Canadiana Pamphlet Collection

Introduction: The Canadiana Pamphlet collection was begun in the 1960s and now comprises some 8,000 items dealing with all aspects of Canadian life: politics, social life, religion, business, etc. Approximately 5% of the material is pre-Confederation; as well, there is much French language material.

Librarian & curator: Christopher Lyons, Head Librarian (e-mail: christopher.lyons [at], telephone: 514-398-4708)

Lawrence Lande Collection of Canadiana

Introduction: The Lande Canadiana Collection is one of the most esteemed collections of Canadiana in North America. The collection contains material on the discovery and exploration of Canada. It encompasses both early travels to the new world in the 16th century, the history of New France, followed by the British colonial period up to the end of the 19th century. This is supplemented by works charting the expansion of a nation westward through to the early 20th century.

Extent: Comprised of some 2,300 items, the initial core was established in 1965. A first supplement arrived in 1971, including more than 200 ephemeral items, in addition to including hundreds of maps and prints. Lande was a tireless collector this arena. To this original core, several additions were made up to 1975, both by gift and purchase. The Lande Collection now consists of some 6,800 items.

Types of material: Books that give contemporary accounts of exploration, missionary works, historical recollections, city directories, guidebooks, emigrant guides, as well as government documents, historical serials, maps (among them over fifty early views of Montreal), prints, ephemera and broadsides, including rare pieces of sheet music.

Date range: The great majority of items are imprints from the 18th and 19th centuries, with some significant early travels of the 16th and 17th centuries.

Language/s: French, English with some indigenous languages (Cree—Huron) and some German.

Geographic coverage: Canada

Provenance: Named after its benefactor, Dr. Lawrence Lande (1906-1998), the Collection consists of some 6,800 items, comprised of three parts: The core of the Canadiana. To this, the Arkin Collection, assembled by the Winnipeg collector Nathan Arkin, was purchased with Dr. Lande's assistance in 1966. This material concentrates on the development of the Prairie Provinces and British Columbia during the late 19th and early 20th centuries, with special emphasis on the Northwest Rebellions, the Manitoba School Question and immigration literature. Two smaller collections, donated in 1975, centre upon First Nations peoples and the work of the Moravian missionaries among the Inuit of Labrador. The Moravian material consists of long runs of 19th century missionary reports, German-language religious and educational texts and translations into Inuktitut of large portions of the scriptures.

Highlights: Outstanding among the descriptions of early discoveries are Thevet's Les singularitez de la France antarctique, autrement nommée amerique... (1558) and Wytfliet's Histoire universelle des Indes orientales et occidentales'... (1605), which has some of the earliest maps of Canada, along with nearly all of the Champlain editions and supporting documents of his travels. The Jesuit Relations, of which the Collection holds some fifteen 17th century editions are an invaluable primary source for the study of the early French Regime in Canada. Narratives relative to encounters with the indigenous peoples are highly illustrated and include lexicons of various native tongues and dialects.

Other areas of concentration are the search for the Northwest Passage and Arctic exploration, the controversy over Confederation, and early Canadian imprints. One of the highlights of this last group is the first book printed in Montreal, Fleury Mesplet's Réglement de la Confrerie de l'adoration perpétuelle du S. Sacrement et de la bonne mort (1776). An insight into early Canadian social history is provided by the personal narratives of such travellers as Kalm, Lambert, Weld, Heriot, Landmann, Bonnycastle and by the more than 200 ephemeral items which include broadsides, circulars and sheet music.

Catalogued holdings: The books and maps are fully catalogued. The Lande Prints inventory is available by request.

Access to the collection: Researchers are able to request material through the McGill Library catalogue. The collection is described in a Catalogue of The Lawrence Lande Collection of Canadiana in the Redpath Library of McGill University, an award-winning, bibliography illustrated and annotated. There are many checklists of the supplements, and note that hundreds of items are available full-text through the catalogue.

Related RBSC collections (bibliographic): The Map Collection and travel works in the main collections and Canadiana Print Collection are highly relevant to the collection.

Related RBSC collections (archival): Canadian historical content in the Manuscript Collection, including the Fur Trade Papers.

Librarians: Ann Marie Holland, Liaison Librarian (e-mail: ann.holland [at], telephone: 514-398-4707) and Christopher Lyons, Head Librarian (e-mail: christopher.lyons [at], telephone: 514-398-4708)

Rodolphe Joubert Collection on French Canada

Introduction: Rodolphe Joubert donated his collection to the library in 1979. It consists of over 3,000 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 18th century items as well. Of particular note are the Quebec parish histories. Records for the holdings are in the McGill Library catalogue.

Description: Catalogue of the Rodolphe Joubert Collection on French Canada in the Department of Rare Books and Special Collections. Montreal: McGill University Libraries, 1984.

Librarians: Ann Marie Holland, Liaison Librarian (e-mail: ann.holland [at], telephone: 514-398-4707)

North West Company and fur trade collections

See Introduction to the North West Company manuscripts

Librarian & curator: unassigned. Contact rarebooks.library [at] for more information. 

Roy States Black History Collection

Introduction: 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.

Extent: 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. Records for the holdings are in the McGill Library online catalogue.

Librarian: Christopher Lyons, Head Librarian (e-mail: christopher.lyons [at], telephone: 514-398-4708)


Introduction: The strength of the collection is the discovery and exploration of North America. Among the earliest accounts of voyages to North America is Ramusio's Navagationi et Viaggi (Venice, 1556). Maps of discovery include Cornelius Claesz's Nova Francia (Amsterdam, 1594), Willem Barent's Deliniatio Cartae trium navagationum (1598) and Hessel Gerritsz's Tabula Nautica (Amsterdam, 1612). Manuscript plans of New France by Jehan Bourdon dated 1635-1642, are also worthy of mention. Some of the notable maps of New France are included in a set of 50 maps (1556-1850) donated by McGill graduate and management professor William H. Pugsley (1912-1993). These maps are complemented by the 64 maps (1597-1857) donated by Alfred J. Pick. As well, there is Admiral Henry W. Bayfield's Charts of the River St. Lawrence (1828-1865).

Librarians: Ann Marie Holland, Liaison Librarian (e-mail: ann.holland [at], telephone: 514-398-4707)

Canadian literature

F.R. Scott Library

Extent, highlights, language/s, provenance: 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. Auden, Edith Sitwell, and a run of the 1930s Paris review Transition. The library demonstrates the breadth of Scott's intellectual, political and literary interests. There are about 3,000 titles.

Access to the collection: Records for about half the titles are in the McGill Library catalogue.

Description: Bruce Whiteman,"The F.R. Scott Library", Fontanus II (1989), 97-101.

Librarian: Christopher Lyons, Head Librarian (e-mail: christopher.lyons [at], telephone: 514-398-4708)

Louis Dudek Collection

Access to the collection: The totality of the collection is available through the McGill Library catalogue.

Librarian: Christopher Lyons, Head Librarian (e-mail: christopher.lyons [at], telephone: 514-398-4708)

Ralph Gustafson Collection of Canadian Poetry

Introduction and date range: 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.

Extent: There are some 2,000 titles.

Highlights: The rarities include W.W.E. Ross' Sonnets and Laconics, Dorothy Livesay's Green Pitcher, and virtually complete runs of the books by F.R. Scott, John Glassco, Louis Dudek, Irving Layton and others.

Access to the collection: The totality of the collection is available through the McGill Library catalogue.

Librarian: Ann Marie Holland, Liaison Librarian (e-mail: ann.holland [at], telephone: 514-398-4707)

Canadian writers’ archives

Librarian & curator: unassigned. Contact rarebooks.library [at] for more information. 

Canadian booksellers’ and publishers’ archives

Librarian & curator: unassigned. Contact rarebooks.library [at] for more information. 

Stephen Leacock Collection

Introduction and extent: The collection was formed in 1946 from Stephen Leacock's bequest of his literary manuscripts and a gift of Leacock books from the Montreal book collector Norman H. Friedman. It comprises 265 monographs; 53 portraits and drawings; 2.1 linear metres of literary manuscripts. The collection includes first, variant and signed editions of Leacock's works; periodical articles by Leacock; books about Leacock; books owned by Leacock, photographs and portraits. The manuscripts include drafts of many of his books and articles as well as some correspondence both to and from Leacock.

Access to the collection: The totality of the collection is available through the McGill Library catalogue.

Description: Bruce Whiteman, "Leacock Remains at McGill", Fontanus VII (1994), 11-14. The manuscripts are described under Canadian Literature in the Manuscript section.

Librarian: unassigned. Contact rarebooks.library [at] for more information. 

Guidebooks and settlement guides

Introduction and extent: The Division has some 1,100 guidebooks. One of the earliest Canadian guidebooks is Gideon Miner Davison, The Fashionable Tour: A Guide to Travellers Visiting the Middle and Northern States, and the Provinces of Canada, 4th edition (Saratoga Springs: 1830). There are many 19th century guidebooks for Great Britain, such as: Oxford University and City Guide (Oxford: Munday and Slatter, 1818); Ludlow Guide, 4th edition. (Ludlow: H. Procter, 1831); Black's Picturesque Tourist of Scotland, 8th ed. (Edinburgh: Adam and Charles Black, 1850). Also included in the collection are a number of 17th and 18th century guidebooks, for example Francesco Sotto, Intinerario, overo nova descrittione de' viaggi principali d'Italia (Padua: Matteo Cadorino, 1659), Les delices de l'Italie (Paris: Par la Compagnie des Libraires, 1707), Le guide, ou Nouvelle description d'Amsterdam… (Amsterdam: J. Ratelband, 1734), Forestiere illuminato... della citta di Venezia (Venice Giovanbatista Albrizzi q. Girol, 1740). In addition, there are many guidebooks by Baedeker, who started publishing in 1839 and John Murray, who began publishing his famous guides in 1836.

Librarian: Ann Marie Holland, Liaison Librarian (e-mail: ann.holland [at], telephone: 514-398-4707)

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