Victorian Holiday Cards

Rare Books and Special Collections holds a wide variety of Victorian holiday cards which form just part of a much larger greeting card collection, amounting to many hundreds of examples, designed for almost any season or occasion.

Santa coppedb

Christmas cards of Saint Nicholas, extracted from a specimen sheet of four cards for sale.

Of special interest regarding the print trade are the specimen sheets used for commercial purposes, ticketed with the price per quantity on the sheet. They  feature a range of options for choice of image or greeting. The collection also consists of pages from private scrapbooks revealing a kaleidoscope of styles from this era.

The vast majority of our holiday cards have been collected or added as single specimens. Some are complete with manuscript greetings or personal notes, which hold interest for cultural historians. In each case, they are rare due to their ephemeral nature.

BirdMost of the cards demonstrate the application of the technical revolution in the printing of illustrations in the nineteenth century. The designs are usually high in colour, printed by chromolithography, which was at the height of its popularity around 1860. We might see as well the use of photo-mechanical techniques, such as photogravures, mounted as inserts on card stock.

Some cards were embossed for added effect and in some cases, fabrics were used to dress up the card. There are pop-up, single-sided cards with personal notes on the back, or cards that open with printed verse inside. Some of the latter might be stitched by side ties or decorated by ribbons, while some of the former might be fabulously framed by a fringe, and used as decorations with an attached piece of fine rope.

A few of these extra-ordinary examples are currently on view in the main Reading Room of Rare Books and Special Collections, located on the 4th floor of the McLennan Library Building.

Children

Embossed Victorian Christmas card with velvet overlays.

And best wishes for a wonderful holiday.

 

 

Public lecture Dec. 2nd at RBSC by Craig Stephenson

This coming Tuesday, December 2nd, Dr. Craig Stephenson will give a free public lecture on his book Anteros: A Forgotten Myth.

Anteros

“Anteros: A Forgotten Myth explores how the myth of Anteros disappears and reappears throughout the centuries, from classical Athens to the present day, and looks at how the myth challenges the work of Freud, Lacan, and Jung, among others. It examines the successive cultural experiences that formed and inform the myth and also how the myth sheds light on individual human experience and the psychoanalytic process.”

from the publisher (Routledge) 

About the speaker: Craig E. Stephenson, Ph.D., is a graduate of the C.G. Jung Institute Zürich, the Institute for Psychodrama (Zumikon, Switzerland), and the Centre for Psychoanalytic Studies, University of Essex. He is the author of Possession: Jung’s Comparative Anatomy of the Psyche (Routledge, 2009), editor of a collection of essays titled Jung and Moreno: Essays on the Theatre of Human Nature (Routledge, 2013), and the translator of Luigi Aurigemma’s book of essays, Jungian Perspectives (University of Scranton Press, 2007). He has lectured at the Bodmer Foundation, Geneva, for the Philemon Foundation and at the Warburg Institute, University of London.

The talk will take place in Rare Books and Special Collections, 4th fl. McLennan Library, 3459 rue McTavish, Montreal. All are welcome. Please RSVP to jillian.tomm@mcgill.ca.

Exhibition: Arthur Lismer’s McGill Sketchbook

Arthur Lismer (1885-1969) Learned societies at McGill Ink on paper

Arthur Lismer (1885-1969) Learned societies at McGill. Ink on paper

Arthur Lismer artist, educator (b Sheffield 27 June 1885; d Montreal 23 Mar 1969)
Arthur Lismer lived and worked in Montreal from the 1940s until his death in 1969. A founding member of the Group of Seven (with Franklin Carmichael, Lawren Harris, A.Y. Jackson, Franz Johnston, J.E.H. Macdonald and F.H. Varley), Lismer dedicated his life to art education. Still relatively unknown and with little teaching experience, Lismer began his career as Head of the Victoria School of Art (today NSCAD University) 1916-1919. From Halifax, he spent the next 20 years in Toronto, first as Vice-Principal, Ontario College of Art (OCA) and later as supervisor of art education, Art Gallery of Toronto (today Art Gallery of Ontario). He moved to Montreal in 1940 to join the Art Association of Montreal (today the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts), where he established the MMFA School of Art and Design as one of the premier Canadian art training centres.

Lismer joined the McGill School of Architecture as a sessional lecturer in 1943 at the invitation of John Bland, the School’s director, and was appointed assistant professor in 1945. There he taught: the History of Art and Theory of Design; Freehand Drawing; and led the Sketching School with Gordon Webber. Lismer retired from McGill in 1955 at the age of seventy.

The exhibition
Rare Books and Special Collections, McGill University holds some 30 sketches by Arthur Lismer, executed between 1940-1969, during his McGill tenure and into his retirement. Lismer sketched throughout his life, filling dozens of sketchbooks, but also captured the world and the people around him on scraps of paper, in the margins of flyers and programs, and on paper napkins.

Arthur Lismer (1885-1969) Seated figures; Professor F. Howes and Professor Hebb, 1953 Pencil on paper, McGill University Faculty Club stationary On verso: Portrait of Dr. Robert George

Arthur Lismer (1885-1969) Seated figures; Professor F. Howes and Professor Hebb, 1953. Pencil on paper, McGill University Faculty Club stationary On verso: Portrait of Dr. Robert George

The McGill sketches originated primarily in the Faculty Club, where Lismer stopped most days en route between the campus and his office at the museum. Many drawings are annotated by Richard Pennington, University Librarian, with whom Lismer dined regularly.

Arthur Lismer (1885-1969) Forecast of the new library terrace [1952] Pencil on paper, McGill University Faculty Club stationary

Arthur Lismer (1885-1969) Forecast of the new library terrace [1952]. Pencil on paper, McGill University Faculty Club stationary

Additional McGill sketches are held in the collections of the McGill Archives and by the Faculty Club. Caricatures drawn on the plaster walls of the Arts Building East Wing, before renovations, are also documented in the McGill Archives. Several Lismer paintings are included in the holdings of the McGill Visual Arts Collection.

Exhibition prepared by Jennifer Garland, Assistant Librarian, November 2014

On view in the Rare Books and Special Collections Reading Room until 31 January, 2015.

Lest we forget

smaller_poster-300x207Exhibition opening today, November 11, 2014: The Patriotism of Death: Propaganda posters from WWI at the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts, Graphic Arts Centre, Jean-Noël Desmarais Pavilion.

Read more about our collaboration with the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts and about McGill Library & Archives events commemorating the centenary of the First World War here.

 

A rare edition of Voltaire

Recently, while cataloguing some volumes from the J. Patrick Lee Voltaire Collection acquired by McGill in 2013, our colleague Marc Richard discovered a very intriguing book:

“This particular edition of L’évangile de la raison was published in Year 10 of the French revolutionary calendar, a date which corresponds to either 1801 or 1802. It’s a compilation of previously published works, assembled and edited by Voltaire, and includes many works written by him. Several editions of this compilation exist; indeed, the J. Patrick Lee Collection also holds a 1765 edition of the same title.

 

The 1801 edition, however, is extremely rare. In fact, Georges Bengesco, who compiled the standard bibliography of Voltaire’s works, Voltaire: bibliographie de ses oeuvres, had not been able to locate it at the Bibliothèque nationale de France. The only mention of this edition in Bengesco’s authoritative listing is a reference to Antoine-Alexandre Barbier’s Dictionnaire des ouvrages anonymes, which provides a brief entry for it saying: ‘Réimprimé sous le titre de “L’évangile de la raison. Ouvrage posthume de M… D… V… et D… F…” Se trouve chez tous les imprimeurs et libraires, an X, in-8, XVI-224 pp.’

 

The Voltaire volumes of the Bibliothèque nationale’s Catalogue général des livres imprimés, published in 1978, do not include this edition at all, and prior to our cataloguing of this edition there was apparently no record for it in the OCLC WorldCat online database, which covers the major research libraries in North America and much of Western Europe.”

McGill’s volume confirms that this edition survives. The book is available for consultation here at RBSC, and more detailed information about it can be found in the catalogue record which Marc has prepared for it. Marc’s description makes it possible for researchers around the world to discover this copy of the volume, and our digitization team has created a full high-quality digital reproduction. The record for the physical copy can be viewed here; the full digital copy can be linked to from the e-copy record here

August 4th, 1914: Britain declares war on Germany

Canada, Newfoundland, Australia, New Zealand, and South Africa, as dominions of the British Empire, went to war one-hundred years ago today when Britain declared war on Germany.

Memorial Windows for McGill Medical Building

P.E. Nobbs. Memorial windows for Strathcona Medical Building, 1919. Watercolour on card. John Bland Canadian Architecture Collection, McGill University.

[War] Memorial Windows for Medical Building
McGill University, Strathcona Medical Building, Montreal, QC, Canada
Educational, Memorial windows; stained glass.

Client: McGill University
Architect: Nobbs and Hyde

Description: The memorial is a handsome stained glass window of three lights placed in the main hall of the first floor, over the main entrance to the building. It was designed by Prof. P.E. Nobbs, and executed by the Bromsgrove Guild, Leeds. The memorial was a gift of the teaching staff of the faculty of medicine. Each light represents a scene recalling the service of one of the men whose memories are honored. The center one, dedicated to Lt. Col. John McCrae, shows row upon row of crosses amid blood red poppies. A jeweled plaque bears a book and quill. The left light, dedicated to Lt. Col. R.P. Campbell, shows a section of the Thiepval Front, where he was killed. The plaque bears a surgeon’s knife, scissors and bandages. The right one, dedicated to Lt. Col. H.B. Yates, shows the town of Boulogne. The plaque bears a microscope. In the center light a radiant sun is rising on the horizon, its rays spreading upward and to each side through the other lights. At the far left is a group of poplars with strings of red maple leaves entwined. At the far right is a similar group of poplars with sprigs of laurel. “Memorial to the Members of the Teaching Staff of the Faculty of Medicine who Died on Active Service,” McGill News 4 (December 1922) : 5.

 

 

 

2014 Alcuin Society Book Design Awards

By Tyler Hyde*

AwardsLogo-215x300Once again, McGill University Library is proud to be hosting the international exhibition of the winning books of the 2014 Alcuin Society Book Design Awards, on display in the McLennan Library Building lobby for the month of July.

These books have been carefully selected by the Alcuin Society as this year’s best and most beautifully produced Canadian publications. If you would like to get up close and personal with some of these books we encourage you to explore the following titles, available from the McGill Library collection:


 

howto

For the young, or young at heart, you may want to spend some time with How To and Wild Berries, which took first and third prize for children’s book design. Also don’t forget to check out honourable mention, Little You.

melanierocanIf you love art, you will love the whimsical works of Mélanie Rocan: Souvenir involontaire. This second prize winner for pictorial design is a beauty to behold. So too is honourable mention, Irene F. Whittome: Room 901, which will inspire anyone stuck in a creative rut.

seghers
Another visual delight is the second place winner for prose non-fiction illustrated, The Seghers Collection: Old Books for a New World. This book is a must see for anyone with an interest in religious studies.

If you’re in for a deeper read, check out these other non-fiction titles: Jeremiah Bancroft at Fort Beauséjour & Grand-Pré, first prize winner, and Métis in Canada and The Writing Life: Journals, 1975-2005, which tied for third prize. If you are a serious book lover, honourable mention, The Pope’s Bookbinder, should not be overlooked.

petitotSecond prize winner for fiction, Petriot, blends fact and fiction through the eyes of Marcus, a teacher in a Northern-Canadian native community, and his relationship with the writings of real life missionary, Émile Petitot. Moving from the north, experience life on the Eastern shores in the short stories that comprise Someone Somewhere, third prize winner, and honourable mention, Son of a Certain Woman.

exploringvancouverFinally, go west and learn all about the architecture of Vancouver in this aptly named book, Exploring Vancouver: the Architectural Guide, which holds the second prize in the reference category of the 2014 Alcuin Society Book Design Awards.

For more information on the Alcuin Society, and on the international circulation of this exhibition, visit www.alcuinsociety.com

Continue reading for a full, categorized list of the 2014 award winners; including links to the books on loan at McGill. Continue reading

Things we notice in summertime

Racey 24

Racey, Arthur George. “Things we notice in summertime. The danger of proposing and being accepted in a canoe.” Ink on paper. 48.7 x 36.8 cm. RBSC Racey 1:24

The RBSC print collection includes over one hundred cartoons by Quebec artist Arthur George Racey (1870-1941). After studying at McGill, Racey worked as a cartoonist for the Montreal Witness and the Montreal Star. His work was also published internationally.