Exhibition: Flights of Fancy: Illustrated Children’s Books and the Sheila R. Bourke Collection

bourke_exhibition_signThis exhibit explores the Children’s Illustrated Books featured in The Sheila R. Bourke Collection. Sheila R. Bourke is a Montreal area resident and life-long collector of children’s books.  The Sheila R. Bourke collection of twenty-two hundred books, the earliest of which is dated 1571 and progresses to the present date, is a definitive and important collection within McGill’s Rare Books and Special Collections.  It documents some of the most important international illustrators and authors who have contributed to the world of children’s literature.  From the perspective of a researcher, this collection is important in its scope and content.  The collection addresses, quite extensively, research interests of individual artists and illustrators, and colour reproduction as documented through the eighteenth to twenty-first centuries.

The exhibition is curated by Lindsey Skeen, McGill School of Information Studies for GLIS 689 – Selected Topics. Supervised by: Professor P.F. McNally and Ms. Sharon Rankin.

The exhibition can be viewed in the Rare Books and Special Collections Reading Room Alcove, 4th floor, McLennan Library Building from  Monday to Friday 10 am – 6 pm until November 30, 2013.

Telling Stories: Nursery Rhymes, Fables and Fairy Tales from the Sheila R. Bourke Collection





Telling Stories: Nursery Rhymes, Fables and Fairy Tales from the Sheila R. Bourke Collection


Collecting children’s literature has been a lifelong passion for Mrs. Sheila R. Bourke and the donation of her collection to the McGill University Library has placed a magisterial research collection at the disposal of university scholars and students. The collection contains twenty-three hundred works of early and modern children’s literature, written and illustrated by the most prominent names in the field, and spanning five centuries of artistic and literary creativity.


For this exhibition, we have selected fine examples of books of nursery rhymes, of Aesop’s fables and of fairy tales to celebrate the cataloguing of Mrs. Bourke’s gift.

Please visit the website at http://digital.library.mcgill.ca/stories/index.php.



Joe Beef – 19th century Montreal broadsides

This month there are two new acquisitions in the Canadiana collection.

Joe Beef of Montreal, the Son of the People.

Broadsides issued by Charles McKiernan, nicknamed Joe Beef, the proprietor of Joe Beef’s Canteen in Montreal, at a time when he was defending himself against a campaign to discredit him led by John Redpath Dougall, owner of the Montreal Daily witness, who deplored the sale of alcohol at the Canteen, although this helped raise money for McKiernan’s extensive charitable work. Cf. DCB, v. 11, p. 563-565.

1. Printed on wove paper, on both sides; this broadside includes 5 illustrations and text, in a satirical, humorous vein. Published [Montréal : C. McKiernan, 1879 or 1880] . The text consists largely of a long list of client types willingly served at Joe Beef’s Canteen; the content also alludes to McKiernan’s defense against attacks by John Redpath Dougall, and shows McKiernan’s criticism of clergy uncaring of the needy, and of police constables.

Rare Books/Special Collections, McLennan Bldg, 4th floor elf FC2947.35 J643 1879

2. Printed on wove paper in 3 columns; this broadside includes 13 illustrations and text. Published [Montréal : C. McKiernan, 1879 or 1880]. The content, with a satirical, humourous bent, refers to McKiernan’s defense against attacks by John Redpath Dougall, to McKiernan’s attack on Henry Ward Beecher, who was tried in N.Y. for adultery, to James Ward Bennett, publisher of the New York herald, which opposed Irish Home Rule, and includes a long list of client types willingly served at Joe Beef’s Canteen, and criticism of an uncaring clergy and of police constables.

Rare Books/Special Collections, McLennan Bldg, 4th floor elf FC2947.35 J64 1879

Both broadsides have been digitized and are available on the Internet Archive.

For more information about these works, contact Ann Marie Holland, Liaision Librarian, Canadiana Collections ann.holland@mcgill.ca .

New Digital Exhibition

Rosalynde Stearn Puppet Collection

Some of the richest aspects of this extraordinary collection include Punch and Judy, the Commedia dell’ arte and shadow puppets from South Asia. These and late nineteenth and early twentieth-century French puppets and puppets made by Stearn herself for the Aristophanes play “The Clouds” are featured in this exhibition. From French marionettes of the eighteenth century to Canadian puppets of the twentieth, this exhibition brings before the public for the first time in many years, one of the most unusual of McGill treasures. The collection was formed by the Canadian puppeteer Rosalynde Osborne Stearn to be a comprehensive library on the puppet theatre with representative examples of puppets characteristic of different periods and countries.

This exhibition was curated by Richard Virr (Head of Rare Books and Special Collections and curator of manuscripts, McGill University) and Donald Hogan (Conservation specialist).

View the exhibition at: http://digital.library.mcgill.ca/puppets/index.php


New Digital Exhibition

New Digital Exhibition: Celebrating the Winter Olympics 1924-2006

To commemorate the Winter Olympic Games that were held at Vancouver in February 2010, this exhibition presented a short history of Canadians’ participation at the Winter Olympics from 1924 to 2006. It showed unusual material from the three Olympic Collections housed in the McGill Library’s Rare Books and Special Collections: the Canadian Olympic Association Collection, the Fernand Landry Olympic Collection and the Richard W. Pound Collection. Among the items on display were five Winter Olympic Games Torches from Calgary 1988, Lillehammer 1994, Nagano 1998, Salt Lake City 2002 and Torino 2006.

Each collection reflects the interests of the former owner and covers different aspects and timeframes. The collections complement each other, offering a wealth of information for researchers: official publications, ephemeral material, manuscripts, posters, prints and realia.

View the exhibition at: http://digital.library.mcgill.ca/winter-olympics