Exhibition Catalogues

Dutch sea atlases exhibit

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Plotting the Oceans: Dutch Sea Atlases of the Seventeenth Century features a selection of hand-coloured sea charts from the golden age of Dutch cartography - the Fisher Library copies of the 1666 sea atlas of Hendrik Doncker and the 1686 atlas of Jacobus Robijn. The exhibition, by Anne Dondertman, begins with a brief look at the Mediterranean manuscript chart tradition and gives an overview of the evolution of navigational charts, placing the Dutch chart trade in the context of the age of discovery and exploration. The exhibition then continues with examples from the Doncker and Robijn atlases, often showing charts of the same area from the two atlases side by side in order to compare and contrast their portrayal of the area, as well as to point out relevant facts of their publishing history.

ISBN 0772760330, 16 pages, $5.00 | Ref. #7001
Ephemera catalogue

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This exhibition demonstrated the pervasiveness of print within the culture of everyday life from the nineteenth century to the present. On display were a great variety of examples of printed ephemera, from early forms such as the broadside proclamation and broadside ballad, to the trade cards, invitations, programs, postcards, business forms, stationery, guidebooks, posters and printed advertisements of the recent past.

ISBN 0772760101, 20 pages, $5.00 | Ref. #7005
Arthur Lismer caricature

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This exhibition reveals a hidden archival treasure – a collection of nearly 200 caricatures created by the renowned Canadian painter and Group of Seven artist, Arthur Lismer. The artworks were executed by Lismer primarily while spending time with his friends at The Arts & Letters Club of Toronto during the period 1922-1943. They document an especially vital period in Canada’s cultural history, when the club was a favourite meeting place for members of the artistic community. The club maintains sixty-three of these works in its archives, while the balance can be found in the first two volumes of the Club Scrapbook, which is on deposit at the Fisher.

ISBN 0772760594, 22 pages, $6.00 | Ref. #7036
Portrait of Jane Rule, LGBT exhibit catalogue

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Queer CanLit includes poetry, fiction, drama, 'zines, photos, and artwork, celebrating a rich history across the twentieth and into the twenty-first centuries with materials drawn from the Fisher collection, the Canadian Lesbian and Gay Archives, the Robert Giard Foundation, and private collections. It includes materials from such writers as Marie-Claire Blais, Dionne Brand, Nicole Brossard, Timothy Findley, John Herbert, Tomson Highway, Ann-Marie MacDonald, Sinclair Ross, Shyam Selvadurai, and Michel Tremblay.

ISBN 978-0-7727-6065-4, 64 pages, $25.00 | Ref. #7043
Kenny image for exhibit

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Radicals and Revolutionaries explores a significant yet neglected area in Canadian history-the experiences of the radical workers' movement and the Communist Party of Canada. Although a minority current on the Canadian political scene, at key points the radical movement posed a pointed challenge to the established order. Within that section of the socialist movement which openly identified itself as revolutionary, the CPC clearly predominated. It was instrumental in building the industrial union movement and played a key role in many of the major strikes of this century. In the social upheavals of the 1930s and 1940s, its influence extended far beyond its numbers. The exhibition and catalogue are by guest curator, Sean Purdy, a Queen's University historian, and includes a brief biographical sketch of Robert S. Kenny by Tom Reid. The catalogue won a first place award from the Rare Books and Manuscripts Sections of the American Library Association.

ISBN 0772760268 , 67 pages, $5.00 | Ref. #7012
Red papercut from the cultural revolution depicting worker, soldier, peasant holding the red book.

This exhibition catalogue is available through Oak Knoll Books or Order Catalogue through the Fisher Library

The year 2016 marked the fiftieth anniversary of the beginning of the Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution, a social and political movement launched in May of 1966 by Mao Zedong (1893-1976), then Chairman of the Communist Party of China, which lasted until Mao’s death in 1976. The Cultural Revolution sought to implement “true” Communist thought and to make dominant Maoist ideology. Taking this milestone as an occasion on which better to understand the Cultural Revolution, the Fisher Library hosted an exhibition on the relation of this movement to visual art and literacy. Specifically, the exhibition explored the importance of reading during this period, examining how propaganda posters and other artifacts of the Cultural Revolution represented the writings of Chairman Mao, how these posters and artifacts popularized a culture of Mao’s books, and how, in turn, text-heavy propaganda posters, artifacts representing books, and the large-scale printing of books of Mao Zedong Thought (Mao Zedong sixiang) created a context for increased literacy.


This exhibition was curated by Jennifer Purtle, Associate Professor of Chinese and East Asian Art Department of Art, Department of East Asian Studies at the University of Toronto

ISBN: 978-0-7727-6119-4 (paperback) | 114 pages | $20.00 |
Cover of Shakespeare catalogue

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The year 2016 marks four hundred years since the death of William Shakespeare. To honour this milestone, the Fisher Library opened the year with a new exhibition that explored how Shakespeare's works shaped ideas of the world beyond England, how his plays imagined self and other through language, geography and mythology and how, in turn, the production of atlases, dictionaries, and histories influenced Shakespeare's world-making art. Highlights of the exhibition included a selection of Shakespeare's printed plays and poems, from the First Folio of 1623 through to recent craft productions, including the sumptuous Play of Pericles (2009-2010) from British Columbia's Barbarian Press. In addition, the exhibition features early source material such as Holinshed's Chronicles (1587) and Plutarch's Lives (1579), along with a range of Renaissance genres and forms, from maps to bibles to works of poetry, anatomy and heraldry. Later editions of Shakespeare and experiments with his works were also prominently featured in the exhibition and accompanying catalogue. Lead Curator, Scott Schofield, Huron University College at Western University, has collaborated with Peter Blayney, Alan Galey and Marjorie Rubright (all from the University of Toronto) on the exhibition.

ISBN: 978-0-7727-6117-0 (paperback) | 96 pages | $30.00 | Ref #: 7073 | ISBN 9780772761187 (cloth) | 96 pages | $90.00
So Precious catalogue

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In 1838 the New-York Theological Seminary (soon to be renamed Union Theological Seminary in the City of New York) bought the library of the German priest, scholar and biblical translator, Leander va Ess (1772-1847). Estimated at nearly 14,000 items, it was a veritable cornucopia of theological literature: 37 manuscripts, over 500 incunabula, Bibles in many languages and versions, and works on the major subjects of theology (church history, canon law, pastoralia, liturgics, etc.) The sixteenth-century imprints may be the richest section of the library, and the collection is remarkable for its holdings in the writings of the Reformers, especially if one recalls that it was put together by a Roman Catholic priest. This exhibition of books from Leander van Ess's library comes from the Bur Library at Union Theological Seminary. It was conceived and prepared by the director, Milton McC. Gatch.

ISBN 0910672172, 386 pages, $50.00
Watercolour painting of red maple leaf

The British North America Act of 1867, the document that provided the constitutional structure for the new Dominion of Canada, is not as evocative a document as Magna Carta, nor does it contain the lofty prose of the American Declaration of Independence. It is a prosaic piece of legal writing, crafted by relatively conservative French Catholics and stolid English Protestants who saw in their union the advantages of ‘peace, order, and good government’. Like those it would govern, it might best be described as unassuming. Concealed in its cautious language, however, are almost three hundred years of struggle to become a people.

The documents in this exhibition – manuscripts, printed books, engravings, and photographs – tell but one story behind the making of a nation. On these pages may be found the record of our ancestors’ efforts to understand the majesty and wealth of this land and its waterways; the interaction between colonists and the First Nations, the legacy of which remains problematic to the present; and the tension between French and English which has so often threatened to tear apart the national fabric. Some voices struggle to be heard. Those belonging to the Indigenous Peoples, women, and minorities are largely overwhelmed by a culture that was dominated by white, northern European males. But in these works may also be found something of the hope that is a constituent part of our national character – a character born as a result of these various struggles. These documents also reflect our ongoing endeavour to define ourselves for ourselves.

In the 150 years since Confederation, much has indeed changed, but much remains very much the same. Canada’s Native Peoples still struggle for justice, and immigrants still struggle to belong. These documents also confirm, however, that Canada is a place where compromise and accommodation have been the keys to our prosperity and stability, making us the envy of so many other less fortunate places on the planet. To understand ourselves, we need only to look at the bequest left by those who went before us, whose witness still speaks eloquently – on paper and in ink. The documents in this exhibition are drawn almost exclusively from the holdings of the Thomas Fisher Rare Book Library at the University of Toronto and represent more than 120 years of collecting. They are testimony to the hard work and discerning eye of generations of the University’s librarians. It will be up to the librarians and archivists of the next fifty years to make up for the lacunae that exist in our current holdings. In these earlier stories are reflected, however dimly, our own.

This exhibition and catalogue were prepared by Pearce Carefoote

978-0-7727-6121-7 |151 pages|$20.00
Tending the Young catalogue

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The purpose of this exhibition, curated by Philip Oldfield, was to pay tribute to Dr. Drake as a book collector and historian of pædiatrics, and to display some of the most significant works from his outstanding collection. The T.G.H. Drake Collection is one of the most comprehensive libraries on the history of pædiatrics in the world. Consisting of approximately 1500 printed books and pamphlets, it is particularly rich in pre-1800 imprints, and includes five incunabula. Among the fifty or so sixteenth-century works are early printings of the writings of the ancient medical authorities (Hippocrates, Celsus, Galen), of the mediæval physicians of Byzantium (Oribasius, Ætius, Paul of Ægineta), and of the Islamic lands (Rhazes, Avicenna, Avenzoar). The Collection also boasts the first works on pædiatrics printed in German (Metlinger), English (Rhösslin, Phaer), French (Vallambert), and Dutch (Blankaart). Other major landmarks of pædiatrics, often in several editions, are also to be found in the Collection. The literature devoted to rickets from the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries is especially rich. The lengthy debate on inoculation against smallpox in the eighteenth century, leading up to Edward Jenner's development of the technique of vaccination, is well documented. There are also important clinical accounts, many of them first descriptions, of such infant diseases as whooping-cough, chicken-pox, diphtheria, meningitis, mumps, and poliomyelitis.

ISBN 0772760233, 88 pages, $10.00 | Ref. #7021

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Online exhibit: 'The age of guessing is passed away'
This celebration of the remarkable achievements of Canadian explorer, trader and cartographer David Thompson (1770-1857) forms part of the North American David Thompson Bicentennials initiative. As the institution that holds one of the primary source documents of the life of Thompson, the narrative of his 'Travels', the Thomas Fisher Rare Book Library has undertaken this exhibition to commemorate not only his life, writings and works, but also the long and rich tradition from which he came-the explorers and fur traders who mapped Canada.

ISBN 0772760624, 16 pages, $5.00 | Ref. #7040
Scottish enlightenment catalogue

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This exhibition at the Thomas Fisher Rare Book Library was devoted to the culture of the book in the Scottish Enlightenment, and was timed to coincide with the conference “Memory and Identity: Past and Present”, held jointly by the Canadian Society for Eighteenth-Century Studies, and the Eighteenth-Century Scottish Studies Society. The catalogue which accompanied the exhibition consists of four essays, by Roger Emerson, Richard Sher, Stephen Brown, and Paul Wood, on various aspects of book history during the Scottish Enlightenment of the eighteenth century. The essays are supplemented by a list of the items displayed, which include, in addition to printed books and newspapers, several prints by Hogarth, glass enamel portraits by James Tassie, and a replica of the Portland Vase.

ISBN 0772760357,160 pages, $20.00 | Ref #7008
Insulin dog

This catalogue is available exclusively through Oak Knoll Books (click on link to order).

This exhibition, by Katharine Martyn, tells the story of the discovery of insulin from its genesis in a note jotted down by F.G. Banting in October 1920, through the early experiments he performed with C.H. Best in the summer of 1921, the subsequent experiments to obtain a purified extract, carried out by Banting, Best and J.B. Collip, under the direction of J.J.R. Macleod, to the awarding of the Nobel Prize in Physiology and Medicine to Banting and J.J.R. Macleod in 1923.

Online Exhibit - The Discovery and Early Development of Insulin

80 pages, $20.00 | Ref. #7011
insulin catalogue, dog

Due to popular demand this catalogue is sold out
This exhibition, by Katharine Martyn, tells the story of the discovery of insulin from its genesis in a note jotted down by F.G. Banting in October 1920, through the early experiments he performed with C.H. Best in the summer of 1921, the subsequent experiments to obtain a purified extract, carried out by Banting, Best and J.B. Collip, under the direction of J.J.R. Macleod, to the awarding of the Nobel Prize in Physiology and Medicine to Banting and J.J.R. Macleod in 1923.

Online Exhibit - The Discovery and Early Development of Insulin

80 pages, $20.00 | Ref. #7011
Douglas LePan GG winner

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The John H. Meier, Jr. Governor General’s Literary Award Fiction Collection is the largest and most comprehensive of its kind in the world. The collection consists of five hundred volumes, including various issues of the Canadian, American, British, Australian first trade editions, galleys, uncorrected proofs, trial dust jackets, advance review copies, association copies, author copies, letters and ephemera. John Meier started his collection in  late 1999. When he decided to begin his collection, in late 1999, he became serious about purchasing the best copies available, which involved several road trips across the country.

This exhibit is also a celebration: it was 75 years ago, on November 24, 1937, that the first Governor General’s Awards were presented by Lord Tweedsmuir (John Buchan). The ceremony was held a short walk from the Fisher Library, at the University of Toronto’s Convocation Hall. Most of this country’s leading writers have been honoured with the GG, from Hugh MacLennan to Morley Callaghan to Michael Ondaatje, and through to Margaret Laurence, Alice Munro and Margaret Atwood.

ISBN 978-0-7727-6109-5; 122 pages, $25 | Ref. #7061
Coates exhibit

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Presenting a record of the lives and artistic accomplishments of Fred Coates (1890-1965) and Louise Brown Coates (1889-1975), this exhibition rediscovers the art and design of Fred and Louise Coates for another generation of Canadians. It evokes a period when the Arts and Crafts movement not only influenced their art but also permeated all aspects of their lives. Their impressive house on Chine Drive was built in the Arts and Crafts tradition and stands today as a fine example of that tradition. Pictures of the artists at work, the construction of their home, Sherwood, and the costume soirees held in Sherwood, convey lasting impressions of their lives and, more generally, an artist's lifestyle in Toronto between the two World Wars. The exhibition also documents their artistic achievements with designs for architecture, graphics, theatre sets and costumes, and it includes watercolours, drawings, photographs and objects illustrating these designers' long and varied careers. The exhibition curator was Paul Makovsky, assisted by Hrag Vartanian and Harold Averill, Assistant University Archivist.

ISBN 0772760241 , 79 pages, $20.00 | Ref #7034
Telling Line catalogue

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This exhibition demonstrated the pervasiveness of print within the culture of everyday life from the nineteenth century to the present. On display were a great variety of examples of printed ephemera, from early forms such as the broadside proclamation and broadside ballad, to the trade cards, invitations, programs, postcards, business forms, stationery, guidebooks, posters and printed advertisements of the recent past.

ISBN 0772760128, 82 pages, $20.00
University College, 1858

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Based primarily on items in the University of Toronto Archives, this exhibition, by Harold Averill, was part of the University's 175th anniversary celebrations. Designed to complement Martin Friedland's University of Toronto: a history, it was a selective look at eight different areas of University's past. They are: King's College, the building of University College, the professoriate 'at play' in the 19th century, students in the Victorian era, research and new academic programmes before 1950, athletics, theatre on campus, and the impact of the 1960s. These themes were illustrated with a wide range of documents, drawings, photographs, posters, maps, works of art and artifacts, some of which have never been displayed publicly before.

ISBN 077176042X , 40 pages, $5.00 | Ref. #7002
Ukrananian catalogue

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The year 2010 held special significance for Ukrainian studies worldwide and for here at the University. It marked the 300th anniversary of the Constitution of Bendery - the first constitutional document in Ukrainian history, which was adopted in 1710 by émigré followers of Hetman Ivan Mazepa. The year also is the 30th anniversary of the appointment of the first Chair of Ukrainian Studies at the University of Toronto, and 22 October marks the date when the inaugural lecture of the Chair was delivered. Emigres from the territory of present-day Ukraine have made important contributions to Ukrainian political thought and national consciousness for the past three hundred years. The exhibition, curated by Ksenya Kiebuzinski, Head, Petro Jacyk Central and East European Resource Centre, drew upon the Fisher Library's collections of Ucrainica - books, maps, documents, photographs, etc. - to situate Ukraine, to illustrate the diversity of its peoples, and to show the depth of Ukrainian political activity abroad.

ISBN 978-0-7727-6083-8, 104 pages, $20.00 | Ref. #7056
Toronto in Print catalogue cover

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Toronto's first printing press was brought by boat from Niagara in September 1798. This exhibition, curated by Sandra Alston and Patricia Fleming surveys the consequences of that event in the life of the city and its inhabitants, from the regulations printed in 1798 for settlers along Yonge Street to a literary CD-ROM published in 1998. Handbills, pamphlets, books, serials, posters, comics, letterheads, catalogues, sheet music and more chronicle the people of Toronto as readers and writers, at work and at play, and demonstrate the central role of the printing trades in politics, economics, and culture. The catalogue won a first place award from the Alcuin Society, and an Honourable Mention award from the Rare Books and Manuscripts Sections of the American Library Association.

ISBN 0772760276, 112 pages, $20.00 | Ref. #7010
Skeleton image from Vesalius catalogue

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In 2014, we commemorated the five-hundreth anniversary of the birth of one of the great figures in the history of medicine. The fame and significance of Andreas Vesalius rest almost entirely on one book, his monumental De humani corporis fabrica, first published in 1543. The De fabrica (as it is commonly referred to), is chiefly celebrated for its splendid woodcut illustrations that introduced art to anatomy, and set the standard for all future anatomical illustration. The enduring significance of the illustrations is attested by the fact that they were still being copied and imitated two hundred years after their first appearance.  In addition to its illustrations, De fabrica is also a vitally important text, universally regarded as the cornerstone for the study and teaching of human anatomy. Vesalius presented anatomical knowledge from the standpoint of direct and accurate observation, that was a considerable advance on what had gone before. He also introduced a new approach and methodology for the teaching of anatomy, and provided a manual on dissection. The beautifully rendered woodcuts blend elegantly with the printed text, resulting in a masterpiece of the printer’s art - the perfect marriage of text and illustration. De fabrica is without doubt one of the splendours of Renaissance scientific book making.

ISBN 978-0-7727-6112-5; 72 pages, $20 | Ref. #7068
vizetelly poster

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This exhibition traces the careers of James Vizetelly (1817-1897) and his brother Henry Vizetelly (1820-1894), as printers and engravers, and occasionally publishers in the 1840s and 1850s. The firm started as Vizetelly & Company in 1838 and changed its name to Vizetelly Brothers & Company when Henry became a partner in 1842. Following a dispute, the partnership was ended about 1850. After this date, James Vizetelly used the original firm name, while Henry operated under his own name. Both brothers were involved in the development of pictorial journalism, at times producing work for The Illustrated London News, but also as founders of The Pictorial Times and other journals. The exhibition and accompanying catalogue were prepared by Marie Korey (Massey College), Richard Landon (Thomas Fisher Rare Book Library) and Yannick Portebois and Dorothy E.Speirs (French Studies, University of Toronto).

ISBN 0772760276, 139 pages, $20.00 | Ref. #70013
Photo of Harold Innis

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This exhibition draws on the extensive and diverse holdings relating to the War effort in the University of Toronto Archives, the wider University library system, and elsewhere on campus.  It focuses on how the University prepared for and carried out its duties during the war and on the impact of the war on the University’s faculty, staff, students, its physical plant, its academic and research programmes, and on student and other organizations.  The material on display will include correspondence, diaries, official documents, photographs, posters, maps, and a wide range of publications and artifacts. This exhibition is curated by Harold Averill, Marnee Gamble and Loryl MacDonald of the University of Toronto Archives and Records Management Services.

ISBN 978-0-7727-6111-8; 84 pages, $20 | Ref. #7065
Werner Pfeiffer towers

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This exhibition, the first travelling exhibit of the artist books and book-objects of Werner Pfeiffer, features 39 objects made by Pfeiffer using real books. He has "silenced" the books by gluing the pages together, while also adding ropes, nails, clamps and hooks. The intention is to comment on censorship and to provoke reactions from his audience. The exhibition also includes 8 of Pfeiffer’s artist books, a genre loosely defined as books wholly conceived of and produced as the vision of a single artist.

68 pages; $20.00 | Ref. #7051
Where Duty Leads Poster

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This is an exhibition about the men and women who answered their country's call when war was declared in August 1914. It brings together a range of material - photographs, histories, poetry, memoirs, letters, government-issued posters, official documents, literature of the training camps and of the trenches - that highlight different aspects of this response. These printed items and artifacts are poignant reminders of a period when the sacrifice, courage and determination of Canadians so strongly shaped our nation's history.


ISBN 978-0-7727-6066-1, 128 pages, $20.00 | Ref. #7044