This exhibition and catalogue bring together the concerted practical efforts of two philosophers, John Slater and Michael Walsh. In this exhibition, members of the public can see and reflect on the fruits of latter days and the busiest century of philosophical speculation. This exhibition is also a tribute to the bibliophilical exertions of two of the Fisher Library’s most important donors.
- ISBN 978-0-7727-6064-7, 147 pages, $20.00 | Ref. #7042
- ISBN 0772760314, 108 pages, $30.00 | Ref. #7009
Selection from Catalogue
Due to popular demand this catalogue is sold out
All in the golden afternoon celebrates the Library's acquisition several years ago of the Joseph Brabant Collection of Lewis Carroll and Charles L. Dodgson. The exhibition and catalogue, a collaboration between Richard Landon, and Alice Moore, one of his students, concentrates on the special strength of the Brabant Collection, its magnificent run of editions of the Alice books from 1865 until almost the end of the twentieth century. Also shown are some of the rare Dodgson material. The exhibition is arranged under seven headings: The Collector and His Collection; Mr. Dodgson and Lewis Carroll; C.L. Dodgson as Correspondent; C.L. Dodgson as Photographer; The Artists and Alice; The Hunting of the Snark and Other Poems; C.L. Dodgson as Artist; and The Works of C.L. Dodgson.
- ISBN 077276056X 68 pages; $30.00 | Ref. #7035
This exhibition commemorates the seventieth anniversary of the founding of Associated Medical Services which has done much to promote the study of the history of medicine at the University of Toronto, and was instrumental in acquiring the Jason A. Hannah Collection in the History of Medicine for the Fisher Library. Books exhibited include some stunning anatomical atlases, important medical landmarks, such as the first editions of Andreas Vesalius (1543) and Edward Jenner (1798), and other lesser known books with illustrations.
- ISBN 0772760292, 80 pages, $20.00 | Ref. #7022
This exhibition, curated by Joan Winearls, examines the changing styles and techniques in bird art over the last three centuries, beginning with etching and engraving, wood-engraving and lithography, and the hand-colouring of illustrations, followed by chromolithography and experiments in colour printing, up to the photo- reproduction techniques employed after the middle of this century. On display are such works as Gould's hummingbirds, Lear's toucans, Wolf's falcons and Audubon's warblers along with twentieth century works such as Fuertes' hawk, Brooks' and Shortt's ducks and Peterson's first field guide.
- ISBN 978-0-7727-6114-9 (pbk.), 96 pages | $25 | Ref. #7070
The Fisher Library's Judaica holdings span over 1000 years. This exhibition features items that were produced every century from the 10th to the 21st, including biblical manuscripts, works of Jewish law and liturgy, incunabula, rare Constantinople imprints, and much more. Highlights are the manuscript of the Zohar, which belonged to the famous false Messiah Shabbetai Tsevi, and a copy of Maimonides law code Mishneh Torah with Sabbatean markings. Another highlight is a facsimile of the Alba Bible, one of the most elaborate illuminated biblical manuscripts ever produced. The exhibition also features contemporary works by Jewish and Israeli artists and bookmakers. A section devoted to Canadiana features one the earliest Canadian imprints, dating from 1752 as well as the first English translation of the Hebrew prayerbook (1770), among whose sponsors were the Canadian merchant Aaron Hart and his wife.
This exhibition is curated by Barry Walfish.
- ISBN 0772760322, 68 pages, $10.00 | Ref. #7023
As the Centuries Turn features a selection of manuscripts and printed books from the collections of the Fisher Library, exhibiting the book as it has appeared over the centenaries of the past thousand years. Beginning with a large and much worn Hebrew manuscript of the Pentateuch dating from approximately 1000, the exhibition goes on to other manuscripts of the next 300 years, including such splendid illuminated manuscripts as the Missale Pragense, produced between 1400 and 1410 in Bohemia. Early printed works include a 1498 Bible, with woodcut illustrations and initials, and a 1499 illustrated edition of Terence's Comoediae. Printed books from 1600, 1700, and 1800 include works of science, exploration, and literature. Canadian works are represented in both 1800 and 1900, including such evocative items as the McTavish, Frobisher and Co. fur trade agreement of 1800, and photographs of Dawson City at the turn of the twentieth century. The exhibition and catalogue have been a collaboration involving many of the staff of the Fisher Library.
- ISBN: 978-0-7727-6115-6 (paperback) | $20.00 | Ref #: 7071
This catalogue is available exclusively through Oak Knoll Books (click on link to order)
Canada's Great War aviators are famous for being gallant fighter pilots. Their legacy derives as much from their skills as airmen as their victory scores. Whether because of Canada's harsh climate, its clean air, or its sweeping wilderness, these airmen - men like Billy Bishop and William Barker - seemed destined to become 'aces'. The perpetuation of this narrative comes at the expense of less gallant, but more germane topics such as army co-operation, flight training, and post-war aviation. Yet, this static historical canon notwithstanding, Canadian museums, libraries, and archives possess an impressively broad array of sources that challenge these entrenched notions of Canada's first air war. This exhibit examines the origin of this material, the evolution of institutions responsible for its custody, and the ways that historians have navigated the topic - with or without the help of this diverse wealth of documents, artefacts, images and art.
This exhibition is curated by Jonathan Scotland and Edward Soye.
- ISBN 0772760551, 132 pages; $30.00 | Ref. #7033
This catalogue is available exclusively through Oak Knoll Press (click on link to order)
This exhibition, mounted to mark the fiftieth anniversary of the Department of Rare Books and Special Collections, reveals something of the vast range and depth of holdings of the Thomas Fisher Rare Book Library at the University of Toronto. Divided into several sections, it features a variety of items from the library’s collections of early manuscripts and printed books, Shakespeareana, science and medical texts, Enlightenment materials, juvenile drama artifacts, Anglo-Irish literature, Canadiana, as well as the evocative artistic works of Thoreau MacDonald. In addition, the exhibition highlights the personal art of collecting as well as examples of the fine art of book binding. The exhibition and accompanying catalogue were prepared by the director of the Thomas Fisher Rare Book Library, Richard Landon.
- ISBN 0772760365, 99 pages, $20.00 | Ref. #7007
Selection from Catalogue
Due to popular demand this catalogue is sold out
This exhibition at the Thomas Fisher Rare Book Library was undertaken to commemorate the founding of the Collaborative Program in Book History and Print Culture, whose first classes began in September 2000. The items chosen, ranging from a 1789 B.C. Babylonian clay tablet to a manuscript of Margaret Atwood, from the collections of the Fisher Library and from the Library of Massey College, the home of the Collaborative Program, combine interesting and important titles with the many different methods used to convey their texts. The catalogue descriptions point out the physical details of each object providing the basis for an historical understanding of the book, and its role in cultural history. Prepared by a collaborative team of Sandra Alston, Anne Dondertman, Marie Korey, Richard Landon and Philip Oldfield, with contributions from Luba Frastacky, Edna Hajnal, and Jennifer Toews, the catalogue was edited by Marie Korey, Richard Landon and Philip Oldfield.
- 112 pages, $20.00 | Ref. #7052
As this exhibition demonstrates, John Calvin's life and legacy can be told through books. Books shaped him and his age, and in the end he and his followers used the medium of print to bring about one of the greatest revolutions the world has ever known. Of all of the sheets of print produced by individual writers in the period from 1541 to 1565, Calvin is responsible for an astonishing 42% of the total; even the Bible only accounts for 14% of total print output during this era. As this exhibit, prepared by Pearce J. Carefoote, demonstrates, Calvin enjoys the ignominious distinction of being simultaneously one of the most honoured and vilified figures in human history – largely because of the mass of print he left behind for others to interpret and expand upon.
- ISBN 0-7727-6054-3, 16 pages, $5.00
This summer exhibition features Canadian literary papers held by the Thomas Fisher Rare Book Library, including those of Margaret Atwood, Joy Fielding, Alberto Manguel and Erika Ritter. The display is divided into thematic groupings which trace the development of a text from the initial germ of an idea, to the various manuscript drafts and revisions, through the publication process, to the public reception of the work. The exhibition and accompanying catalogue were prepared by Anne Dondertman, Assistant Director of the Fisher Library.
- 95 pages, $20.00 | Ref. #7054
The Fisher Library's outstanding collection of prints and book illustrations by printmaker Wenceslaus Hollar (1607-1677) is highlighted in this exhibit, curated by Anne Thackeray. Printmaking reached new technical and artistic levels in the seventeeth century, and Hollar was among its most admired practitioners. His exceptionally wide range of subject matter reflects the political and religious conflicts of his times, changes in book and print culture, and the expansion of European knowledge during his lifetime.
- ISBN 97807727066767, 195 pages, $20.00
The medieval bishop and bibliophile Richard de Bury describes books as an "infinite treasure," for they, more than any other human contrivance, are able to preserve the knowledge and the wisdom, as well as the follies and the failures, of previous generations – "in books I find the dead as if they were alive." This exhibition aims to bring the medieval world to life by drawing on the many treasures from the period to be found in the Fisher Library. It celebrates the medieval book, and the medieval written word more generally, in all its variety in terms of both subject matter and physical form. Included are books on topics from religion to science and history to the law and in formats from the codex to the charter to the tally stick. Though the main focus of the exhibition is on medieval manuscripts – that is, books written by hand – it also explores the transition from handwritten to printed books that began at the very end of the medieval period. Medieval books, and especially their aesthetic qualities, have been a recurrent source of inspiration for the makers of books in subsequent periods, and the exhibition also examines this medievalist tradition in book production, especially in the eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries.
This exhibition was curated by the Fisher Library’s PJ Carefoote, Timothy Perry, and Nadav Sharon. It ran from September 6 through to December 20, 2022.
- ISBN 978-0-7727-6094-4; 64 pages, $20 | Ref. #7064
This was the first major exhibition in North America on George Barbier, one of the great French illustrators of the early 20th century. It featured the extensive Toronto holdings of Barbier’s published illustrations drawn from the collections of the Library & Archives at the Royal Ontario Museum, Toronto Public Library Special Collections, and the George Grant Collection at the Fisher Library. The exhibition is curated by ROM librarian Arthur Smith, who became fascinated with Barbier pochoirs in the mid-1990s when he encountered a volume of Falbalas et fanfreluches while mounting a display of treasures from the ROM’s rare book collections.
- ISBN 0-7727-6049-7, 24 pages
Due to popular demand this catalogue is sold out
In "Commentary" Toronto-based artist Sylvia Ptak creates gauze ‘texts’ inspired by items from the Thomas Fisher Rare Book Library’s collection. Works in the exhibition explore the multiple meanings that texts generate. Ptak simulates script to create texts of indecipherable writing. The works are comprised of fabric ‘pages’ and interventions within texts from the library’s collection. The exhibition was prepared by Sylvia Ptak and the accompanying catalogue by Kyo Maclear and Sylvia Ptak.
- 50 pages, $20.00
During its almost seventy years of existence, the firm of Cooper & Beatty had been prominent, first in Toronto and Ontario, and then during the 1950s and 1960s in the rest of Canada and the United States. The firm prided itself on its tradition of creative excellence; at one time or another, typography created by Cooper & Beatty craftsmen appeared in the print ads of every major advertiser in Canada. This exhibition, curated by Edna Hajnal and Richard Landon, and the heavily illustrated catalogue document some of the highlights of the firm's history, based on the records housed at the Thomas Fisher Library.
- ISBN 0772760195, 56 pages, $10.00 | Ref. #7020
This centennial exhibiton, marking one hundred years of the birth of the artist, David Jones, was curated by Professor William Blissett and Alan Horne of the University of Toronto. According to Professor Blissett, David Jones belongs to a great tradition, that of the notable artist who is also a notable writer. Profusely illustrated with woodcuts, watercolours and paintings by Jones, the exhbition documents the artist's life and works with examples from the collections of the Fisher Library and Professor Blisset's own collection.
- ISBN 978-0-7727-6093-7; 48 pages, $15 | Ref. #7063
This exhibition explores some of the finest examples of the book-making craft since the year 2000, along with a quick nod of the small press’s past. It draws upon the Fisher Library’s rich and extensive small and fine press holdings, and features examples from publishers spanning the entire country: from Mission, BC’s Barbarian Press to Gaspereau Press in Kentville, Nova Scotia. It highlights the "veterans" of the small press scene, including The Aliquando Press and Porcupine’s Quill, as well as artist books and illustrated works from some of this country’s leading practioners of the book arts. This exhibit is curated by the Fisher Library’s John Shoesmith.
- ISBN 0772760357, 59 pages, $30.00 | Ref. #7006
Catalogue is no longer available.
The best in contemporary British bookbinding was showcased in the travelling exhibition, Designer Bookbinders in North America. Featured was the work of twenty-four Fellows and Licentiates of Designer Bookbinders, Great Britain’s principal bookbinding society and one of the foremost in the world. The forty-seven bindings featured in the exhibition confirm the great diversity and high quality of contemporary British bookbinding. Literary inspiration ranges from The Four Gospels to Unity Universe, An A-Z by Sue Doggett and Wrenching Times – Poems from “Drum Taps” by Walt Whitman.
- ISBN 0772760144, 60 pages, $20.00 | Ref #7046
Curated by Marie Korey of the Massey College Library, University of Toronto, this exhibition is the first extensive public presentation of the Ruari McLean Collection. Assembled by the noted British book designer and historian of printing, the McLean Collection documents the developments in colour printing, particularly in Britain, and the evolution of publisher's bookbindings, and formed the basis of his pioneering works on the subject.
- ISBN 978-0-7727-6069-2, 72 pages, $20.00 | Ref. #7053
This exhibition of books and manuscripts celebrates the accomplishments of Darwin’s rare and inquisitive mind. Besides the Fisher’s own collections, several items come from the private libraries of the curator, Richard Landon, and of Toronto financier, Garrett Herman. On display are the many editions and issues of Darwin’s books that illustrate the significant textual changes made by him as his ideas developed. Important works on evolution by Darwin's predecessors, works by his scientific colleagues and many of the books resulting from the controversies surrounding the publication of Origin of Species (1859) broaden the appeal of the exhibition.
- ISBN 0772760055, 54 pages, $20.00 | Ref #7047
This commemoration of Gill's life and work is drawn primarily from a private collection in Toronto formed by J. Kemp Waldie, and also contains items from the Fisher Library and the Library of the University of Waterloo. It illustrates the varied aspects of Gill's career, with special emphasis on his graphic art and book illustration. The catalogue, by Alan Horne, Richard Landon, and Guy Upjohn won a first place award from the Rare Books and Manuscripts Sections of the American Library Association, and two design awards from the National Composition and Prepress Association.
- ISBN 0772760098, 47 pages, $10.00 | Ref. #7017
Curated by Harold Averill of the University Archives, this exhibition celebrates the early history of the University Library, profusely illustrated with photographs and documents. Early documents detail the founding of King's College, the Library's early homes, the devastating fire of 1890 and the building of the new Library and its collections afterwards. The catalogue won a first place award from the Rare Books and Manuscripts Sections of the American Library Association.
- ISBN 077276025X , 104 pages, $20.00 | Ref #7048
The variety of European encounters with the Indian subcontinent, from the sixteenth through the nineteenth centuries, was the theme of this exhibition. Two things developed in the fifteenth century that frame the start of the historical period. One was printing from movable type, introduced in Europe by Johann Gutenberg in the 1450s. The other was navigation, permitting the Portuguese Bartolomeu Diaz to sail into the Indian Ocean, around the southern tip of Africa, in 1488, and another Portuguese navigator, Vasco da Gama, to reach the shores of India in 1498, exactly five hundred years ago. The ensuing record of discovery and travel, as it unfolded, was published in early European printed books that have come to be highly prized by collectors and libraries. The Thomas Fisher Rare Book Library of the University of Toronto is fortunate to possess a representative range of materials, principally in English, from these four centuries.The exhibition and catalogue were by Professor Willard G. Oxtoby, Comparative Study of Religion, Trinity College, University of Toronto. The catalogue won an Honourable Mention award from the Rare Books and Manuscripts Sections of the American Library Association.
- ISBN 0772760608, 126 pages, $30.00 | Ref #7037
Within the walls of the Thomas Fisher Rare Book Library, there are roughly 700,000 books and many large collections of literary and historical manuscripts, including the University of Toronto Archives. It is the largest and most diverse research resource of its kind in Canada. However, without those walls, but within the University of Toronto, there are a dozen other important Special Collections departments whose resources are well known to the specialist scholars who use them, but are not, perhaps, as visible to the general university community and the citizens of Toronto. This is the first time we have attempted a joint, collaborative exhibition to display in one venue a selection of the treasures throughout the whole university.