Special Collections & Rare Books

special collections landing page

Printer-friendly versionPrinter-friendly versionPDF versionPDF version

Introduction to Our Special &
Rare Book Collections

Victoria University Library is dedicated to acquiring and providing access to diverse special and rare book collections covering a wide range of subject areas. These collections are particularly notable for their strength in Canadian literature, poetry, and art: major collections include E.J. Pratt, Northrop Frye, Mildred Claire Pratt, as well as Canadiana. There are also significant holdings related to Indigenous history (Peter Jones and Donald B. Smith), women’s history (Augusta Stowe-Gullen, Mary Rowell Jackman, and Marjorie Pickthall), and Romantic literature and poetry (Samuel T. Coleridge and William Blake).

The collections form a valuable repository that encompasses a diverse array of unique and rare literary, historical, and creative materials, including books, journals, pamphlets, handwritten manuscripts, artwork (such as paintings, photographs, and posters), and various other records.

Connect with a range of primary sources:

  • Paris Posters, the visual symbols of the May 1968 student revolution in France and powerful graphic street art, which played an instrumental role in instigating political and social transformations 
  • student life and experiences at Victoria College in the past century and a half as documented on the pages of Acta Victoriana, and
  • the artistic covers of the books published by Virginia and Leonard Woolf at their publishing house, the Hogarth Press.

Read more

Planning Your Visit

The materials in special collections and rare books do not circulate and must be accessed in the Library’s Special Collections Reading Room. Prior notice is necessary for in-person consultations of the holdings from the collections. The process for finding and requesting these rare and unique materials is different from accessing other library materials. Use this page as your guide to identify and locate relevant materials.  

Researchers are required to submit a complete list of the materials they plan to consult in advance of their visit. 

Using Rare Book Collections

Visit Consulting Our Rare Book Collections for guidance on finding rare books and booking an appointment to view them.

Using Special Collections

Consult Locating Materials in Our Special Collections for information on how to navigate our finding aids to find items pertinent to the topic of your research.

For details on requesting an appointment to view materials from special collections, visit Consulting Our Special Collections

Digital Collections & Exhibitions

Our digital collections provide a representation of the wide range of the holdings in our special collections, encompassing photographs, artwork, personal correspondence, literary manuscripts, and publications (such as Acta Victoriana), among other materials.

Additionally, the various exhibitions curated by the librarians and the archivists (and the associated catalogues) serve as an introduction to the diverse selection of the resources held within these collections.

Additional Materials
on the History of Victoria University

Victoria University Archives holds unpublished materials comprising the records of the administrative bodies, affiliates, administrative staff, faculty, students, student clubs, and alumni associations dating from 1836 up to the present.


Browse the Collections

Last updated: May 1, 2024

Centre for Renaissance & Reformation Studies