Subject strengths

The holdings of books and other printed material are organized in over one hundred special author or subject collections, focussing on fields as diverse as AIDS, Aristotle, Birdsall Bindings, Darwin, Aldous Huxley, Incunabula, Libretti, Petlice, Printed Ephemera and the Spanish Civil War. The greatest strengths of the Library lie in the fields of:

British Literature

Photo of book cover for Tortoises by D.H. Lawrence
The general collections of the Fisher Library contain first editions of many of the most significant English literary works as well as important and extensive holdings for several individual authors. Late seventeenth-century drama, with particular emphasis on the plays of John Dryden, as well as the editions of the major eighteenth century playwrights are collected.


an image of snow
The Library's Canadian holdings are extensive and include many special collections. Canadian literary and historical collections are especially comprehensive and wide-ranging, including much manuscript as well as printed material.

History of Science

Page from Euclid's Elements
The Fisher has large and comprehensive collections in the history of science, in several key areas. The general Science Collection, which contains approximately 8,000 items, covers many branches of theoretical and applied science. One of the principal focuses of the collection is the science of the Renaissance, prior to Galileo, whose work, and that of his contemporaries, form a separate special collection.


Title page of Leviathan by Hobbes
The Fisher's philosophy holdings are strong in the works of early philosophers - including Aristotle, Bacon, Locke and Hobbes - as well as the writings of nineteenth- and twentieth-century thinkers, which are included in the Bertrand Russell Collection, John G. Slater Collection of British and American Philosophy, Einstein Collection and the Michael Polayni Collection. The Michael Walsh Philosophy Collection further strengthens the holdings in all areas of Western philosophical thought.


Title page from King James Bible
The library's theological holdings are large and diverse, ranging from early bibles - including a 15th century Vulgate, the Geneva Bible from 1560, and a 1611 Kings James Bible - through to entire collections that focus largely on theology, including the Knox College and Forbes Collections.