Social and cultural history

Cookbook and Menu Collection

Introduction: The Cookbook and Menu Collection is primarily devoted to cookbooks and menus, although it is augmented by books dealing with related subject matters as well as archival material. The collection is particularly notable for its food-related ephemera and community cookbooks.

Extent: The collection consists of approximately 3,250 items, including some 3,050 books and 200 menus.

Types of material: Primarily published cookbooks and printed menus (largely from restaurants and special events/banquets); some books dealing with related subject matters. There is also archival material containing culinary and other household recipes.

Highlights: The collection is notable for housing a significant number of ephemeral items produced by flourmills, sugar refiners, and other food manufacturers. There is also a considerable number of ‘community cookbooks’ produced by faith-based organizations, women's clubs, and other groups, many published by L. Rasmussen of Winnipeg. The Doncaster Recipes Collection contains over 1,300 handwritten recipes and related material (including table settings presented as riddles), from various places in South Yorkshire, England, dating from around 1780 to 1860. Elsewhere, the Julian Armstrong Fonds represents Armstrong’s career as a food writer, primarily for the Montreal Gazette, including detailed research files on regional Quebec foodways.

Date range: The bulk of the collection dates from the 20th century, though there are significant 19th century holdings including a long run of editions and revisions of Mrs. Beaton's Book of Household Management. In addition, there are some 18th century books.

Language/s: Primarily English and French, with a small number of other European languages.

Geographic coverage: Primarily Canada, Britain, and the United States.

Provenance: Major donors to the collection include Soeur Berthe Sansregret, longtime director of the cooking division at Montreal’s Ecole supérieure des arts et métiers; Julian Armstrong, and Vanna Garnier. Other additions have been made through smaller donations and purchases by library staff. Collection development is on-going.

Access to the collection: Researchers are able to request catalogued material directly via the McGill Library catalogue, while all other material, including material catalogued on the McGill Archival Catalogue, may be requested by contacting the librarian. Requests can also be made by visiting the Rare Books and Special Collections reading room. A number of titles have been digitized and are available via Internet Archive: https://archive.org/details/mcgilluniversityrarebooks.

Librarian & curator: Jacquelyn Sundberg, Outreach Librarian (e-mail: jacquelyn.sundberg [at] mcgill.ca)

Canadian Olympic Collection

Introduction: 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. Rare Books and Special Collections is now the custodian of a significant portion of the collection.

Access to the collection: An inventory of the collection is available online: http://digital.library.mcgill.ca/olympics/frames.php.

Librarian: Christopher Lyons, Head Librarian (e-mail: christopher.lyons [at] mcgill.ca, telephone: 514-398-7172)

Outdoor recreation and leisure

Librarian & Curator: Questions: contact rarebooks.library [at] mcgill.ca

Scouting Collection

Introduction: The Scouting Collection is a considerable collection of material relating to Scouts and the Scouting movement in both Britain, where the movement was first founded by Robert Baden-Powell in 1908, and in Canada, where Scout groups formed as early as 1910.

Extent: The collection consists of around 950 items.

Types of material: Books (including a considerable number of handbooks and manuals), pamphlets, serials, manuscript letters, flyers, and brochures. There are many works published by the Boy Scouts Association of Canada and its British counterpart.

Highlights: The collection is notable for housing letters written by Robert and Olave Baden-Powell, as well as a first edition, published in parts, of Scouting for Boys. Elsewhere, there is a comical travel narrative written by a 14-year old William Weintraub, then a member of the local Lasalle Troop, Verdun.

Date range: The majority of the collection dates from the early to mid-20th century, particularly the period between 1915-1950.

Language/s: Primarily English.

Geographic coverage: Britain, Canada, and the United States.

Provenance: A majority of the collection comes from the Montreal book collector and Scouting leader Norman Friedman, who donated approximately 830 items to the Library in 1946. A further donation was made by Diane C. Hanna in 2005, comprised of material collected by David Joseph Chambers, who served as Scoutleader of the Lasalle Troop, Verdun, between approximately 1935 and 1947. Some additions have also been made to the collection through purchases by library staff.

Access to the collection: Researchers are able to request catalogued material directly via the McGill Library catalogue, while all other material, including material catalogued on the McGill Archival Catalogue, may be requested by contacting the librarian. Requests can also be made by visiting the Rare Books and Special Collections reading room.

Librarian & curator: Questions: contact rarebooks.library [at] mcgill.ca

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