Established ca 1900, the collection has as its nucleus forty volumes of political pamphlets gathered by Sir John Bramston, M.P. (1611-1700). To this core, acquired by Mrs. Peter Redpath of Montreal in 1901, were added a series of tracts given by her husband, the Montreal businessman and philanthropist, Peter Redpath in 1880 and another series given by Mrs. Redpath in 1903. Extensive additions have been made since. The collection consists of over 20,000 tracts and pamphlets divided into nine series illustrating the religious, political, literary, scientific and social history of the British Isles from 1561 to 1900. Representative of the collection's contents are the extensive holdings on the Popish plots (1678-1700); twenty volumes of marine tracts (1703-1862); Scottish tracts (1751-1842); forty-two volumes of the Siemens scientific pamphlets and six volumes of tracts by William Prynne (1629-1668). Records for partial holdings are in the McGill Library on-line catalogue.