The Sir William Dawson Pamphlet Collection was acquired in 1901 with the rest of his library. Dawson (1820-1899) was an eminent nineteenth-century geologist and Principal of McGill University (1854-1893). The collection consists of some 1762 items in thirty-one bound volumes and fifty-one pamphlet boxes. It includes off-prints and pamphlets on scientific subjects a substantial number of which bear presentation inscriptions. Sixteen pamphlet boxes contain items by Dawson himself and one box material about him. There are a few letters bound in.
The David Hume Collection has its origins in the chance discovery by Professor Raymond Klibansky of Hume's own copy of the Olivetus edition of Cicero's works (Paris, 1740-1741) in a cupboard at the Faculty Club in 1946. (See: Raymond Klibansky, "Hidden Treasures at McGill", Fontanus vol. II (1989), 79.) Professor Klibansky also describes in this article some of the other books from Hume's library held by McGill and some of the manuscript letters in the Hume Collection (79-82). Following this discovery, Professor Klibansky with Professors J.W.A. Hickson and Charles W.
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.
The Division has some 1100 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 nineteenth 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).
The collection was purchased in 1954 and includes over four hundred books on Shakespeare, his plays and the Elizabethan theatre; and some two hundred pamphlets, reviews, transcripts of lectures, magazine articles and brochures, for the years between 1850 and 1950 from Chamber's library. There is the Jahrbuch der Deutschen Shakespeare-Gesellschaft (1865-1929) and the fifteen facsimiles of the Shakespeare Association. (1931-1938).
Rare Books holds some 140 incunabula, the earliest being Paulus de Sancta Maria Scrutinium scripturarum (Strasbourg: Johann Mentelin, not after 1470). The first incunabulum acquired by the McGill library was a copy of Jacobus de Voragine, Legenda aurea (Basel: [Michael Wenssler], 1490). It came with the bequest of the library of John Robson, M.D. of Warrington, England in 1877. Italian and German printing is particularly well represented as are theology, the classics and Italian literature.
In 1991 Rare Books acquired this Thomas Chatterton Collection containing books by and about the English poet Thomas Chatterton (1752-1770). The collection of forty-nine items includes first editions of The Auction: A Poem (1770), The Execution of Sir Charles Bawdin (1772) and The Revenge (1795); and a copy of the second edition of the Poems, Supposed to Have Been Written at Bristol, By Thomas Rowley (1778 — the first and third were already among holdings of Rare Books).
The Indic manuscripts cover a variety of languages and traditions of India and Southeast Asia. There are approximately two hundred texts in Sanskrit, Pali and other languages. Both Hindu and Buddhist religious texts are represented as well as some secular texts. Almost half of the collection is composed of palm leaf manuscripts (olas).
The cookbook collection was formed in the late 1960s and concentrates on Canadian, American and British material. It now contains over 1700 titles. The core of the collection is primarily twentieth-century material, but there are significant nineteenth-century holdings including a long run of editions and revisions of Mrs. Beaton's Book of Household Management (first published in 1859). As well, there are a few eighteenth century books.
The collection holds a number of interesting Italian manuscripts from the late fifteenth to the early nineteenth centuries. These include literary, historical and theological works and some archival material (primarily of the sixteenth century).
Rodolphe Joubert donated his collection to the library in 1979. It consists of over 3000 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 eighteenth-century items as well. Of particular note are the Quebec parish histories. Records for the holdings are in the McGill Library on-line catalogue.
This collection was acquired in 1969. The collection comprises some 687 items dating from the 1920s to the 1960s. Much of the material is from the United States including a long run of pamphlets by the American Communist Earl Browder. Other material comes from China, the former Soviet Union (including a series of pamphlets by Joseph Stalin), India and other countries. There are numerous reports of Communist Party meetings from various countries. All of the material is in English.
The Print Collection includes approximately 1000 Canadian prints. Historical prints include Hervey Smyth's Six Views of the Most Remarkable Places of the Gulf and Rivers St. Lawrence (published in 1760), Richard Short's Twelve Views of the Principal Buildings in Quebec... (1761), a hand-coloured set of twenty-three lithographs, Sketches in the Canadas, (1840) after drawings by Coke Smyth, and a set of four Montreal street scenes, drawn by John Murray and engraved and published by Adolphus Bourne in the early 1840s.
A representative selection of the papers of nineteenth and twentieth century Canadian authors is held among the private papers and archives. This material includes single items, small bodies of private papers and a number of large archives for both major and minor figures. The holdings are particularly strong in poetry.
The holdings of private papers and archives relevant to Canadian history are extensive. They can be grouped under a number of subjects: the fur trade and early business papers, family papers, politics etc.
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The collection was formed by the Danish Kierkegaard scholar Prof. Gregor Malantschuk and acquired in 1980. The collection now numbers some 1553 monographs and includes a complete set of first editions of Søren Kierkegaard's works and a reconstruction of a significant part of his private library. A copy of the sale catalogue of his library is also part of the collection.
There are some two hundred and twenty-five medieval European manuscript books, including complete texts, fragments of texts, single leaves and initials. These date from the late eighth or early ninth centuries to the eighteenth century. Although Italian material of the fifteenth century predominates, there is also French and German material and some English and Spanish.
The Blackader-Lauterman Collection of Rare Books was formed following the First World War from two private endowments and augmented by numerous donations and purchases. Architectural treatises from the Renaissance to the 18th century are at the core of the Blackader-Lauterman Collection. First and early editions of Vitruvius, Alberti, Serlio, Palladio, Scamozzi, Vasari, Vignola, du Cerceau, Blondel, Perrault, and Ledoux are among the most important titles.
Montreal maps span the years 1556 to 1940. Examples of these are: Gastaldi's La Terra de Hochelaga nella Nova Francia (1556) from Ramusio's Navagationi, John Adams' Map of the city and suburbs of Montreal (1825) and James Cane's Topographical and pictorial map of the city of Montreal (1846). Early maps of Quebec include the manuscript map of Samuel Gale and John B.
The Napoleon collection was a particular interest of the University Librarian, Richard Pennington, (1947-1964) and was developed during his tenure. Beginning with a small donation of books and prints from the Canadian publisher Frederick Southam, the collection was assembled with the advice of Paul Fleuriot de Langle, curator of the Musée Marmottan in Paris and a specialist in Napoleon and the art of the Empire, and of the Parisian print dealer Paul Prouté.
The approximately 3,750 historical prints concerning Napoleon and his era include numerous portraits of Napoleon, members of his family, and generals and other associates, scenes of military and political events, caricatures, and allegorical representations. Scenes glorifying Napoleon and his soldiers by some of the most important French printmakers of the Napoleonic Era, artists such as Vernet, Charlet, Géricault, and Raffet, are well represented.
The collection was established in 1954 based on the several hundred books of typographical interest given in the 1940s and 1950s to the library by William George Colgate of Toronto. The collection is noted for its extensive holdings on the history and technique of printing; calligraphy and letter forms; design of typefaces and typographical productions; type founding and type founders' specimens and printers' manuals and handbooks, including those for colour printing and paper making.
The collection was formed by the Montreal book collector Norman H. Friedman and given to McGill in 1946. It includes some 450 first, early, signed and variant editions of books by Morley (1890-1957) and books to which he contributed.
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.
The Hannah More collection includes many early and later editions of this English religious writer's more important works on education and morals as well as many of the minor items such as plays and poetry. There is a run of thirty-five of the first printing of Cheap Repository Tracts, sixteen of which are by More (1745-1833) as well as a prospectus for the Tracts and later printings of the Tracts.
The Rousseau Collection was formed in the early 1950s from material already in the McGill library and from new acquisitions. It was created as a complement to the David Hume Collection. The collection now comprises some 254 first, early and variant editions of Rousseau's works and contemporary criticism and responses before 1801. As well, there many early nineteenth-century collected editions and other works and there later editions and criticisms and responses.
The William Butler Yeats collection is composed of first, early and variant editions of most his writings, some eighty-six volumes in all. There is some criticism and a few books by his son Jack Butler Yeats. The Yeats material is complemented by a selection of material in the Colgate History of Printing Collection published by the Cuala Press.
The Rilke collection was formed in the late 1950s. The collection comprises some 300 titles and includes fiction, drama, poetry, letters and other prose pieces by the Austrian poet (1875-1926). There are many first and limited editions, as well as later and collected editions. Many of Rilke's works appear in translations, primarily in English and French, although there are Italian, Japanese and Chinese translations of some of the works. A number of bilingual editions (German/English; German/French) are also present.
The Norman Friedman Boy Scout Collection was given to the library by its creator in 1946. Norman H. Friedman was not only a Montreal book collector but also was very active as an adult leader in the scouting movement. The collection contains some 341 titles in 830 volumes including short runs of serials. The material is almost exclusively British and Canadian and dates before 1950. Many of the items are of an ephemeral or pamphlet nature, but there is a copy of the first edition, in parts, of Scouting for Boys (1908) as well as later editions.