Queen Victoria & Victoriana

The theme we have decided to focus on this month for our blog is Victoriana. Last weekend, we celebrated Victoria Day (with fireworks!)—a public holiday that celebrates the reign of Queen Victoria (1819–1901), who ushered what came to be known as the Victorian era of the British Empire. Queen Victoria holds a special significance to the Vic community, as our home, Victoria University, is named after her and our crest (on the left) bears her likeness. The crest derives from several prize bindings from the library’s rare book collection. These items can be requested at the inquiry desk on the first floor:

  • The Analogy of Religion to the Constitution and Course of Nature: Also Fifteen Sermons: awarded to Arthur Coleman, May 26, 1873 (BT1100 .B9 1870a)
  • Missionary Principles and Practice: A Discussion of Christian Missions and of Some Criticisms upon Them (BV2060 .S73 1902)
  • A Selection from the Works of Lord Byron (PR4353 1866)
  • The Life of Christ in Recent Research  (BT301 .S315 1908).

Did you know that the library also holds an extensive collection relating to the history of Victoria University? The holdings in Victoriana include books, magazines, newspapers, pamphlets and other documents, some of which have been digitized.

At the annual book sale, we always have a large and varied selection of books on royalty. In addition, this year we have a special treasure available: a beautiful large framed antique lithograph of Queen Victoria.

Our Unsung Heroes

As we mentioned in one of our previous posts, the preparation for our annual book sale is a year-round endeavour, supported by many dedicated volunteers. Friends of Victoria University Library gather together twice every week, nearly every month, in the basement of the E.J. Pratt Library to sort and price the treasures we receive from numerous donors.

Many donors drop off books and other treasures sold during the book sale at the library (if you are interested in donating, please refer to our web site for instructions). We are also able to coordinate scheduled pickups. Over the scope of every year, we get all kinds of calls from people with books to donate. We accept pick up requests usually from the beginning of March to the middle of August, when we begin to prepare for the book sale. Our dedicated volunteers, under the very capable leadership of Bill Moore, drive all over the Greater Toronto Area, to deliver boxes to the library for processing.

Bill has been part of the book sale for many years and has been in the role of book collection coordinator for four. He is responsible for following up with donors who have submitted requests for pickups, gathering their contact information, scheduling the actual pickup, and dispatching a volunteer who resides in the approximate vicinity of the residence of the donor. Over the years, we have built up a substantial number of volunteers in this category, and they are truly our unsung heroes.