Art Enterprises and Lee Valley Tools.
- Champlain Revisited: Celebrating the Foundation of Quebec 1608 (May 2008)
The Devil's Art (May 2010)
Selections from the William G. Colgate History of Printing Collection
Established in 1954 from a gift of books from the Toronto art historian, William G. Colgate (1882-1971), the Colgate History of Printing Collection has grown to over 12,000 titles. The Collection is noted for its extensive holdings of examples of printing including fine press productions; but it also includes significant holdings on the history and technique of printing; on calligraphy and letter forms; on the design of typefaces and typographical productions; on type founding and type founders' specimens; of printers' manuals and handbooks, including those for colour printing; on the history of book binding with selected examples; papermaking and paper specimens; and book design.
The current exhibition focuses on type design and printing techniques from the hand-press period; the history of printing and the work of the quintessential late eighteenth-century Italian printer Giambattista Bodoni (1740-1813). There were a number of significant type designers in the eighteenth century including the English masters William Caslon (1693-1766) and Edmund Fry (1754-1835) and the firm of Fry Steele and Co. French designs of the late eighteenth century and early nineteenth century, including those of the Didot family, were also to have a long heritage. Printing manuals document the technical improvements in press equipment since the fifteenth century, while histories of printing recount both the origins of printing in different countries and the controversies surrounding the credit for the invention itself.
Dr. Raymond Klibansky: Born October 15, 1905; died August 5, 2005. A centennial celebration of his work and his library. (2006)
In celebration of Emeritus Professor Raymond Klibansky's 100th birthday October 15th, 2005, Rare Books and Special Collections has put together a modest and highly selective display of items from his works ranging from his first publication in 1927 to his last in 2005.
It also presents highlights from his working library, containing some 5,000 volumes which were received as a gift to the McGill Library upon his passing in August 2005. The working library is a specialised collection in philosophy, theology, and the humanities, including a number of rare editions.
Drawing from Ideas, Building from Books: Architectural Treatises in the McGill University Library (September 2007)
Drawing from Ideas, Building from Books draws together the exceptional collection of architectural treatises housed in Rare Books and Special Collections, located in the McLennan Library Building.
Collectors and patrons of the McGill University Library have generously donated many of the treatises on display, notably those in the Blackader-Lauterman Collection of Rare Books. Architectural treatises from the Renaissance to the 18th century are at the core of the Blackader-Lauterman Collection, which includes several early sixteenth-century editions of Vitruvius, as well as treatises by Alberti, Serlio, Palladio, Scamozzi, Vignola, du Cerceau, Blondel, Perrault, and Ledoux.
Guest Curators: Jennifer Carter and Yelda Nasifoglu
- A Garment Worker's Legacy: The Joe Fishstein Collection (June 2002)
Happy Birthday Mr. Lincoln! (February 2009)
To mark the 200th anniversary of the birth of Abraham Lincoln, February 12th 1809, images of Lincoln, of Lincoln and his family and of Lincoln and his Cabinet are on display along with various items of realia, including Lincoln busts, bookends, plaques and china. The exhibition consists of items selected from the Joseph N. Nathanson Collection of Lincolniana in Rare Books and Special Collections.
Happy Anniversary – to both Charles Darwin and On the Origin of Species! (February 2009)
In honour of the 200th birthday of Charles Darwin, February 12, 1809 – the same day as Abraham Lincoln – and the 150th anniversary of the publication of his magnum opus On the Origin of Species – a small exhibit on Darwin, his books, and the reaction to the publication of the On the Origin of Species is on display in the Rare Books and Special Collections’ Lande Reading Room on the fourth floor of the McLennan Library Building. The majority of the items on display are from the Blacker-Wood collection of natural history and Rare Books and Special Collections.
Hearing Visions Sonores: a multimedia exhibit of graphic scores (March 2009)
Improvisation, Community, Social Practice and the McGill Library present Hearing Visions Sonores, a multimedia exhibit of graphic scores from nine Quebec-based composers. This exhibit presents two scores each from Sandeep Bhagwati, Brian Cherney, Andrew Culver, Jean Derome, Lori Freedman, Malcolm Goldstein, Joane Hétu, Robert M. Lepage, and Danielle Palardy Roger. It features over-sized display panels of each score, with explanatory text and biographical information, and audiovisual display stations allowing visitors to hear recordings of the music and composer interviews.
- Islamic Calligraphy (November 2010)
Landscape of Ideas: Modifying and Shaping Nature (January 2007)
Selections from Rare Books and Special Collections, including Blackader-Lauterman Rare Books. The purpose of this exhibition is to draw attention to the McGill Library’s rare and original works relating to landscape architecture and to provide a brief historical overview of particular French, British and North American designs, starting with the seventeenth-century royal gardens at Versailles, when French formal gardens were at the height of their application under the direction of the “Sun King’s Gardener”, André Le Nôtre. In the eighteenth century, formal garden design begins to transform under the influence of English picturesque theories, when William Gilpin and Humphry Repton have the most impact. Next, a transition from private to public space allows for the development of the public parks in the nineteenth-century, when outstanding figures such as the American Frederick Law Olmsted are at work, notably on the Mount Royal Project in Montreal. Finally, modern designs for shaping the landscape and implementing sustainable environments are a major preoccupation of the late twentieth century, as shown by the original and unique works of Norbert Schoenauer and John Schreiber, drawn from the collections in the John Bland Canadian Architecture Collection (CAC).
- Leonardo da Vinci, The Earl of Arundel and Wencelaus Hollar: A Relationship Etched in Time (November 2010)
The dynamic interplay between Thomas Howard, the 21st Earl of Arundel and the engraver Wenceslaus Hollar resulted in the etching of over 60 plates after the works of Leonardo da Vinci. Many of these Leonardo da Vinci original drawings can still be identified in the Royal Collection of Queen Elizabeth at Windsor Castle. Others are distributed in a number of locations including Chatsworth and Turin. Some of the Leonardo drawings that have been etched by Hollar cannot be located and Hollar's etchings are the only remaining evidence of their previous existence. Events around the exhibit included tours guided by Curator, Dr. Rolando del Maestro, Feindel Chair in Neurosurgery at the Montreal Neurological Institute, a public lecture and a chamber music concert featuring musicians from I Musici de Montréal.
- Lincoln North (February 2002)
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- MAX STERN Book Collection + Virtual Exhibition (December 2003)
- La modernité et ses platitudes: James Gillray and his contemporaries (July 2006)
- Moravian Beginnings of Canadian Inuit Literature (February 2009)
Nile Letters: From Montrealers and Others. (December 2007)
Nile Letters: From Montrealers and Others is centered on the letters Peter Redpath sent to a friend in London while he was travelling up the Nile in Egypt in the winter of 1873. Peter Redpath was not the only notable McGill benefactor and supporter whose interest in ancient Egypt led to their embarking on journeys up the Nile in the late nineteenth or early twentieth century. On display are some of the books and photographs, which were bequeathed or donated to the collections by several benefactors who made the journey. Where the names of the donors are known, they are indicated in the display.
Tourism on the Nile started quite early in the nineteenth century, but grew significantly from the 1850s onward, and even more dramatically after 1870 when the British travel firm Thomas Cook first offered a Cook’s tour by steamer up the Nile. Peter Redpath, however, like the other travellers whose accounts are used to describe the journey, travelled from Lower Egypt into Nubia in the traditional manner by sail boat, known as the dahabiyah. These ‘houseboats’ were under sail for the journey up the Nile, relying on the prevailing northerly wind, and floated back down to Cairo in the strong current of the river, the journey taking from two to four months. What they experienced can no longer be enjoyed, notably because the Aswan Dam, begun in 1899 and raised successively until 1946, not only regulates the flow of the river and eliminates the annual inundation, but also drowned the island of Philae and the first cataract. The Temple at Philae was relocated to another site.
Western European and later American interest in ancient Egypt was aroused initially by Napoleon’s scientific survey of the ancient Egyptian remains and particularly by Dominque Vivant Denon’s Voyage dans le Basse et la haute Egypte, first published in 1802 and running to over forty editions by the 1880s. In 1842 – 46, a series of attractive lithographs of David Roberts’ drawings of Egypt and Palestine were published. These were also very well received, fuelling public interest yet more. Excavations of ancient sites in the Middle East began to be documented in a regular column in the London Illustrated News in 1856, and the growing number of detailed surveys of the temples and tombs fired the imagination of scholars. Also in 1856, the ubiquitous plundering of the tombs and temples – in the early part of the century often undertaken under the auspices of British or French consular officials in Cairo, with major museum collections in mind - was somewhat reduced by the creation of a museum in Cairo, and the appointment of the French Egyptologist Auguste Mariette as the director of a newly inaugurated Egypt Antiquities Service.
Many artists visited and painted Egypt - David Roberts being the best known, and Walter Tyndale, whose work is also displayed, being another. Frequently travellers were accomplished amateur artists producing sketches of the scenes and sites they saw, and before the 1860s, this was the only way for a visitor to preserve a visual record of the journey. At the mid-point of the century, European photographers arrived in Egypt. The first British professional photographer, Francis Frith, made three photographic expeditions between 1856 and 1867; Queen Victoria appointed a photographer, Francis Bedford, to accompany the Prince of Wales on his travels in Egypt and the Holy Land in 1862. By the 1870s there were several commercial photographic studios in Cairo or Luxor. Prints of the photographs taken by Henri Béchard, Antonio Beato, the Bonfils family and Abdullah Frères from Constantinople were all sold in Egypt. Routinely, from the 1870s onward, travellers purchased photographs as souvenirs of their trip up the Nile. This is the source of the collection of nineteenth century photographs of Egypt belonging to the Library.
Curator: Mary Mason
- MusicArtColourScience (December 2010)
The Marvin Duchow Music Library presents a multimedia exhibit devoted to the exploration of art, colour, and science as they intersect with auditory perception, musical composition, performance and the invention of musical instruments. The display features five separate panels that highlight the richness and variety of music collections at McGill.
- The Olympics: an historical perspective (August 2008)
Printed from Nature: An exhibition of prints from the collection of Rare Books and Special Collections. (2006)
Nature-prints are created by pressing specimens of ferns, seaweeds, and other two-dimensional plants into lead, and transferring the impression by electrotype to a copper plate. The plate is colored with inks and with one pull of the press, the image is transferred to paper, producing a print which may later be hand-colored. By printing directly from an impression of the plant, it is possible to record the smallest details of its structure. Even the most detailed artist’s drawing could not render the tiniest pores, veins and hairs of the specimen with the same accuracy.
The nature-printing process flourished at a time when the collection and classification of natural phenomena was a popular Victorian past-time. As a result of rapid developments in science and technology (and publication in popular media) scientific hobbies among men and women of the middle class were considered highly fashionable.
Very few books have been printed by this method, which peaked in popularity and commercial success in the mid-19th century. This exhibition includes two excellent examples of the process, Henry Bradbury’s The Nature-Printed British Sea-Weeds (1859-60) and The Ferns of Great Britain and Ireland (1855).
Guest curator: Jennifer Garland
- Pulling the Strings: Marionettes and Puppets from the Rosalynde Stearn Puppet Collection (August 2010)
Some of the richest aspects of this extraordinary collection include Punch and Judy, the Commedia dell' arte and shadow puppets from South Asia. These and late nineteenth and early twentieth-century French puppets and puppets made by Stearn herself for the Aristophanes play "The Clouds" are featured in this exhibition. From French marionettes of the eighteenth century to Canadian puppets of the twentieth, this exhibition brings before the public for the first time in many years, one of the most unusual of McGill treasures. The collection was formed by the Canadian puppeteer Rosalynde Osborne Stearn to be a comprehensive library on the puppet theatre with representative examples of puppets characteristic of different periods and countries.
Québec Alternative: an exhibition of radical publications of 1970s Québec (January 2008)
In the wake of the 1960s and their social and political upheavals – the Quiet Revolution, the student uprisings of ’68, the civil rights movements and race riots in America – a growing consciousness of the power of the media to unify and mobilize social causes fed into a movement of mass media democratization. Community radio and public-access television stations made forays into the mediascape, and citizens’ groups formed around areas of local concern – neighbourhood improvement, decent working conditions, access to health services, and so on. And in Québec, print media seemed to explode. A massive proliferation of grassroots and independent publications attested to the vitality of Québec’s struggles for social and political change.
Curator: Anna Leventhal
- Several Highlights from the Rare Books and Special Collections of the McGill University Library (December 2006)
- The righteous and honourable Diplomats (2005)
- The Western Encounter with China, 1600-1900: an Exhibition (December 2005)
- The World of Slavery: An Exploration of Slavery across Time and Borders (April 2007)
- Yesterday and Today: Children's Books of the Early Soviet Era (1999)